You would think that after all You have done people would know not to mess with You. 1 Whatever You say You mean.
But even today people don’t believe. I guess people are stupid, I was. But I have the picture now, if we don’t have 2 faith in Jesus, we’ll spend 3 eternity in the Lake of Fire with the devil, his demons, as well as most politicians and people like Oprah.
“Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah (1 Kgs 15:1).
Abijam was the second king of Judah, the son of Rehoboam, and the grandson of Absalom, who was David’s son that tried to take over the kingdom (2 Sam 15) and his mother, Maacah, was the daughter of Absalom.
Abijam was evil, but even so, for David’s sake, God let him reign over Jerusalem. If you remember, David had sinned here and there, such as committing adultery with Bath-sheba and having her husband, Uriah, killed.
Yet, his heart was right (Act 13:22), it was not his desire to sin, but we are 4 born into sin and live in a sinful world with Satan always around to help us do so. I, even without never being a devil worshiper or messing around with magic, have experience in this.
Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.
Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam” (1 Kgs 15:5-7).
Abijam had reigned for 41 years before he died and was buried in the city of David, and his son, Asa, reigned.
“And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.
And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with theLord all his days.
And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the Lord, silver, and gold, and vessels.
And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali” (1 Kgs 15:11-20).
When Baash heard about this he left Ramah and went to Tirzah (the town where God killed Jeroboam’s child).
“Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.
The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet” (1 Kgs 15:22-23).
Asa was buried in the city of David and his son, Jehoshaphat, replaced him. Nadab, Jeroboam’s son, reigned for two years over Israel in the second year that Asa was king of Judah.
But he was evil in the sight of God and as he sinned he made Israel sin. Baash, the son of Ahijah, conspired against him and killed him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines at the time. He then took over the throne. During his reign he smote all of Jeroboam’s people.
1 “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb 6:18).
2 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:1 & 6).
3 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Rev 1:8).
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:6-8).
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20: 15 & 10).
4 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom 8:5-6).
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:17-21).
Don’t be confused with this, David committed adultery and murder, but it was not in his heart to do so. He committed the sins against God because flesh is powerful and if we live by the flesh we are weak.
To understand this better read what Paul says in Rom 7:15-25 & 8:1.
The House of Omri
By about 860 B.C., during the reigns of Omri and his son Ahab, Israel emerged as a leader among the small states of the Levant.
The Omride Dynasty brought political stability to the nation for four decades (ca. 876-842 B.C.) before coming to an end in the bloody coup led by Jehu in 842 B.C.
Omri and his successors pursued policies that brought material property, military strength, and international stature to the nation. Assyrian records referred to Israel as the “House of Omri” even after the fall of the dynasty.
The policies that produced the wealth and power also deeply divided Israelite society. The new wealth benefited the privileged few, creating tensions between the court at Samaria and ordinary citizens.
Ahab and Jezebel’s plot to seize Naboth’s vineyard that resulted in his murderillustratesthe of the aristocracy (1 Kgs 21).
Moreover, Baalism reared its ugly head once again, this time under official patronage of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel.
The Bible says remarkably little about Omri; we are dependent upon Assyria sources and archaeology to evaluate his reign. Omri came to power in a military coup, occupying Tirzah as a temporary “capital for six years.
Later, he purchased a hill from Shemer and along with his son Ahab, built a magnificent new capital named Samaria from which he guided Israel’s fortune.
Policies of Omri and Ahab
Three distinct policies pursued by Omri and his successors brought Israel to her zenith.
First, Omri renewed a close alliance with the Phoenicians, sealed by the marriage of his son Ahab to Jezebel. Ahab was a weasel to Jezebel and she was one of the great heathens and the daughter of Ethbaal (Itto-baal), king of Tyre.
Second, he sought peace with Judah.
Third, he exercised hand in the Transjordan.
Omri And The Phoenicians
Economic cooperation between Israel and Phoenicia can be traced from the time of David and Solomon. During the United Monarchy.
Israel was a source for agricultural products and controlled the major trade routes that flowed through the southern Levant, both of which appealed to the Phoenicians.
In addition, Solomon jointly sponsored with the Phoenicians a Red Sea fleet based at Ezion-geber. The fleet plied both the Arabian and African coasts, bringing back exotic woods and other luxury goods, including gold from the land of Ophir (the Somalian Coast? southern Arabian Peninsula?).
Omri and Ahab continued this close economic cooperation with Phoenicia. This alliance provided Israel with an outlet for her agricultural surplus and gave the Phoenicians access to key trade routes and, quite possibly the Red Sea trade initiated in the days of Solomon.
However, the alliance introduced a militant Baalism promoted by Jezebel with her husband’s support.
Omri And Judah
Omri sought peace with Judah, ending the border conflict that sapped the resources of both kingdoms. Eventually, the two royal families of Israel and Judah were united in marriage.
Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab, married Jehoram of Judah. The alliance likely favored Israel as the stronger partner. On two occasions Judean kings committed their troops to Israel, once to repulse an Aramean threat and again to quell a Moabite rebellion (1 Kgs 22:-2 Kgs 3:7).
Yet, Judah surely benefited economically. The godly of Judah sought peace with Israel and controlled the port of Ezion-geber.
This fact implies that the troublesome Edomites were temporarily held in check, although Jehoshaphat’s attempt to open the route to the gold mines of Ophir was thwarted (1 Kgs. 22:44-48; 2 Chr. 20:25-37).
However, the alliance injected Baalism into the court at Jerusalem, fostered by Athaliah and her husband. Paganism, intrigue, and murder dogged both royal houses in this unhappy period.
Omri And The Transjordan
The Omrides attempted to maintain a strong hand in the Transjordan. We learned from the Mesha Stele that Omro conquered Moab, although Mesha regained Moabite independence shortly after the death of Ahab.
For at least part of the time Edom was held in check, possibly through Judean rule (1 Kgs 22:47), although later the Edomites rebelled (2 Chr 21:8-10).
The most serious threat came from the kings of Damascus, who, during the reign of Baasha, attacked Israel’s northern border at the request of Asa (1 Kgs 15:18-20).
At stake was control of lucrative trade routes, principally the King’s Highway and subsidiary caravan routes. Ahab fought several battles against Ben-hadad II (the Hadad-ezer of Assyrian records).
Ahab repelled an Aramean invasion aimed at Samaria (1 Kgs 20:1-25) and engaged Aramean forces several times near the strategic Transjordan fortress Ramoth-gilead (1 Kgs 20:2-43; 22:1-40).
Neither Ben-hadad nor Ahab could deliver a final blow, and the war between Israel and Damascus ebbed and flowed during the Omride era.
The Omrides’ Building Achievements
Recent excavations now yield an impressive picture of the material culture crated by Omri and Ahab.
These two kings of Israel engaged in massive building projects throughout the kingdom, improving defenses, creating royal administrative centers, and ornamenting buildings both public and private with luxury items.
Phoenician and older Canaanite craftsmanship can be detected in architectural and ornamental styles from this period. The archaeological evidence suggests that the building program sponsored by Omri and Ahab surpassed that of Solomon.
Omri and his son Ahab built a new capital six miles northwest of Shechem on a hill purchased from Shemer (1 Kgs 16:23-24).
Omri selected the site because it was easily defended and stood near a junction of roads that radiated out in all directions.
The new city, Samaria, stood on top of a hill 430 meters above sea level.
Crowning the hill was a royal acropolis built by Omri and Ahab covering four acres, an area that was as large as an average village of that time.
The acropolis consisted of a large rectangular platform (89 x 178 meters) defended by two types of walls; a palace, storage facilities, and administrative buildings stood inside the walls.
The construction techniques used at Samaria show Phoenician influence, not surprising given the close ties the House of Omri maintained with Phoenicia – Ahab’s wife Jezebel was a Phoenician princess.
The stonecutting and craftsmanship at Samaria were exceptional. Walls were set in rock-cut trenches, with each stone dressed at the site to ensure a precise fit. Little remains of the palace, but scattered fragments of Proto-Aeolic capitals preserve a glimpse of the royal splendor of Samaria.
A hoard of ivories recovered from the citadel are the finest surviving examples of art from the Iron II era.
The ivories display Phoenician, Syrian, and Egyptian motifs and demonstrate both the cosmopolitan society and luxury of the royal court.
The Bible mentions “the ivory house” built by Ahab (1 Kgs 22:39); Amos condemned the ivory beds of luxury-loving Israelite kings (Amos 6:4).
Excavators also recovered from an administrative building 63 ostraca (inscribed broken potsherds) containing records of shipments of oil and wine. These shipments probably record taxes paid in kind to support the royal court.
The city of Samaria spread out below the royal acropolis, but little is known of this lower city during the Iron Age.
The location of the temple of Baal and an altar of Asherah ascribed to Ahab are not known (1 Kgs 16:32-33; 2 Kgs 10:21), although Samaria certainly was the center of a militant Baalism in the time of Elijah.
A pool (10 x 5 meters), thought to be the one where Ahab’s bloody chariot was cleaned – at his death – has been located inside the casemate walls of the acropolis (1 Kgs 22:34-38).
Samaria’s most prosperous era came during the long rule of Jeroboam II when Israel reconquered Aramean territories to the north in the absence of any Assyrian threat (2 Kgs 14:25-27).
During these years Amos condemned the rich aristocratic bureaucrats and royal family members for their opulent lifestyle supported by oppressing the poor (Amos 4:1-3; 5:10-13).
However, Samaria’s glory faded quickly when Assyria conquered the city in 722 B.C. and made it the district capital in a new Assyrian province.
Hazor and Megiddo underwent transformations during the Omride era. The Omrides doubled the size of Hazor and strongly fortified the site. Fortifications and water supplies were a major concern as threats from Assyria and Damascus increased.
Solid walls, often with offsets and insets, replaced the older casemate walls built during Solomon’s reign. The new wall ranged from two to seven meters thick and were composed stone foundations supporting a brick superstructure.
Strong gates with four or more chambers protected the cities. Occasionally the gate complex included a second outer gate built at right angles to the inner gate, making an attack on this vulnerable spot even more difficult.
Megiddo provides examples of this fortification technique. Water supplies always were of concern, especially as armies became more adept at siege warfare.
Engineers devised ingenious means to protect the water supply of large cities. At Megiddo, workmen constructed a tunnel from inside the city to a spring lying outside the city walls.
A vertical shaft lined with steps, dug inside the city, provided access to the tunnel. Citizens of Hazor did not have to city to leave their city to get water. Engineers cut a huge vertical shaft down to the water table inside the city walls.
Similar systems are from other sites – Gezer and Gibeon – in both Israel and Judah.
Substantial buildings inside the fortifications housed local governors and other governmental officials. Some of these complexes were, in effect, well-defended small palaces.
Numerous fragments of Proto-Aeolic capitals demonstrate that the craftsmanship found in the capital – Samaria – spilled over into other major administrative centers.
Open courtyards provides space for convocations and troop formations are characteristic of larger cities. The Dan temple, almost certainly the one built by Jeroboam I, was rebuilt on an enlarged scale, probably by Ahab after its destruction shortly after 900 B.C.
To judge from the Israelite temple at Dan, major buildings also stood in large open spaces.
Several pillared buildings found at many sites, including Megiddo and Hazor, have been variously interpreted as storage facilities or perhaps stables that housed chariots and horses.
Undoubtedly, the cities served as collection and distribution points for the royal administration; many of these pillared structures served to store food surpluses and other materials.
The possibility that some of these buildings were used to support the large chariot corps of Ahab’s army cannot be dismissed.
Omri and Assyria
A sinister menace threatened Israel around 850 B.C. Under the energetic kings Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) and Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C.), Assyria awakened, casting her shadow westward from her homeland in annual tribute-collecting campaigns.
Ashurnasirpal II rebuilt Calah (Nimrud), making it the staging center for his ambitious military expeditions that would soon gain control of northwestern Mesopotamia and northern Syria.
His son and successor, Shalmaneser III, probed southward along the Mediterranean coast six times between 853 and 838 B.C.
Assyrian records inform us that the campaign of 853 B.C. encountered a coalition of Levantine kings led by Hadad-ezer of Damascus, Irhuleni of Hamath, and Ahab the Israelite of Qarqar.
The Assyrian threat forced the cessation of local squabbles, causing Israel and Damascus to join forces for mutual protection. Though Shalmaneser III claimed a victory, the battle at Qarqar temporarily stalled the Assyrian advance.
Interestingly, Judah is not listed among the coalition members; perhaps Judean troops fought under the leadership of Ahab, whose forces included 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers.
The respite was temporary, though, and the kings of Israel and Judah would be forced to deal with Assyria.