First Kings 16 Commentary
Chapter 16 introduces the famous king Ahab. He is the son of King Omri. During the Omri-Ahab tenure, Israel enjoyed relative political stability, but godliness kept on declining. In fact, Ahab is described as having done more evil than all others before him.
Ahab’s wife and partner in idolatry Jezebel is well known for her wickedness. The couple set new records in wickedness. Today the word Jezebel is hardly used for individuals as it has become synonymous with harlotry and seduction. Such was her level of wickedness!
Before the Omri-Ahab dynasty is the Baasha-Elah. The LORD announces the end of the Baasha dynasty through the prophet Jehu, partly because of his bloody coup against the Jeroboam dynasty. Evil is punishing evil. Even in an environment of evil, the LORD is still in charge. Events don’t just happen. One evil is allowed to punish another evil. Eventually, all evil will be punished by the LORD of creation.
Like Solomon, Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel seems to fuel more idolatry in Ahab. He begins to worship the gods of his wife Jezebel. These were immoral gods. As we have already observed, the road to idolatry is paved by a man when he begins to ignore the instructions of the LORD. The LORD had specifically forbidden Israel from marrying women from the Canaanite peoples. It was for good reasons.
Reading these chapters may create an impression like we have an infestation of evil in Israel, in the same manner as our Covid-19 today. No. Evil is manufactured in a man’s heart by poor decisions. More specifically, by disobedience. Baasha made a decision to stick to Jeroboam’s sin while Ahab made a decision to worship Baal. It is all about decision-making but importantly, we see the generosity of the LORD in the prophets that appear constantly to deliver the word of the LORD at critical moments – lest people accuse the Creator God of having withheld salvation options from them.