1 Kings 16:18
And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died,
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(18) The palace of the king’s house.—The same phrase is found in 2Kings 15:25. The word here rendered “palace” evidently means (as is clear from its derivation) “the high place,” or “citadel,” of the building. Some render it the “harem,” with which the curious rendering (ἄντρον) of the LXX.—signifying properly a cave or “lurking-place”—may perhaps, agree. But this is not suggested by the word itself. This desperate act of Zimri, which has many parallels in Eastern history, seems to indicate that there was held to be something especially treasonable, and therefore unpardonable, in his assassination of Elah. (See 1Kings 16:20, and 2Kings 9:31.)

1 Kings 16:18. When Zimri saw that the city was taken — Tirzah, though a beautiful city, it seems, was not fortified; so that Omri soon made himself master of it, and forced Zimri into the palace; which, as he was unable to defend, and yet unwilling to surrender it, he burned, and himself in it: grudging that his rival should ever enjoy so sumptuous a palace, and fearing that if he fell into the hands of his enemies, either alive or dead, he should be ignominiously treated. See to what desperate practices men’s wickedness sometimes brings them, and how it hurries them to their own ruin! See the disposition of incendiaries, who set palaces and kingdoms on fire, though they are themselves in danger of perishing in the flame!

16:15-28 When men forsake God, they will be left to plague one another. Proud aspiring men ruin one another. Omri struggled with Tibni some years. Though we do not always understand the rules by which God governs nations and individuals in his providence, we may learn useful lessons from the history before us. When tyrants succeed each other, and massacres, conspiracies, and civil wars, we may be sure the Lord has a controversy with the people for their sins; they are loudly called to repent and reform. Omri made himself infamous by his wickedness. Many wicked men have been men of might and renown; have built cities, and their names are found in history; but they have no name in the book of life.The palace of the king's house - The tower of the king's house. A particular part of the palace - either the "harem," or, more probably, the keep or citadel, a tower stronger and loftier than the rest of the palace.

Zimri's desperate act has been repeated more than once. That the last king of Assyria, the Sardanapalus of the Greeks, thus destroyed himself, is almost the only "fact" which we know concerning him.

15-18. did Zimri reign seven days—The news of his conspiracy soon spread, and the army having proclaimed their general, Omri, king, that officer immediately raised the siege at Gibbethon and marched directly against the capital in which the usurper had established himself. Zimri soon saw that he was not in circumstances to hold out against all the forces of the kingdom; so, shutting himself up in the palace, he set it on fire, and, like Sardanapalus, chose to perish himself and reduce all to ruin, rather than that the palace and royal treasures should fall into the hands of his successful rival. The seven days' reign may refer either to the brief duration of his royal authority, or the period in which he enjoyed unmolested tranquillity in the palace. Burnt the king’s house over him; or, and he burnt, &c. Either,

1. Omri burnt it over Zimri; for pronouns sometimes respect more remote nouns. Or rather,

2. Zimri, (to whom both the foregoing and following words apparently belong,) who burnt it upon himself, that neither himself nor the royal palace and treasures might come into the hands of his insulting adversary.

And it came to pass, that when Zimri saw that the city was taken,.... That Omri, and the army with him, had got into it, being a place not much fortified, and Zimri not having force enough to defend it against such an army:

that he went into the palace of the king's house; into the innermost and most splendid, as well as the strongest part of it:

and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and he died; that he might not fall into the hands of his rival, who he might fear would use him ill, and that he might not enjoy the royal palace; though Kimchi thinks that Omri set fire to the palace, and burnt it over the head of Zimri, in which he perished; and this sense the text will bear.

And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died.
18. the palace [R.V. castle] of the king’s house] The word is most frequently rendered ‘palace’ in A.V.; but here and in 2 Kings 15:25, the sense required is some strong and well barricaded part of the royal residence, where any one might retire and the enemy be unable to reach him. The root of the noun is probably a verb implying ‘height.’

Verse 18. - And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken [the meaning is probably that which Josephus gives: "When he saw that the city had none to defend it," or possibly, "when he saw that a breach was made"], that he went into the palace [אַרְמון citadel, fortress, from תךעט סעתלא אָרַם. So Gesen., Keil, Bight, al. The palace, no doubt, consisted of a string of buildings (1 Kings 7:2-9) of which this was the highest and strongest part. Ewald thinks that the harem - a word which has almost the same radicals ? or women's apartment, is meant - the most secluded portion of the great palace (Josephus understands it to mean "the inmost part"), and hence infers, as also from 2 Kings 9:31, that the women of the palace had willingly submitted to the effeminate murderer of their lord, and that even the queen-mother had made advances towards him (vol. 4. p. 36). But, as Bight remarks there is nothing of this in the text, and Zimri's desperate act rather shows daring and contempt of death than effeminacy or sensuality. And 2 Kings 15:25 (cf. Psalm 122:7) seems to point to a stronghold rather than a seraglio] of the king's house, and burnt the king's house [probably the palace which Jereboam had built. Ewald thinks it was this structure gave Tirzah its reputation for beauty; Song of Solomon 6:4] over him with fire [According to the Syriac, the besiegers set fire to the palace. Similarly Jarchi. But the text is decisive. The parallel deed of Sardanapalus will occur to all readers. Rawlinson also refers to Herod. 1:176, and 7:107], and died. [This word is intimately connected with the verse following. But there is no need to rearrange the verses. The text, as it stands, conveys clearly enough that Zimri's tragical death was a retribution for his sins. Bahr remarks that of Elah and Zimri we learn nothing, apart from the fact that they held to the sin of Jeroboam, except how they died.] 1 Kings 16:18The Reign of Zimri lasted only seven days. As soon as the people of war (העם), who were besieging Gibbethon (see at 1 Kings 15:27), heard of his conspiracy, his usurpation of the throne, and his murderous deeds, they proclaimed Omri king in the camp of the military commanders, and he at once, with all Israel, i.e., all the army, raised the siege of Gibbethon, to lay siege to Thirza. Now when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the castle of the royal palace and burned the king's house over his own head, as Sardanapalus did, according to Justin (Hist. i. 3). ארמון does not mean harem (Ewald), but the high castle (from ארם, to be high); here and in 2 Kings 15:25, the citadel of the royal palace, which consisted of several buildings.
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