1 Kings 16:21
Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.
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(21) Tibni.—Of him we know nothing. No doubt he also was a military chief—possibly Zimri’s colleague, under the supreme command of Omri—and the LXX. speaks of a brother, Joram, who fought and fell with him. There is an ominous significance in the terse description of the alternatives of fortune in this internecine struggle, “so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.” By comparison of 1Kings 16:23 with 1Kings 16:15, it appears that the struggle had lasted four years.

1 Kings 16:21. Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts — Which contended, and went to war with each other about the person that should reign over them. For when it is said, (1 Kings 16:16,) all Israel made Omri king, the meaning is, only the whole army, and such as attended them. Half of the people followed Tibni — These, it is probable, did not like to have a king imposed upon them by the soldiery: and Tibni had as good a title as the other, being also a valiant man, and the person, perhaps, who succeeded Zimri, in his command, as captain of half the king’s chariots. The contest between him and Omri lasted some years, and, it is likely, cost much blood on both sides. But neither this civil war, nor any other of God’s dreadful judgments, could bring them to repentance, which is an evidence of their prodigious impiety and incorrigibleness, and how ripe they were for ruin.

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.Zimri's death illustrates the general moral which the writer of Kings draws from the whole history of the Israelite monarchs. that a curse was upon them on account of their persistence in Jeroboam's sin, which, sooner or later, brought each royal house to a bloody end. 21, 22. Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts—The factions that ensued occasioned a four years' duration (compare 1Ki 16:15 with 1Ki 16:23), of anarchy or civil war. Whatever might be the public opinion of Omri's merits a large body of the people disapproved of the mode of his election, and declared for Tibni. The army, however, as usual in such circumstances (and they had the will of Providence favoring them), prevailed over all opposition, and Omri became undisputed possessor of the throne. The people of Israel fell into a civil war; yet neither this nor any other of God’s dreadful judgments could win them to repentance; which is an evidence of their prodigious impiety and incorrigibleness, and how ripe they were for ruin.

Half of the people followed Tibni, disdaining that the soldiers should usurp such a power over the whole kingdom.

Half followed Omri, because they approved the person, though not the manner of his election.

Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts,.... About the succession in the kingdom:

half the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king: these were the friends of Zimri, or however such who did not like that the army should impose a king upon them; who this Tibni was is not said:

and half followed Omri; the general of the army, perhaps the whole of that.

Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: {i} half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.

(i) That is, the people who were not at the siege of Gibbethon: for there they had chosen Omri.

21–28. Two parties in Israel. Omri’s followers prevail. Reign of Omri, and the building of Samaria (Not in Chronicles)

21. divided into two parts] Probably it was the civil population, which at first followed Zimri, and after his death, Tibni, while the military strength declared for their commander-in-chief Omri.

half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath] Of Tibni we have no information but what is to be gathered from this passage. Comparing the date of Omri’s accession in 1 Kings 16:23, viz. the 31st year of Asa, with that of Zimri’s death in the 27th year of the same king (see 1 Kings 16:15) we find that the struggle between the two parties was continued for four years.

Verse 21. - Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: halt of the people followed [lit., was after. Same expression 2 Samuel 2:10; cf. 1 Kings 1:7] Tibni the son of Ginath [Who he was, or why he was set up in opposition to Omri, it is impossible to say. It has been supposed that the army was divided in its preferences, and that part of the soldiery wished to make Tibni king, and this is perhaps the most probable conjecture. It is to be considered that the entire army was not encamped before Gibbethon. Nor are vers. 16, 17 fatal to this view, as Bahr maintains, because "all Israel" there clearly means all the army under the command of Omri. It is hardly likely that Tibni was set up by the people of Tirzah, after the death of Zimri, to continue the struggle. The only thing that is certain is that,the hereditary principle being overthrown, the crown appeared to be the legitimate prize of the strongest; and Tibni, who may have occupied a position of importance, or have had, somehow, a considerable following, resolved that Omri should not wear it without a fierce contest], to make him king [Omri had been already made king, i.e., anointed, ver. 16]; and half renewed Omri. 1 Kings 16:21But Omri did not come into possession of an undisputed sovereignty immediately upon the death of Zimri. The nation divided itself into two halves; one half was behind Tibni, the son of Ginath (i.e., declared in favour of Tibni), to make him king, the other adhered to Omri. Nevertheless Omri's gained the upper hand over the party of Tibni, and the latter died, whereupon Omri became king after four years, as we may see from a comparison of 1 Kings 16:15, 1 Kings 16:16 with 1 Kings 16:23. The "people of Israel" (1 Kings 16:21) are probably the fighting people, so that the succession to the throne was decided by the military. אהרי היה as in 2 Samuel 2:10. הזק, with an accusative instead of with על, in the sense of to overpower, as in Jeremiah 20:7. According to Josephus (Ant. viii. 12, 5), Tibni was slain by his opponent; but this is not contained in the words; on the contrary, all that is implied in the connection of ויּמת with וגו ויּחזק וגו/ is that he met with his death in the decisive engagement in which the opposing party triumphed.
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