1 Kings 16:30
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
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16:29-34 Ahab did evil above all that reigned before him, and did it with a particular enmity both against Jehovah and Israel. He was not satisfied with breaking the second commandment by image-worship, he broke the first by worshipping other gods: making light of lesser sins makes way for greater. Marriages with daring offenders also imbolden in wickedness, and hurry men on to the greatest excesses. One of Ahab's subjects, following the example of his presumption, ventured to build Jericho. Like Achan, he meddled with the accursed thing; turned that to his own use, which was devoted to God's honour: he began to build, in defiance of the curse well devoted to God's honour: he began to build, in defiance of the curse well known in Israel; but none ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. Let the reading of this chapter cause us to mark the dreadful end of all the workers of iniquity. And what does the history of all ungodly men furnish, what ever rank or situation they move in, but sad examples of the same?See 1 Kings 16:33. The great sin of Ahab - that by which he differed from all his predecessors, and exceeded them in wickedness - was his introduction of the worship of Baal, consequent upon his marriage with Jezebel, and his formal establishment of this gross and palpable idolatry as the religion of the state. 29-33. Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him—The worship of God by symbols had hitherto been the offensive form of apostasy in Israel, but now gross idolatry is openly patronized by the court. This was done through the influence of Jezebel, Ahab's queen. She was "the daughter of Eth-baal, king of the Zidonians." He was priest of Ashtaroth or Astarte, who, having murdered Philetes, king of Tyre, ascended the throne of that kingdom, being the eighth king since Hiram. Jezebel was the wicked daughter of this regicide and idol priest—and, on her marriage with Ahab, never rested till she had got all the forms of her native Tyrian worship introduced into her adopted country. No text from Poole on this verse. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, above all that were before him. Adding other idols to the calves, and those more abominable than they; since the other kings pretended to worship God in them, but he worshipped other gods besides him, as the following verses show. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
Verse 30. - And Ahab the son of Omri [The repetition is noticeable. It is possible that the preceding verse has been revised by a chronologer. The LXX. text is much more condensed] did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. [The same words are used of his father in ver. 25. It is not difficult to see in what way Ahab's rule was worse even than Omri's. The latter had gone beyond his predecessors in the matter of the calf worship. See note on ver. 25. But the calf worship, however it may have deteriorated in process of time - and it is the tendency of such systems to wax worse and worse - was nevertheless a cult, though a corrupt, and unauthorized, and illicit cultus, of the one true God. Under Ahab, however, positive idolatry was established and fostered the worship of foreign and shameful deities.] As soon as he had obtained undisputed possession of the throne, he purchased the hill Shomron (Samaria) from Shemer (Semer) for two talents of silver, about 5200 thalers (780 - Tr.), built houses upon it, and named the town which he built after the former owner of the hill שׁמרון, rendered by the lxx Σεμηρών here, but everywhere else Σαμάρεια (Samaria), after the Chaldee form שׁמרין (Ezra 4:10, Ezra 4:17). This city he made his seat (Residenz, place of residence, or capital), in which he resided for the last six years of his reign, and where he was buried after his death (1 Kings 16:28). Samaria continued to be the capital of the kingdom of the ten tribes from that time forward, and the residence of all succeeding kings of Israel until the destruction of this kingdom after its conquest by Salmanasar (2 Kings 18:9-10). The city was two hours and a half to the north-west of Sichem, upon a mountain or hill in a mountain-hollow (Bergkessel, lit., mountain-caldron) or basin of about two hours in diameter, surrounded on all sides by still higher mountains. "The mountains and valleys round about are still for the most part arable, and are alive with numerous villages and diligent cultivation." The mountain itself upon which Samaria stood is still cultivated to the very top, and about the middle of the slope is surrounded by a narrow terrace of level ground resembling a girdle. And even higher up there are marks of smaller terraces, where streets of the ancient city may possibly have run. After the captivity Samaria was retaken and demolished by John Hyrcanus, and lay in ruins till Gabinius the Roman governor rebuilt it (Joseph. Ant. xiii. 19, 2, 3, and iv. 5, 3). Herod the Great afterwards decorated it in a marvellous manner, built a temple there to the emperor Augustus, and named the city after him Σεβαστή, i.e., Augusta, from which arose the present name Sebuste or Sebustieh, borne by a village which is still standing on the ancient site: "a pitiable hamlet consisting of a few squalid houses, inhabited by a band of plunderers, notorious as thieves even among their lawless fellow-countrymen" (V. de Velde, i. p. 378). - But by the side of this there are magnificent ruins of an ancient Johannite church, with the reputed grave of John the Baptist and remains of limestone columns at the foot of the mountain (cf., Robinson, Pal. iii. p. 136ff.; Van de Velde, Syria and Pal. i. p. 374ff.; and C. v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 159,160).
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