1 Kings 16:32
And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
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1 Kings 16:32-33. And he reared up an altar for Baal — On which to offer sacrifices to him, whereby they acknowledged their dependance upon him, and sought his favour. In the house of Baal which he had built in Samaria — The royal city, for the convenience of his worship. Because the temple of God was in Jerusalem, the royal city in the other kingdom, he would have Baal’s temple in Samaria, that, being near him, he might the more frequently attend it, protect, and put honour upon it. And Ahab made a grove — Another piece of idolatry which God had expressly prohibited, Deuteronomy 7:5. He either made a natural one by planting shady trees there; or, if he thought these would be too long in growing, an artificial one in imitation thereof: somewhat that answered the intention of a grove, which was to conceal, and so to countenance the abominable impurities that were practised in the filthy worship of Baal. He that doth evil hates the light. O the stupidity of idolaters, who are at a great expense to do honour to mere imaginary beings, who have no existence, save in their own fancies, and to make those their friends who are no gods, and from whom they have nothing either to fear or hope!

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?As if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam - Idolatries are not exclusive. Ahab, while he detested the pure worship of Yahweh, and allowed Jezebel to put to death every "prophet of the Lord" whom she could find 1 Kings 18:4, readily tolerated the continued worship of the "calves," which had no doubt tended more and more to lose its symbolic character, and to become a thoroughly idolatrous image-worship.

Eth-baal - Identified with the Ithobalus of Menander, who reigned in Tyre, probably over all Phoenicia, within 50 years of the death of Hiram. This Ithobalus, whose name means "With him is Baal," was originally priest of the great temple of Astarte, in Tyre. At the age of 36 he conspired against the Tyrian king, Pheles (a usurping fratricide), killed him, and seized the throne. His reign lasted 32 years, and he established a dynasty which continued on the throne at least 62 years longer. The family-tree of the house may be thus exhibited:

Lineage of Eth-Baal Eth-baal Badezor Jezebel Matgen (Belus of Virgil) Pygmalion Dido (founder of Carthage)

Hence, Jezebel was great-aunt to Pygmalion and his sister Dido.

Served Baal - The worship of Baal by the Phoenicians is illustrated by such names as IthoBAL, HanniBAL, etc. Abundant traces of it are found in the Phoenician monuments.

32. reared up an altar for Baal—that is, the sun, worshipped under various images. Ahab set up one (2Ki 3:2), probably as the Tyrian Hercules, in the temple in Samaria. No human sacrifices were offered—the fire was kept constantly burning—the priests officiated barefoot. Dancing and kissing the image (1Ki 19:18) were among the principal rites. No text from Poole on this verse.

And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. That he might not go so far as Tyre or Zidon; and for his wife's convenience also he built a temple in Samaria for Baal, and erected an altar there to offer sacrifices upon it unto him; so open and daring was he in his idolatrous practices. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
32. in the house of Baal] The LXX. renders by ἐν οἴκῳ τῶν προσοχθισμάτων αὐτοῦ= in the house of his abominations. This is after the fashion of the Jews who preferred to use the word ‘bosheth’ = shame, rather than the name ‘Baal’ when the latter could be avoided. Cf. the names ‘Ishbosheth’ and ‘Mephibosheth’ which are instead of ‘Eshbaal’ and ‘Meribbaal.’

Verse 32. - And he reared up an altar for Baal in [Heb. omits in; cf. 1 Kings 15:15, etc.] the house of Baal [A temple, we can hardly doubt, of considerable splendour. Jezebel would not be satisfied with less], which he had built in Samaria [According to 2 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 10:27, he also raised a pillar (A.V. image) in the house of Baal. We learn from Dius and Menander that Hiram had raised a golden pillar to Baal in Tyre. Perhaps Ahab may have copied this. But it is probable that this image, which represented the generative powers of nature, was an essential part of the impure worship of Baal. The house and its contents alike were destroyed by Jehu (2 Kings 10:27). 1 Kings 16:32Whereas the former kings of Israel had only perpetuated the sin of Jeroboam, i.e., the calf-worship. or worship of Jehovah under the image of an ox, which he had introduced, Ahab was not satisfied with this. לכתּו הנקל ויהי, "it came to pass, was it too little?" i.e., because it was too little (cf. Ewald, 362, a.) to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, that he took as his wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal the king of the Sidonians, and served Baal, and worshipped him. ויּלך before ויּעבד, "he went and served," is a pictorial description of what took place, to give greater prominence to the new turn of affairs. אתבּעל .sri (i.e., with Baal) is the Εἰθώβαλος (בּעל אתּו or Ἰθόβαλος: Jos. Ant. viii. 13, 1) mentioned by Menander in Josephus, c. Ap. i. 18, who was king of Tyre and Sidon, and priest of Astarte, and who usurped the throne after the murder of his brother, king Pheles, and reigned thirty-two years. Jezebel (איזבל, i.e., probably without cohabitation, cf. Genesis 30:20, equals untouched, chaste; not a contraction of אביזבל, as Ewald, 273, b., supposes) was therefore, as tyrant and murderess of the prophets, a worthy daughter of her father, the idolatrous priest and regicide. Baal (always הבּעל with the article, the Baal, i.e., Lord κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν) was the principal male deity of the Phoenicians and Canaanites, and generally of the western Asiatics, called by the Babylonians בּל equals בּעל (Isaiah 46:1), Βῆλος, and as the sun-god was worshipped as the supporter and first principle of psychical life and of the generative and reproductive power of nature (see at Judges 2:13). Ahab erected an altar to this deity הבּעל בּית, in the house (temple) of Baal, which he had built at Samaria. The worship of Baal had its principal seat in Tyre, where Hiram, the contemporary of David and Solomon, had built for it a splendid temple and placed a golden pillar (χρυσοῦν κίονα) therein, according to Dius and Menander, in Joseph. Ant. viii. 5, 3, and c. Ap. i. 18. Ahab also erected a similar pillar (מצּבה) to Baal in his temple at Samaria (vid., 2 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 10:27). For statues of images of Baal are not met with in the earlier times; and the בּעלים are not statues of Baal, but different modifications of that deity. It was only in the later temple of Baal or Hercules at Tyre that there was, as Cicero observes (Verr. iv. 43), ex aere simulacrum ipsius Herculis, quo non facile quidquam dixerim me vidisse pulcrius.
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