By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 1 Kings…We saw the end of King David’s reign and the tumultuous grab for power. Adonijah attempts to seize the kingdom, but Nathan and Bathsheba secure that title for Solomon. After David’s death, Solomon assumes the position of anointed King over all Israel, and He serves the Lord with his whole heart. However, we see glimpses of his folly as he attempts to unite kingdoms with the pagan Egyptians by marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter. For his faithfulness the Lord blesses Solomon with wisdom that rivaled any other person on earth, and Solomon, in his wisdom, constructs the first permanent temple for the Lord. Finally, the ark is moved to its home. Unfortunately, we see Solomon turn away from the Lord because of the many wives and concubines that he took for himself, and because of his unfaithfulness 10 of the 12 tribes are stripped from the h0use of David and given to Jeroboam. Because of David’s faithfulness, Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was able to rule over Judah. Both Rehoboam (Judah) and Jeroboam (Israel) did evil in the sight of the Lord, and Jeroboam is eventually cursed and dies with the promise that his lineage would not rule over Israel forever. After a long time of failing with many different Kings, we come to the reign of Ahab over Israel, and Ahab did more evil than all that were before him. Elijah the prophet proves to all that the Lord is God and that Baal is nothing in spectacular fashion through fire from heaven. This causes a glimpse of hope in the people as they immediately destroy the many prophets of Baal.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 1 Kings 19 – 22.
1 KINGS – At the beginning of this book, we see an old King David in the final days of his life. As David’s time as King comes to an end, there is immediately turmoil in the kingdom as Adonijah, David’s son with Haggish, attempts to seize the throne. However, Bathsheba gains the blessing of David to make Solomon King. Solomon goes on to be blessed by the Lord with unmatched wisdom. He serves the Lord in many ways, in particular he establishes the first permanent temple of the Lord. Unfortunately, Solomon turns from the Lord and is swayed by the gods of his many wives. Because of his unfaithfulness, Israel is stripped from the house of David, but for the sake of the faithful David, the Lord allows the lineage of David to rule over Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat is appointed the new ruler of Israel, and we see a division of the rulers of the 10 tribes of Israel and those of Judah that is plagued with much unfaithfulness, selfishness, division, idolatry, and many evil things. Eventually Elijah and Elisha, the prophets, are brought into the equation as advocates for the Lord, but we continue to see many rulers turn from the Lord. Most notable of them all was Ahab and his wife Jezebel who incited him to do evil in the site of the Lord. Ahab did eventually repent, but the Lord punished his successor nonetheless. Every king of the 10 tribes of Israel through Jeroboam did evil before the Lord, but the kings of Judah wavered serving the Lord whole heartedly at times.
- 1 Kings 19 | Elijah runs from Ahab and Jezebel after defeating the prophets of Baal – The Angel of the Lord nourishes Elijah – Elijah speaks with the Lord – Elijah listens and calls Elisha to service as his successor: After Elijah successfully proves the Lord to the people and they destroy every last prophet of Baal, he is forced to flee because the evil of Jezebel vowed to put him to death. This was a difficult time for Elijah simply because he was doing exactly what the Lord asked from him, but it was hard to see the fruit of his labor. Nonetheless, the Lord continued to sustain and encourage him! As Elijah fled to the wilderness with all hope lost begging the Lord for death, he was greeted by the Angel of the Lord who said:
“Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. | 1 Kings 19:5-8
Wow! What a privilege it would be to have such intimacy with the Lord that even in our desperation we would wake up from our slumber and hear his voice and find sustenance from him in the middle of the wilderness. That food sustained Elijah for 40 days and 40 nights until he reached the very mount that Moses received the ten commandments. It was there that the Lord asked “What are you doing here, Elijah?”; a challenging question to any when asked by the Lord. Elijah explained his despair and claimed that he has done so much and that he is alone and that they still want to kill him. And then the Lord makes quick proof that He is not always known by power and might but sometimes just in the still small whisper.
And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah herd it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” | 1 Kings 19:11-13
So the voice of the Lord comes again, and it seems like Elijah still doesn’t get it! He says the same words as before that he is alone and they are trying to kill him. But the Lord continues to use him and gives him relief for the future. Elijah is tasked with appointing Hazael over Syria, Jehu over Israel, and Elisha as his successor. The Lord promises that those that escape the sword of Hazael would suffer the sword of Jehu, and those that escape Jehu will be put to death by Elisha until only 7,000 Israelites, who did not kneel to Baal, remain. So Elijah again listens to the voice of the Lord and goes forth to do as He said. He comes upon Elisha who seems to be a wealthy man as he stood before 12 yoke of oxen, no doubt being controlled by servants in his household. This short encounter is awesome because Elijah throws his cloak on Elisha calling him to service, and although he initially requested to say goodby to his father and mother, Elisha eventually responds simply by sacrificing the very oxen he stood over using the yoke as well. He gave all the meat to his household and went after Elijah.
- 1 Kings 20 | Ben-hadad and Syria move against Israel – the Lord allows Ahab to defeat Ben-hadad twice – Ahab spares Ben-hadad and is cursed because he did so:After the encounter with Elisha and Elijah, we see an update in the life of Ahab. This “update” is shocking because the King of Israel pitifully submits to the foreign King of Syria, Ben-hadad. Ben-hadad gathered his armies against Samaria and sent messengers to Ahab saying
“Your silver and your gold are mine; your best wives and children also are mine.” | 1 Kings 20: 2
What a ridiculous message to send! But even more ridiculous is Ahab responding:
And the king of Israel answered, “As you say, my lord, O king, I am yours, and all that I have.” | 1 Kings 20:3
Talk about a bruised and beaten spirit with no confidence in the King of the very nation that He ruled; the Lord that was proved before his eyes when Elijah called down fire from heaven. Then we see Ben-hadad ask for a mile after gaining an inch, he responded to Ahab and said that he would send his servants and everything that pleased them would be his. Ahab finally had the guts to seek the counsel of the elders who confirmed the evil in the Syrian kings request. So Ahab responded with a no, and Ben-hadad responded by calling his men to stand against the city. Luckily for Ahab, the Lord was on his side this time, and Ben-hadad was delivered into the arms of the Israelites who had 7,232 men. Unfortunately Ben-hadad escaped and was able gather men again after some time to fight against the Israelites again, and again, the Israelites destroyed 127,000 Syrians! Ben-hadad escaped death once again, and he reached out to Ahab for mercy. Ahab surprisingly calls Ben-hadad his brother…and spares his life, but he is swiftly reprimanded by a prophet of the Lord and cursed for doing so:
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’” And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria. | 1 Kings 20:42-43
As harsh as it seems, it is important to realize that the Lord struck down two birds with one stone: the ridiculous king of Syria and the most evil king of Israel!
- 1 Kings 21 | Ahab desires Naboth’s vineyard – Jezebel murders Naboth and Ahab is punished for it – Ahab finally steps up and repents of the sin in his life: The evil in Ahab’s life is perpetuated in this chapter through his wife Jezebel this time. Ahab desired to purchase Naboth’s vineyard that was near the palace in Samaria, however Naboth would not sell as it was the inheritance of his fathers! Ahab’s response is another pitiful one as he laid down in his bed, turned his face away, and would not eat food. Jezebel sees the pouting, mocks him a little because he’s the king, and then immediately thinks to conspire against Naboth. She writes letters as Ahab, with his seal, and gets Naboth’s elders to set him s head over the people for a fast. Then he asked them to hire men to proclaim blasphemy against Naboth. The elders obliged and the people took Naboth out and stoned him to death.
As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” | 1 Kings 21:15
And without hesitation:
And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it | 1 Kings 21:16
Because of this sin and all that Ahab had been incited to do in his life, the Lord sends Elijah to curse Jezebel, Ahab, and all who belonged to him to death:
“And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the Lord also said “The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezebel. | 1 Kings 21:22-23
BUT FINALLY, Ahab truly repents and tears his clothes and fasted and humbled himself.
And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.” | 1 Kings 21:28-29
- 1 Kings 22 | Jehoshaphat reigns in Judah – Ahab is enticed to go to battle against Syria – Micaiah prophesies of Ahab’s death – Ahaziah, his son reigns in his place: The final chapter in the book of 1 Kings brings us to the end of Ahab’s life. We learn that in his fourth year of rule, Jehoshaphat became king over Judah. Jehoshaphat continued to do the righteous deeds that his father, Asa, did all through his reign until he was buried. After many years of peace between Syria and Israel, Ahab enlists the help of Jehoshaphat to re-obtain the city of Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. When they seek the council of the prophets, they all say to go for the Lord will give it to the king, but Jehoshaphat brings in Micaiah, the prophet, although Ahab says he “hates” him for his negative prophecies. Micaiah reveals something extremely interesting:
“Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘Iwill go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so’ | 1 Kings 22:19-22
Naturally, Ahab fell right into the will of the Lord. He imprisoned Micaiah, went to war, and even decided to disguise himself in battle. A man drew his bow “at random” and it wounded Ahab causing his death. When Ahab was brought back to Samaria, the chariot he was in was washed and the dogs licked up his blood as was prophesied in the previous chapter. After Ahab’s death, his son Ahaziah reigned in Israel and unsurprisingly did evil just like Ahab and Jezebel and Jeroboam.