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The Fall of Ahab and Jezebel

Ahab, from the Hebrew name (pronounced) awk-awb, meaning a brother of his father, or a friend of his father, was the seventh king of the northern Kingdom of Israel (see When Israel Became "Israel" and "Judah"). The son and successor of King Omri (see Kings of Israel and Judah), Ahab reigned a little over 20 years, approximately 875 to 855 BC. Although Ahab was one of the strongest kings of Israel, militarily and politically, he was also one of the most religiously and morally corrupt (just as it has always been everywhere; those at the top of the political and/or military heap almost always get and stay there by Godless law-of-the-jungle ruthlessness - see also Who Still Rules The World Today?), both from his own evil-mindedness and as a result of the influence of his infamously-wicked wife, Jezebel. To the Israelite Calf Worship introduced by Jeroboam (the first king of the ten tribes), Ahab added the worship of Jezebel's favorite idol Baal, both of which provoked a response from the prophet Elijah who was active at that time.

"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done"

Ahab became king upon the death of his father King Omri, at the time that Asa was king of Judah to the south. Ahab's reign was filled with religious corruption right from the start:


"So Omri slept [see also What Happens When You Die?] with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead. And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years."

"And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of The Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke The Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him." (1 Kings 16:28-33 KJV)

Elijah's first mention in the Bible was when he confronted the corrupt Ahab with a drought from The Lord:

"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As The Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years [see also The Spirit and Power of Elijah], but according to my word." (1 Kings 17:1 KJV)

Years later, the rain was turned on again, after Ahab's kingdom was devastated by famine caused by the drought:

"And it came to pass after many days, that the word of The Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria." (1 Kings 18:1-2 KJV)

Ahab played the typical "blame game" with Elijah, accusing Elijah of causing trouble for Israel. Elijah responded with a judgment and a challenge:

"And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?"

"And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the Commandments of The Lord [see The Decalogue], and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table."

"So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if The Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word." (1 Kings 18:17-21 KJV)

After her prophets of Baal were annihilated, Jezebel vowed to kill Elijah, a threat that resulted in Jezebel's own demise later (see the Fact Finder question below):

"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time." (1 Kings 19:1-2 KJV)

Ahab and Jezebel's murder of a man, Naboth, for his property was the final straw; it became Ahab's own death sentence:

"And the word of The Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith The Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith The Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine." (1 Kings 21:17-19 KJV)

The prophesied death of Ahab came about during a battle in which Israel and Judah were allied against Syria. An enemy archer fired a very "lucky" shot from a distance, aiming only at the body of troops. But what did he hit? King Ahab - the random shot not only hit the king himself, but also just "happened" to hit him between the sections of his armor where there was no protection. He bled through the day before dying at sunset. In a very ghastly spectacle, dogs licked up his blood from his chariot - just as The Lord had declared for his bloody wickedness.

"So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle."

"And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot."

"So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of The Lord which he spake." (1 Kings 22:29-30,34-35,37-38 KJV)

Ahab was succeeded as king of Israel by his son Ahaziah

"Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 22:29-40 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did Ahab's wife Jezebel also die for her wickedness, according to the word of God through Elijah?
1 Kings 21:23, 2 Kings 9:30-37

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