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Omri Of Israel

Omri, from the Hebrew name pronounced owm-ree, meaning a heap of grain (his name is related to the omer, a measure of volume equal to about 2 liters; see Biblical Weights and Measures) was the sixth king of the northern kingdom of Israel (see The Northern Kingdom, as well as the rest of the series Israelite Monarchy - The Origin, The Civil War, The United Kingdom, The Division Of Israel, The Northern Kingdom, The Southern Kingdom, The Messiah, as well as Kings of Israel and Judah and Israelite Dynasties). Beginning as an army commander, Omri was made king after Zimri assassinated Elah and seized the throne (see Zimri Of Israel and Elah Of Israel).

"16:15 In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. 16:16 And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp. 16:17 And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah." (1 Kings 16:15-17 KJV)

Omri is the first Israelite monarch found to be documented in historical records other than the Bible itself (thereby independently verifying the truth and accuracy of Bible History). The "Moabite Stone" states that "Omri, king of Israel, oppressed Moab many days and his sons after him" and "Omri took the land of Medeba, and occupied it in his day and in the days of his son forty years." Also, Assyrian (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) records refer to the area of northern Israel as "the land of Omri."

"The acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he showed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"

Omri's reign did not come uncontested. The people of the northern kingdom had to make their final choice between Omri and Tibni (see Royal Democracy).

The Holy Scriptures

"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.

16:22 But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned." (1 Kings 16:21-22 KJV)

Omri eventually moved the capital of the northern kingdom from Tirzah (see the Fact Finder question below) to a new city that Omri built, named "after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria."

"16:23 In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.

16:24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria." (1 Kings 16:23-24 KJV)

As happened with almost all of the other kings of both the northern and southern kingdoms, Omri became grossly corrupt before the LORD, who was Christ (see Christ The Creator, 'Before Abraham Was, I AM', 'The God Of The Old Testament' and Did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Know 'The LORD'?; see also the Fact Finder question below to understand why the Levites of the northern kingdom of "Israel" left for the southern kingdom of "Judah" - while it remained less corrupt, for a while longer than the northern kingdom did).

"16:25 But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.

16:26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities." (1 Kings 16:23-24 KJV)

And so Omri ended up just like his predecessors - just as corrupt, and just as dead.

"16:27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he showed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

16:28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 16:27-28 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) How long was Tirzah a capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel? (b) Why did the northern kingdom have no genuine Levitical priesthood?
(a) See The Kings Of Tirzah (b) See No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?

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