Applications from 1 Kings
Ahab becomes the king of Israel and reigns for 22 years. We will learn more of Ahab in the chapters to come, but from this brief summary here we get the picture: He did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all before him. It became normal for Ahab to walk in the sins of Jeroboam. He married Jezebel. He served and worshipped Baal. He built a house unto Baal and an altar for him. He built a grove in the temple: An image of Asherah (mother-earth) the fertility goddess. He did more to provoke God than all the kings before him.
The writer is sure to point out to us 3 times in the first 2 verses about
Ahab, who his father was. The name Ahab is literally translated “brother of the father”. The purpose of this would be to say “resembling the father”. You and I would just say “like father, like son.” One author wrote of Ahab, “He had his Father’s lies.”
The chapter concludes with a verse telling of the rebuilding of Jericho
which Joshua had said to never rebuild.
On the surface it is evident that this marriage is not good. Jezebel is an outsider. Israel was to only marry other Jews.
Looking further we find Jezebel to be more of a problem. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Sidonians. From one of Josephus’s records we learn that at the age of thirty-six he murdered his brother to take over the kingdom of Tyre and Sidon where he reigned for thirty-two years. His name means “with Baal.” Ethbaal’s god was Baal–Melkart. The name Baal means “lord” or “owner”. Her name refers to Baal as, “Where is Baal?”
Knowing this, why marry her? One author writes, “Had a secular historian been recording these events, the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel would likely have been applauded as a prudent political move. Both Phoenicia & Israel were being threatened by Syria, and the marriage gave Ahab a powerful military ally at a crucial time.” So Ahab, like Solomon, makes a move that fits politically but not spiritually.
Thus, it becomes a light thing to marry Jezebel.
- First, this is just like papa-Solomon did and it worked for him. Not everything our forefathers did was right. Just because it is the “old-way” or the way “grand-daddy” did it doesn’t always mean we should follow suit. These things do it make it easier on our consciences as they allow our actions to be culturally accepted.
- Second, this is for the greater good. It may not be right…right now…but one day you will see this was right and good for all of us. NO! Right is right and wrong is wrong. Ahab was not to marry Jezebel. Mainly, because God had commanded that they marry Jews. Also, because she served and promoted other gods. Who cares if it stopped a war…if it runs off God? God won their battles for them anyway.
But, it had become a light thing to sin…thus he married Jezebel.
Pastor Chanc Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN
This blog post was adapted from a sermon preached at Harpeth Baptist Church in the summer of 2012.