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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Omri (1)

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OMRI was one of the most important kings of Israel, and the founder of a dynasty. He was one of the generals of the army under Elah, son of Baasha. This king was assassinated by Zimri, another of the officers. Omri was at the siege of Gibbethon at the time, and his troops acclaimed him king instead of his rival. A civil war of some duration followed, in which (apparently after the death of Zimri) one Tibni took part, himself aspiring to the throne. Omri finally prevailed, and for a time occupied the old capital Tirzah ( 1 Kings 16:16 ff.). But he had the intelligence to perceive the advantages of Samaria as a site for the capital, and removed thither, enlarging and fortifying the city.

Omri’s political measures included an alliance with the PhÅ“nicians , in which he had the example of David and Solomon, though subsequent generations condemned him for it. The alliance was cemented by the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel, so important for the later history. Omri seems to have been an able soldier, and he subdued Moab to Israel. This is acknowledged by the Moabite king Mesha in an inscription which has come down to us. The wars with Damascus were not so successful. The Assyrians first became acquainted with Israel in the time of Omri, and they call the country ‘the land of the house of Omri’ even after the extinction of his dynasty. The length of this king’s reign is given as twelve years, but some think it to have been more.

H. P. Smith.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Omri (1)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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