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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Ahab (â'hăb), father's brother. 1. The sixth king of Israel, the son and successor of Omri. His reign lasted 22 years, 918-897 b.c. He was the weakest and one of the most impious of all the Israelitish monarchs. He has the miserable character given him of doing "evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him." He not only maintained the worship of the calves set up by Jeroboam, but, having married Jezebel, daughter of Eth-baal, king of the Zidonians, he yielded himself to her evil influence, and introduced the worship of Baal into Samaria. A persecution of the prophets of the Lord followed—many of them being destroyed by Jezebel. As a judgment, a drought was sent upon the land; and then came the solemn vindication of Jehovah's authority by the prophet Elijah before Ahab and the assembled people, and the punishment, according to the law of Moses, of the idolatrous prophets. 1 Kings 17:18. Jezebel was irritated to madness at the news of this catastrophe, and resolved to sacrifice Elijah; while Ahab was either unable or unwilling to interfere.

Afterwards his wicked queen led him into one of his worst crimes. He seems to have had a cultivated taste. He built cities, and erected an ivory palace, 1 Kings 22:39, the walls being probably inlaid with ivory, and had pleasure grounds by his house in Jezreel, which he wished to enlarge by the addition of a vineyard belonging to Naboth. Naboth, however, refused either to sell or to exchange his hereditary property; and Ahab, disappointed, manifested the temper of a spoiled child. The unscrupulous Jezebel then put him in possession of the coveted plot of ground by the judicial murder of Naboth; and Ahab went to view it, but was met by Elijah, who denounced on him a fearful judgment. On bis repentance, superficial though it was, this sentence was partially revoked, and delayed till the days of Ahab's son. In two wars with Syria, this prince was successful, but he improperly spared Ben-hadad, the Syrian king. In a third campaign, having attempted, in alliance with Jehoshaphat, to retake Ramoth-gilead, still occupied by the Syrians, Ahab, though he disguised himself, was mortally wounded; and the dogs licked up the blood washed from his chariot in the pool of Samaria. Weak and unstable, Ahab let himself be made the tool of his wife; and his history is an instructive warning against such subserviency to a dangerous influence. 1 Kings 21:2. A false prophet in Babylon. Jeremiah 29:20-23.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Ahab'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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