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Verses 29-40

Ahab’s death 22:29-40

Ahab probably disguised himself (1 Kings 22:30) since he was Ben-Hadad’s primary target. He had broken their treaty (1 Kings 22:31). However, his plan to thwart God’s will failed. He could not fool or beat Yahweh. One arrow providentially guided was all God needed (1 Kings 22:34). Wounded Ahab watched the battle from his chariot until he died that evening (1 Kings 22:35). Israel lost the battle (1 Kings 22:36; cf. 1 Kings 22:17). Ahab became the source of much discipline rather than a source of great blessing to Israel because he disregarded God’s word and will (cf. Saul).

The fact that the Israelites buried Ahab at all is a tribute to God’s grace. All the same, he suffered the ignominy of having the dogs lick his blood, and that at the pool where the despised and unclean prostitutes bathed (1 Kings 22:38). Perhaps this was fitting since he, too, had sold himself.

Ahab was really a capable ruler in spite of his gross spiritual idolatry, which the writer of Kings emphasized. He was generally successful militarily because of the native abilities God had given him and because God showed mercy to Israel. Saul, too, had the potential to be a good king of Israel. Ahab’s alliance with Jehoshaphat began the period of peace between Israel and Judah that lasted 33 years. Archaeologists have discovered more than 200 ivory figures, bowls, and plaques in only one storeroom of Ahab’s Samaria palace, a tribute to the wealth he enjoyed (cf. 1 Kings 22:39). He also fortified several cities in Israel (1 Kings 22:39). However, in spite of all his positive contributions, his setting up of Baal worship as the official religion of the nation weakened Israel as never before. His reign took the Northern Kingdom to new depths of depravity. Because he did not acknowledge Yahweh as Israel’s King and did not submit to Him, Ahab’s personal life ended in tragedy, even a violent death (cf. Saul; 1 Samuel 31). Furthermore, the nation he represented experienced God’s chastening instead of His blessing. Agricultural infertility and military defeat marked Ahab’s reign as we read of it in 1 Kings.

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