Westside church of Christ - Irving, Texas

Worst King Ever

by Rusty Miller Date: None

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 15-16

Who was the worst king of the northern kingdom of Israel?

Certainly, a case could be made for Ahab, whom we meet at the end of 1 Kings 16. He was very wicked, and he married an exceedingly wicked woman who only added to his evil. He killed prophets. He and Jezebel persecuted one of the great prophets, Elijah. When we look at his life (as we will in days to come), it is absolutely true that Ahab is among the worst of Israel's kings.

But is he the worst? If we asked that question of God, we might find a different answer, for while God clearly defines Ahab as a wicked and evil king, His word tells us something about how God saw the northern kingdom. Look at how some of Israel's kings are summed up at the end of their lives.

Baasha: "Moreover, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha and his house, both because of all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and also because he destroyed it" (1 Kings 16:7).

Zimri: "And when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house and burned the king’s house over him with fire and died, because of his sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam, and for his sin which he committed, making Israel to sin" (16:18-19).

Omri: "Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in the sins that he made Israel to sin, provoking the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols" (16:25-26).

Ahab: "And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him" (16:31).

It is Jeroboam who set the mold for the kings who followed him. Jeroboam started Israel down a path of idolatry, and they never recovered. Every king who followed him was guilty of following in his worst sin, the sin of idolatry. Ultimately, it is the sin for which Israel is destroyed. And that makes Jeroboam Israel's worst king.

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