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1 Kings 16:31

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He took to wife Jezebel - This was the head and chief of his offending; he took to wife, not only a heathen, but one whose hostility to the true religion was well known, and carried to the utmost extent.

  1. She was the idolatrous daughter of an idolatrous king;
  • She practiced it openly;
  • She not only countenanced it in others, but protected it, and gave its partisans honors and rewards;
  • She used every means to persecute the true religion;
  • She was hideously cruel, and put to death the prophets and priests of God;
  • And all this she did with the most zealous perseverance and relentless cruelty.
  • Notwithstanding Ahab had built a temple, and made an altar for Baal, and set up the worship of Asherah, the Sidonian Venus, which we, 1 Kings 16:33, have transformed into a grove; yet so well known was the hostility of Jezebel to all good, that his marrying her was esteemed the highest pitch of vice, and an act the most provoking to God, and destructive to the prosperity of the kingdom.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    As if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam - Idolatries are not exclusive. Ahab, while he detested the pure worship of Yahweh, and allowed Jezebel to put to death every “prophet of the Lord” whom she could find 1 Kings 18:4, readily tolerated the continued worship of the “calves,” which had no doubt tended more and more to lose its symbolic character, and to become a thoroughly idolatrous image-worship.

    Eth-baal - Identified with the Ithobalus of Menander, who reigned in Tyre, probably over all Phoenicia, within 50 years of the death of Hiram. This Ithobalus, whose name means “With him is Baal,” was originally priest of the great temple of Astarte, in Tyre. At the age of 36 he conspired against the Tyrian king, Pheles (a usurping fratricide), killed him, and seized the throne. His reign lasted 32 years, and he established a dynasty which continued on the throne at least 62 years longer. The family-tree of the house may be thus exhibited:

    d Lineage of Eth-Baal

    d

    d Eth-baal

    d

    d

    d

    d

    d

    d BadezorJezebel

    d

    d

    d

    d Matgen (Belus of Virgil)

    d

    d

    d

    d

    d

    d

    d PygmalionDido (founder of Carthage)

    d

    d

    Hence, Jezebel was great-aunt to Pygmalion and his sister Dido.

    Served Baal - The worship of Baal by the Phoenicians is illustrated by such names as IthoBAL, HanniBAL, etc. Abundant traces of it are found in the Phoenician monuments.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Ahab did evil above all that reigned before him, and did it with a particular enmity both against Jehovah and Israel. He was not satisfied with breaking the second commandment by image-worship, he broke the first by worshipping other gods: making light of lesser sins makes way for greater. Marriages with daring offenders also imbolden in wickedness, and hurry men on to the greatest excesses. One of Ahab's subjects, following the example of his presumption, ventured to build Jericho. Like Achan, he meddled with the accursed thing; turned that to his own use, which was devoted to God's honour: he began to build, in defiance of the curse well devoted to God's honour: he began to build, in defiance of the curse well known in Israel; but none ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. Let the reading of this chapter cause us to mark the dreadful end of all the workers of iniquity. And what does the history of all ungodly men furnish, what ever rank or situation they move in, but sad examples of the same?
    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (EGW), 1033

    4-11. Luxury, Wine, Idolatrous Women, Defeat Solomon—Solomon, under all his honors, walked wisely and firmly in the counsels of God for a considerable time; but he was overcome at length by temptations that came through his prosperity. He had lived luxuriously from his youth. His appetite had been gratified with the most delicate and expensive dainties. The effects of this luxurious living, and the free use of wine, finally clouded his intellect, and caused him to depart from God. He entered into rash and sinful marriage relations with idolatrous women (The Health Reformer, April 1878). 2BC 1033.1

    9-12 (ch. 14:21). Solomon's Influence on His Children—It was this prophecy of impending ruin that had awakened the apostate king as from a dream, and had led him to repent, and to seek to stay, so far as possible, the terrible tide of evil that during the later years of his reign had been rising high and still higher. But at the time of his repentance, only a few years of life remained to him, and he could not hope to avert the consequences of long years of wrong-doing. His course of evil had set in operation influences that afterward he could never fully control. 2BC 1033.2

    Especially was this the case in the training of the children born to him through marriage with idolatrous women. Rehoboam, the son whom Solomon chose to be his successor, had received from his mother, an Ammonitess, a stamp of character that led him to look upon sin as desirable. At times he endeavored to serve God, and was granted a measure of prosperity; but he was not steadfast, and at last he yielded to the influences for evil that had surrounded him from infancy (The Review and Herald, July 3, 1913). 2BC 1033.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Prophets and Kings, 114

    Two years before the death of Asa, Ahab began to rule in the kingdom of Israel. From the beginning his reign was marked by a strange and terrible apostasy. His father, Omri, the founder of Samaria, had “wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him” (1 Kings 16:25); but the sins of Ahab were even greater. He “did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him,” acting “as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” Verses 33, 31. Not content with encouraging the forms of religious service followed at Bethel and Dan, he boldly led the people into the grossest heathenism, by setting aside the worship of Jehovah for Baal worship. PK 114.1

    Taking to wife Jezebel, “the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians” and high priest of Baal, Ahab “served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.” Verses 31, 32. PK 114.2

    Not only did Ahab introduce Baal worship at the capital city, but under the leadership of Jezebel he erected heathen altars in many “high places,” where in the shelter of surrounding groves the priests and others connected with this seductive form of idolatry exerted their baleful influence, until well-nigh all Israel were following after Baal. “There was none like unto Ahab,” who “did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.” 1 Kings 21:25, 26. PK 114.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 262

    Those who are not accustomed to feel to the very depths, who have not stood under burdens as a cart beneath sheaves, and who have never had their interest identified so closely with the cause and work of God that it seems to be a part of their very being and dearer to them than life, cannot appreciate the feelings of my husband any more than Israel could appreciate the feelings of Elijah. We deeply regret being disheartened, whatever the circumstances may have been. 3T 262.1

    Under the perverted rule of Ahab, Israel departed from God and corrupted their ways before Him. “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” 3T 262.2

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