1 Kings 16:31 (NIV) 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.
On verses 29-33: These verses summarize the 22 year reign of Ahab as king of Israel, although we will read about Ahab again in later chapters of 1 Kings. One can make the argument that Ahab was the most wicked king in Israel’s history. According to the writer of 1 Kings, Ahab “did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him” (v30) and “did more to provoke the Lord to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him” (v32).
In addition to worshiping the idols that Jeroboam had set up and leading Israel to do the same, Ahab did other things that were evil in God’s sight. For example, Ahab married Jezebel, a princess daughter of the Sidonians and a zealous worshipper of the idol Baal. In her zeal for Baal worship, Jezebel would make it her personal mission to kill off the Lord’s prophets in Israel (see 1 Kings 18:4).
Because of his marriage to Jezebel, Ahab too “began to serve Baal and worship him” (v31), opening the door to Baal worship throughout Israel. Ahab would end up building a temple and altar for the idol Baal in the capital city of Israel. He also made an Asherah pole (v33), dedicated to honour the idol Asherah, whom Baal worshipers believed to be a fertility goddess.
Notice that Ahab’s descent into Baal worship was the direct result of him marrying Jezebel, an ardent Baal worshiper. What can we learn from this? It matters whom you marry. The spiritual life of the person you marry will have a huge impact on your own life. So if you want to love and follow Jesus, do not marry someone who does not love or follow Jesus. Otherwise, like Ahab and Solomon, you will inevitably compromise your relationship with Jesus and open the door to idolatry in your life, family and home, both in your generation and the generations after you. That idolatry may not be in the form of physically bowing down to a statue, but may come in other forms: worshiping money, worshiping ourselves, or putting anything else before the Lord. It is no wonder that the Bible warns over and over again that God’s people should not marry those who do not worship the Lord.
1 Kings 16:34 (NIV) 34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
On verse 34: Five centuries before King Ahab, Joshua had led Israel to conquer the city of Jericho. At that time, the Holy Spirit inspired Joshua to speak the following prophecy:
“Cursed before the LORD is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates.” (Joshua 6:26)
Five hundred years after the Lord spoke through Joshua, an Israelite called Hiel attempts to rebuild the city of Jericho. While doing so, Hiel loses both his first born son Abiram and his youngest son Segub, in direct fulfillment of Joshua’s prophecy.
What can we learn from this? God’s Word is trustworthy and true. Listen to it for your benefit. Ignore it to your peril. As Jesus says, “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
Heavenly Father, Your Word is trustworthy and true. May I be careful to follow Your Word and careful about the relationship choices I make. Help me to align myself with people who will encourage, rather than discourage, my walk with Jesus. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!