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Asa and Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab (1 Kings 16:8-34; 15:23-24; 2 Chronicles 16:11-14) January 17

Zimri is used by God to execute judgment on the house of Baasha, Israel's second "dynasty." In the course of seven days, Zimri destroys Elah and the rest of Baasha's descendants before meeting his own end—by his own hand—in the face of Omri's siege, thus ending the brief reign of the third family to rule over Israel.

Omri, however, is not unchallenged. Half of the people choose a man named Tibni to rule over them instead. Tibni and Omri carry out this stalemate for four years before Omri prevails and assumes sole rulership.

Among other things, Omri was responsible for moving the capital of the northern kingdom from Tirzah to its final location at Samaria. Apparently he was fairly famous in the ancient world, since historic artifacts not only mention him, but even refer to future Israelite dynasties using his name. Around 200 years after his reign, Israel was still called by the Assyrians mat bit-Humri, "Land of the House of Omri." Humri or Khumri is the origin of the term Cimmerians, by which the Israelites of the Assyrian captivity later became known (see The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy, pp. 26-34). Omri was probably also responsible for the alliance with the Phoenician king Ethbaal of Sidon, which resulted in the marriage of their children, Ahab and Jezebel.

Ahab, who succeeded his father on the throne, was directly mentioned in ancient Assyrian records—yet another ancient character from the Bible attested to in secular history, proving the Bible is not pure myth, as some today maintain.

Soon after Ahab began ruling in the north, Asa developed some sort of foot disease. He "may have been suffering from gout, a common disease in the ancient world" (Nelson Study Bible, note on 2 Chronicles 16:12). But continuing in his slide away from trusting in God, rather than seeking divine help he relies solely on the physicians to treat his disease, which grows very severe and probably contributes to his death. It should be noted that going to a physician for the treatment of an ailment is not inherently wrong. Indeed, that is often an appropriate and responsible thing to do. The error is failing to put our primary trust in God as our Healer. If we are looking to Him and His intervention above all, there is no problem in considering physical means of treatment that He, as the Creator, has ultimately provided for.

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