Who Were The Kings of Israel?

The Overview of the Kings of Israel in Old Testament Times

Crown for King
1. Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:26-40; 12:20-14:20, 30; 15:6,7,29,30)

Solomon had made Jeroboam an officer. Ahijah, a prophet of God, told Jeroboam that the kingdom was going to be divided and that he was going to reign as king over 10 tribes. Furthermore, if Jeroboam walked in God's ways and kept the commandments of God, God would be with him and build him a lasting dynasty like David's, and give Israel to him. Solomon wanted to kill Jeroboam, so he fled to Egypt. After Solomon's death, Jeroboam returned and met with Rehoboam, Solomon's son. Rehoboam's ill-advised counsel caused many Israelites to rebel against the house of David, and Rehoboam now ruled only over Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam, thinking he would lose the hearts of the people to Rehoboam, and fearing assassination, built two golden calves and placed one in Bethel and one in Dan, and said to the Israelites, “Here are your gods, O Israel!” He installed non-Levitical priests of the lowest of the people, and set up feasts and sacrificial offerings. Ahijah prophesied against Jeroboam and foretold death for him and all of his descendants because of his sin. Jeroboam reigned over 10 tribes of Israel for 22 years, but 20 times in God's Word, Jeroboam is condemned for driving Israel away from following the Lord and leading them into sin with their idolatry, provoking the Lord God to anger.

2. Nadab (1 Kings 14:20; 15:25-28, 31)

Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, reigned two years over Israel. He did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father. While he and Israel's armies were besieging the Philistine city of Gibbethon, Baasha conspired against him and murdered him.

3. Baasha (1 Kings 15:27-34; 16:1-8, 11-13; 21:22)

Baasha murdered all the house of Jeroboam, fulfilling Ahijah's prophecy. But Baasha also followed the ways of Jeroboam during his 24-year reign. Jehu prophesied that Baasha's posterity would be wiped out just like Jeroboam's.

4. Elah (1 Kings 16:6-14)

Elah, Baasha's son, reigned two years. Zimri, captain of half of Baasha's chariots, murdered Elah while he was getting drunk.

5. Zimri (1 Kings 16:9-12, 15-20)

Zimri murdered all the house of Baasha, family and friends, fulfilling Jehu's prophecy. Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah, but his assassinations were considered treason. The Israelites made Omri, the captain of the army, king. Omri then led the army to Tirzah and besieged it. Zimri set fire to the king's house and died in the fire.

6. Omri (1 Kings 16:16-28)

Omri reigned six years in Tirzah, but half of Israel followed Tibni, so Omri's followers killed Tibni. Omri bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built the city of Samaria, setting up headquarters there where he reigned for six more years. God's Word states that Omri “did worse than all who were before him.”

7. Ahab (1 Kings 16:29-22:40; 2 Kings 10:1-30; 21:3)

Ahab was Omri's son, and he surpassed his father, doing more evil than all before him during his 22-year reign. Ahab married Jezebel, a controlling and manipulative woman, the daughter of Sidonian King Ethbaal, and together they served the god and goddess, Baal and Asherah. Elijah was God's prophet at that time, and he called Ahab to Mount Carmel to reveal the true God. Ahab was compliant, though he blamed Elijah for the drought that plagued Israel for three years. The fire of God consumed Elijah's offering, then he killed all of the prophets of Baal and Asherah. Jezebel had an innocent man murdered in order for Ahab to get the man's vineyard. But Elijah reproved Ahab for Naboth's murder, and although Ahab repented, he was later killed in a battle with the Syrians.

8. Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:51-53; 2 Kings 1:1-18)

Ahaziah, Ahab's son, reigned for two years and lived just like his father and mother, serving Baal. He fell through a lattice in an upper chamber and sent messengers to ask of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether he would recover of his injuries. Elijah told his messengers (en route to Ekron) that he would die. Ahaziah sent two different groups of 50 to capture Elijah, but the fire of God destroyed them. The third group came with humility, but the message hadn't changed. Ahaziah died.

9. Joram (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1-27; 8:16, 21-25, 28-29; 9:14-24)

Ahaziah had no son, so Ahab's other son, Joram, reigned over Israel 12 years. Joram was evil, but not like Ahab and Jezebel, for he took away the image of Baal. However, Joram was injured in battle against the Syrians and went to recover in Jezreel. According to the word of the Lord, the prophet Jehu killed Joram, and Jehoram, king of Judah, at the same time.

Continued in The Kings of Israel, Part Two

Written by: Pete Miller