Various tribal leaders (1 Chr 27:16-27:22)

“Over the tribes of Israel,

For the Reubenites Eliezer son of Zichri was chief officer.

For the Simeonites, Shephatiah son of Maacah was chief officer.

For Levi, Hashabiah son of Kemuel was chief officer.

For Aaron, Zadok was chief officer.

For Judah, Elihu, one of David’s brothers was chief officer.

For Issachar, Omri son of Michael was chief officer.

For Zebulun, Ishmaiah son of Obadiah was chief officer.

For Naphtali, Jeremoth son of Azriel was chief officer.

For the Ephraimites, Hoshea son of Azaziah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel son of Pedaiah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo son of Zechariah was chief officer.

For Benjamin, Jaasiel son of Abner was chief officer.

For Dan, Azarel son of Jeroham was chief officer.

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.”

Notice first, that there is no leader for Gad or Asher. Aaron also had a separate leader. Although there are 10 different people with the name of (1) Eliezer, this son of Zichri is only mentioned here. Even though there are 7 different people with the name of (2) Shephatiah, this son of Maacah is only mentioned here. This (3) Hashabiah son of Kemuel may be the same as the Levite mentioned earlier in this book, but there were a lot of Levites with this name. (4) Zadok was the high priest. (5) Elihu was not really a blood brother of King David. There were 3 others with the name of (6) Omri, but this Omri was not a king. (7) Ishmaiah son of Obadiah may have been one of the “Thirty” warriors of David. (8) Jeremoth son of Azriel may have been one of the warriors mentioned in chapter 25. There were 3 other people with the name of Hoshea, including a king, but not this (9) Hoshea son of Azaziah. Although Joel was a popular name of over 14 people, including a prophet, this (10) Joel son of Pedaiah only appears here. 6 different biblical people have the name of Iddo, but this (11) Iddo son of Zechariah only appears here. There is only 1 other Jaasiel besides this (12) Jaasiel son of Abner. This (13) Azarel son of Jeroham may be the same one mentioned in chapter 25.


The sons of Beecher (1 Chr 7:8-7:9)

“The sons of Becher were Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth. All these were the sons of Becher. Their enrollment by genealogies, according to their generations, as heads of their ancestral houses, mighty warriors, was twenty thousand two hundred.”

There were 9 sons of Becher, the Becherites. There were 20,200 of them, about the same size as the Belaites. (1) Zemirah is only mentioned here. There were 8 different biblical people with the name of (2) Joash, the most famous was King Joash of Israel (798-783 BCE). There were 10 different biblical people with the name of (3) Eliezer. 6 different people had the name (4) Elioenai. There were 4 people with the name of (5) Omri, the most famous was King Omri of Israel (885-874 BCE). 5 different people had the name of (6) Jeremoth. There were 8 people with this name of (7) Abijah, the most famous being King Abijah of Judah (913-911 BCE). (8) Anathoth and (9) Alemeth were the names of Levite towns in Benjamin, perhaps names after these Benjaminites.

The rebuilding of Jericho (1 Kings 16:34-16:34)

“In days of King Omri, Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his first-born. He set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by Joshua son of Nun.”

More than that, King Omri allowed the rebuilding of Jericho. As that town was being rebuilt, the 2 sons of its builder Hiel died, so that he buried his children at the gates to the city. This is the only mention of him in the biblical literature. This was the idea that burying the bodies of young children would bring good luck to the project. This text is also a reference to the curse given by Joshua, chapter 6, concerning the fall of Jericho, and about anyone who would try to rebuild Jericho.  “Cursed before Yahweh is anyone who tries to rebuild this city! This Jericho! At the cost of his first-born he shall lay its foundation, At the cost of his youngest he shall set up its gates.”  This is the exact fulfillment. You can see the connection between the two, perhaps because of the same biblical author.


King Ahab of Israel (874-853 BCE) (1 Kings 16:29-16:30)

“In the thirty-eighth year of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel. Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of Yahweh more than all that were before him.”

There is a slight misunderstanding since this section puts Ahab’s ascension to the throne while Asa is still alive. However, that would cut 7 years out of the reign of King Omri. Dating people 3,000 years ago is not an exact science. King Ahab, whose influence on Moby Dick is apparent, ruled all of his 22 years from Samaria. However, like his predecessors, he did evil even worse than the earlier kings of Israel. Things are getting worse and worse.

The civil war in Israel (885 BCE) (1 Kings 16:21-16:22)

“Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts. Half of the people followed Tibni son of Ginath, to make him king. The other half followed Omri. But the people who followed Omri overcame the people who followed Tibni son of Ginath. Tibni died. Omri became king.”

A civil war broke out in Israel. Omri with his army would eventually win. It is unclear how big an opposition Tibni was. There may have been a faction of people around Tirzah who might not have liked the siege of that city that Omri led to get Zimri. The biblical text does not indicate how Tibni died. However, the outcome is clear that Omri will be king.

The short seven day reign of King Zimri in Israel (885 BCE) (1 Kings 16:15-16:20)

“In the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, King Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah. Now the troops were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. The troops who were encamped heard it said. ‘Zimri has conspired and killed the king.’ Therefore all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. So Omri went up from Gibbethon and all Israel with him. They besieged Tirzah. When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house. He burned down the king’s house over himself with fire, and died. Because of his sins which he committed, he was doing evil in the sight of Yahweh, walking in the way of Jeroboam. His sin made Israel sin. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the conspiracy which he made, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?”

Wow! That was quick, 7 days. He hardly had time to kill all the family of King Baasha. Meanwhile the troops were out fighting the Philistines at Gibbethon, in the northern territory of Dan. When they heard that King Elah was dead, they made Omri, the commander of the army, the new king. They all left the Philistines alone in Gibbethon and went to Tirzah to get the killer of their king, Zimri. When King Zimri saw that army had turned against him, he set fire to the king’s house around him so that he perished in the fire. This was somewhat like the Waco, Texas, fire incident with the Branch Davidians under David Koresh in the 1993. Zimri had been a sinner also. I do not know how much more details you would have found in the “Book of Annals of the Israel Kings,” if he was only king for 7 days. You have most of the information here.