“You are as beautiful as Tirzah.
You are as comely as Jerusalem.
You are as awesome
As an army with banners.
Turn away your eyes from me.
They disturb me.
Your hair is
Like a flock of goats,
Moving down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are
Like a flock of shorn ewes,
That has come up from the washing.
They all bear twins.
Not one among them is bereaved.
Your cheeks are
Like halves of a pomegranate,
Behind your veil.”
Once again we have another poem that is pretty much a repeat of the opening of chapter 4. Here the male lover also proclaims the beauty of his lover. However, he compares her to the two capital cities of Judah and Israel, Tirzah in northern Israel, Jerusalem in southern Judah. In fact, he says that she is awesome like an army with banners. Instead of commending her eyes that were like doves, he wants her to turn her eyes away because they disturb him. He repeats what was in chapter 4 about her hair, teeth, and cheeks. However, he does not repeat what he said earlier in chapter 4 about her lips, mouth, neck, and breasts. Once again he talks about her hair being like a flock of goats coming down the mountain of Gilead. These goats were happy twins, while Gilead was east of the Jordan River. Her teeth were like a flock of young sheep that had just been washed. Her cheeks, although covered with the veil, were like half pomegranates, a fruit that was popular in Babylon.
“In the thirty-first year of King Asa of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel. He reigned for twelve years. Six of those years he reigned in Tirzah. He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver. He fortified the hill. He called the city which he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.”
King Omri moved the residence of the king from Tirzah to Samaria. He bought the hill very cheaply for about $20,000 USA from someone called Shemer. He may have named the hill after him. From now on, this town of Samaria, which is 30 miles north of Jerusalem and 6 miles northwest of Shechem, will be the capital of the 10 northern tribes of Israel. Samaria will be their city in opposition to Jerusalem. In fact, the territory around it will be called Samaria and the people Samaritans by the time of Jesus.
“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.
“But his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against Elah. When Elah was at Tirzah, drinking to get drunk in the house of Arza, who was in charge of the palace at Tirzah, Zimri came in and struck him down. He killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah. Zimri succeeded Elah. When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne, he killed all the house of King Baasha. He did not leave a single male of his kindred or his friends. Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of King Baasha, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke against King Baasha by the prophet Jehu. All the sins of King Baasha and his son Elah that they committed, plus what they had caused Israel to commit, provoked Yahweh, the God of Israel to anger because of their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?”
Zimri was the commander of half the chariots for King Elah. I wonder who had the other half. He conspired against King Elah. One night when Elah and Arza, the guy in charge of the palace were over indulging in drink, Zimri killed Elah. Zimri immediately took over. He then killed all the males in the household of King Baasha, so that there could not be any heirs in that family. Of course, this was because the prophet Jehu speaking for Yahweh had prophesized so earlier in this chapter. The idol worship of Baasha, his son Elah, and what they had made Israel do had provoked the anger of Yahweh. Thus Zimri was only fulfilling the prophecy of Jehu that Yahweh had given him. If you want to know more about Elah, the lost “Book of the Annals of the kings of Israel” was available.
“Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and went away. She came to Tirzah. As she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. All Israel buried him and mourned for him, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet.”
Everything happened the way that Ahijah had said. As soon as Jeroboam’s wife stepped on the threshold of her house, the child died. All Israel mourned and buried him. Tirzah had been an ancient Canaanite city that was among the long list that Joshua conquered in Joshua, chapter 12. Somehow the power shifted from Shechem, where the great meeting took place in chapter 12, to Tirzah where Jeroboam lived.