1 Kings 16:29-22:41 – Elijah and the Prophets Confront Ahab and Jezebel


1 Kings 16:29-22:41


The reign of Ahab (869-851) will dominate the rest of 1 Kings. Like his father Omri, this powerful king’s political triumphs are of little concern to the narrator, who presents Ahab and Jezebel as the religious foes of the prophets of the Lord.


The focus of Kings switches at this point from kings to prophets, Elijah and Elisha among others, who will dominate the narrative for the next fourteen chapters into 2 Kings. A collection of short episodes, probably drawn from existing cycles of prophetic legends devoted to these prophetic heroes, recounts their attack upon the apostate kings of Omri’s dynasty: Ahab, Ahaziah, and Jehoram. Since these stories arise from a non-Deuteronomistic source, the range of offenses is considerably broader than usual, such as warfare (1 Kings 20:31-43; 22:1-40) and misuse of political power (1 Kings 21), though cultic infractions are also included (1 Kings 18; 2 Kings 1). Within the Deuteronomic framework, however, the prophetic tales as a whole relate the theological battle between Baal and the Lord.