1 Kings 15

What does the Scripture tell us about Nadab?
A. He was the son of Jeroboam (15:25).

B. He became king of Israel during the second year of Asa’s reign in Judah (15:25).

C. He reigned over Israel only two years (15:25), a short and unproductive reign.

D. Like his father before him, he did evil in the sight of the Lord (15:26). Refer to 1 Kings 12:28-31 for a record of the evil which Nadab’s father Jeroboam did in the sight of the Lord. Proverbs 16:12 states, “It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established on righteousness.” But where sin rules and righteousness is disregarded there can be no stable throne.

E. He was assassinated by Baasha who plotted against him and usurped the throne (15:27-28). This was the first “regicide” in the history of the kingdom.

What was Baasha’s first act once he usurped the throne?
Baasha “struck down all the household of Jeroboam” and thus fulfilled the word of Ahijah the prophet to Jeroboam (see 1 Kings 14:10-11). Baasha was the “broom” God used to “make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 14:10).

Why did Baasha completely destroy the house of Jeroboam?
A. From Baasha’s view: Because it was politically expedient. Such action would ensure that any surviving member of Jeroboam’s household would not threaten his reign.

B. From the writer’s view: To fulfill the word of The Lord through Ahijah the prophet. Psalm 119:91b states, “For all things are Thy servants.” God, in this case, used the wicked to punish the wicked.

What does the Scripture tell us about Baasha?
A. He was the son of Ahijah (not the same person as the prophet) of the house of Issachar (an undistinguished tribe named after the ninth son of Jacob). See 1 Kings 15:27.

B. He was the first person to assassinate a king of Israel, namely Nadab the son of Jeroboam (15:27-28).

C. He utterly destroyed the house of Jeroboam. He not only destroyed the male members of the household as per the prophesy of Ahijah in 1 Kings 14:10, but also “did not leave to Jeroboam any persons alive” (15:29).

D. He usurped the throne of Israel and reigned a total of twenty-four years (15:33).

E. His capital city was Tirzah, a few miles north of Shechem (the capital city of Jeroboam). Some believe that Jeroboam moved his capital from Shechem to Tirzah (see 1 Kings 14:17) while others hold that Baasha made Tirzah the capital city of the northern kingdom.

F. Like Jeroboam, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” (15:34). His reign was not distinguished from the wicked and evil reigns of Jeroboam and Nadab. 1 Kings 16:7 states that his house was “like the house of Jeroboam.” He was a wicked man who killed a wicked king and continued a wicked reign. He usurped the throne because he wanted power and dominion, not because he was interested in introducing religious reforms. This is seen in that he embraced the sins of Jeroboam.

G. He failed to recognize that God had exalted him (that is, allowed him to attain the throne) and made him leader over Israel (16:2) and consequently lived his life in a manner displeasing to God.

Practical Consideration

A life of sin leads to misery and death.
Nadab continued to try God’s patience (Psalm 103:9) by following the wicked example of his father. He suffered the consequences of not honoring God with his life. As long as men think they can live their lives without regard to God or His Word, they will suffer the consequences of their foolishness. Sin rewards men in the currency of misery, frustration, and death.

1 Kings 15:9-21 NIV

15:9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel [the Northern Kingdom], Asa [names means “doctor” or “healing”] became king of Judah [Asa was the third king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah],

15:10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years [length of his reign surpassed the reigns of David (1 Kings 2:11) and Solomon (1 Kings 11:42)]. His grandmother’s name was Maacah [mother of Abijah] daughter of Abishalom [Absalom].

15:11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD [Asa sought to keep the Lord’s commands and to carry out his covenant responsibilities as Judah’s king], as his father [used here in the sense of forefather or ancestor] David had done.

15:12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes [part of Canaanite religious practice: men and women cult prostitutes engaged in sexual relations in hope of bringing fertility to the land; included the practice of sodomy and other sexual acts] from the land [these practices had been tolerated in the land since reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:24)] and got rid of all the idols [worshiping idols a violation of the First and Second Commandments (Ex. 20:4-6)] his fathers [Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah] had made.

15:13 He even deposed [an indication of Asa’s commitment to spiritual reformation] his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother [she wielded influence from this position], because she had made [possibly did so after Asa began instituting his reforms (cf. 2 Chron. 15:10-16)] a repulsive [frightening, horrible, abominable] Asherah [a Canaanite fertility goddess and mother of 70 sons, of whom Baal was the most famous; worshiped by Canaanites and Phoenicians] pole [used as an image in worship of Asherah; some believe the pole was a phallic symbol that was part of worship practices of fertility cult]. Asa cut the pole down and burned it in the Kidron Valley [cf. 2 Chron. 15:16; Kidron Valley separated the city of David and the temple from the Mount of Olives].

15:14 Although he did not remove the high places [worship sites throughout the countryside where people worshiped pagan gods], Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life.

15:15 He brought into the temple of the LORD the silver and gold and the articles [these items (probably the plunder of military victories) would ensure adequate financial support to maintain formal worship of God] that he and his father had dedicated.

15:16 There was war [being committed to God does not mean an absence of difficult or threatening problems] between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns.

15:17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah [located five miles north of Jerusalem on main north-south road running through Israel and Judah; this was a strategic location from which to launch a further invasion of Judah] to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.

15:18 Asa [resorted to bribery and political intrigue to deal with Baasha rather than trusting God as he did when threatened by Zerah the Cushite (2 Chron. 14:9-15)] then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the LORD’S temple [Asa used the funds he had set aside in the temple treasury (cf. 1 Kings 15:15) to hire a pagan king to attack the Northern Kingdom; Asa started his reign well (called Judah back to God) but did not finish well (depended on money and military power to deal with Baasha)] and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad [name “Hadad” referred to Arameans’ storm god] son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram [geographical region located northeast of holy land and west of Mesopotamia; also known as Syria], who was ruling in Damascus [located northwest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel].

15:19 [1] “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my [Asa’s] father [King Abijah] and your [Ben-hadad’s] father.  [2] See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold [an extra incentive for Ben-hadad to restore earlier treaty with Judah].  [3] Now [accept the bride and…] break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he [Baasha and the armies of the Northern Kingdom Israel] will withdraw from me.”

Note: Have you ever been tempted to compromise your faith in an effort to overcome some obstacle? What factors cause you to shift your focus from God? What definite actions can help you stay focused on the Lord as you seek solutions to your problems?

15:20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah [these three towns lay in the northern part of Israel close to border with Aram] and all Kinnereth [referred to area around Sea of Galilee] in addition to Naphtali [referred to area north and west of Sea off Galilee].

15:21 When Baasha heard this [the attacks against Israel in the north], he stopped building Ramah [in the south] and withdrew [Baasha not able to fight a war on two fronts] to Tirzah [current capital of Northern Kingdom; located a few miles north of Shechem].

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