From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

1. Son of Omri; seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel, second of his dynasty; reigned 28 years, from 919 to 897 B.C. Having occasional good impulses ( 1 Kings 21:27), but weak and misled by his bad wife Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Zidon, i.e. Phoenicia in general. The Tyrian historians, Dius and Menander, mention Eithobalus as priest of Ashtoreth. Having murdered Pheles, he became king of Tyre. Menander mentions a drought in Phoenicia; compare 1 Kings 17. He makes him sixth king after Hiram of Tyre, the interval being 50 years, and Eithobalus' reign 32; thus he would be exactly contemporary with Ahab (Josephus c. Apion, 1:18.) Ahab, under Jezebel's influence, introduced the impure worship of the sun-god Baal, adding other gods besides Jehovah, a violation of the first commandment, an awful addition to Jeroboam's sin of the golden calves, which at Dan and Bethel (like Aaron's calves) were designed (for state policy) as images of the one true God, in violation of the second commandment; compare  2 Kings 17:9; "the children of Israel did secretly things Hebrew Covered Words that were not right Hebrew So against the Lord," i.e., veiled their real idolatry with flimsy pretexts, as the church of Rome does in its image veneration.

The close relation of the northern kingdom with Tyre in David's and Solomon's time, and the temporal advantage of commercial intercourse with that great mart of the nations, led to an intimacy which, as too often happens in amalgamation between the church and the world, ended in Phoenicia seducing Israel to Baal and Astarte, instead of Israel drawing Phoenicia to Jehovah; compare  2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Ahab built an altar and temple to Baal in Samaria, and "made a grove," i.e. a sacred symbolic tree ( Asheerah ), the symbol of Ashtoreth (the idol to whom his wife's father was priest), the moon-goddess, female of Baal; else Venus, the Assyrian Ishtar (our "star".) Jehovah worship was scarcely tolerated; but the public mind seems to have been in a halting state of indecision between the two, Jehovah and Baal, excepting 7000 alone who resolutely rejected the idol; or they thought to form a compromise by uniting the worship of Baal with that of Jehovah. Compare  Hosea 2:16;  Amos 5:25-27;  Amos 5:1 Kings 18; 19. Jezebel cut off Jehovah's prophets, except 100 saved by Obadiah.

So prevalent was idolatry that Baal had 450 prophets, and Asherah ("the groves") had 400, whom Jezebel entertained at her own table. God chastised Israel with drought and famine, in answer to Elijah's prayer which he offered in jealousy for the honor of God, and in desire for the repentance of his people (1 Kings 17;  James 5:17-18). When softened by the visitation, the people were ripe for the issue to which Elijah put the conflicting claims to Jehovah and Baal at Carmel, and on the fire from heaven consuming the prophet's sacrifice, fell on their faces and exclaimed with one voice, "Jehovah, He is the God; Jehovah, He is the God." Baal's prophets were slain at the brook Kishon, and the national judgment, through Elijah's prayers, was withdrawn, upon the nation's repentance. Ahab reported all to Jezebel, and she threatened immediate death to Elijah. Ahab was pre-eminent for luxurious tastes; his elaborately ornamented ivory palace ( 1 Kings 22:39;  Amos 3:15), the many cities he built or restored, as Jericho (then belonging to Israel, not Judah) in defiance of Joshua's curse ( 1 Kings 16:34), his palace and park at Jezreel (now Zerin), in the plain of Esdraelon, his beautiful residence while Samaria was the capital, all show his magnificence.

But much would have more, and his coveting Naboth's vineyard to add to his gardens led to an awful display of Jezebel's unscrupulous wickedness and his selfish weakness. "Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? ... I will give thee the vineyard." By false witness suborned at her direction, Naboth and his sons (after he had refused to sell his inheritance to Ahab,  Leviticus 25:23) were stoned; and Ahab at Jezebel's bidding went down to take possession (1 Kings 21;  2 Kings 9:26). This was the turning point whereat his doom was sealed. Elijah with awful majesty denounces his sentence, "in the place where dogs licked Naboth's blood, shall dogs lick thine" (fulfilled to the letter on Joram his offspring, 2 Kings 9, primarily also on Ahab himself, but not "in the place" where Naboth's blood was shed); while the king abjectly cowers before him with the cry, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" All his male posterity were to be cut off, as Jeroboam's and Baasha's, the two previous dynasties, successively had been (See Elijah ). Execution was stayed owing to Ahab's partial and temporary repentance; for he seems to have been capable of serious impressions at times ( 1 Kings 20:43); so exceedingly gracious is God at the first dawning of sorrow for sin.

Ahab fought three campaigns against Benhadad II., king of Damascus. The arrogance of the Syrian king, who besieged Samaria, not content with the claim to Ahab's silver, gold, wives, and children being conceded, but also threatening to send his servants to search the Israelite houses for every pleasant thing, brought on him God's wrath. A prophet told Ahab that Jehovah should deliver to him by the young men of the princes of the provinces (compare  1 Corinthians 1:27-29) the Syrian multitude of which Benhadad vaunted, "The gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me" (1 Kings 20). "Drinking himself drunk" with his 32 vassal princes, he and his force were utterly routed. Compare for the spiritual application  1 Thessalonians 5:2-8. Again Benhadad, according to the prevalent idea of local gods, thinking Jehovah a god of the hills (His temple being on mount Zion and Samaria being on a hill) and not of the plains, ventured a battle on the plains at Aphek, E. of Jordan, with an army equal to his previous one.

He was defeated and taken prisoner, but released, on condition of restoring to Ahab all the cities of Israel which he held, and making streets for Ahab in Damascus, as his father had made in Samaria (i.e. of assigning an Israelites' quarter in Damascus, where their judges should have paramount authority, for the benefit of Israelites resident there for commerce and political objects). A prophet invested with the divine commission ("in the word of the Lord":  Haggai 1:13) requested his neighbor to smite him; refusing, he was slain by a lion. Another, at his request, smote and wounded him. By this symbolic act, and by a parable of his having suffered an enemy committed to him to escape, the prophet intimated that Ahab's life should pay the forfeit of his having suffered to escape with life one appointed by God to destruction. This disobedience, like Saul's in the case of Amalek, owing to his preferring his own will to God's, coupled with his treacherous and covetous murder of Naboth, brought on him his doom in his third campaign against Benhadad three years subsequently.

With Jehoshaphat, in spite of the prophet Micaiah's warning, and urged on by an evil spirit in the false prophets, he tried to recover Ramoth Gilead (1 Kings 22). Benhadad's chief aim was to slay Ahab, probably from personal hostility owing to the gratuitousness of the attack. Conscience made Ahab a coward, and selfishness made him reckless of his professed friendship to Jehoshaphat. Compare  2 Chronicles 18:2; feasting and a display of hospitality often seduce the godly. So he disguised himself, and urged his friend to wear the royal robes. The same Benhadad whom duty to God ought to have led him to execute as a blasphemer, drunkard, and murderer, was in retribution made the instrument of his own destruction ( 1 Kings 20:10;  1 Kings 20:16;  1 Kings 20:42). That false friendship which the godly king of Judah ought never to have formed ( 2 Chronicles 19:2;  1 Corinthians 15:33) would have cost him his life but for God's interposition ( 2 Chronicles 18:31) "moving them to depart from him." Ahab's treachery did not secure his escape, an arrow "at a venture" humanly speaking, but guided by God really, wounded him fatally; and the dogs licked up his blood, according to the Lord's word of which Joram's case in  2 Kings 9:25 was a literal fulfillment ( 1 Kings 21:19), on the very spot, while his chariot and armor were being washed ( 1 Kings 22:38).

The Assyrian Black Obelisk mentions "Ahab of Jezreel," his ordinary residence, and that he furnished the confederacy, including Benhadad, against, Assyria 10,000 footmen and 2000 chariots, and that they were defeated. At first sight this seemingly contradicts Scripture, which makes Benhadad Ahab's enemy. But an interval of peace of three years occurred between Ahab's two Syrian wars ( 1 Kings 22:1). In it Ahab doubtless allied himself to Benhadad against the Assyrians. Fear of them was probably among his reasons for granting Benhadad easy terms when in his power ( 1 Kings 20:34). When the Assyrians came in the interval that followed, Ahab was confederate with Benhadad. Hence arose his exasperation at the terms granted to Benhadad, whereby he gained life and liberty, being violated in disregard of honor and gratitude ( 1 Kings 22:3). The Moabite stone mentions Omri's son; "He also said, I will oppress Moab," confirming Scripture that it was not until after Ahab's death that Moab rebelled ( 2 Kings 1:1;  2 Kings 3:4-5). (See Dibon .)

2. A false prophet, who deceived with flattering prophecies of an immediate return the Jews in Babylon, and was burnt to death by Nebuchadnezzar ( Jeremiah 29:21-22). The names of him and Zedekiah, his fellow deceiver, were doomed to be a byword for a curse.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [2]

Ahab reigned over the kingdom of Israel (the northern part of the divided Israelite state) from about 874 to 852 BC. Before coming to Israel’s throne, he had married Jezebel, daughter of the king-priest of Phoenicia, in a political alliance that had disastrous consequences for Israel.

Besides accepting the Baal worship that Jezebel brought with her from Phoenicia, Ahab gave it official status in Israel by building a Baal temple in his capital city ( 1 Kings 16:29-33). Israel’s long-established practice of mixing the worship of God (Yahweh) with the worship of Baal was bad enough, but Jezebel’s intention was far worse. She wanted to remove the worship of God from Israel entirely and replace it with the worship of Baal. The Baalism promoted by Ahab and Jezebel was a threat to Israel’s existence as God’s people, and for this reason God sent the prophets Elijah and Elisha to oppose it. (For details of this aspect of Ahab’s reign see Baal ; Elijah .)

God used Elijah to tell Ahab of a drought that he was about to send as punishment on the ungodly kingdom ( 1 Kings 17:1). Three years later he used Elijah to announce the end of the drought, but that end came in such a way as should have convinced Ahab that he could not serve both God and Baal ( 1 Kings 18:1-2;  1 Kings 18:17-18;  1 Kings 18:21;  1 Kings 18:41-46).

Ahab, however, continued to try to serve two gods. He allowed the queen to try to kill the prophet who opposed her Baalism ( 1 Kings 19:1-2), but at the same time he looked to another of God’s prophets for directions that would bring him military victory against Syria ( 1 Kings 20:13-14;  1 Kings 20:22). Ahab won a decisive victory ( 1 Kings 20:20-21), and the next year won another victory, again at the direction of one of God’s prophets ( 1 Kings 20:22).

The victories should have convinced Ahab that God’s power was not, like Baal’s, limited to only certain places ( 1 Kings 20:28). When Ahab agreed to spare the enemy kings because of trade advantages he could win for himself, another of God’s prophets condemned his actions ( 1 Kings 20:34-43).

Not only were Ahab’s religious, military and trade policies contrary to God’s purposes, but his administration in general was full of injustice. This was clearly shown in the way he gained Naboth’s vineyard for himself. People could be easily bribed, local officials were corrupt, and no one upheld the law on behalf of ordinary citizens ( 1 Kings 21:1-16). The prophet Elijah announced a horrible judgment on Ahab, and particularly on his murderous wife Jezebel ( 1 Kings 21:17-26).

God’s judgment fell on Ahab in another battle with Syria. Most of the court prophets were corrupt, and gave Ahab whatever advice they thought would please him. The prophet Micaiah, by contrast, had consistently told Ahab the truth. When he told Ahab that the coming war would bring defeat, Ahab threw him into prison ( 1 Kings 22:1-28). Ahab ignored the message from God, and as a result met the dreadful death that Elijah had earlier announced ( 1 Kings 22:29-38).

Ahab’s sons continued the evil of their father’s reign ( 1 Kings 22:51-53;  2 Kings 3:1-3). The dynasty came to a bloody end through a revolution led by the ruthless Jehu ( 2 Kings 9:7-10;  2 Kings 10:1-11;  2 Kings 10:17).

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 1 Kings 16:30

His wife, Jezebel, was the daughter of Ethbaal, priest-king of Tyre ( 1 Kings 16:31 ). She was a devotee to the Tyrian god Melqart and gave open endorsement to the worship of Baal in Israel by supporting 450 Baal prophets and 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah ( 1 Kings 18:19 ). Following Ahab's death, she continued to be a significant force in Israel for ten years as queen mother.

Ahab's marriage to a Phoenician princess had both commercial and political benefits. Commercially, it brought desired goods to Samaria and opened the way for expanded sea trade. Politically, it removed any military threat from Phoenicia.

During Ahab's days, Israel enjoyed peace with Judah, largely as a result of a marriage he arranged between princess Athaliah and Joram, the crown prince of Judah. The resulting alliance produced cooperative efforts in sea trade ( 1 Kings 22:48;  2 Chronicles 20:35-37 ) and a joint military campaign to recapture Ramoth-gilead, which had fallen under Aramean control ( 1 Kings 22:2-40 ).

During his reign, effective control was maintained over Moab, producing revenue extracted by tribute, a tax the Moabite king paid to maintain his position ( 2 Kings 3:4 ). The oppression of Moab under Ahab and his father Omri finds expression in the famous Moabite Stone. In this inscription Mesha, king of Moab, observed that his land was under Israelite control for a period of 40 years. Mesha also claimed to have gained independence from Ahab's Israel.

Ahab was successful in two major campaigns against the Syrian king, Ben-hadad, but was mortally wounded in the third. His participation in the great battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.), though not mentioned in the Bible, is recorded on an inscription of Shalmanezer III of Assyria. According to Shalmanezer, Ahab committed 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men to the battle.

The days of Ahab in Samaria were days of growing wealth and spiritual apostasy. According to  1 Kings 22:39 , he built an “ivory house” for Jezebel, the remains of which were discovered in the Harvard excavations at the site. Rooms and furniture were decorated with ivory inlay which in many cases featured Egyptian deities. His surrender to the influences of idolatry is illustrated by the construction of a temple for Baal ( 1 Kings 16:32 ), the massacre of the Lord's prophets (1Kings 18:4, 1 Kings 18:19 ), and seizure of an Israelite's property ( 1 Kings 21:1 ).

Ahab appears to have been a worshiper of Yahweh, God of Israel, but probably along with other deities. He frequently consulted with Yahweh's prophets (1Kings 20:13-14,1Kings 20:22, 1 Kings 20:28; 1Kings 22:8, 1 Kings 22:16 ), used the divine name in naming his children (Ahaziah, Jehoram, and Athaliah) and did not interfere with the execution of the priests of Baal after the contest on Mt. Carmel ( 1 Kings 18:40 ). The influence of Jezebel in his life, however, overshadowed any significant influence the prophets of the Lord had in his life. He became a prime example of evil ( Micah 6:16 ).

The death of Jezebel was surrounded with the arrogance that so characterized her life. She painted her eyes and adorned herself just for the occasion of issuing verbal taunts at Jehu from the palace window. She was pushed out of that window and died and, as prophesied ( 1 Kings 21:23 ), was eaten by dogs ( 2 Kings 9:30-37 ).

2. A false prophet living in Babylon who prophesied lies and faced Jeremiah's condemnation ( Jeremiah 29:20-23 ).

John J. Davis

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

AHAB . 1 . Son of Omri, and the most noted member of his dynasty, king of Israel from about 875 to about 853 b.c. The account of him in our Book of Kings is drawn from two separate sources, one of which views him more favourably than the other. From the secular point of view he was an able and energetic prince; from the religious point of view he was a dangerous innovator, and a patron of foreign gods. His alliance with the PhÅ“nicians was cemented by his marriage with Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre (  1 Kings 16:31 ), who was also, if we may trust Josephus, priest of Astarte. At a later date Ahab entered into alliance with Judah, giving his daughter Athaliab in marriage to Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat (  2 Kings 8:18 ). His wealth is indicated by the ivory palace which he built (  1 Kings 21:1;   1 Kings 22:39 ).

The reign of Ahab was marked by frequent wars with the Syrian kingdom of Damascus. Benhadad, the king of that country, was so successful that he claimed suzerainty over Israel a claim which Ahab was at first disposed to admit ( 1 Kings 20:2 ff.). But when Benhadad went so far as to threaten Samaria with indiscriminate plunder, Ahab resisted. In two campaigns he defeated the invaders, even taking their haughty leader prisoner. Contrary to the advice of the prophetic party, he treated his captive magnanimously, and concluded an alliance with him, stipulating only that the cities formerly taken from Israel should be restored. The alliance was one for trade and commerce, each party having bazaars assigned him in the capital of the other (  1 Kings 20:34 ). It is not improbable also that common measures of defence were planned against the Assyrians, who were showing hostile intentions in the region of the Lebanon. In the battle of Karkar, which was fought against these invaders in the year 854, Ahab was present with ten thousand troops. This we learn from the Assyrian inscriptions.

The religious innovation for which Ahab is held responsible by the Hebrew writers, was the introduction of the PhÅ“nician Baal as one of the gods of Israel. It is clear that Ahab had no idea of displacing Jahweh altogether, for he gave his children names which indicated his devotion to Him. But to please his wife he allowed her to introduce and foster the worship of her own divinities. Her thought was that with the religion of her own country she would introduce its more advanced civilization. The champion of Jahweh’s exclusive right to the worship of Israel was Elijah. This prophet, by his bold challenge to the priests of Baal, roused the anger of Jezebel, and was obliged to flee the country ( 1 Kings 17:1-24;   1 Kings 18:1-46;   1 Kings 19:1-21 ). Other prophets do not seem to have been disturbed, for we find them at the court of Ahab in the last year of his life (  1 Kings 22:6 ). These, however, were subservient to the crown, while Elijah was not only a protestant against religious changes, but the champion of the common people, whose rights were so signally violated in the case of Naboth.

Ahab died fighting for his people. The Syrian war had again broken out apparently because Benhadad had not kept his agreement. Ahab therefore tried to recover Ramoth-gilead, being assisted by Jehoshaphat of Judah. In the first encounter Ahab was slain, his reputation for courage being vindicated by the direction of his adversary to his soldiers ‘Fight neither with small nor with great, but only with the king of Israel’ ( 1 Kings 22:31 ).

2 . A false prophet ‘roasted in the fire’ by the king of Babylon (  Jeremiah 29:21 f.).

H. P. Smith.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

A'hab. (Uncle).

1. Son of Omri, seventh king of Israel, reigned B.C. 919-896. He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre; and in obedience to her wishes, caused a temple to be built to Baal in Samaria itself; and an oracular grove to be consecrated to Astarte. See  1 Kings 18:19.

One of Ahab's chief tastes was for splendid architecture which he showed by building an ivory house and several cities. Desiring to add to his pleasure-grounds at Jezreel, the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth, he proposed to buy it or give land in exchange for it; and when this was refused by Naboth in accordance with the Levitical law,  Leviticus 25:23. A false accusation of blasphemy was brought against him, and he was murdered, and Ahab took possession of the coveted fields.  2 Kings 9:26.

Thereupon, Elijah declared that the entire extirpation of Ahab's house was the penalty appointed for his long course of wickedness. See Elijah . The execution, however, of the sentence was delayed in consequence of Ahab's deep repentance.  1 Kings 21:1.

Ahab undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II, king of Damascus, two defensive and one offensive. In the first, Ben-hadad laid siege to Samaria, but was repulsed with great loss.  1 Kings 20:1-21. Next year, Ben-hadad again invaded Israel by way of Aphek, on the east of Jordan; yet Ahab's victory was so complete that Ben-hadad himself fell into his hands, but was released contrary to God's will,  1 Kings 20:22-34, on condition of restoring the cities of Israel, and admitting Hebrew commissioners into Damascus.

After this great success, Ahab enjoyed peace for three years, when he attacked Ramoth in Gilead, on the east of Jordan, in conjunction with Jehoshaphat king of Judah, which town he claimed as belonging to Israel. Being told by the prophet, Micaiah, that he would fall, he disguised himself, but was slain by "a certain man who drew a bow at a venture."

When buried in Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood as a servant was washing his chariot; a partial fulfillment of Elijah's prediction,  1 Kings 21:19, which was more literally accomplished in the case of his son.  2 Kings 9:26.

2. A lying prophet, who deceived the captive Israelites in Babylon, and was burnt to death by Nebuchadnezzar.  Jeremiah 29:21.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Ahab ( Â'H Ăb ), Father'S Brother. 1. The sixth king of Israel, the son and successor of Omri. His reign lasted 22 years, 918-897 b.c. He was the weakest and one of the most impious of all the Israelitish monarchs. He has the miserable character given him of doing "evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him." He not only maintained the worship of the calves set up by Jeroboam, but, having married Jezebel, daughter of Eth-baal, king of the Zidonians, he yielded himself to her evil influence, and introduced the worship of Baal into Samaria. A persecution of the prophets of the Lord followed—many of them being destroyed by Jezebel. As a judgment, a drought was sent upon the land; and then came the solemn vindication of Jehovah's authority by the prophet Elijah before Ahab and the assembled people, and the punishment, according to the law of Moses, of the idolatrous prophets.  1 Kings 17:18. Jezebel was irritated to madness at the news of this catastrophe, and resolved to sacrifice Elijah; while Ahab was either unable or unwilling to interfere.

Afterwards his wicked queen led him into one of his worst crimes. He seems to have had a cultivated taste. He built cities, and erected an ivory palace,  1 Kings 22:39, the walls being probably inlaid with ivory, and had pleasure grounds by his house in Jezreel, which he wished to enlarge by the addition of a vineyard belonging to Naboth. Naboth, however, refused either to sell or to exchange his hereditary property; and Ahab, disappointed, manifested the temper of a spoiled child. The unscrupulous Jezebel then put him in possession of the coveted plot of ground by the judicial murder of Naboth; and Ahab went to view it, but was met by Elijah, who denounced on him a fearful judgment. On bis repentance, superficial though it was, this sentence was partially revoked, and delayed till the days of Ahab's son. In two wars with Syria, this prince was successful, but he improperly spared Ben-hadad, the Syrian king. In a third campaign, having attempted, in alliance with Jehoshaphat, to retake Ramoth-gilead, still occupied by the Syrians, Ahab, though he disguised himself, was mortally wounded; and the dogs licked up the blood washed from his chariot in the pool of Samaria. Weak and unstable, Ahab let himself be made the tool of his wife; and his history is an instructive warning against such subserviency to a dangerous influence.  1 Kings 21:2. A false prophet in Babylon.  Jeremiah 29:20-23.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

1. Sonand successor of Omri, king of Israel. He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and under her influence became an idolater, and led Israel into the worship of Baal. Of him it is said, there was none like him in very abominably following idols. It was chiefly in his reign that Elijah the Tishbite laboured, and he testified for Jehovah against the apostasy and corruption of the king. The trial of fire from heaven is an especial instance of this, which was followed by the death of 450 of the prophets of Baal,  1 Kings 18:19-40 , but there was no repentance in the king. Ahab made two attacks on Benhadad king of Syria and was helped by God so that he obtained the victory; on the second occasion instead of destroying Benhadad (whom the Lord had doomed to destruction) he made a treaty with him.

Ahab coveted the vineyard of Naboth, but on his refusal to part with the inheritance given by God to his fathers, Jezebel caused his death and bade Ahab take possession of the vineyard. Elijah met him there and declared that dogs should lick his blood where they had licked the blood of Naboth. The dogs should also eat Jezebel, and Ahab's house should be cut off. Ahab humbled himself before God, and the full end of his house was delayed till his son's days. After this Ahab made another attack upon Syria, and his 400 prophets foretold that he would be successful; and he, though warned of his danger by the prophet Micaiah, went into battle accompanied by Jehoshaphat king of Judah, his ally. He disguised himself, but an arrow, shot at a venture, smote him between the joints of his armour, and he was wounded to death, and the prediction of Elijah came literally to pass.  1 Kings 21,22 . Grace had lingered over this poor idolater, for he was an Israelite; but he died impenitent, and his whole house was soon to perish.  2 Kings 9:7-10 . The judgement of God fell on the apostate king who had seized the inheritance of God's people.

2. A false prophet among the captives of Babylon who prophesied a lie, and was roasted in the fire by Nebuchadnezzar.  Jeremiah 29:21,22 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

  • The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1Kings 1622-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause Ahab renewed war (1Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose. Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years. Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2Kings 8:18;  2 Chronicles 22:3;  Micah 6:16 ).
  • A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 29:21 ), of whom nothing further is known.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [9]

1. The sixth king of Israel, succeeded his father Omri B. C. 918, and reigned twenty-two years. His wife was Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of Tyre; an ambitious and passionate idolatress, through whose influence the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth was introduced in Israel. Ahab erected in Samaria a house of Baal, and set up images of Baal and Ashtoreth; idolatry and wickedness became fearfully prevalent, and the king "did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings that were before him." In the midst of this great apostasy, God visited the land with three years of drought and famine; and then, at Mount Carmel, reproved idolatry by fire from heaven, and by the destruction of four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. About six years later, Ben-hadad, king of Syria, invaded Israel with a great army, but was ignominiously defeated; and still more disastrously the year after, when Ahab took him captive, but soon released him, and thus incurred the displeasure of God. In spite of the warnings and mercies of Providence, Ahab went on in sin; and at length, after the murder of Naboth, his crimes and abominable idolatries were such that God sent Elijah to denounce judgments upon him and his seed. These were in part deferred, however, by his apparent humiliation. Soon after, having gone with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to regain Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians, and joined battle with them in defiance of Jehovah, he was slain, and dogs licked up his blood at the pool of Samaria,  1 Kings 16:29-22:40 .

2. A false prophet, who seduced the Israelites at Babylon, and was denounced by Jeremiah,  Jeremiah 29:21,22 .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [10]

the son and successor of Omri. He began his reign over Israel, A.M. 3086, and reigned 22 years. In impiety he far exceeded all the kings of Israel. He married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Zidon, who introduced the whole abominations and idols of her country, Baal and Ashtaroth.

2. AHAB the son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, were two false prophets, who, about A.M. 3406, seduced the Jewish captives at Babylon with hopes of a speedy deliverance, and stirred them up against Jeremiah. The Lord threatened them with a public and ignominious death, before such as they had deceived; and that their names should become a curse; men wishing that their foes might be made like Ahab and Zedekiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon roasted in the fire,   Jeremiah 29:21-22 .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

ā´hab ( אחאב , 'aḥ'ābh , Assyrian a - ḥa - ab - bu  ; Septuagint Ἀχαάβ , Achaáb , but  Jeremiah 29:21 , Αχιάβ , Achiáb , which, in analogy with אחימלך , אעחיאל ), etc., indicates an original אחיאב , 'aḥı̄'ābh , meaning "the father is my brother"): The compound probably signifies that "the father," referring to God, has been chosen as a brother.

1. Ahab's Reign

Ahab, son of Omri, the seventh king of Israel, who reigned for twenty-two years, from 876 to 854 ( 1 Kings 16:28 ), was one of the strongest and at the same time one of the weakest kings of Israel. With his kingdom he inherited also the traditional enemies of the kingdom, who were no less ready to make trouble for him than for his predecessors. Occupying a critical position at the best, with foes ever ready to take advantage of any momentary weakness, the kingdom, during the reign of Ahab, was compelled to undergo the blighting effects of misfortune, drought and famine. But Ahab, equal to the occasion, was clever enough to win the admiration and respect of friend and foe, strengthening the kingdom without and within. Many of the evils of his reign, which a stronger nature might have overcome, were incident to the measures that he took for strengthening the kingdom.

2. His Foreign Policy

In the days of David and Solomon a beneficial commercial intercourse existed between the Hebrews and the Phoenicians. Ahab, recognizing the advantages that would accrue to his kingdom from an alliance with the foremost commercial nation of his time, renewed the old relations with the Phoenicians and cemented them by his marriage with Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre (the Ithobalos, priest of Astarte mentioned by Meander).

He next turns his attention to the establishment of peaceful and friendly relations with the kindred and neighboring kingdom of Judah. For the first time since the division of the kingdoms the hereditary internecine quarrels are forgotten, "and Jehoshaphat," the good king of Judah, "made peace with the king of Israel." This alliance, too, was sealed by a marriage relationship, Jehoram, the crown-prince of Judah, being united in marriage with the princess Athaliah, daughter of Ahab.

Perhaps some additional light is thrown upon Ahab's foreign policy by his treatment of Benhadad, king of Damascus. An opportunity was given to crush to dust the threatening power of Syria. But when Benhadad in the garb of a suppliant was compelled to sue for his life, Ahab received into kindly as his brother, and although denounced by the prophets for his leniency, spared his enemy and allowed him to depart on the condition that he would restore the cities captured from Omri, and concede certain "streets" in Damascus as a quarter for Israelite residents. No doubt Ahab thought that a king won as a friend by kindness might be of greater service to Israel than a hostile nation, made still more hostile, by having its king put to death. Whatever Ahab's motives may have been, these hereditary foes really fought side by side against the common enemy, the king of Assyria, in the battle at Karkar on the Orontes in the year 854, as is proved by the inscription on the monolith of Shalmaneser II, king of Assyria.

3. His Religious Policy

Ahab's far-sighted foreign policy was the antithesis of his short-sighted religious policy. Through his alliance with Phoenicia he not only set in motion the currents of commerce with Tyre, but invited Phoenician religion as well. The worship of Yahweh by means of the golden calves of Jeroboam appeared antiquated to him. Baal, the god of Tyre, the proud mistress of the seas and the possessor of dazzling wealth, was to have an equal place with Yahweh, the God of Israel. Accordingly he built in Samara a temple to Baal and in it erected an altar to that god, and at the side of the altar a pole to Asherab ( 1 Kings 16:32 ,  1 Kings 16:33 ). On the other hand he tried to serve Yahweh by naming his children in his honor - A haziah ("Yah holds"), Jehoram ("Yah is high"), and Athaliah ("Yah is strong"). However, Ahab failed to realize that while a coalition of nations might be advantageous, a syncretism of their religions would be disastrous. He failed to apprehend the full meaning of the principle, "Yahweh alone is the God of Israel." In Jezebel, his Phoenician wife, Ahab found a champion of the foreign culture, who was as imperious and able as she was vindictive and unscrupulous. She was the patron of the prophets of Baal and of the devotees of Asherab ( 1 Kings 18:19 ,  1 Kings 18:20;  1 Kings 19:1 ,  1 Kings 19:2 ) At her instigation the altars of Yahweh were torn down. She inaugurated the first great religious persecution of the church, killing off the prophets of Yahweh with the sword. In all this she aimed at more than a syncretism of the two religions; she planned to destroy the religion of Yahweh root and branch and put that of Baal in its place. In this Ahab did not oppose her, but is guilty of conniving at the policy of his unprincipled wife, if not of heartily concurring in it.

4. The Murder of Naboth

Wrong religious principles have their counterpart in false ethical ideals and immoral civil acts. Ahab, as a worshipper of Baal, not only introduced a false religion, but false social ideals as well. The royal residence was in Jezreel, which had probably risen in importance through his alliance with Phoenicia. Close to the royal palace was a vineyard ( 1 Kings 21:1 ) owned by Naboth, a native of Jezreel. This piece of ground was coveted by Ahab for a vegetable garden. He demanded therefore that Naboth should sell it to into or exchange it for a better piece of land. Naboth declined the offer. Ahab, a Hebrew, knowing the laws of the land, was stung by the refusal and went home greatly displeased. Jezebel, however, had neither religious scruples nor any regard for the civil laws of the Hebrews. Accordingly she planned a high-handed crime to gratify the whim of Ahab. In the name and by the authority of the king she had Naboth falsely accused of blasphemy against God and the king, and had him stoned to death by the local authorities. The horror created by this judicial murder probably did as much to finally overthrow the house of Omri as did the favor shown to the Tyrian Baal.

5. Ahab and Elijah

Neither religious rights nor civil liberties can be trampled under foot without Divine retribution. The attempt to do so calls forth an awakened and quickened conscience, imperatively demanding that the right be done. Like an accusing conscience, Elijah appeared before Ahab. His very name ("my God is Yah") inspired awe. "As Yahweh, the God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years," was the conscience-troubling message left on the mind of Ahab for more than three years. On Elijah's reappearance, Ahab greets into as the troubler of Israel. Elijah calmly reforms him that the king's religious policy has caused the trouble in Israel. The proof for it is to be furnished on Mount Carmel. Ahab does the bidding of Elijah. The people shall know whom to serve. Baal is silent. Yahweh answers with fire. A torrent of rain ends the drought. The victory belongs to Yahweh.

Once more Elijah's indignation flashes against the house of Ahab. The judicial murder of Naboth calls it forth. The civil rights of the nation must be protected. Ahab has sold himself to do evil in the sight of Yahweh. Therefore Ahab's house shall fall. Jezebel's carcass shall be eaten by dogs; the king's posterity shall be cut off; the dogs of the city or the fowls of the air shall eat their bodies ( 1 Kings 21:20-26 ). Like thunderbolts the words of Elijah strike home. Ahab "fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly." But the die was cast. Yahweh is vindicated. Never again, in the history of Israel can Baal, the inspirer of injustice, claim a place at the side of Yahweh, the God of righteousness.

6. Ahab's Building Operations

In common with oriental monarchs, Ahab displayed a taste for architecture, stimulated, no doubt, by Phoenician influence. Large building operations were undertaken in Samaria ( 1 Kings 16:32;  2 Kings 10:21 ). Solomon had an ivory throne, but Ahab built for himself, in Jezreel, a palace adorned with woodwork and inlaid with ivory ( 1 Kings 21:1;  1 Kings 22:39 ). Perhaps Amos, one hundred years later, refers to the work of Ahab when he says, "The houses of ivory shall perish" ( Amos 3:15 ). In his day Hiel of Bethel undertook to rebuild Jericho, notwithstanding the curse of Joshua ( 1 Kings 16:33 ,  1 Kings 16:34 ). Many cities were built during his reign ( 1 Kings 22:39 ).

7. Ahab's Military Career

Ahab was not only a splendor-loving monarch, but a great military leader as well. He no doubt began his military policy by fortifying the cities of Israel ( 1 Kings 16:34;  1 Kings 22:39 ). Benhadad (the Dadidri of the Assyrian annals; Hadadezer and Barhadad are Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic forms of the same name), the king of Syria, whose vassals the kings of Israel had been ( 1 Kings 15:19 ), promptly besieges Samaria, and sends Ahab an insulting message. Ahab replies, "Let not him that girdeth on his armor boast himself as he that putteth it off." At the advice of a prophet of Yahweh, Ahab, with 7,000 men under 232 leaders, inflicts a crushing defeat upon Benhadad and his 32 feudal kings, who had resigned themselves to a drunken carousal (1 Ki 20 through 21).

In the following year, the Syrian army, in spite of its overwhelming superiority, meets another defeat at the hands of Ahab in the valley, near Aphek. On condition that Benhadad restore all Israelite territory and grant the Hebrews certain rights in Damascus, Ahab spares his life to the great indignation of the prophet ( 1 Kings 20:22 ).

In the year 854, Ahab with 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men, fights shoulder to shoulder with Benhadad against Shalmaneser II, king of Assyria. At Karkar, on the Orontes, Benhadad, with his allied forces, suffered an overwhelming defeat ( COT , II, i, 183 f).

Perhaps Benhadad blamed Ahab for the defeat. At any rate he fails to keep his promise to Ahab ( 1 Kings 22:3;  1 Kings 20:34 ). Lured by false prophets, but against the dramatic warning of Micaiah, Ahab is led to take up the gauntlet against Syria once more. His friend, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, joins him in the conflict. For the first time since the days of David all Israel and Judah stand united against the common foe.

8. Ahab's Death

Possibly the warning of Micaiah gave Ahab a premonition that this would be has last fight. He enters the battle in disguise, but in vain. An arrow, shot at random, inflicts a mortal wound. With the fortitude of a hero, in order to avoid a panic, Ahab remains in his chariot all day and dies at sunset. His body is taken to Samaria for burial. A great king had died, and the kingdom declined rapidly after his death. He had failed to comprehend the greatness of Yahweh; he failed to stand for the highest justice, and his sins are visited upon has posterity ( 1 Kings 22:29 f).

9. Ahab and Archaeology

(1) The Moabite Stone

The Moabite Stone (see Moabite Stone ) bears testimony (lines 7, 8) that Omri and his son (Ahab) ruled over the land of Mehdeba for forty years. When Ahab was occupied with the Syriac wars, Moab rose in insurrection. Mesha informs us in an exaggerated manner that "Israel perished with an everlasting destruction." Mesha recognizes Yahweh as the God of Israel.

(2) The Monolith of Shalmaneser Ii

The Monolith of Shalmaneser Ii (Brit Mus; see Assyria ) informs us that in 854 Shalmaneser Ii came in conflict with the kingdom of Hamath, and that Benhadad Ii with Ahab of Israel and others formed a confederacy to resist the Assyrian advance. The forces of the coalition were defeated at Karkar.

(3) Recent Excavations

Under the direction of Harvard University, excavations have been carried on in Samaria since 1908. In 1909 remains of a Hebrew palace were found. In this palace two grades of construction have been detected. The explorers suggest that they have found the palace of Omri, enlarged and improved by Ahab. This may be the "ivory house" built by Ahab. In August, 1910, about 75 potsherds were found in a building adjacent to Ahab's palace containing writing. The script is the same as that of the Moabite Stone, the words being divided by ink spots. These ostraca seem to be labels attached to jars kept in a room adjoining Ahab's palace. One of them reads, "In the ninth year. From Shaphtan. For Ba'al-zamar. A jar of old wine." Another reads, "Wine of the vineyard of the Tell." These readings remind one of Naboth's vineyard. In another room not far from where the ostraca were found, "was found an alabaster vase inscribed with the name of Ahab's contemporary, Osorkon Ii of Egypt." Many proper names are found on the ostraca , which have their equivalent in the Old Testament. It is claimed that the writing is far greater than all other ancient Hebrew writing yet known. Perhaps with the publication of all these writings we may expect much light upon Ahab's reign. (See Ostraca; Harvard Theological Review , January, 1909, April, 1910, January, 1911; Sunday School Times , January 7, 1911; The Jewish Chronicle , January 27, 1911.)

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(Hebrew Achab', אְְחאָב , Father'S Brother; Sept. Ἀχαάβ , Josephus

῎Αχαβος ) , the name of two men.

1. The son of Omri, and the eighth king of Israel, who reigned twenty-one years (current, B.C. 915-895, the preceding year apparently as viceroy in his father's old capital Tirzah), the weakest of all the Israelitish monarchs, although not without occasional good feelings and dispositions (Kitto's Daily Bible Illustr. in loc.). Many of the evils of his reign may be ascribed to the close connection which he formed with the Phoenicians (Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 3, 169 sq.). There had long been a beneficial commercial intercourse between that people and the Jews, and the relations arising thence were very close in the times of David and Solomon. This connection appears to have been continued by the nearer kingdom of Israel, but to have been nearly, if not quite, abandoned by that of Judah. The wife of Ahab was Jezebel (q.v.), the daughter of Ethbaal or Ithobaal, king of Tyre, who had been priest of Astarte, but had usurped the throne of his brother Phalles (compare Josephus, Ant. 8, 13, 2, with Apion. 1, 18). She was a woman of a decided and energetic character, and soon acquired such influence over her husband that he sanctioned the introduction, and eventually established the worship of the Phoenician idols, and especially of the sun-god Baal. Hitherto the golden calves in Dan and Bethel had been the only objects of idolatrous worship in Israel, and they were intended as symbols of Jehovah. But now the king built a temple at Samaria, and erected an image and consecrated a grove to Baal. A multitude of the priests and prophets of Baal were maintained. Idolatry became the predominant religion; and Jehovah, with the golden calves as symbolical representations of him, were viewed with no more reverence than Baal and his image. But a man suited to this emergency was raised up in the person of Elijah, who boldly opposed the regal authority, and succeeded in retaining many of his countrymen in the worship of the true God. (See Elijah).

The history of King Ahab is given in detail in the sacred narrative,  1 Kings 16:22 (see Obbarius, Gesch. d. Hauses Ahab, Nordh. 1754). One of his chief tastes was for splendid architecture, which he showed by building an ivory house and several cities, and also by ordering the restoration and fortification of Jericho, which seems to have belonged to Israel, and not to Judah, as it is said to have been rebuilt in the days of Ahab rather than in those of the con. temporary king of Judah, Jehoshaphat ( 1 Kings 16:34). But the place in which he chiefly indulged this passion was the beautiful city of Jezreel (now Zerin), in the plain of Esdraelon, which he adorned with a palace and park for his own residence, though Samaria remained the capital of his kingdom. Desiring to add to his pleasure- grounds there the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth, he proposed to buy it or give land in exchange for it; and when this was refused by Naboth, in accordance with the Mosaic law, on the ground that the vineyard was "the inheritance of his fathers" ( Leviticus 25:23),. a false accusation of blasphemy was brought against him, and not only was he himself stoned to death, but his sons also, as we learn from  2 Kings 9:26. Elijah, already the great vindicator of religion, now appeared as the asserter of morality, and declared that the entire extirpation of Ahab's house was the penalty appointed for his long course of wickedness, now crowned by this atrocious crime. The execution, however, of this sentence was delayed in consequence of Ahab's deep repentance. (See Niemeyer, Charakt. v. 101). (See Naboth).

We read of three campaigns which Ahab undertook against Benhadad II, king of Damascus, two defensive and one offensive. (See Benhadad). In the first, Benhadad laid siege to Samaria, and Ahab, encouraged by the patriotic counsels of God's prophets, who, next to the true religion, valued most deeply the independence of his chosen people, made a sudden attack on him while, in the plenitude of arrogant confidence, he was banqueting in his tent with his 32 vassal kings. The Syrians were totally routed, and fled to Damascus. Next year Benhadad, believing that his failure was owing to some peculiar power which the God of Israel exercised over the hills, invaded Israel by way of Aphek, on the east of Jordan. Yet Ahab's victory was so complete that Benhadad himself fell into his hands, but was released (contrary to the will of God as announced by a prophet) on condition of restoring all the cities of Israel which he held, and making "streets" for Ahab in Damascus; that is, admitting into his capital permanent Hebrew commissioners, in an independent position, with special dwellings for themselves and their retinues, to watch over the commercial and political interests of Ahab and his subjects. This was apparently in retaliation for a similar privilege exacted by Benhadad's predecessor from Omri in respect to Samaria. After this great success Ahab enjoyed peace for three years, and it is difficult to account exactly for the third outbreak of hostilities, which in Kings is briefly attributed to an attack made by Ahab on Ramoth in Gilead on the east of Jordan, in conjunction with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, which town he claimed as belonging to Israel. But if Ramoth was one of the cities which Benhadad agreed to restore, why did Ahab wait for three years to enforce the fulfillment of the treaty? From this difficulty and the extreme bitterness shown by Benhadad against Ahab personally ( 1 Kings 22:31), it seems probable that this was not the case (or at all events that the Syrians did not so understand the treaty), but that Ahab, now strengthened by Jehoshaphat, who must have felt keenly the paramount importance of crippling the power of Syria, originated the war by assaulting Ramoth without any immediate provocation. In any case, God's blessing did not rest on the expedition, and Ahab was told by the prophet Micaiah that it would fail, and that the prophets who advised it were hurrying him to his ruin. For giving this warning Micaiah was imprisoned; but Ahab was so far roused by it as to take the precaution of disguising himself, so as not to offer a conspicuous mark to the archers of Benhadad. But he was slain by a "certain man who drew a bow at a venture;" and, though stayed up in his chariot for a time, yet he died toward evening, and his army dispersed. When he was brought to be buried in Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood as a servant was washing his chariot; a partial fulfillment of Elijah's prediction ( 1 Kings 21:19), which was more literally accomplished in the case of his son ( 2 Kings 9:26). Josephus, however, substitutes Jezreel for Samaria in the former passage (Ant. 8, 15, 6). (See Kingdom Of Israel).

2. A false prophet who deceived the Israelites at Babylon, and was threatened by Jeremiah, who foretold that he should be put to death by the king of Babylon in the presence of those whom he had beguiled; and that in following times it should become a common malediction to say, "The Lord make thee like Ahab and Zedekiah, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire" ( Jeremiah 29:21-22), B.C. 594. The rabbins, followed by several expositors, believe that this Ahab and his associate Zedekiah were the two elders that conspired against the chastity and life of Susanna, as related in the Apocrypha; but their punishment appears to have been by stoning (Penz, De Supplicio Achabi, etc. Lpz. 1736). (See Susanna).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Ahab, 1

A´hab (Father's brother), son of Omri, and the sixth king of Israel, who reigned twenty-two years, beginning in B.C. 918and ending in 897. Ahab was, upon the whole, the weakest of all the Israelitish monarchs; and although there are occasional traits of character which show that he was not without good feelings and dispositions, the history of his reign shows that weakness of character in a king may sometimes be as injurious in its effects as wickedness. Many of the evils of his reign may be ascribed to the close connection which he formed with the Phoenicians. The wife of Ahab was Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, or Ithobaal, king of Tyre. She was a woman of a decided and energetic character, and, as such, soon established that influence over her husband which such women always acquire over weak, and not infrequently also over strong, men. Ahab, being entirely under the control of Jezebel, sanctioned the introduction, and eventually established the worship of the Phoenician idols, and especially of the sun-god Baal. Hitherto the golden calves in Dan and Bethel had been the only objects of idolatrous worship in Israel, and they were intended as symbols of Jehovah. But all reserve and limitation were now abandoned. The king built a temple at Samaria, and erected an image, and consecrated a grove to Baal. A multitude of the priests and prophets of Baal were maintained. Idolatry became the predominant religion; and Jehovah, with the golden calves as symbolical representations of him, were viewed with no more reverence than Baal and his image. At length the judgment of God on Ahab and on his house was pronounced by Elijah, that, during the reign of his son, his whole race should be exterminated. Ahab died of the wounds which he received in a battle with the Syrians, according to a prediction of Micaiah, which the king disbelieved, but yet endeavored to avert by disguising himself in the action ( 1 Kings 16:29;  1 Kings 22:40).

Ahab and Zedekiah, 2

The names of two false prophets, who deceived the Israelites at Babylon. For this they were threatened by Jeremiah, who foretold that they should be put to death by the king of Babylon in the presence of those whom they had beguiled; and that in following times it should become a common malediction to say, 'The Lord make thee like what and Zedekiah, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire' ( Jeremiah 29:21-22).