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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("servant of Jehovah".)

1. Elah's captain. Besieged Gibbethon in Dan, the siege had some time before been begun by Nadab ( 1 Kings 15:27). On Elan's murder at Tirzah by Zimri the army made Omri king, 935 B.C. He took Tirzah, and Zimri after a seven days' reign perished in the flames. Half the people desired Tibni ( 1 Kings 16:15-27), who according to the Septuagint was helped by his brother Joram, but died defeated. The civil war was of four years' duration. In 931 B.C. Omri began his sole reign. For six years he reigned at the beautiful Tirzah ( Song of Solomon 6:4). But having proved its inability to resist a siege, he bought for two silver talents from Shemer the hill Shomron or Samaria, six miles from the old capital, Shechem, and distinguished for strength, beauty, and fertility. Here he reigned for six years more, and died in 919 B.C. Determined and unscrupulous he "walked in Jeroboam's sin of the calf worship, provoking Jehovah God of Israel to anger with vanities."

His "might which he showed" was celebrated in the royal chronicles. To strengthen his dynasty he allied himself to Benhadad I of Damascus, surrendering cities as the price of the alliance ( 1 Kings 20:34), including Ramoth Gilead ( 1 Kings 22:3). (See Ahab .) For the same end his son Ahab married the Sidonian king Ethbaal's daughter Jezebel, which issued in the introduction of Baal worship into Israel. Compare  Micah 6:16. "the statutes (a firmly established system) of Omri." His vigour secured the permanence of his dynasty for four reigns, until God by Jehu overthrew it for its guilt. Beth Omri, "the house of Omri," is the regular designation for Samaria in Assyrian monuments, thus confirming  1 Kings 16:24. In the black obelisk even Jehu as king of Israel is called "son of Omri" In the Dibon stone Mesha records that Omri subjected and oppressed Moab until Mesha delivered his country. This agrees with the Hebrew date for Omri, and with the "might" attributed to him ( 1 Kings 16:27).

2.  1 Chronicles 7:8.

3.  1 Chronicles 9:4.

4.  1 Chronicles 27:18.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

Om'ri. (Pupil Of Jehovah).

1. Originally, "captain of the host," to Elah, was afterward, himself, king of Israel, and founder of the third dynasty. (B.C. 926). Omri was engaged in the siege of Gibbethon situated in the tribe of Dan, which had been occupied by the Philistines. As soon as the army heard of Elah's death, they proclaimed Omri, king.

Thereupon, he broke up the siege of Gibbethon and attacked Tirzah, where Zimri was holding his court as king of Israel. The city was taken, and Zimri perished in the flames of the palace, after a reign of seven days. Omri, however, was not allowed to establish his dynasty, without a struggle against Tibni, whom "half the people,"  1 Kings 16:21, desired to raise to the throne. The civil war lasted four years. Compare  1 Kings 16:15 with  1 Kings 16:23. After the defeat and death of Tibni, Omri reigned for six years in Tirzah. At Samaria, Omri reigned for six years more. He seems to have been a vigorous and unscrupulous ruler, anxious to strengthen his dynasty, by intercourse and alliances, with foreign states.

2. One of the sons of Becher, the son of Benjamin.  1 Chronicles 7:8.

3. A descendant of Pharez, the son of Judah,  1 Chronicles 9:4.

4. Son of Michael, and chief of the tribe of Issachar, in the reign of David.  1 Chronicles 27:18. (B.C. 1030).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

Was general of the army of Elah king of Israel; but being at the siege of Gibbethon, and hearing that his master Elah was assassinated by Zimri who had usurped his kingdom, he raised the siege, and being elected king by his army, marched against Zimri, attacked him at Tirzah, and forced him to burn himself and all his family in the palace in which he had shut himself up. After his death, half of Israel acknowledged Omri for king, the other half adhered to Tibni, son of Ginath, which division continued four years. When Tebni was dead, the people united in Acknowledging Omri as king of all Israel, who reigned twelve years, six years at Tirzah, and six at Samaria,  1 Kings 16:8-28 .

Tirzah had previously been the chief residence of the kings of Israel; but when Omri purchased the hill of Shomeron,  1 Kings 16:24 , he built there a new city, which he called Samaria, from the name of the previous possessor, Shemer or Shomer, and here fixed his royal seat. From this time Samaria was the capital of the Kingdom of the ten tribes. It appears, under the name of Beth-Omri, on the stone tablets recently exhumed by Layard from the ruins of Nineveh.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Omri ( Ŏm'Rî ), Pupil Of Jehovah. 1.  1 Kings 16:16. A general of the Israelitish army, who was made king during the siege of Gibbethon. The army had heard that Zimri had assassinated Elah the king, and had usurped the throne; instantly the siege was raised, they forthwith marched to Tirzah, where Zimri resided, and captured it. The Israelites were then divided into two parties, one of which had made Tibni king; but after a struggle of about six years, Omri prevailed, and took the throne, which he disgraced, from 928-917 b.c. Omri, who is called on an Assyrian monument Khumri, founded Samaria, which thenceforth became the capital of the ten tribes.  1 Kings 16:16-30;  Micah 6:16. 2. A descendant of Benjamin.  1 Chronicles 7:8. 3. A descendant of Judah.  1 Chronicles 9:4. 4. A descendant of Issachar.  1 Chronicles 27:18.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

1. Commander of the army under Elah, king of Israel. When this king was slain the soldiers made Omri king. He had to overcome first Zimri and then Tibni before he could reign alone: altogether he reigned from B.C. 929 to 918, and was succeeded by his son Ahab. It is recorded of him that "he did worse than all that were before him."  1 Kings 16:16-30 . In  Micah 6:16 it is said "the statutes of Omri are kept:" they with "all the works of the house of Ahab," were kept in remembrance for punishment. Omri is mentioned on the 'black obelisk' of Shalmaneser 2 in the British Museum, and on the Moabite Stone. See MOAB.

2. Son of Becher, a son of Benjamin.   1 Chronicles 7:8 .

3. Son of Imri, a descendant of Judah.   1 Chronicles 9:4 .

4. Son of Michael, and a ruler of Issachar.   1 Chronicles 27:18 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 1 Kings 16:15-27

Beth-omri, "the house" or "city of Omri," is the name usually found on Assyrian inscriptions for Samaria. In the stele of Mesha (the "Moabite stone"), which was erected in Moab about twenty or thirty years after Omri's death, it is recorded that Omri oppressed Moab till Mesha delivered the land: "Omri, king of Israel, oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab" (Compare  2 Kings 1:1;  3:4,5 ). The "Moabite stone" also records that "Omri took the land of Medeba, and occupied it in his day and in the days of his son forty years."

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [7]

There were several of this name in Scripture.  1 Kings 16:23 There was a king of this name; and a son of Becher,  1 Chronicles 7:8; and an Omri the son of Michael,  1 Chronicles 27:18. The name seems to mean, my words, or my discourses.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 1 Kings 16:8-15 1 Kings 16:16 1 Kings 16:21-22 Micah 6:16 2 1 Chronicles 27:18 3 1 Chronicles 7:8 4

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [9]

OMRI . 1 . See following article. 2. A descendant of Benjamin (  1 Chronicles 7:8 ). 3. A Judahite (  1 Chronicles 9:4 ). 4. A prince of Issachar (  1 Chronicles 27:18 ).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

om´rı̄ ( עמרי , ‛omrı̄  ; Septuagint Ἀμβρί , Ambrı́  ; Assyrian "Chumri" and "Chumria"):

(1) The 6th king of Northern Israel, and founder of the IIIrd Dynasty which reigned for nearly 50 years. Omri reigned 12 years, circa 887-876 BC. The historical sources of his reign are contained in  1 Kings 16:15-28;  1 Kings 20:34 , the Moabite Stone, Assyrian inscriptions, and in the published accounts of recent excavations in Samaria. In spite of the brief passage given to Omri in the Old Testament, he was one of the most important of the military kings of Northern Israel.

1. His Accession:

Omri is first mentioned as an officer in the army of Elah, which was engaged in the siege of the Philistine town of Gibbethon. While Omri was thus engaged, Zimri, another officer of Elah's army, conspired against the king, whom he assassinated in a drunken debauch, exterminating at the same time the remnant of the house of Baasha. The conspiracy evidently lacked the support of the people, for the report that Zimri had usurped the throne no sooner reached the army at Gibbethon, than the people proclaimed Omri, the more powerful military leader, king over Israel. Omri lost not a moment, but leaving Gibbethon in the hands of the Philistines, he marched to Tirzah, which he besieged and captured, while Zimri perished in the flames of the palace to which he had set fire with his own hands ( 1 Kings 16:18 ). Omri, however, had still another opponent in Tibni the son of Ginath, who laid claim to the throne and who was supported in his claims by his brother Joram ( 1 Kings 16:22 Septuagint) and by a large number of the people. Civil war-followed this rivalry for the throne, which seems to have lasted for a period of four years (compare   1 Kings 16:15 , with  1 Kings 16:23 and   1 Kings 16:29 ) before Omri gained full control.

Omri's military ability is seen from his choice of Samaria as the royal residence and capital of the Northern Kingdom. This step may have been suggested to Omri by his own easy conquest of Tirzah, the former capital. Accordingly, he purchased the hill Shomeron of Shemer for two talents of silver, about ,352.00 in American money. The conical hill, which rose from the surrounding plain to the height of 400 ft., and on the top of which there was room for a large city, was capable of easy defense.

2. The Founding of Samaria:

The superior strategic importance of Samaria is evidenced by the sieges it endured repeatedly by the Syrians and Assyrians. It was finally taken by Sargon in 722, after the siege had lasted for 3 years. That the Northern Kingdom endured as long as it did was due largely to the strength of its capital. With the fall of Samaria, the nation fell.

Recent excavations in Samaria under the direction of Harvard University throw new light upon the ancient capital of Israel. The first results were the uncovering of massive foundation walls of a large building, including a stairway 80 ft. wide. This building, which is Roman in architecture, is supposed to have been a temple, the work of Herod. Under this Roman building was recovered a part of a massive Hebrew structure, believed to be the palace of Omri and Ahab. During the year 1910 the explorations revealed a building covering 1 1/2 acres of ground. Four periods of construction were recognized, which, on archaeological grounds, were tentatively assigned to the reigns of Omri, Ahab, Jehu, and Jeroboam II. See Samaria and articles by David G. Lyon in Harvard Theological Review , IV, 1911; Jbl , V, xxx, Part I, 1911; Pefs , 1911,79-83.

3. His Foreign Policy:

Concerning Omri's foreign policy the Old Testament is silent beyond a single hint contained in  1 Kings 20:34 . Here we learn that he had to bow before the stronger power of Syria. It is probable that Ben-hadad I besieged Samaria shortly after it was built, for he forced Omri to make "streets" in the city for the Syrians. It is probable, too, that at this time Ramoth-gilead was lost to the Syrians. Evidently Omri, was weakened in his foreign policy at the beginning of his reign by the civil conflict engendered by his accession. However, he showed strength of character in his dealings with foreign powers. At least he regained control over the northern part of Moab, as we learn from the Moabite Stone. Lines 4-8 tell us that "Omri was king of Israel and afflicted Moab many days because Chemosh was angry with his land.... Omri obtained possession of the land of Medeba and dwelt therein during his days and half the days of his son, forty years. "

Omri was the first king of Israel to pay tribute to the Assyrians under their king Asurnacirpal III, in 876 BC. From the days of Shalmaneser 2 (860 BC) down to the time of Sargon (722 BC), Northern Israel was known to the Assyrians as "the land of the house of Omri." On Shalmaneser's black obelisk, Jehu, who overthrew the dynasty of Omri, is called Ja'ua abal Ḥumri , "Jehu son of Omri."

Omri entered into an alliance with the Phoenicians by the marriage of his son Ahab to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. This may have been done as protection against the powers from the East, and as such would have seemed to be a wise political move, but it was one fraught with evil for Israel.

4. His Religious Influence and Death:

Although Omri laid the foundation of a strong kingdom, he failed to impart to it the vitalizing and rejuvenating force of a healthy spiritual religion. The testimony of  1 Kings 16:25 ,  1 Kings 16:26 , that he "dealt wickedly above all that were before him," coupled with the reference to "the statutes of Omri" in  Micah 6:16 , indicates that he may have had a share in substituting foreign religions for the worship of Yahweh, and therefore the unfavorable light in which he is regarded is justified. Upon his death, Omri was succeeded upon the throne by his son Ahab, to whom was left the task of shaking off the Syrian yoke, and who went beyond his father in making the Phoenician influence along with Baalism of prime importance in Israel, thus leading the nation into the paths that hastened its downfall.

(2) A B enjamite, son of Becher ( 1 Chronicles 7:8 ).

(3) A J udahite, descendant of Perez, who lived at Jerusalem ( 1 Chronicles 9:4 ).

(4) A prince of Issachar in the time of David ( 1 Chronicles 27:18 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

(Heb. Omri', עָמְרַי , thought by Gesenius and Furst to be for עָמְרַיָּה , the former in the sense of Taught Of Jehovah, the latter Apportioned Of Jehovah; but it is doubtful if the etymology contains the divine name; Sept. in 1 Kings Ἀυβρί ; elsewhere Ἀμαρία Ἀμαρί , v. r. Ζαμβρί , Μαρί ; Josephus, Ἀμαρῖνος , Ant. 8:12, 5), the name of fourmen:

1. The fifth named of nine sons of Becher, son of Benjamin ( 1 Chronicles 7:8). B.C. cir. 1618.

2. Son of Imri and father of Ammihud, of the tribe of Judah ( 1 Chronicles 9:4). B.C. post 1618.

3. Son of Michael, and David's captain in the tribe of Issachar ( 1 Chronicles 27:18). B.C. cir. 1017.

4. The commander-in-chief of the armies of Elah, king of Israel ( 1 Kings 16:16), and the seventh king of Israel, who began to reign in B.C. 926, and reigned eleven fill (or twelve current) years, founding the third dynasty. He was engaged in the siege of Gibbethon, a Levitical city in Dan, of which the Philistines had gained possession, when the news came to the camp of the death of Elah and the usurpation of Zinri. On this the army proclaimed their general, Omri, king of Israel. He then lost not a moment, but leaving Gibbethon in the power of the infidels, went and besieged his competitor in Tirzah, carrying on the war so vigorously that Zimri soon despaired, and burned himself in his palace. But Omri was no sooner delivered of this rival, (See Zimri), than another appeared in the person of Tibni, whom a part of the people had raised to the throne, probably from unwillingness to submit to military dictation. This occasioned a civil war which lasted four years (comp.  1 Kings 16:15 with 23) and left Omri undisputed master of the throne (B.C. 922). His reign lasted seven years more, his general character being "worse than all that had preceded him" ( 1 Kings 16:25). This is the same Omri mentioned ( 2 Chronicles 22:2) as father of Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, king of Israel. Six of these latter years "he spent in Tirzah, although the palace there was destroyed; but at the end of that time, in spite of the proverbial beauty of the site ( Song of Solomon 6:4), he transferred his residence, probably from the proved inability of Tirzah to stand a siege, to the mountain Shomron, better known by its Greek name Samaria, which he bought for two talents of silver from a rich man, otherwise unknown, called Shemer. (See Samaria).

It is situated about six miles from Shechem, the most ancient of Hebrew capitals; and its position, according to Prof. Stanley ( S. And P. p. 240), combined, in a union not elsewhere found in Palestine, strength, fertility, and beauty.' Bethel, however, remained the religious metropolis of the kingdom, and the calf-worship of Jeroboam was maintained with increased determination and disregard of God's law ( 1 Kings 16:26). He seems to have been a vigorous and unscrupulous ruler, anxious to strengthen his dynasty by intercourse and alliances with foreign states. Thus he made a treaty with Benhadad I, king of Damascus, though on very unfavorable conditions, surrendering to him some frontier cities ( 1 Kings 20:34), and among them probably Ramoth-Gilead ( 1 Kings 22:3), and admitting into Samaria a resident Syrian embassy, which is described by the expression he made streets in Samaria for Benhadad. (See Ahab).

As a part of the same system, he united his son in marriage to the daughter of a principal Phoenician prince, which led to the introduction into Israel of Baal-worship, and all its attendant calamities and crimes. This worldly and irreligious policy is denounced by Micah ( Micah 6:16) under the name of the statutes of Omri,' which appear to be contrasted with the Lord's precepts to his people, to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.' It achieved, however, a temporary success, for Omri left his kingdom in peace to his son Ahab; and his family, unlike the ephemeral dynasties which had preceded him, gave four kings to Israel, and occupied the throne for about half a century, till it was overthrown by the great reaction against Baal-worship under Jehu.:" Omri is mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions (q.v.) as the founder of Beth- Khumri or Samaria (Rawlinson, Hist. Evidences, p. 109). On the chronology of this reign, see Offerhaus, Spicil. p. 45; Ussher, Annal. p. 37. (See Kingdom Of Israel).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

Om´ri (God-taught), sixth king of Israel, who began to reign in B.C. 929, and reigned twelve years. He was raised to the throne by the army, while it was engaged in the siege of Gibbethon, a Levitical city in Dan, of which the Philistines had gained possession, when the news came to the camp of the death of Elah, and the usurpation of Zimri. On this, the army proclaimed their general, Omri, king of Israel. He then lost not a moment, but leaving Gibbethon in the power of the infidels, went and besieged his competitor in Tirzah. But he was no sooner delivered of this rival [ZIMRI], than another appeared in the person of Tibni, whom a part of the people had raised to the throne, probably from unwillingness to submit to military dictation. This occasioned a civil war, which lasted six years, and left Omri undisputed master of the throne, B.C. 925. His reign lasted six years more, and its chief event was the foundation of Samaria, which thenceforth became the capital city of the kingdom of Israel [SAMARIA].