Omri, King of Israel

After King Zimri died, the people of Israel were divided. Some wanted Omri to be the new king and others wanted Tibni. A civil war broke out and Omri won. He became Israel's sixth king and reigned 12 years (882-871 BC). Omri bought land and built a palace on it. He called the land Samaria, in honor of the former owner, Shemer. Omri worshiped idols and encouraged the people of Israel to do the same.

1 Kings 16:25 says that Omri was worse than any of the kings who had ruled Israel before his reign. Micah 6:16 also alludes to the evilness of Omri. An ancient record, called the Moabite Stone, says that Omri subjugated the nation of Moab and conquered Medeba. (The Moabite Stone is now in the Louvre museum). Omri also strengthened Israel's alliance with Phoenicia, by arranging the marriage of his son, Ahab, to Jezebel, the daughter of the King of Sidon. When Omri died, his son Ahab became the next king.

Omri's story is found in 1 Kings, chapter 16.


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