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Today's Readings: 1 KINGS 16 | Jeremiah 42 | Mark 16

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - 1Kings 16

"Next [in the line of Israel's kings] came Elah, a drunkard, who in turn was a murderer (1Ki 16:8,9). His successor, Zimri, was guilty of 'treason' (1Ki 16:20). He was followed by a military adventurer of the name of Omri, and of him we are told, 'but Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him. For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities' (1Ki 16:25,26).

"The evil cycle was completed by Omri's son, for he was even more vile than those who had preceded him. 'And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him' (1Ki 16:30,31).

"This marriage of Ahab to a heathen princess was, as might fully be expected (for we cannot trample God's Law beneath our feet with impunity), fraught with the most frightful consequences. In a short time all trace of the pure worship of [Yahweh] vanished from the land and gross idolatry became rampant. The golden calves were worshipped at Dan and Bethel, a temple had been erected to Baal in Samaria, the 'groves' of Baal appeared on every side, and the priests of Baal took full charge of the religious life of Israel.

"It was openly declared that Baal lived and that [Yahweh] ceased to be. What a shocking state of things had come to pass is clear from, 'And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him' (1Ki 16:33).