0 God's killings in First Kings

I kill ... I wound ... I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh. Deuteronomy 32:39-42

88. Solomon carried out David's deathbed wish by having Joab and Shimei murdered

You can tell a lot about a person by his or her last words. Take David's last words, for example.

In David's last words to his son Solomon, he asked him to murder Joab.

Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying ... thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me ... let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. 1 Kings 2:1-6

So Solomon sent Benaiah to murder Joab.

It was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah ... saying, Go, fall upon him ... So Benaiah ... fell upon him, and slew him. 2:29-34

And another person that David asked his son to murder was Shimei.

Thou hast with thee Shimei ... which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. 2:8-9

So Solomon sent Benaiah to "fall on" Shimei, too.

So the king commanded Benaiah ... which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. 2:44-46

God, of course, wanted these people murdered, too. He approved of everything David did, except for the matter of Uriah (1 Kings 15:5).

89. A tale of two prophets

The story begins with an old, nameless prophet from Bethel who found another nameless prophet, the "man of God" from Judah, sitting under an oak tree.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel ... And he ... went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. 1 Kings 13:11-14

The old prophet invited the man of God to come over to his house to eat, but the man of God said that he couldn't, since God told him not to eat or drink anything.

Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there. 13:15-17

But the old prophet told the man of God that he was also a prophet and that an angel told him to go find the man of God, bring him back to his house, and give him some food and water.

He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. 13:18a

Too bad for the man of God, but the old prophet was lying. (If you can't trust an old prophet, who can you trust?)

But he lied unto him. 13:18b

So the man of God went to eat at the lying, old prophet's house.

So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. 13:19

Then God told the man of God (through the mouth of his lying prophet) that God was pissed at him for...I don't know what. Eating and drinking when God told him not to (even though a prophet of God told him that God said that he should)? Believing a lying prophet of God? What?

I don't know. But here's what the God's lying prophet said:

The word of the LORD came unto the prophet ... saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD ... But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water ... thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. 13:20-22

After the meal, the man of God went on his way. And then a lion met him on the road and killed him.

And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass ... And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him. 13:23-24a

The lion hung around the dead man of God for quite a while. Lots of people came to see the carcass and the ass and the lion by the side of the road.

And his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase. 13:24b-25

90. Jeroboam's son: God kills another child

The story begins with a sick child, Abijah, the son of king Jeroboam.

At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. 1 Kings 14:1

Jeroboam was worried about his son, so he told his wife to go ask the blind prophet Ahijah what will become of him.

Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself ... and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people ... He shall tell thee what shall become of the child. 14:2-3

So she went to Ahijah's house.

Jeroboam's wife ... arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. 14:4a

Before she arrived, God came to tell Ahijah that Jeroboam's wife would be coming to visit. God told him what he planned to do.

But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age. And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman. 14:4b-5

So when Jeroboam's wife arrived, Ahijah told her he had some bad news.

When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door ... he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings. 14:6

He said that God made Jeroboam king, but that Jeroboam wasn't perfect like God's servant David was. In fact, Jeroboam had acted worse than anyone who had ever lived up to that time. (God loves to exaggerate!)

Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back. 14:7-9

So to punish Jeroboam, God would kill all of Jeroboam's sons (or, as God put it, all those "that pisseth against the wall").

Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall. 14:10a

And dispose of Jeroboam's family as though they were pieces of shit.

And will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung. 14:10b

Then he'll feed whatever is left of them to the dogs, if they lived in the city, or to the birds, if they were country folk.

Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. 14:11

And finally, God will kill Jeroboam's sick son. As soon as the mother of the sick boy returns home, her son will die.

Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die. 14:12

After hearing the words of God from his prophet Ahijah, Jeroboam's wife returned home. And God killed the sick boy the moment his mother entered his room.

Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed ... and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died. 14:17

91. Jeroboam's family

The reason for this killing was the same as the last: God disliked Jeroboam (he was the worst person in the world) so he killed his son.

Now he's back for the rest of the family.

I think God may have gotten a bit carried away with this one, though. Remember how he told Jeroboam's wife that he was going to kill everyone in the house of Jeroboam "that pisseth against the wall"?

Behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall. 1 Kings 14:10

Well, usually "wall pissers" are taken to be males, but apparently God killed the entire family, including females.

God didn't do the killing himself, though, this time. He had Baasha do it for him. First Baasha killed Jeroboam's son Nadab, who became king of Israel after Jeroboam died. (Nadab was completely evil, too, just like his dad.)

Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel ... And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin ... and Baasha smote him ... and reigned in his stead. 15:25-28

Then God had Baasha kill Jeroboam's entire family, wall pissers and non wall pissers, alike. "He smote ... any that breathed ... according unto the saying of the Lord."

He smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite: Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger. 15:29-30

The Bible doesn't say whether or not the bodies of the dead family were treated like shit, as God said they would be.

Behold, I ... will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung. 14:10

Or whether God fed their remains to the dogs and the birds, as he said he would.

Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. 14:11

But I suppose that's what happened.

The text doesn't say how many were killed in this killing, so I'll just say 10.

92. Baasha's family and friends

Remember how God made Jeroboam king and then killed his son and the rest of his family because he didn't like something that Jeroboam did? Yeah, well, he's at it again.

This time it's King Baasha that he's pissed off about. Baasha became king by killing Jeroboam's son, Nadab, and then slaughtered the rest of Jeroboam's family, "according to the saying of the Lord."

Now you'd think that God would thank Baasha for doing his dirty work for him. But if so, you'd be wrong about that. God was angry at Baasha for killing Jeroboam's family, even though he inspired him to do it. God works in really creepy ways.

God made his plans known in the usual way: he sent a prophet (Jehu) to tell Baasha the bad news.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu ... Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam ... Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat ... for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him. 1 Kings 16:1-7

Yep, that's right. God will kill everyone in Baasha's family and feed their bodies to the dogs and birds.

But God doesn't do anything to Baasha. He just waits for him to die and then has his family slaughtered to teach him a lesson. (The best way to teach a man a lesson is to kill his family after he dies.)

So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead. 16:6

After Baasha died, his son Elah was king for two years. One of Elah's captains (Zimri) was selected by God to do the killing. First he killed Elah (while he was "drinking himself drunk") and then all of Baasha's family and friends -- all those that pissed against a wall, anyway.

His servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him ... drinking himself drunk ... And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him ... and reigned in his stead....

When he began to reign ... he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends. Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet. 16:9-12

So God had all of Baasha's wall-pissing friends and family killed. It doesn't say how many that was, so I'll just guess 20: 10 friends and 10 family members.

93. Zimri burns to death

Remember Zimri? The guy that killed Baasha's wall-pissing family and friends for God (92)?

Well, now it's his turn. What goes around, comes around -- a lot in the Bible!

After Zimri killed Elah (Baasha's son), he replaced him as king of Israel.

In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah to reign over Israel ... And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk ... And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him ... and reigned in his stead. 1 Kings 16:8-10

He wasn't king long though, just long enough to perform his mission from God.

As soon as he sat on his throne ... he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends. Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD. 16:11-12

A week later, the people of Israel chose Omri as king.

In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people ... made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel. 16:15-16

And then, of course, Omri, along with everyone in Israel, went to pay Zimri a visit.

And Omri ... and all Israel with him ... beseiged Tirzah. 16:17

When Zimri saw Omri and "all Israel" attacking, he burned himself to death.

When Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died. 16:18

God was pleased with the way the whole thing turned out. Zimri burned to death for "doing evil in the sight of the Lord."

For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin. 16:19

The Bible doesn't say what the evil was. The only thing that we know about Zimri is that he murdered Baasha's son, Elah, and all of Baasha's wall-pissing family and friends.

But that wasn't evil, since God wanted them killed. So what was it?

Maybe Zimri had some golden calves in his closet or something.

94. God kills Hiel's sons

In the famous scene from the book of Joshua, the priests blow trumpets, the people shout, and the walls come tumbling down.

Then Joshua and his men kill everything in the city of Jericho: men, women, children, animals. (Except for Rahab the harlot.)

After the slaughter, Joshua said,

Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. Joshua 6:26
And acccording to 1 Kings 16:34, this curse was fulfilled.
In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun. 1 Kings 16:34

God forced Hiel to lay the foundation of Jericho with the body of his oldest son, Abiram, and set up the gate with his youngest son, Segub -- "according to the word of the Lord."

94. The drought of Elijah

The story of Elijah begins with a drought.

Elijah ... said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 1 Kings 17:1

And according to 1 Kings, the drought ended in its third year (so it lasted more than two but less than three years).

The LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. 1 Kings 18:1

But if you believe the New Testament authors, the drought lasted for 3 years and six months, during which time there was no rain anywhere on earth because Elijah "prayed earnestly that it might not rain."

In the days of Elias [Elijah] ... the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. Luke 4:25

Elias [Elijah] ... prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. James 5:17-18

The Bible doesn't say why the drought occurred; apparently it was just to get Elijah's prophecy career off to a good start. But if the book of James is right and it didn't rain anywhere on earth for 3 and a half years, then many people must have died of starvation.

I'll just guess that 3,000 people starved to death (1000 per year) in God's promotional campaign for Ellijah.

95. Elijah kills 450 religious leaders in a prayer contest

Ahab, the king of Israel, was a follower of Baal, which, of course, Yahweh and Elijah didn't like very much. So Elijah suggested a prayer contest to determine which god was the real God.

Elijah told Ahab to get all the prophets of Baal to meet him on Mt. Carmel.

Send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. 1 Kings 18:19

When they arrived, he told them to get a bull, kill it, chop it into pieces, and put the whole bloody mess on some wood. But don't light it on fire.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under. 18:23

Then ask Baal to light it all on fire.

And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. 18:24

So the prophets of Baal did that. They prayed and prayed all morning and jumped up and down on the altar, but nothing happened.

They took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. 18:26

Elijah taunted them, saying, "Pray harder! Maybe your god is on a trip or sleeping or something." But still there was no fire.

And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 18:27

The priests of Baal cut themselves with knives until their blood was gushing around all over. But nothing happened.

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them ... until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice ... there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded. 18:28-29

Then it was Elijah's turn. Just to show off, he poured water over the whole bloody mess three times.

He put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. 18:33-35

He prayed to God and a fire fell down from heaven and consumed it all, even the surrounding stones.

The fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 18:38

Then Elijah told the spectators to slaughter the 450 prophets of Baal (along with the 400 prophets of the grove? See 18:19).

Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men ... And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. 18:22, 40a

So that's what they did.

And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. 18:40b

And the hand of of the Lord was on Elijah.

And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah. 18:46

96. The first God-assisted slaughter of the Syrians

This is a fairly simple story.

A nameless prophet tells King Ahab that God will deliver the "great multitude" of Syrians into his hand that very day, just to let Ahab know that "God is the Lord."

There came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 1 Kings 20:13

So Ahab rounded up 232 princes and 7000 "children of Israel" and went off to fight the "great multitude" of Syrians.

Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. 20:15

They went out at noon while the Syrian king Benhadad was busy "drinking himself drunk" with the help of 32 other kings.

They went out at noon. But Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him. 20:16

Benhadad must have taken his orders from a different God, though, because he told his soldiers not to kill any prisoners. (The God of the Bible would never allow that. In fact, Ahab will later be killed by God for not killing Benhadad when he takes him prisoner.)

He said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive. 20:18

So the Israelites go out and kill lots of Syrians with a "great slaughter."

They slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them ... And the king of Israel ... slew the Syrians with a great slaughter. 20:20-21

And now we all know for sure that God is the Lord.

(Who else would be so proud of killing so many people?)

I guessed 10,000 for this one since it was a "great slaughter."

97. God killed 100,000 Syrians for calling him a God of the hills

Don't call God a God of the hills. He really doesn't like it.

The Syrians called him that.

The servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. 1 Kings 20:23

Then an anonymous "man of God" told the king of Israel (Ahab) that God would slaughter the Syrians for calling him a hill god and, by so doing, show Ahab that he is the Lord.

There came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 20:28

So God delivered the Syrians into Ahab's hand and the Israelites killed 100,000 in one day.

And the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day. 20:29

(That's about twice as many as were killed in the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. But then, God wasn't involved in that one. He couldn't make up his mind which side he was on.)

98. God killed 27,000 Syrians with a falling wall

In his last killing, God killed the 100,000 Syrians for calling him a hill god. But some of the name-calling Syrians escaped. God took care of them by having a wall fall on them, killing 27,000.

But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. 1 Kings 20:30a

It was a really big wall.

Note: Benhadad (the king of Syria) somehow managed to escape the falling wall.

And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber. 20:30b

He asked Ahab to let him live, offering to restore the cities that Syria had previously taken from Israel.

Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live ... And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. 20:32-34a

So Ahab made a treaty with Benhadad and let him live.

Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away. 20:34b

God would later kill him and his family for this act of mercy.

99. God sent a lion to kill a man for not smiting a prophet

I don't completely understand God's thinking on this one. Maybe a believer can explain it.

It all happens fast, in just two verses. Here's a summary:

A "son of a prophet" asked a "neighbor in the word of the Lord" to smite him.

A certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. 1 Kings 20:35a

The neighbor refused.

And the man refused to smite him. 20:35b

So God sent a lion to kill him.

Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him. 20.36

It turns out, though, that there was some reason to the prophet's madness. The prophet wanted a good disguise when he met King Ahab, and he figured a wound would help. So he wanted his neighbor to cut his face, so he could put a bandage on it, so King Ahab wouldn't recognize him when he saw him. Or something like that.

(I don't know why the prophet couldn't just put a bandage on his face or a bag over his head to disguise himself. And I'm not sure why the disguise was necessary anyway. But I guess it was all very important to God.)

Anyway, the bat-shit crazy prophet found another guy who was willing to smite him.

Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him. 20:37

And so the prophet got his costume ready for his meeting with King Ahab.

So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face. 20:38

Which leads us to God's next killing.

100. God killed Ahab for not killing a captured king

In God's last killing, he sent a lion to kill a man for not smiting a prophet when the prophet asked him to. But the next guy that came along was willing to do it, so the prophet was able to put ashes on his face and have a proper disguise for his meeting with King Ahab.

When King Ahab passed by, the prophet (with his cool disguise) said to him:

Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. 20:39-40a

Which, of course, was complete bullshit. God's prophet was not only crazy, but a liar, as well.

King Ahab played along, though, and said, "OK, whatever."

The king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it. 20:40b

Then the prophet wiped off the ashes on his face and revealed his true identity. He was a prophet! (It's really hard to tell a prophet when he has ashes on his face.)

He ... took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. 20:41

And then the prophet told King Ahab the bad news. God was going to kill the king (and his family, of course) for letting king Benhadad live. (See 1 Kings 20:34)

hus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. 20:42

And that's what happened. God carefully arranged things so that King Ahab would die while fighting the Syrians.

The battle increased that day: and the king [Ahab] was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. 20:35

And that is God's last killing in 1 Kings 20. (Five in one chapter!)

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