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, 1Ki 16:8-28.
Tirzah had previously been the chief residence of the kings of Israel; but when Omri purchased the hill of Shomeron, 1Ki 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.
servant of Jehovah. When Elah was murdered by Zimri at Tirzah (1Ki 16:15-27), Omri, his captain, was made king (B.C. 931). For four years there was continued opposition to his reign, Tibni, another claimant to the throne, leading the opposing party; but at the close of that period all his rivals were defeated, and he became king of Israel, "Tibni died and Omri reigned" (B.C. 927). By his vigour and power he gained great eminence and consolidated the kingdom. He fixed his dynasty on the throne so firmly that it continued during four succeeding reigns. Tirza was for six years the seat of his government. He then removed the capital to Samaria (q.v.), where he died, and was succeeded by his son Ahab. "He wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him."
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" (comp. 2Ki 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."
("servant of Jehovah".)
1. Elah's captain. Besieged Gibbethon in Dan, the siege had some time before been begun by Nadab (1Ki 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 (1Ki 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 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 (1Ki 20:34), including Ramoth Gilead (1Ki 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 Mic 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 1Ki 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 (1Ki 16:27).
2. 1Ch 7:8.
3. 1Ch 9:4.
4. 1Ch 27:18.
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." 1Ki 16:16-30. In Mic 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. 1Ch 7:8.
3. Son of Imri, a descendant of Judah. 1Ch 9:4.
4. Son of Michael, and a ruler of Issachar. 1Ch 27:18.
(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,"
desired to raise to the throne. The civil war lasted four years. Comp.
with 1Kin 16:23 After the defeat sad 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.
3. A descendant of Pharez the son of Judah,
4. Son of Michael, and chief of the tribe of Issachar in the reign of David.