I think this must have been a period of time that greatly saddened God. One king after another provoked the anger of God more than any other before. I hope that my life and the lives of my children and their children and their children's children, well you get the point, do the exact opposite. I hope that each generation after me loves the Lord and lives lives pleasing to Him.
These chapters are definitely a low point in Israels moral history. Ahab was an evil man and like those before him "did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33)
Cam and I were discussing these chapters last night and he mentioned something that I found really interesting. 1 Kings 16:34 talks about a man name Hiel who rebuilt Jericho and how this fulfilled the prophetic curse that Joshua proclaimed in Joshua 6:26 several hundred years before.
At that time Joshua invoked this curse: "May the curse of the LORD fall on anyone who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn son, he will lay its foundation. At the cost of his youngest son, he will set up its gates." - Joshua 6:26
It was during his reign that Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho. When he laid its foundations, it cost him the life of his oldest son, Abiram. And when he completed it and set up its gates, it cost him the life of his youngest son, Segub. This all happened according to the message from the Lord concerning Jericho spoken by Joshua son of Nun. - 1 Kings 16:34
Hiel's rebuilding of Jericho, the very same walls that the Lord had torn down, was in direct disregard of Joshua's curse and takes place during Ahab's reign, an already decidedly wicked time. I think that this shows the utter contempt with which the warnings of the law were treated, or possibly that the people had removed themselves so far from following God's laws that they were completely ignorant of these types of warnings. Whether Hiel was unaware of the curse or being defiant, he began to rebuild the city and in the process of rebuilding he lost his firstborn. This might have been enough to discourage some from continuing as the curse was clear that he would lose his youngest son as well. Some interpretations believe that he will have lost all of his children in between as well. What kind of a world do you have to live in to be willing to sacrifice two of your children (possibly all of them) to rebuild a wall that God tore down and Joshua cursed?
Again, I pray and hope that I, or the generations to follow me, never stray so far from our God as to be so completely ignorant and defiant of the love of God.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Kings 17-19