King Ahab—the son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings 16-22.
His wife was Jezebel, who exercised a very evil influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam, he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by Elijah for his wickedness. For this reason, his anger was kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him.
He undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II, king of Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other concessions to Ahab.
After three years of peace, for some reason, Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was imprisoned for trying to dissuade Ahab from his purpose.
Ahab went into the battle disguised, to try to escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow “drawn at a venture” pierced him, and though he stayed up in his chariot for a time, he died towards evening, and Elijah’s prophecy (1 Kings 21:19) was fulfilled.
He reigned twenty-three years. Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is referred to as an excellent example of a wicked king (2 Kings 8:18; 2 Chronicles 22:3; Micah 6:16).