1. 1 Kings 16:29–22:40 (ESV)
  2. Structure and outline

Indications that the reign of Ahab is a turning point in the narrative

1 Kings 16:29–22:40 (ESV)

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.

Since the division of the kingdom (1 Kings 12:1–33), the author moves through the reigns of the kings at an increasingly swift rate, until he reaches the reign of Ahab in 1 Kings 16:29. This reign marks a significant slowing down of the author’s pace of recording Israel’s history. Hereafter, to the end of the book, the author focuses on the reign of Ahab. What confirms that this reign is a peak of sin and apostasy in Israel is that it called for divine intervention, that is, for the ministry of the prophets, Elijah and Elisha. Fifteen out of the forty-seven chapters (1 Kings 17—2 Kings 9) cover the lives of the two prophets. In other words, almost a third of the history is given to the roughly eighty-year period during which they lived, even though the book itself covers over 400 years. Thus, the sinful event of 1 Kings 16:34 and the punishment for the event set the stage for the Lord to come to his people in an intensified way.