1. 1 Kings 16:34 (ESV)
  2. Illustrations

Importance of Time of Ahab

1 Kings 16:34 (ESV)

34 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.

You can explain this by comparing to good novels, which are full of literary devices an author uses to bring his message home (cliff-hangers, flashbacks, plot twists, foreshadowing, etc.). Another technique sometimes used is what you could call “real estate”: how much ink does an author spill for a key scene in the narrative? The activity in that scene may in reality only span twenty minutes, but in a book of two hundred pages covering a year of activity, that one scene may take up thirty pages. So, relative to the timeline of the rest of the book, that one scene covers a lot of real estate. The author wants to draw special attention to this scene by slowing down the narrative, by building suspense, giving you every last detail. Ahab’s reign marked a major turn in the road for Israel. To bring that across, the author of 1 Kings uses the device of “real estate.” Ever since the division of the kingdom in 1 Kings 11:1–43, the author has been moving through the reigns of the kings of Israel very quickly. But all of that slows right down when he reaches the reign of Ahab at the end of chapter 16. From there to nearly the end of the book at 1 Kings 22:1–53—roughly six chapters in total—the author focuses in on the reign of this man. And at the same time, he focuses on the work of Elijah during Ahab’s reign. 1 Kings 16:34really marks the pivot point in the book.