The son and successor of Omri, Ahab ruled as one of Israel's most powerful kings from roughly 873 to 851 BCE. After expanding the summit of Samaria, his capital city, he constructed a massive casemate fortification wall enclosing lavishly appointed royal buildings, including the “ivory house” (1 Kings 22.39). Ahab brought Israel to the fore of international politics by marrying the Sidonian princess Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31), fighting protracted wars against the Arameans of Damascus (1 Kings 20), struggling for hegemony over Transjordan (1 Kings 22; Moabite Stone), and participating in the anti‐Assyrian league at Qarqar in the Orontes Valley (Assyrian records). But deeply rooted north‐south tensions and the Judahite perspective of the final Deuteronomic history resulted in a critical treatment of Ahab in the Bible (1 Kings 16.29–22.40); narratives describing the antagonism between Ahab and the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17–19) constitute the sharpest polemic against him.

See also Israel, History of


Ron Tappy