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1 Kings 21:20-29

Context

21:20 When Elijah arrived, Ahab said to him, 1  “So, you have found me, my enemy!” Elijah 2  replied, “I have found you, because you are committed 3  to doing evil in the sight of 4  the Lord. 21:21 The Lord says, 5  ‘Look, I am ready to bring disaster 6  on you. I will destroy you 7  and cut off every last male belonging to Ahab in Israel, including even the weak and incapacitated. 8  21:22 I will make your dynasty 9  like those of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah because you angered me and made Israel sin.’ 10  21:23 The Lord says this about Jezebel, ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the outer wall 11  of Jezreel.’ 21:24 As for Ahab’s family, dogs will eat the ones 12  who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the country.” 21:25 (There had never been anyone like Ahab, who was firmly committed 13  to doing evil in the sight of 14  the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. 15  21:26 He was so wicked he worshiped the disgusting idols, 16  just like the Amorites 17  whom the Lord had driven out from before the Israelites.)

21:27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and fasted. He slept in sackcloth and walked around dejected. 21:28 The Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, 18  21:29 “Have you noticed how Ahab shows remorse 19  before me? Because he shows remorse before me, I will not bring disaster on his dynasty during his lifetime, but during the reign of his son.” 20 

1 tn Heb “and Ahab said to Elijah.” The narrative is elliptical and streamlined. The words “when Elijah arrived” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Elijah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Heb “you have sold yourself.”

4 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

5 tn The introductory formula “the Lord says” is omitted in the Hebrew text, but supplied in the translation for clarification.

6 sn Disaster. There is a wordplay in the Hebrew text. The word translated “disaster” (רָעָה, raah) is similar to the word translated “evil” (v. 20, הָרַע, hara’). Ahab’s sins would receive an appropriate punishment.

7 tn Heb “I will burn after you.” Some take the verb בָּעַר (baar) to mean here “sweep away.” See the discussion of this verb in the notes at 14:10 and 16:3.

8 tn Heb “and I will cut off from Ahab those who urinate against a wall, [including both those who are] restrained and let free [or “abandoned”] in Israel.” The precise meaning of the idiomatic phrase עָצוּר וְעָזוּב (’atsur vÿazuv, translated here “weak and incapacitated”) is uncertain. For various options see HALOT 871 s.v. עצר and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 107. The two terms are usually taken as polar opposites (“slaves and freemen” or “minors and adults”), but Cogan and Tadmor, on the basis of contextual considerations (note the usage with אֶפֶס (’efes), “nothing but”) in Deut 32:36 and 2 Kgs 14:26, argue convincingly that the terms are synonyms, meaning “restrained and abandoned,” and refer to incapable or incapacitated individuals.

9 tn Heb “house.”

10 tn Heb “because of the provocation by which you angered [me], and you caused Israel to sin.”

11 tc A few Hebrew mss and some ancient versions agree with 2 Kgs 9:10, 36, which reads, “the plot [of ground] at Jezreel.” The Hebrew words translated “outer wall” (חֵל, khel, defectively written here!) and “plot [of ground]” (חֵלֶק, kheleq) are spelled similarly.

12 tn “Dogs will eat the ones who belonging to Ahab who die in the city.”

13 tn Heb “who sold himself.”

14 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

15 tn Heb “like Ahab…whom his wife Jezebel incited.”

16 tn The Hebrew word used here, גִלּוּלִים (gillulim) is always used as a disdainful reference to idols. It is generally thought to have originally referred to “dung pellets” (cf. KBL 183 s.v. גִלּוּלִים). It is only one of several terms used in this way, such as אֱלִילִים (’elilim, “worthless things”) and הֲבָלִים (havalim, “vanities” or “empty winds”).

17 tn Heb “He acted very abominably by walking after the disgusting idols, according to all which the Amorites had done.”

18 tn Heb “the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite.”

19 tn Or “humbles himself.” The expression occurs a second time later in this verse.

20 tn Heb “I will not bring the disaster during his days, [but] in the days of his son I will bring the disaster on his house.”



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