(1 Kings 16:9-20)

“Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.”—Proverbs


“In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.”

“The triumphing of the wicked is short.” It was sharply exemplified in the case of Zimri—just one week. He appears to have had no support from the people, who knew his character and desired not his rule. News of his assumption of the crown had no sooner reached the army at Gibbethon than they rejected his claims by proclaiming their commander-in-chief, Omri, king.

“And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died, for his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.” Murderers are generally desperate characters; and when it is beyond their power any more to destroy the lives of others, they, like wretched Zimri, frequently destroy their own. Satan “was a murderer from the beginning,” and he knows how to goad them on to their destruction—body and soul. He knows the suicide’s destiny after death. Judas, the traitor-suicide, we read, went “to his own place”—where “the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers,” etc., have their place—in “the lake of fire.”

Zimri’s perfidy became a byword in Israel. The infamous Jezebel could refer to him and say, “Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?” “Treason is punished by treason,” one has said, “and the slayer is slain.” In Zimri was fulfilled the true proverb, “A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him” (Prov. 28:17). Let Zimri’s end warn intentional regicides and traitors.