Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. … he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 1 Kings 16:30-33
1 Kings 16:8-20. Elah and Zimri of Israel (886-885 B.C.)
Two minor kings are mentioned, each of whom takes the throne by murder, and each of whom is killed for the throne he stole.
1 Kings 16:21-28. Omri of Israel (885-874 B.C.)
A civil war between supporters of Tibni and Omri is settled after some five years by the death of Tibni. Omri “did evil… and sinned more than all those before him” (16:25).
Little is said of Omri in the OT. But other records of that era give us a picture of his significant reign. The Arameans under Benhadad I were putting on pressure from he east. Assyria was expanding, and during Omri’s time, Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) occupied the lands above Israel even to the Mediterranean Sea. Omri rebuilt Israel’s strength during this critical period.
He established a new capitol at Samaria (1 Kings 16:24), built to be a defensive strong hold. Excavation has shown the high quality of its construction. From the Moabite Stone, a monument found in 1898, we know hat “Omri, King of Israel” conquered Moab and imposed tribute. The marriage of his son Ahab to Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, shows he made an important alliance with that coastal power. Final evidence of the resurgence of Israel under this vigorous though evil king is found in inscriptions from several Assyrian rulers, which over a century later still identify Israel as the “land of Omri.”
Ahab as King: 1 Kings 16:29-34. The basic evaluation of Ahab is that “he did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (30).
30 Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
–> What makes them all evil is idol worship. In spite of the power and riches they possessed, the lives of these kings appear to be so worthless. They themselves sinned and made their people sin. They lived and then died.
In hindsight, they could be collectively a single person, an evil king. Individually, they don’t matter — to God and to us.