After having got Naboth killed Ahab is told by the prophet Elijah that in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth they will also lick his

KJV 1 Kings 21 : 19

And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.

We are told that after hearing this pronouncement Ahab repented and is promised this will only take place during his son's reign

KJV 1 Kings 21 : 29

Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.

But later Ahab suffers the same fate which the prophet had initial pronounced against him prior to his repentance

KJV 1 Kings 22 : 37 - 38

So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. 38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.

Did God repent of the evil he had proclaimed against Ahab?

1 Answer 1


In Eze 18 we have the principle of freedom of moral choice declared quite clearly. The wicked can turn from their wicked ways and be saved:

V21-23 - But if the wicked man turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the transgressions he has committed will be held against him. Because of the righteousness he has practiced, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Lord GOD. Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?

Equally, the righteous can turn away and be lost:

V24 - But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, committing the same abominations as the wicked, will he live? None of the righteous acts he did will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness and sin he has committed, he will die.

The sequence of events with Ahab was as follows:

  • 1 Kings 17:30, 31 - Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And as if it were not enough for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, he even married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and he then proceeded to serve and worship Baal.
  • 1 Kings 17 - Drought and famine in Samaria for 3½ years
  • 1 Kings 18 - Mt Carmel experience that breaks the drought - Elijah's life threatened
  • 1 Kings 20 - Ahab allows Ben-hadad to live and even makes a treaty with him, rather than destroying him, which draws condemnation from God's prophet
  • 1 Kings 21 - Ahab condemns the innocent a draws another prophet's condemnation and prophecy that dogs would lick Ahab's blood (which is very insulting!).

All this drew the following summation from the chronicler:

1 Kings 21:25, 26 - Surely there was never one like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the LORD, incited by his wife Jezebel. He committed the most detestable acts by going after idols, just like the Amorites whom the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.

As a result of the prophecy in V19 and 21-24, Ahab repented and the LORD relented:

V27-29 - When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and fasted. He lay down in sackcloth and walked around meekly. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying: “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity during his days, but I will bring it upon his house in the days of his son.”

Despite the temporary reform, Ahab continued to be sinful as the egotistical and narcissistic battle in 1 Kings 22 betrays - Ahab had not fully reformed his life.

What happened?

  1. The prophecy about dogs licking Ahab's blood (1 Kings 21:19, 21-23) was delayed by many years
  2. Ahab still died an ignoble death because of the battle that he should not have fought
  3. Ahab, when he died, had his blood licked by dogs, 1 Kings 22:38
  4. Ahab's royal line was not terminated with his death but that of his grand-son, Joram who was killed by Jehu, 2 Kings 9.

According to Eze 18, all this would have been avoided by Ahab, if he had fully committed his heart to serving the LORD God.

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