/ay"hab/, n.
1. a king of Israel and husband of Jezebel, reigned 874?-853? B.C. I Kings 16-22.
2. captain of the ship Pequod and tragic hero of Melville's Moby Dick, obsessed with the pursuit of the white whale.

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flourished 9th century BC

Seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel (r. с 874–853 BC).

He inherited a realm that included territory east of the Jordan River, in Gilead and probably Bashan, and also the tributary kingdom of Moab. His marriage to Jezebel revived an alliance with the Phoenicians, but her efforts to establish Baal worship provoked bitter opposition from Elijah. Ahab's reign was dominated by a fierce border war with Syria; he died in an attempt to recover Ramoth-Gilead from the Syrians.

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▪ king of Israel
also spelled  Achab  
flourished 9th century BC

      seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel (reigned c. 874–c. 853 BC), according to the Old Testament, and son of King Omri.

      Omri left to Ahab an empire that comprised not only territory east of the Jordan River, in Gilead and probably Bashan, but also the land of Moab, whose king was tributary. The southern kingdom of Judah, if not actually subject to Omri, was certainly a subordinate ally. And Ahab's marriage to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal of Sidon, revived an alliance with the Phoenicians that had been in abeyance since the time of Solomon.

      Throughout Ahab's reign, however, a fierce border war was waged with Syria in which Israel, in spite of occasional victories, proved the weaker, and in the meantime Mesha, king of Moab, successfully revolted and occupied the southern portions of the territory of Gad. The forces of Israel retained enough strength to contribute the second-largest contingent of soldiers (and the largest force of chariots) to the combined armies that, under the leadership of Ben-hadad I of Damascus, checked the westward movement of Shalmaneser III of Assyria at Karkar. After the Assyrians were repulsed, however, the alliance broke up, and Ahab met his death fighting the Syrians in a vain attempt to recover Ramoth-Gilead.

      Domestically, contact with a wider world and, especially, the alliance with Phoenicia had far-reaching consequences for the kingdom of Israel itself. Jezebel attempted to introduce into religion and government elements that were common enough elsewhere in the ancient world but strange in Israel. She tried to set up the worship of the Canaanite god Baal in the capital city of Samaria and to maintain the familiar Oriental principle of the absolute despotic power and authority of the sovereign. This roused the bitter hostility of that conservative party which clung to the sole worship of the national god, Yahweh, and at the same time held to those democratic conceptions of society that the Hebrews had brought with them from the wilderness and had consistently maintained. The spirit of this party found expression in the prophet Elijah, who protested against both the establishment of the Baal priests and Ahab's judicial murder of Naboth. Elijah and his successors seem to have been able to eliminate the foreign worship, though in the end their purpose was achieved only by a bloody revolution, but they were powerless to stem the tide of social and moral deterioration. To the reign of Ahab may be traced the beginning of that sapping of the national life which led to the condemnations of the 8th-century prophets and to the downfall of Samaria.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • AHAB — (Heb. אַחְאָב; paternal uncle ), son of omri and king of Israel (I Kings 16:29–22:40). Ahab reigned over the Israelite kingdom in Samaria for 22 years (c. 874–852 B.C.E.). Foreign Affairs Ahab continued his father s policy in the cultivation of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ahab — (or Ach av or Hebrew Name|אַחְאָב|Aḥʼav|ʼAḥăʼāḇ, ʼAḫʼāḇ| Brother of the father ) was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri ( 1 Kings 16:29 34). William F. Albright dated his reign to 869 BC 850 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates… …   Wikipedia

  • AHAB — Datos generales Origen Alemania Estado Activo Información artística Género(s) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ahab — Ahab, 1) Sohn Omri s, folgte diesem 918 v. Chr. als König in Israel; durch seine Gemahlin Isebel zum Götzendienst verleitet, verfolgte er die Priester der Landesreligion u. Propheten, weswegen ihm Elias ernste Strafpredigten hielt. Er führte… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ahab — (hebr., »Vatersbruder«), König von Israel, Sohn des Omri, 918–897, nach neuerer Annahme 874–853 v. Chr., behauptete die von seinem Vater erworbene Machtstellung. Mit Phönikien stand er in freundschaftlicher Verbindung und vermählte sich mit… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ahâb — Ahâb, König von Israel, um 900 v. Chr., durch seine Gemahlin Isebel Anbeter Baals und Verfolger der Jehovapropheten (Elias), fiel vor Rama in Gilead gegen Benhadad von Syrien; seine Familie rottete Jehu aus …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ahab — Ahab, König über Israel 918–897 v. Chr., vorzüglich durch seine phönic. Gemahlin Jesabel zum Götzendienste, zur Verfolgung der Propheten und Naboths Mord verleitet. Er wurde in einer Schlacht gegen den Syrer Benhadad tödtlich verwundet, sein Haus …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Ahab — [ā′hab΄] n. [Heb ach’av, lit., father s brother] Bible a wicked king of Israel of the 9th cent. B.C.: husband of Jezebel: 1 Kings 16:29 22:40 …   English World dictionary

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