add that when he bargained his life away, he could have killed Ben Hadad and still had everything Ben Hadad offered him. Why, then, did he set him free? Sympathy? Weakness? No strong wife character at his elbow to prompt him?
The tragedy of Ahab is that he refused to feel the touch of decent people like Obadiah and Elijah.
Ahab seemed to slouch continually toward evil. He married a priestess of Ba’al who pushed the worship of the Lord almost completely out of Israel. He buddied up to an enemy. He pouted about a vegetable garden. When he heard God was going to get him, he groveled. And going into battle he pushed his ally toward the enemy spears.
For 22 years Ahab moved in and out of contact with people of fairly good character, but he shrank back from them. Not that they were polishing their halos, but that many of their deeds were pointing out ways for Ahab to choose life.
George Lucas captured the contrast in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
- “You have chosen…wisely.”
- “He chose…poorly.”
As Ahab stepped up to take his turn on the throne, the choice was his – wise or foolish. His tombstone could have said, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
The very words of God’s challenge to Ahab’s ancestors seem directed to the king himself: “…choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:19) But Ahab’s choices destroyed his life and the lives of his children, as well as earning a record epitaph.