Well there’s this dude in the Old Testament who makes any gargantuan crime of any politician seem like child’s play. What baffles me is that at a time when God was extremely active in king making, this king managed to remain in power for 22 years! I’m also curious about his wife, a woman who scared the legendary prophet Elijah out of his socks animal-skin flip-flops, a woman who is even used in modern day to describe evil, ruthless women who stop at nothing to get what they want; Jezebel.
So I called King Ahab up, and I was like “Yo, what’re my chances of getting an exclusive with you?” I was surprised when he acquiesced, but I guess there’s something about the afterlife that humbles even the proudest of us. When he showed up, he had such an air of humility about him, but alas, it’s appointed unto man to die once, and afterwards face judgment.
After offering him a much-appreciated sachet of special ice pure water (lol), I dug right in.
Me: Ahab, can I call you that, without the ‘King’? Kinda makes it long
K.A: Well, I guess. Much worse has befallen me since I died.
Me: Really? Like what? Okay, you know what, let’s start from scratch; tell me about your family.
He sighed, heavily.
K.A: Well, it’s no secret; my dad wasn’t the perfect role model.
Me: I don’t mean to be cold, but you say it like he was close to being perfect when in fact Omri sinned against the Lord more than any of his predecessors right?
K.A: Yes, but he moved the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel from Tirzah to Samaria. The military and strategic implications of that move were profound. We were more strategically located than all the major cities in all directions, so you see he wasn’t all evil. Besides, how can I judge him when I turned out worse?
Me: I was coming to that. Ahab, you were the oldest of three boys. You knew your dad and were old enough to see his mistakes and its consequences. Why on earth did you repeat them, and on a greater scale? I mean the Bible at some point even states “There was no one else who had devoted himself so completely to doing wrong in the Lord’s sight as Ahab.” Chaa, yawa o.
K.A: I want it to go on record, that I’m not being a coward or a snitch by saying this behind her back, but Jezebel was the reason for it.
Me: So why did you marry her then? And why didn’t you divorce her when you realized the negative influence she was having on you?
K.A: I didn’t realize it till it was too late. Plus, at the time, it didn’t seem like a bad idea. I mean, she was gorgeous. She used mascara and eye shadow and other cosmetics in ways that made her more beautiful than any of your current Legon girls. And it was an intelligent decision because politically, our marriage strengthened my rule and that of my father’s.
Me: How so?
K.A: See, her dad was a Phoenician king. The alliance between Israel and Phoenicia provided additional military protection from the Syrians and opened up opportunities for trade and economic growth through Phoenician sea trade.
Me: Wow, solid reasons you got there. But I guess it means that no matter how economically or politically profitable any venture may seem to be, if it doesn’t glorify God, it’s pointless, abi?
K.A: And also that, you’ve got to marry a woman you love, with God’s blessings. Not because your folks or friends think is right for you and will solve your money or career problems.
Me: True. But your mistake repeated itself in your daughter’s life, abi?
K.A: Yeah, Athaliah was sweet, but in so many ways like her mother. When I gave her to Jehoshaphat’s boy, it bound Judah to my kingdom closer.
Me: But it wasn’t worth it, because, it turned the boy into a monster; he killed all his six brothers immediately he ascended to the throne, and he was only 32. He turned out so bad that eventually God himself struck him with a dreadful intestine disease which killed him after two years of immense agony, he was only 40. Nobody was sorry when he died and he wasn’t buried in a royal tomb like they did for his predecessors.
K.A: Yeah yeah yeah, but I thought you invited me to talk about me.
Me: True, forgive the deviation, it’s just that….never mind. So what was your most trying experience as King of Israel?
K.A: That’ll have to be every experience I had with that trouble maker Elijah. That guy was the worst troublemaker in all of Israel.
Me: Really, I thought he was a renowned prophet.
K.A: Fair enough, but check this. Say you’re king of Ghana, like Mahama, he’s your king right?
Me: well, I guess, but he has an expiry date on his kingshipi.
K.A: Whatever, imagine you were he and a random man comes to tell you there won’t be rain in Ghana for three years, then he just escapes, disappears and for three years there was no rain. For a kingdom atop a hill, can you imagine the kind of pressure I got put under by my subjects?
Me: Honestly, no.
K.A: It was terrible I tell you. Whenever the ruler of a country reported that Elijah was not in his country, I had that ruler swear that he could not be found.
Me: So why didn’t you kill him when you had the chance?
K.A: Well, he had a lot of vim , I’ll give that to him. Plus he challenged my priests. I had a feeling it had to do with the rains, I mean three years had passed.
Me: Yeah, how did that go down?
K.A: You know what happened. Plus it’s not one of my fondest memories, seeing 450 of my priests getting humiliated like that. It was a challenge, and my hands were tied. But what baffled me most was how Elijah was able to run ahead of my Chariots all the way to Jezreel. You guys think Hussein Bolt is fast? You should have seen Elijah that day.
Me: It was the power of the Lord that enabled him to do that.
Ahab started laughing
Me: Why, what’s funny?
K.A: Well, I’m just wondering where that power went when the dude heard my wife’s threat. I mean she had her issues and all, but Jezzy baby knew how to get things done.
Me: Like the way she got you Naboth’s vineyard?
He got quite defensive
K.A: look I had nothing to do with that. All I did was to tell her why I was so sad and gloomy. Naboth had it coming, I mean who refuses a king?
Me: Come on Ahab, you owned a palace and so much, would your life have been so miserable without that that small patch of land?
K.A: But it was so close to my palace and such a perfect place for a vegetable garden. Besides, I offered to buy it or give him a better vineyard. Would Sadam have done that? Or Idi Amin? No, but I did, and what does he tell me? Some rubbish about inheriting it from his ancestors.
Me: So that was enough reason to kill him?
K.A: I didn’t do it! I didn’t write that letter and issue those orders
Me: But you were delighted when Jezebel told you he had died, in fact, you rushed to take over the land.
K.A: Look, when Elijah pointed out my wrongs, I repented and humbled myself. That’s why God told Elijah that he wont bring disaster on me during my lifetime.
Me: Amazing grace!
K.A: I know right!
Me: So about that fatal mistake that resulted in your death. If you were so right with God, how come you couldn’t tell that the prophet Micaiah was speaking the truth?
K.A: (bowed his head and sighed heavily) E not be easy o. You see, my good friend and father in law to my daughter –Jehoshaphat- had come to visit. You seem to know your scriptures, so I’m sure you know about how much better a king he was in God’s sight. Well, at the time he came to visit I had decided to fight the Syrians and reclaim some land that rightfully belonged to us.
Jeho agreed, on the condition that we consult God on the matter. 400. I repeat 400 of my best prophets said it was God’s will to go. I mean how many prophets does it take for you guys to accuse your mothers of witchcraft these days? One! So to have had 400 prophets say it was cool to go to war was a done deal.
Me: but Miciaiah prophesied otherwise.
K.A: See, I never liked Micaiah because he never prophesied anything good for me, always something bad.
Me: Can you blame him? I’m sorry, that came out wrong, you go on.
K.A: hmmn, asem o. Well, so when Micaiah said I’ll lose the battle, me I wasn’t shocked, that’s how he’s.
Me: But he gave you solid reasons
K.A: Well he said he had a vision in which God –surrounded by his angels- was asking who will deceive me so I’ll go and be killed in Ramoth. In the confusion some spirit bi stepped forward and offered to do the job by making my prophets prophecy lies, but I thought he was making it up.
Me: So turns out he wasn’t wrong after all?
K.A: duh! And the shocker was that I got arrow-shot, even in my disguise.
Me: Maybe the disguise wasn’t good enough.
K.A: But it was! No one could have told the difference between me and the thousands of soldiers. It was my friend Jeho who was supposed to die, because I had convinced him to go for the battle in his royal garments. The damn Syrian king had also ordered 32 chariot commanders to attack no one else but me, or the one in the royal garments, so I was not supposed to die.
Me: So how come he survived and you died?
K.A: My brother, if your time catch a, e catch o. It was some stray bullet arrow that got me. I bled to death later that evening.
Me: I’m sorry. But I think your son’s death was sadder. Ahaziah ruled for only two years.
K.A: I blame myself you know. The acorn doesn’t really fall far from the tree. Maybe if I’d been a better father, set a better example, he wouldn’t have done the things he did.
Me: Yeah God got pretty upset when after he got seriously injured by falling off the roof of his palace (authors note: Roof paah? What’re the chances of a king falling off a roof?!?!! ), he sent for a mallam, a juju man, some powerless Philistine god. As if there was no God in Israel to consult.
K.A: He didn’t even have a child.
Me: So tell me Ahab, if you could do things differently, what would you change? Maybe I can learn something from that.
K.A: For starters, I’ll have married the right woman. Most of what I did wrong was at her urging. Second, I’ll not have emulated my father, I’ll have been a better man for my kids. I’ll have taken God more seriously and done away with the idols Jezzy baby brought with her from Phoenicia. And I’ll have paid more attention to Micaiah, I won’t have died. At least, not then, not that way.
NB: Other than structure and delivery, none of what you’ve just read is fiction, it all happened! There were other very interesting facts time and focus didn’t allow me to put here. Read 1 Kgs 16- 2Kgs 1 and 2 Chrs 17-22 for the full story.
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