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Catholic Dictionary




King of Israel from 885 to 874 B.C. He was a general who ascended the throne after the speedy elimination of Zimri (king for seven days). Perhaps Omri's most notable achievement was moving the seat of government from Tirzah to a hill named Samaria (I Kings 16:16). The redoubtable defenses he erected made it impregnable for years to come. By judiciously marrying his son Ahab to Jezebel and his daughter Athaliah to Jehoram, he forged useful alliances with Tyre and Judah. He is bitterly characterized in I Kings as "displeasing to Yahweh and was worse than all his predecessors" (I Kings 16:25). The prophet Micah substantiated this: "You keep the laws of Omri . . . and they force me to make a terrible example of you" (Micah 6:16).