Ahab



a king of Israel and husband of Jezebel, reigned 874?–853? b.c. I Kings 16–22.
captain of the ship Pequod and tragic hero of Melville’s Moby Dick, obsessed with the pursuit of the white whale.
Contemporary Examples

GOP politicians on both the state and federal level attack legal abortion with an obsession rivaling Captain Ahab.
The GOP’s Latest Ploy: Flatter Married Women Amanda Marcotte January 30, 2014

Individuals abstain from food to express contrition (Ahab) or to prepare for divine revelation (Moses).
The Enlightenment Diet Bruce Feiler September 26, 2009

Historical Examples

Nathan and David, Elijah and Ahab, have become universal types.
Comparative Religion J. Estlin Carpenter

Step and growl; growl and go—that’s the word with Captain Ahab.
Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville

Hostilities between Israel and Syria lasted to the days of Ahab.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 9 Various

Captain Ahab is all ready—just spoke to him—nothing more to be got from shore, eh?
Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville

Athaliah, whose name 131 gives its title to the tragedy, was daughter to the wicked king, Ahab.
French Classics William Cleaver Wilkinson

And, as for Captain Ahab, no sign of him was yet to be seen; only, they said he was in the cabin.
Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville

Ancient Jewish tradition identified him with the man who had “drawn his bow at a venture” and slain King Ahab.
The Expositor’s Bible F. W. Farrar

And all these subtle agencies, more and more they wrought on Ahab’s texture.
Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville

noun
(Old Testament) the king of Israel from approximately 869 to 850 bc and husband of Jezebel: rebuked by Elijah (I Kings 16:29–22:40)

father’s brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings 16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose. Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow “drawn at a venture” pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah’s prophecy (1 Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years. Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings 8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16). (2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of whom nothing further is known.

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