Zimri (king)

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King of Israel
Reign 884 BCE
Predecessor Elah
Successor Tibni, Omri

Zimri or Zambri (Hebrew: זִמְרִי, Zimrī, praiseworthy; Latin: Zambri) was a king of Israel for seven days. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 876 BCE, while E. R. Thiele offers the date 885 BCE.[1] His story is told in 1 Kings, Chapter 16.

In the Bible[edit]

He was the chariot commander who murdered king Elah and all his family members at Tirzah, as Elah was drinking in the house of Arza, his steward.[2] Zimri succeeded Elah as king. However, Zimri reigned only seven days, because the army elected Omri as king, and with their support laid siege to Tirzah. Finding his position untenable, Zimri set fire to the palace, killing himself.

Omri became king only after four years of war with Tibni, another claimant to the throne of Israel.

Depiction of the coronation of Zimri, from Rudolf von Ems' Chronicle of the World.

The name Zimri became a byword for a traitor who murdered and made out with his wife his master. When Jehu led a bloody military revolt to seize the throne of Israel, killed both Jehoram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah, and entered the citadel of Jezreel to execute Queen Jezebel, she greeted him with the words: "Is it peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?" (2 Kings 9:31). In John Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, the character of Zimri stands for the Duke of Buckingham.


  1. ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 0-8254-3825-X, 9780825438257
  2. ^ Scott, Thomas and Henry, Matthew. The Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible: Ruth-Psalm LXIII, Fessenden and Company, 1836
Zimri (king)
Contemporary King of Judah: Asa
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Israel
885 BCE
Succeeded by