Om'ri (Heb. Omri', עָמרַי, thought by Gesenius and Furst to be for עָמרַיָּה, the former in the sense of taught of Jehovah, the latter apportioned of Jehovah; but it is doubtful if the etymology contains the divine name; Sept. in 1 Kings Α᾿υβρί; elsewhere Α᾿μαρία Α᾿μαρί, v. r. Ζαμβρί, Μαρί; Josephus, Α᾿μαρῖνος, Ant. 8:12, 5), the name of fourmen:
1. The fifth named of nine sons of Becher, son of Benjamin (1Ch 7:8). B.C. cir. 1618.
2. Son of Imri and father of Ammihud, of the tribe of Judah (1Ch 9:4). B.C. post 1618.
3. Son of Michael, and David's captain in the tribe of Issachar (1Ch 27:18). B.C. cir. 1017.
4. The commander-in-chief of the armies of Elah, king of Israel (1Ki 16:16), and the seventh king of Israel, who began to reign in B.C. 926, and reigned eleven fill (or twelve current) years, founding the third dynasty. He was engaged in the siege of Gibbethon, a Levitical city in Dan, of which the Philistines had gained possession, when the news came to the camp of the death of Elah and the usurpation of Zinri. On this the army proclaimed their general, Omri, king of Israel. He then lost not a moment, but leaving Gibbethon in the power of the infidels, went and besieged his competitor in Tirzah, carrying on the war so vigorously that Zimri soon despaired, and burned himself in his palace. But Omri was no sooner delivered of this rival, SEE ZIMRI, than another appeared in the person of Tibni, whom a part of the people had raised to the throne, probably from unwillingness to submit to military dictation. This occasioned a civil war which lasted four years (comp. 1Ki 16:15 with 23) and left Omri undisputed master of the throne (B.C. 922). His reign lasted seven years more, his general character being "worse than all that had preceded him" (1Ki 16:25). This is the same Omri mentioned (2Ch 22:2) as father of Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, king of Israel. Six of these latter years "he spent in Tirzah, although the palace there was destroyed; but at the end of that time, in spite of the proverbial beauty of the site (Song 6:4), he transferred his residence, probably from the proved inability of Tirzah to stand a siege, to the mountain Shomron, better known by its Greek name Samaria, which he bought for two talents of silver from a rich man, otherwise unknown, called Shemer. SEE SAMARIA. It is situated about six miles from Shechem, the most ancient of Hebrew capitals; and its position, according to Prof. Stanley (S. and P. p. 240), 'combined, in a union not elsewhere found in Palestine, strength, fertility, and beauty.' Bethel, however, remained the religious metropolis of the kingdom, and the calf-worship of Jeroboam was maintained with increased determination and disregard of God's law (1Ki 16:26). He seems to have been a vigorous and unscrupulous ruler, anxious to strengthen his dynasty by intercourse and alliances with foreign states. Thus he made a treaty with Benhadad I, king of Damascus, though on very unfavorable conditions, surrendering to him some frontier cities (1Ki 20:34), and among them probably Ramoth-Gilead (1Ki 22:3), and admitting into Samaria a resident Syrian embassy, which is described by the expression he made streets in Samaria for Benhadad. SEE AHAB. As a part of the same system, he united his son in marriage to the daughter of a principal Phoenician prince, which led to the introduction into Israel of Baal-worship, and all its attendant calamities and crimes. This worldly and irreligious policy is denounced by Micah (Mic 6:16) under the name of the 'statutes of Omri,' which appear to be contrasted with the Lord's precepts to his people, 'to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.' It achieved, however, a temporary success, for Omri left his kingdom in peace to his son Ahab; and his family, unlike the ephemeral dynasties which had preceded him, gave four kings to Israel, and occupied the throne for about half a century, till it was overthrown by the great reaction against Baal-worship under Jehu.:" Omri is mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions (q.v.) as the founder of Beth- Khumri or Samaria (Rawlinson, Hist. Evidences, p. 109). On the chronology of this reign, see Offerhaus, Spicil. p. 45; Ussher, Annal. p. 37. SEE ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF.