BAASHA (bā'a-sha, Heb. ba‘shā’, boldness). The son of Ahijah, of the tribe of Issachar. He became the third king of Israel by assassinating Nadab, when that king, the son of Jeroboam, was directing the siege of Gibbethon in the land of the Philistines. Baasha exterminated the house of Jeroboam and made Tirzah his capital. He ascended the throne in the third year of Asa, king of Judah (1Kgs.15.1-1Kgs.15.34-1Kgs.16.1-1Kgs.16.34), and carried on a long war with him. About the sixteenth year of Asa, Baasha began to fortify Ramah, five miles (eight km.) north of Jerusalem, in order to blockade the northern frontier of Judah. He was prevented from completing this work by Ben-Hadad, king of Damascus, whom Asa had hired (1Kgs.15.16-1Kgs.15.21; 2Chr.16.1-2Chr.16.6). Asa then tore down Baasha’s defenses, and for his own protection built up the bulwarks of Geba (between Ramah and Jerusalem). Baasha continued the calf worship begun by Jeroboam, and Jehu the prophet threatened him and his house with a worse fate than Jeroboam’s. After a reign of twenty-four years he died a natural death and was succeeded by his son Elah, who, along with every member of the house of Baasha, was killed by Zimri (1Kgs.15.1-1Kgs.15.34-1Kgs.16.1-1Kgs.16.34).——SB
BAASHA bā’ ə shə
, LXX Βαασα
, possibly from a root meaning to be bad or offensive). Third king of the northern kingdom, 909-886 b.c.
and founder of its second dynasty.
Hosea (8:4) charged Israel (the northern kingdom) with making kings but not at Jehovah’s direction or in consultation with Him. The history of Jeroboam’s kingdom proved to be a long succession of dynastic changes, nine in all, in which Baasha was the first conspirator. Jeroboam’s dynasty never reached beyond his son, Nadab, who was overthrown by Baasha, the son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar (1 Kings 15:27).
Immediately upon overthrowing Nadab, Baasha took two steps to secure his reign, neither of which was successful. He slew all the remaining members of the house of Jeroboam (15:29), but after twenty-six years, two of which belonged to the reign of his son, Zimri conspired against his master and reigned in his stead ending Baasha’s dynasty. The second illfated step was the attempt to build a fortification against Asa, king of Judah, at Ramah. Asa stripped the temple of its gold and silver to make a league with Benhadad (of Syria) against Baasha (15:18, 19), whom the latter forced to withdraw from Ramah to Tirzah. Asa used the abandoned materials to build Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. War continued between Asa and Baasha all their days.
Although Baasha was used of Jehovah to bring judgment upon the house of Jeroboam (15:29, 30), he incurred the wrath of the Lord by following the pattern set by his dynastic predecessor (16:7). The prophetic (Ahijah, Jehu, and Elijah) denunciations of the sins of Jeroboam (14:11), Baasha (16:3, 4) and Ahab (21:19) classes the three together and manifests the violent fate which awaited them. Those who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs, and those who died in the open country by the birds.
J. B. Payne, An Outline of Hebrew History (1954) 121-129; J. Bright, A History of Israel (1959) 214-218.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ba`sha’, ("boldness"): King of Israel. Baasha, son of Ahijah, and of common birth (1Ki 16:2), usurped the throne of Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, killed Nadab and exterminated the house of Jeroboam. He carried on a long warfare with Asa, the king of Judah (compare Jer 41:9), began to build Ramah, but was prevented from completing this work by Ben- hadad, the king of Syria. He is told by the prophet Jehu that because of his sinful reign the fate of his house would be like that of Jeroboam. Baasha reigned 24 years. His son Elah who succeeded him and all the members of his family were murdered by the usurper Zimri (1Ki 15:16 ff; 16:1 ff; 2Ch 16:1 ff). The fate of his house is referred to in 1Ki 21:22; 2Ki 9:9. Compare ASA; ELAH; ZIMRI.