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|King of Israel|
Omri from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum
|Reign||884 BC – 873 BC|
|House||House of Omri|
Omri (Hebrew: עמרי, ‘Omri; fl. 9th century BC) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the sixth king of Israel. He was a successful military campaigner who extended the northern kingdom of Israel. Other monarchs from the House of Omri are Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, and Athaliah. Like his predecessor, king Zimri, who ruled for only seven days, Omri is the second king mentioned in the Bible without a statement of his tribal origin. One possibility, though unproven, is that he was of the tribe of Issachar.
Omri is credited with the construction of Samaria and establishing it as his capital. Although the Bible is silent about other actions taken during his reign, he is described as doing more evil than all the kings who preceded him.
An alternative modern hypothesis maintains that, as founder of the House of Omri, an Israelite royal house, his kingdom formed the first state in the Land of Israel, and that the Kingdom of Judah only achieved statehood later.
Extrabiblical sources such as the Mesha Stele and the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III also mention his name; however, in the case of the Black Obelisk the reference is to the dynasty named for Omri rather than to Omri himself. A minor thesis, argued by Thomas Thompson and Niels Peter Lemche, suggests that Omri may be a dynastic name indicating the apical founder of the Kingdom of Israel rather than one denoting an actual historical king.