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Zimri (Hebrew: "praiseworthy") is the name of two characters in the Bible.

In the Wilderness

During the forty-year wandering of the nation of Israel in the wilderness, Zimri was a Simeonite prince who took a Midianitish woman as a concubine. Zimri defied a direct order from Moses that all Israelites should put away their foreign wives. Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, executed Zimri and his concubine both for this act of defiance.[1]

King of Israel

King Zimri (r. 929 BC by Ussher,[2] or 885 BC by Thiele[3]) was a cavalry general and commander of half of the chariot force of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.[4][5][6] He acceded to the throne of that kingdom by murdering his predecessor Elah while he was getting drunk at a party. Zimri then slaughtered every member of Elah's family and all of Elah's friends.[6]

However, the members of the army at Gibbethon refused to recognize him as king, and declared their loyalty for another general, Omri. Omri marched to the capital city of Tirzah and laid siege to it. Zimri, realizing his situation was hopeless, shut himself up in the royal palace and set fire to it, and then perished in the flames. He had held the throne for seven days, the shortest reign in the history of the Divided Kingdoms.[5][6]


  1. Numbers 25:6-15
  2. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pgh. 501
  3. Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), p. 261
  4. I_Kings 16:11-18
  5. 5.0 5.1 Author not available. "Entry for Zimri." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2007 from the Highbeam Encyclopedia.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Authors unknown. "King Zimri - Biography." The Kings of Israel, hosted at http://www.geocities.com/ Retrieved June 20, 2007.

See also