What is the significance of 1 Kings 21:27–29?

Because of Ahab’s great sin the Lord tells him, “I will bring disaster on you; I will consume you…” (vs. 21). Ahab repents and the Lord responds by telling his messenger prophet, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days…” (vs. 29).

The Lord revoked his prophecy against Ahab and delayed his judgment on his family line because of Ahab’s repentance. If all of this was foreknown to God, his prophecy to Ahab that he was going to bring disaster and consume him could not have been given in earnest. If verse 21 expresses God’s genuine intention, then we must conclude that God’s mind can genuinely change in the light of change in people’s attitudes and action (something the Lord explicitly tells us is true in other passages, e.g. Jer. 18:7–10).

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