Proclaimed king of Israel after a coup in 885 BCE (1 Kgs. 16: 15 ff.); he established his capital at Samaria (1 Kgs. 16: 24), appropriately for a new dynasty, and Assyrian inscriptions long regarded Israel as ‘Omri's country’.

Omri was astute in his dealings with Israel's neighbours and gave his country prosperity; but his alliances (he gave his son Ahab in marriage to the Phoenician Jezebel) allowed pagan practices into the land, for which he is roundly condemned by the Deuteronomic editor of 1 Kgs. 16: 25–6.