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Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-8

Second Kings - Chapter 1

Ahaziah’s Accident- Verses 1-8

Ahaziah, the first of his sons to succeed Ahab, lived only two years after his father’s death. In the previous study it was learned that he had a treaty with Jehoshaphat concerning the furnishing of a navy, but that it was destroyed by the Lord. The first verse of this chapter notes the rebellion of Moab against Israel, also in Ahaziah’s short reign. This notice sets the stage for the eventual campaign, to be noted later, to reconquer Moab. It is likely that the move against Judah and Jehoshaphat, in alliance with Ammon and Edom, related in the foregoing commentary, was a part of Moab’s rebellion against the northern kingdom. The overrunning of Judah would have laid open the approach to Israel from the south had it succeeded.

Before Ahaziah could make a move against the rebels, however, he suffered a fatal accident. The account does not specify why Ahaziah fell through the lattice of the upper story of his palace in Samaria, nor does it tell the exact nature of his injury. It was serious enough that he was confined to his bed from the beginning. It is likely he may have suffered a rupture, or a flesh wound which became infected. Whatever it was Ahaziah was aware that it might well cost him his life. He decided to inquire of his future by Baal-zebub, the god of the Philistine city of Ekron.

It is at this time Elijah makes a reappearance in the political life of Israel. What he had been doing in the meantime, since he last appeared, is unknown. The Lord informs Elijah of the mission on which King Ahaziah has sent his messengers, and gives him a message to them. Elijah is to go to meet the messengers and give them the Lord’s message. It consists of a rebuke, to start, for the godless condition of the land. Jezebel, who was still living, had killed and driven underground all the true worshippers of the Lord. The Baal worship of Israel had been re-instituted, but does not seem to have regained its former power as is was before Elijah had denounced and slain the prophets (1Ki, chapter 18). So, the fact that the king is sending to a god of Philistia to learn the outcome of his illness indicated there was no God in Israel. The true God had been turned away from Israel. The king was to be told that, because of this move of his, he would not recover from his sick bed, but would certainly die.

Thus the messengers did not continue to Ekron and surprised the king by an early return from their mission. They reported to him what Elijah had told them, but they had not recognized the prophet. Immediately Ahaziah appears to have sensed the identity of the one who had sent the message. He asked for his description, and they described a hairy man, wearing a leather girdle, the insignia of Elijah, just as Ahaziah suspected.

Verses 9-18

Ahaziah-s Death - verses 9-18

Ahaziah must have thought he could take Elijah and compel him to retract his prediction of death against the king. Therefore he called for a captain with fifty armed men to go out, locate Elijah, and bring him in. The prophet was found sitting atop a hill, for what purpose is not revealed. The captain seems to have halted at the base of the hill and delivered the king’s order. He addressed Elijah as a man of God, saying, "The king says, ’Come down’." Elijah responded by saying, if he is a man of God, let the fire of God come out of heaven and burn the captain and his fifty. The Lord answered at once; the fire fell, and the men were burned up.

This did not deter Ahaziah from his attempts to take Elijah. He sent a second captain with his contingent of fifty men. He found Elijah still on the hill. He repeated the orders voiced by the first captain, saying, "Come down quickly." Again Elijah said, "if I am a man of God, let the heavenly fire fall and consume you and your fifty men." Again the fire fell and the contingent was destroyed.

Ahaziah was desperate to apprehend Elijah and risked the loss of a third captain and contingent of fifty men. This man feared the God of Elijah. The fate of those before him was enough to make him seek mercy (see Proverbs 9:10). He came to where Elijah was, fell humbly on his knees, and begged the prophet to spare his life. He acknowledged the manifestation of God’s power in the destruction of the hundred men who came before to him.

The prayer to Elijah_was actually to the Lord, who spoke now by His angel to His prophet, bidding him to go with the captain and face the king of Israel with God’s message. Elijah seems to have had an abiding dread for the family of Ahab, but the Lord tells him he has nothing to fear. So Elijah came to the bedside of Ahaziah. There he repeated the message of the Lord without variation. There is no escape from his judgment for Ahaziah (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

And so Ahaziah died, without sons, and was succeeded by his brother, Jehoram (or Joram, as he is also called). A second son of Ahab was mentioned by the king on the day he had Micaiah thrown in jail and proceeded to Ramoth-gilead and death (1 Kings 22:26), but this does not appear to be the same one. He is called Joash in that passage. The Scriptures note that Jehoram became king of Israel in the second year of Jehoram (also known as Joram, the king of Judah, and son of Jehoshaphat. It is learned from 2 Kings 3:7 that Jehoshaphat still lived in the early years of the reign of Jehoram of Israel, so it must be assumed that Jehoram of Judah had a co-regency with his father, Jehoshaphat, for the closing years of the old king’s life.

Some lessons to emphasize: 1) God still control affairs of men, even when they wickedly eject Him from their thoughts; 2) Ahaziah illustrates the natural anxiety concerning the future possessed by all people; 3) they who go on sinful missions without concern for the Lord’s will suffer the consequences, but those who approach Him earnestly receive mercy; 4) there is no bending the will of God from His purpose (James 1:17).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-kings-1.html. 1985.
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