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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 1

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-18



Verse 1 reports that after Ahab's death Moab rebelled against Israel. As to this, chapters 3 and 4:27 give us a full account. Ahaziah, king of Israel, suffered a fall in his own home in Samaria and was badly injured. Because he had no knowledge of the God of Israel, he sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the idolatrous god of Ekron, if he would recover from this serious injury (v.2).

But God intervened by sending Elijah to intercept the messengers with the question, "Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?" Then he adds the solemn pronouncement that Ahaziah would not leave his bed, but die (v.4). Elijah simply gave this message and left.

The messengers therefore knew it was futile to go to the god of Ekron and they returned to Ahaziah, telling him of the man who met them and of his message from the God of Israel (v.6). In questioning them, about the man, he realised that he was Elijah the Tishbite (vv.7-8), who had given his father a similar fateful message which had proven true (1 Kings 21:19).

Ahaziah therefore sent a captain with fifty men to apprehend Elijah. What he intended to do with Elijah is not clear, but Elijah's arrest would certainly not avert the death of Ahaziah, who ought to have been concerned about his relationship to God now that death threatened him. Elijah was found sitting oil the top of a hill (v.9), and the captain arrogantly cold him. "Man of God, the king has said, Come down!" But the poor man had to learn that in dealing with God, it is utmost folly to adopt a haughty attitude. Elijah replied, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men" (v.10). This fearful judgment fell immediately and his whole company was destroyed. Such an act of God ought to have been warning enough to Ahaziah, yet he sent another captain with fifty men. This captain was just as arrogant, using the same words, but adding the word "quickly" to his demand (v.11). Elijah answered him just as he had answered the first captain, and with the same disastrous results (v.12).

Ahaziah learned nothing from these two fearful occasions. and he sent another captain with fifty men. This captain at least was more sensible, realising that a humble attitude rather than an arrogant one was the only way to act as before the God of Israel. He fell on his knees before Elijah. pleading for his life and for the life of his men in view of his knowing of the other groups having been burned to death (vv.13-14).

God always honours such an attitude as this, and the angel of the Lord told Elijah to go down with the captain and have no fear. Elijah therefore went, not to prison, but to the king (v.15). Before the king he delivered the same message he had before sent to Ahaziah. Because Ahaziah had recognised no God in Israel, and desired to inquire of a false god, therefore the God of Israel had passed sentence that Ahaziah would die in his bed (v.16).

Ahaziah could certainly not change anything by making Elijah suffer, so Elijah was evidently free to leave after delivering his message. His words were soon fulfilled by the death of Ahaziah. who sadly showed no sign of repentance toward God. He had no son, so his brother, Jehoram, became king of Israel. This took place in the second year of another Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, who ruled in Judah (v.17). Other acts of Ahaziah are said to be recorded in the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Kings 1". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/2-kings-1.html. 1897-1910.
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