(Whom Jehovah holds)
1 Kings 22:40, 49, 51; 2 Kings 1.
Contemporary Prophet, Elijah.
“The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”—Proverbs 10:27
“Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over
Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. For he served Baal, and worshiped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.” It is a dark catalogue of iniquity, yet only what might be expected of the offspring of such a couple as Ahab and Jezebel. So matched in wickedness were his parents that nothing short of a miracle of grace could have made him anything better than the description given of him here.
“And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber, that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baal-zebub [
lord of flies]
the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease.” Ekron was the northernmost of the five chief Philistine cities, and contained the shrine and oracle of the vile abomination called Baal-zebub (the Beelzebub of the New Testament). Men love the gods that are most like unto themselves, so it is not surprising to see Ahaziah sending to this miserable Philistine god. But the sick king’s messengers never reached the oracle. The God of Israel Himself, sending His prophet to intercept the king’s messengers, answered His question. “But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them: Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.”
The messengers returned to their royal master, and related what had taken place. “There came a man to meet us,” they say, “and said unto us,” etc. “What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?” the king enquired. “And they answered him, He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.” In his perverse folly, Ahaziah orders him at once to be apprehended. But now the strong hand of Jehovah must be felt by the perverse king and his haughty captains: twice over the captains with their fifties are consumed by fire from heaven. But, as the third captain humbly pleads for his own life and of his fifty men sent forth to arrest Jehovah’s prophet, the angel of the Lord bids Elijah, “Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.” There, in the presence of the king, Jehovah’s judgment is unflinchingly repeated to himself.
“So he died according to the word of the Lord
which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.” This Jehoram was another son of Ahab (2 Kings 3:1) and therefore brother of Ahaziah.
“Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” Yes, and they, with the wicked acts recorded here, are written in God’s books above; not “of the chronicles of the kings of Israel” merely, but of the deeds and doings of every man’s life, whether it be good or evil. Solemn facts for us all!