(Sustained by Jehovah)
(Also Called, Jehoahaz, Or Azariah)
(2 Kings 8:24; 9:29; 2 Chron. 22:1-9)
“For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.”—Psalm 48:4
Ahaziah must have reigned as his father’s viceroy during the last year of the latter’s sickness. This is evident from a comparison of 2 Kings 8:25 with 9:29. He was the youngest and only remaining son of Jehoram (2 Chron. 21:17). “Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign.” (“Forty and two” in 2 Chron. 22:2 is doubtless a transcriber’s error. His father was only forty at his death.) “And he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter (or granddaughter) of Omri king of Israel. And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, as did the house of Ahab; for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab.” His mother, in some way or other, escaped the fate of the rest of Jehoram’s wives (who were carried away captive at the time of the Philistine-Arabian invasion), and “was his counsellor to do wickedly.” 2 Chron. 22:4 seems to give a slight hint that his father Jehoram repented during his last sufferings, and had broken away somewhat from the house of Ahab; “for they were his (Ahaziah’s) counsellors after the death of his father, to his destruction.” His father’s death removed the check, and he at once united himself with his mother’s relatives in their sins and warfare. “He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead.”
This friendship cost him his life. “And the Syrians smote Joram (the king of Israel). And he returned to be healed in Jezreel because of the wounds which were given him in Ramah (or Ramoth), when he fought with Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah (Ahaziah) the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick. And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.” Ahaziah sees his uncle Jehoram slain in his chariot, and seeks in vain to make his escape from the hot-headed Jehu. “He fled by the way of the garden-house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.” The account in Chronicles (we have been quoting from Kings) says, “he was hid in Samaria.” There is no discrepancy here, for when he fled to the “garden-house”(Bethzan), he escaped to Samaria, where were his “brethren” and the princes of Judah, Thence, followed by Jehu, he was pursued to the hill Gur, and slain. Or “in Samaria” may mean simply in the kingdom of Samaria. “And when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.” His being the grandson of Jehoshaphat was all that saved his body from being eaten by unclean dogs, like those of his great-aunt Jezebel and her son Jehoram.
“So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.” And with these cheerless words the record of the reign of Ahaziah closes. He was the “seventh” from Solomon, and the first king of Judah to die a violent death. His name is the first of the royal line omitted in the genealogy of Matt. 1. The first of the three names given him, Jehoahaz,—
“whom Jehovah helps”—is markedly at variance with his character. This may be the reason why he is called by that name only once in Scripture (2 Chron. 21:19). He died at the early age of twenty-three. It was no part of Jehu’s commission to slay the king of Judah; but he was found among those doomed to destruction, and consequently shared their fate. And God’s call to His own, in that system of iniquity where the spiritual Jezebel teaches and seduces His servants, is, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,
and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). Oh that all His own might even now lay this call to heart, and separate themselves from that which is fast shaping itself for its ultimate apostasy and doom!