The revolt of Moab-Sickness of Ahaziah, king of Israel. (1-8) Fire called from heaven by Elijah-Death of Ahaziah. (9-18)
Verses 1-8 When Ahaziah rebelled against the Lord, Moab revolted from him. Sin weakens and impoverishes us. Man's revolt from God is often punished by the rebellion of those who owe subjection to him. Ahaziah fell through a lattice, or railing. Wherever we go, there is but a step between us and death. A man's house is his castle, but not to secure him against God's judgments. The whole creation, which groans under the burden of man's sin, will, at length, sink and break under the weight like this lattice. He is never safe that has God for his enemy. Those that will not inquire of the word of God for their comfort, shall hear it to their terror, whether they will or no.
Verses 9-18 Elijah called for fire from heaven, to consume the haughty, daring sinners; not to secure himself, but to prove his mission, and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven, against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Elijah did this by a Divine impulse, yet our Saviour would not allow the disciples to do the like, ( Luke 9:54 ) . The dispensation of the Spirit and of grace by no means allowed it. Elijah was concerned for God's glory, those for their own reputation. The Lord judges men's practices by their principles, and his judgment is according to truth. The third captain humbled himself, and cast himself upon the mercy of God and Elijah. There is nothing to be got by contending with God; and those are wise for themselves, who learn submission from the fatal end of obstinacy in others. The courage of faith has often struck terror into the heart of the proudest sinner. So thunderstruck is Ahaziah with the prophet's words, that neither he, nor any about him, offer him violence. Who can harm those whom God shelters? Many who think to prosper in sin, are called hence like Ahaziah, when they do not expect it. All warns us to seek the Lord while he may be found.
2 Kings 1:1 . MOAB REBELS.
1. Then Moab rebelled--Subdued by David ( 2 Samuel 8:2 ), they had, in the partition of Israel and Judah, fallen to the share of the former kingdom. But they took advantage of the death of Ahab to shake off the [ 2 Kings 1:2 ] prevented his taking active measures for suppressing this revolt, which was accomplished as a providential judgment on the house of Ahab for all these crimes.
2 Kings 1:2-8 . AHAZIAH'S JUDGMENT BY ELIJAH.
2-8. Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber--This lattice was either a part of the wooden parapet, or fence, which surrounds the flat roofs of houses, and over which the king was carelessly leaning when it gave way; or it might be an opening like a skylight in the roof itself, done over with lattice--work, which, being slender or rotten, the king stepped on and slipped through. This latter supposition is most probably the true one, as Ahaziah did not fall either into the street or the court, but "in his upper chamber."
inquire of Baalzebub--Anxious to learn whether he should recover from the effects of this severe fall, he sent to consult Baalzebub, that is, the god of flies, who was considered the patron deity of medicine. A temple to that idol was erected at Ekron, which was resorted to far and wide, though it afterwards led to the destruction of the place ( Zechariah 9:5 , Amos 1:8 , Zephaniah 2:4 ). "After visiting Ekron, 'the god of flies' is a name that gives me no surprise. The flies there swarmed, in fact so innumerably, that I could hardly get any food without these troublesome insects getting into it" [VAN DE VELDE].
3. the angel of the Lord--not an angel, but the angel, who carried on all communications between the invisible God and His chosen people [HENGSTENBERG]. This angel commissioned Elijah to meet the king's messengers, to stop them peremptorily on the idolatrous errand, and convey by them to the king information of his approaching death. This consultation of an idol, being a breach of the fundamental law of the kingdom ( Exodus 20:3 , Deuteronomy 5:7 ), was a daring and deliberate rejection of the national religion. The Lord, in making this announcement of his death, designed that he should see in that event a judgment for his idolatry.
4. Thou shalt not come down from that bed--On being taken up, he had probably been laid on the divan--a raised frame, about three feet broad, extended along the sides of a room, covered with cushions and mattresses--serving, in short, as a sofa by day and a bed by night, and ascended by steps.
Elijah departed--to his ordinary abode, which was then at Mount Carmel ( 2 Kings 2:25 , 1 Kings 18:42 ).
5. the messengers turned back--They did not know the stranger; but his authoritative tone, commanding attitude, and affecting message determined them at once to return.
8. an hairy man--This was the description not of his person, as in the case of Esau, but of his dress, which consisted either of unwrought sheep or goatskins ( Hebrews 11:37 ), or of camel's haircloth--the coarser manufacture of this material like our rough haircloth. The Dervishes and Bedouins are attired in this wild, uncouth manner, while their hair flows loose on the head, their shaggy cloak is thrown over their shoulders and tied in front on the breast, naked, except at the waist, round which is a skin girdle--a broad, rough leathern belt. Similar to this was the girdle of the prophets, as in keeping with their coarse garments and their stern, uncompromising office.
2 Kings 1:9-16 . ELIJAH BRINGS FIRE FROM HEAVEN ON AHAZIAH'S MESSENGERS.
9. Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty--Any appearance of cruelty that there is in the fate of the two captains and their men will be removed, on a full consideration of the circumstances. God being the King of Israel, Ahaziah was bound to govern the kingdom according to the divine law; to apprehend the Lord's prophet, for discharging a commanded duty, was that of an impious and notorious rebel. The captains abetted the king in his rebellion; and they exceeded their military duty by contemptuous insults.
man of God--In using this term, they either spoke derisively, believing him to be no true prophet; or, if they regarded him as a true prophet, the summons to him to surrender himself bound to the king was a still more flagrant insult; the language of the second captain being worse than that of the first.
10. let fire come down--rather, "fire shall come down." Not to avenge a personal insult of Elijah, but an insult upon God in the person of His prophet; and the punishment was inflicted, not by the prophet, but by the direct hand of God.
15, 16. he arose, and went down with him--a marvellous instance of faith and obedience. Though he well knew how obnoxious his presence was to the king, yet, on receiving God's command, he goes unhesitatingly, and repeats, with his own lips, the unwelcome tidings conveyed by the messengers.
2 Kings 1:17 2 Kings 1:18 . AHAZIAH DIES, AND IS SUCCEEDED BY JEHORAM.
17. Jehoram--The brother of Ahaziah