2 Kings 1

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah (1:1-18)

7-12 From the description given by his messengers, Ahaziah realized it was Elijah who had spoken this severe word (verse 8); Elijah customarily wore rough and simple clothing (see Mark 1:6). So thinking he couldnullifyElijah’spropheticmessagebykilling or capturing him, Ahaziah sent a captain withfifty mentofindElijah.Perhapsrealizing he was in danger, Elijah turned to God, who then sent fire down from heaven to consume Ahaziah’s soldiers (verse 10). This wasn’t the first time God sent fire to consume His enemies (see Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 10:2; Numbers 16:35). When Ahaziah sent another captain with fifty men to seize Elijah,the Lord sent down fire upon them also (verses 11-12).

It seems like a harsh punishment to inflict on soldiers simply doing their duty. But God wanted to establish beyond doubt who the true King of Israel was. Ahaziah, like all other kings of Israel, was meant to serve the Lord; he was wrong to put himself above God’s prophet, and his men were paying the price for it.4

13-18 Meanwhile, the captain of a third company of soldiers sent to seize Elijah had learned from the fate of his predecessors. He recognized that he was dealing with a powerful man of God, and on behalf of himself and his men he humbly begged mercy from Elijah. And this time God did show mercy; by sparing their lives, God showed that He was not only a God of judgment but also a God of grace.

The angel assured Elijah that this time the soldiers would do him no harm, so Elijah went with them to meet the king. Elijah then gave his message to Ahaziah in person, and told him that he was going to die. Shortly thereafter, in accordance with Elijah’s word, the king died (verse 17). His scheme to reverse God's prophetic word had failed.

According to verse 17, Ahaziah had no son, so his younger brother Joram succeeded him as king (see 2 Kings 3:1).

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