King Ahaziah's decision upon falling out of a window (the probable meaning of lattice,
) to send messengers to consult one of the many local manifestations of Baal in Ekron (a Philistine city about 40 km [25 mi] west of Jerusalem) leads to a confrontation with the prophet Elijah.
Baal zebub is literally “Baal/lord of the flies,” perhaps a deliberate Heb corruption of “Baal‐zebul” (“Baal the exalted”; see Mk 3.22
), intended to express the authors’ scorn of or hostility toward this deity.
Hairy man, lit. “a man who was a lord/owner of hair,” possibly a play on words with “lord of the flies” in v. 2
This entire section plays on the Heb words “\ish \elohim,” man of God, and “\esh \elohim,” fire of God. When the officer speaks rudely to Elijah, asking the “\ish \elohim” to descend, Elijah sends down the “\esh \elohim” instead.
Only when the third officer speaks to Elijah properly, treating him with respect, does he accede.
Fire is a well‐known vehicle of God's judgment in the Bible (e.g., Gen 19.24; Ex 9.23–24; cf. 1 Kings 18.38
). The prophetic word cannot be brought under human control (cf. 1 Kings
If Jehoram of Israel did indeed succeed Ahaziah only after Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat had properly succeeded his father (cf. 1 Kings 22.50
), then ch 3
(in which Jehoshaphat goes to war along with Jehoram of Israel) presents a difficulty. We must assume either that there is
some textual or historical confusion here or that there was a co‐regency between Jehoshaphat and his son toward the end of
the former's reign.
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