The final cycle of Elijah stories.
Moab's rebellion after Ahab's death in the reign of Jehoram (see 3.4–5
). It is mentioned here because Ahaziah died, Jehoram came to power, and Moab rebelled in the same calendar year (see 1 Kings 22.52
The death of Ahaziah. Ahaziah, after being critically injured in Samaria, solicits a prog‐ nosis from Baal‐zebub, the god of Ekron. This evolves into a confrontation with Elijah like the one between Elijah and Ahab (1 Kings 18.16–18
The lattice was probably a window covering made of thin strips of wood or reeds in a loose net in order to let in light and air while
still providing some privacy; there were no glass windows in this period. Baal‐zebub, “Lord of the flies,” a god worshipped at Ekron, may have been known as a healer. This form of the name, however, may be
the author's purposeful corruption of a likely original “Baal‐zevul,” “Lord of glory/dominion/ majesty,” understood as a reference
to Baal. The word meaning “prince/glory,” “zevul,” is found as a personal name in Judg.
and is part of the name of Ahaziah's mother, Jezebel. In the New Testament, Jesus denies that he casts out demons, i.e.,
heals, in the name of Baal‐zevul (see Matt. 12.24–27
). The reason that the author or later scribe may have changed the name is because in Solomon's prayer, the Temple is called
a “house of zevul” (“A stately House”) (1 Kings 8.13
). Ekron, the northernmost city of the Philistine pentapolis, about 37 km (22 mi) east of Jerusalem, may have been under Judah's control
at this time. Excavations at the site indicate that its material culture mixed Aegean with local elements.
The identifying physical characteristic of Elijah was most likely his hair. The leather belt around his garment may have been
atypical, but was not a rare accoutrement. Ahaziah recognized him not only by the physical description but also through the
indictment in the message.
The first two groups are destroyed miraculously because their captains failed to respect the man of God commanding him imperiously in the name of the king. The third captain humbled himself and made no request. In this story,
Elijah does not pray for a miraculous fire; it comes, as if at his bidding. The Heb text is built around the pun between man of God, “’ish ’elohim,” and fire of God, “’esh ’elohim.”
The captain ordered that he come down. Elijah had punishing fire come down instead.
The fulfillment statement here indicates that the author did not connect Ahaziah's death automatically to his critically injured
condition. Had Ahaziah sought forgiveness and healing from the God of Israel, he would not have died. At one and the same
time, physical and metaphysical laws of causation were operating in nature. Ahaziah was the third generation of the Omri dynasty.
The notice that, in the absence of a son, rule passed to a brother, indicates that in the Northern Kingdom at this time kings
were acclaimed according to the customs governing the inheritance of property.
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