|The Book of 2 Kings|
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Go to Bible: 2 Kings 1
“Now Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.” Ahab was the second king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the Dynasty of Omri, which lasted four generations (Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram). Jehoram (also called “Joram”) was killed by Jehu (2 Kings 9:14-24). The Mesha Stele correlates with biblical history at this point.(top)
“Ahaziah.” At this time in history, the kings of Israel and Judah can be confusing. 2 Kings 1:2 is Ahaziah the son of Ahab, king of Israel, and his line is: Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram (also called Jehoram). In the nation of Judah, at almost the same time, the lineage was Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joram (also called Jehoram), and Ahaziah. As you can see, within the reigns of four kings of both Israel and Judah, two of the kings were called by the same name. It takes some diligence on the part of the reader to keep the kings straight.
“fell down through the lattice.” The latticework covered the window, so it seems that Ahaziah was leaning against the lattice to get a better look at something happening outside when the lattice gave way and he fell from his upper room to the ground below.
“Baal-zebub.” Baal-zebub means “lord of the flies.” It has been suggested for years that Baal-zebub is a purposeful corruption of Baal-zebul, “chief lord,” a god who is mentioned in Ugaritic literature as “lord of the underworld,” and that would make sense.
“the god of Ekron.” In this verse, and verses 3 and 6, the word “god” is a grammatical plural but refers to one singular god.(top)
“angel.” This is the same word as “messenger” in 2 Kings 1:2. So Ahaziah sends his messenger and Yahweh sends His.
“Elijah.” Interestingly, “Elijah” is spelled two different ways in 2 Kings 1; the shorter version, “Eliyya” (2 Kings 1:3, 4, 8, 12), and the longer spelling with “hu” on the end, “Eliyyhu” (2 Kings 1:10, 13, 15, 17). There is no known reason for the two different spellings in this chapter.(top)
“die, yes, die.” That Ahaziah would die from this injury is emphasized by the figure of speech polyptoton. This precise figure, “die, yes, die,” was used by God in Genesis 2:17 and by the Devil in Genesis 3:4.
[For more information on polyptoton, see commentary on Genesis 2:16.](top)
|2Ki 1:5||- (top)|
“A man came up to meet us.” The messengers, not recognizing Elijah, thought that one of the prophets from Ekron had heard—likely from their god, but possibly word about the king Ahaziah’s fall had gone out into the kingdom—and was on his way to see the king when he met the messengers and gave his message to them. Ahaziah recognized from the message that something different must have happened and inquired about the prophet and discerned that it was Elijah.(top)
“What sort of man.” This question may be unclear to us, but the messengers knew that the king was asking what the man looked like, and they described Elijah.(top)
“a hairy man.” The text reads “a hairy man,” and not “a man wearing a hairy robe,” but the fact that the “hairy man” went with the leather belt shows that when the servants said to the king, “he was a hairy man” it was understood that the reference was to the kind of outer robe the man was wearing. John the Baptist likely had the same kind of outer robe; a robe made of camel’s hair with a leather belt at the waist (Matt. 3:4).(top)
“He went up to him.” The captain with his 50 men went up to Elijah. He felt secure with his army with him and would have come quite close to Elijah. So when the fire fell, it fell very close to Elijah and it likely left a pile of charred bones. Yet Elijah did not leave where he was. He was a battle-hardened prophet, and had been in Good vs. Evil conflicts before, for example, when he faced off against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.(top)
“let fire come down.” There is a kind of play on the phrase “come down” in this text. The commander orders Elijah to come down, but he doesn’t, but then Elijah commands the fire to come down, and it does. Exactly what this looked like is not known. It could be something like a lightning bolt, or it could be a blast of fire from heaven, but whatever it was it had to be fairly tight as a bolt because the soldiers would not have been very far away from Elijah.(top)
|2Ki 1:11||- (top)|
|2Ki 1:12||- (top)|
|2Ki 1:13||- (top)|
|2Ki 1:14||- (top)|
|2Ki 1:15||- (top)|
“And he said to him.” And Elijah said to the king.
“die, yes, die.” The figure of speech polyptoton is used for emphasis (see commentary on Gen. 2:16).(top)
“Jehoram his brother began to reign in his place in the second year of Jehoram.” King Ahaziah did not have any sons, so when he died his brother Jehoram began to reign over Israel (2 Kings 3:1). The words “his brother” were likely original but dropped by a copyist's haplography from the Hebrew text. The phrase “his brother” is the Lucianic recensions of the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and the Syriac OT.
At this time in history, the kings of Israel and Judah can be confusing. In the northern kingdom of Israel, King Ahab’s son was King Ahaziah, and the line of kings in Israel in the dynasty of Omri which lasted four generations was: Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, and Ahaziah’s brother, Joram (also called “Jehoram” in the Bible). In the southern kingdom, Judah, at almost the same time, the lineage was Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joram (also called “Jehoram”), and Ahaziah. As can be seen, within the reigns of four kings of both Israel and Judah, two of the kings were called by the same name (Ahaziah and Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah and Jehoram of Judah), and the two kings who were named “Jehoram” are also both called “Joram” in the Bible, making things very confusing indeed. It takes some diligence on the part of the reader to keep the kings straight.
At the time of 2 Kings 1:17, Joram (Jehoram), the son of Ahab and brother of the previous king, Ahaziah, was the king of Israel. At that same time, Joram (Jehoram) the son of Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. Both kings are mentioned here in 2 Kings 1:17, and both kings have the same name, the longer one, “Jehoram,” in the Hebrew text.(top)
“Ahaziah.” This is Ahaziah, son of Ahab, king of Israel, he had no son, so his brother became king (see commentary on 2 Kings 1:17).(top)