Elijah the prophet condemns King Ahaziah of Israel
1-2Soon after King Ahab of Israel died, the country of Moab rebelled against his son King Ahaziah.1.1,2 the country…King Ahaziah: The story of Moab's rebellion is in 3.4-27.
One day, Ahaziah fell through the wooden slats around the porch on the flat roof of his palace in Samaria, and he was badly injured. So he sent some messengers to the town of Ekron1.1,2 Ekron: An important Philistine town about sixty-five kilometres south-west of Samaria. with orders to ask the god Baalzebub if he would get well.
3About the same time, an angel from the LORD sent Elijah the prophet from Tishbe to say to the king's messengers, “Ahaziah has rejected Israel's own God by sending you to ask Baalzebub about his injury. 4Tell him that because he has done this, he's on his deathbed!” And Elijah did what he was told.
5When the messengers returned to Ahaziah, he asked, “Why are you back so soon?”
6“A man met us along the road with a message for you from the LORD,” they answered. “The LORD wants to know why you sent us to ask Baalzebub about your injury and why you don't believe there's a God in Israel. The man also told us that the LORD says you're going to die.”
7“What did the man look like?” Ahaziah asked.
8“He was hairy1.8 hairy: Or “wearing a furry coat”. and had a leather belt around his waist,” they answered.1.8: Mt 3.4; Mk 1.6.
“It must be Elijah!” replied Ahaziah. 9So at once he sent an army officer and fifty soldiers to meet Elijah.
Elijah was sitting on top of a hill1.9 a hill: Probably Mount Carmel. at the time. The officer went up to him and said, “Man of God,1.9 Man of God: Another name for a prophet of the LORD. the king orders you to come down and talk with him.”
10“If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “God will send down fire on you and your fifty soldiers.” Fire immediately came down from heaven and burnt up the officer and his men.1.10,12: Lk 9.54.
11Ahaziah sent another officer and fifty more soldiers to Elijah. The officer said, “Man of God, the king orders you to come and see him at once.”
12“If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “fire will destroy you and your fifty soldiers.” And God sent down fire1.12 God sent down fire: Or “A mighty fire came down”. from heaven on the officer and his men.
13Ahaziah sent a third army officer and fifty more soldiers. This officer went up to Elijah, then he got down on his knees and begged, “Man of God, please be kind to me and these fifty servants of yours. Let us live! 14Fire has already wiped out the other officers and their soldiers. Please don't let it happen to me.”
15The angel from the LORD said to Elijah, “Go with him and don't be afraid.” So Elijah got up and went with the officer.
16When Elijah arrived, he told Ahaziah, “The LORD wants to know why you sent messengers to Ekron to ask Baalzebub about your injury. Don't you believe there's a God in Israel? Ahaziah, because you did that, the LORD says you will die.”
17Ahaziah died, just as the LORD had said. But since Ahaziah had no sons, Joram1.17 Joram: The Hebrew text has “Jehoram”, another spelling of the name. his brother1.17 his brother: Some ancient translations (see also 3.1); these words are not in the Hebrew text. then became king. This happened in the second year that Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was king of Judah.1.17 This happened…Judah: According to 3.1, this was also the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat's rule in Judah. In biblical times, a father and son would sometimes rule as kings at the same time. This way, when the father died, the son would already have control of the kingdom (see also 8.16). 18Everything else Ahaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
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