A view towards Bishopsteignton in mist. As the mist clears, everything becomes clearer

1 Kings 22:30-53
2 Kings 1:1-8

Death of Ahab.

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Remember in our last study, Ahab and Jehoshaphat had chosen to ignore the prophecy given by Micaiah.

Not quite - actually Ahab was paying close attention to what Micaiah was saying – v20 ' . . . and go to his death there.'

Read 1 Kings 22:30-40

30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

Was Jehoshaphat thick or what?

Is there a danger that we could ever enquire of the Lord but then deliberately ignore what he says?

The Aramean King had a special SAS force of Chariot commanders. He singled them out and tasked them to get Ahab. Remember, Jehoshaphat was dressed like a king, but Ahab was in disguise.

31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out, 33 the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him.

34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armour.

By chance, and acting against orders, and the arrow found the only weak spot in the armour where a mortal blow could be struck. Was that a coincidence?

The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel round and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 35 All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died. 36 As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: “Every man to his town; everyone to his land!”

37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there. 38 They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed), and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the Lord had declared.

39 As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and inlaid with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 40 Ahab rested with his fathers. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.

Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat escaped, and returned with his army to Judah. And the Arameans still retained control of Ramoth Gilead.

At this point we could end this series of studies, but the Lord still had work for Elijah. We will therefore look at the next few kings, and to do that we will also look into the first two chapters of 2 Kings.

What was the new king Ahaziah like?

52 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he walked in the ways of his father and mother and in the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. 53 He served and worshipped Baal and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.

It's worth noticing from the chart that this Ahaziah, son of Ahab was not the Ahaziah, king of Judah who we will meet in a moment.

Just a quick reminder - 1 and 2 Kings generally concentrate on the kings of ISRAEL and 1 and 2 Chronicles concentrate on the Kings of JUDAH.

Now let’s go to 2 Chronicles 20 from v35:

35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, who was guilty of wickedness.

It appears that this alliance was cemented in the traditional way with Ahaziah giving one of his daughters (Athaliah) to be the wife of Jehoram, who was Jehoshaphat’s eldest son and soon to be king in Judah. (2 Kings 8:16-19, 26)

36 He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships. After these were built at Ezion Geber, 37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.

Down in the south-east there was also trouble brewing for the King of Judah – the people of Edom were getting restless, it seems that they were waiting for Jehoshaphat to die before they launched a full-scale rebellion.

So let’s continue in 2 Chronicles 21:1-8

1 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king. 2 Jehoram’s brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.

Israel? No actually King of Judah - apparently 2 Chronicles frequently does this! It was written after the return of the exiles, and the new nation was called Israel.

3 Their father had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because he was his firstborn son.

What was Jehoram Like? Look at the next three verses

4 When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the princes of Israel. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for eight years. 6 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants for ever.

8 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. 9 So Jehoram went there with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night. 10 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.

Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the Lord, the God of his fathers. 11 He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.

Now skip to verse 20:

Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for eight years. He passed away, to no-one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

Now 2 Chronicles 22:1-5

1 The people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, king in his place, since the raiders, who came with the Arabs into the camp, had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign.

2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri.

3 He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing. 5 He also followed their counsel when he went with Joram son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead.

Just to complete the story, Ahaziah of Israel died from an accident and because he had no son, Joram took over; Hazael had eventually become king of the Arameans; Ahaziah (Judah) only reigned one year before he was killed by Jehu; Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah (granddaughter of Ahab) became queen in Judah; and Jehu killed Joram so becoming king of Israel.

But that is jumping ahead - for now we need to return to Ahab and his son.

Read 1 Kings 22:51-53

51 Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel for two years. 52 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he walked in the ways of his father and mother and in the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. 53 He served and worshipped Baal and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.

So we enter a new chapter in the history of Israel, and we start a new book in the Bible: 2 Kings. We will shortly read about the death of Elijah, but there was still work for him: Chapter 1 is headed (in the NIV) 'The Lord’s judgement on Ahaziah'.

As you might expect, the occupied nations around Israel (and Judah) were continually looking to regain their independence. And when a king dies, and a younger inexperienced son has to take over, it provides the perfect opportunity for a nation to rebel. Let’s read 2 Kings 1:1-8

1 After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”

3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ 4 Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’ ” So Elijah went.

5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?”

6 “A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, “This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending men to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!” ’ ”

7 The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”

8 They replied, “He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt round his waist.”

The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

1 Kings 22a 2 Kings a NIV Copyright