2Ki 1:1. Moab Rebels.
1. Then Moab rebelled—Subdued by David
8:2), they had, in the
partition of Israel and Judah, fallen to the share of the former
kingdom. But they took advantage of the death of Ahab to shake off the
yoke (see on 2Ki 3:6). The casualty that befell
1:2] prevented his taking
active measures for suppressing this revolt, which was accomplished as
a providential judgment on the house of Ahab for all these crimes.
Ahaziah's Judgment by Elijah.
2-8. Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his
upper chamber—This lattice was either a part of the
wooden parapet, or fence, which surrounds the flat roofs of houses, and
over which the king was carelessly leaning when it gave way; or it
might be an opening like a skylight in the roof itself, done over with
lattice-work, which, being slender or rotten, the king stepped on and
slipped through. This latter supposition is most probably the true one,
as Ahaziah did not fall either into the street or the court, but "in
his upper chamber."
inquire of Baalzebub—Anxious to learn
whether he should recover from the effects of this severe fall, he sent
to consult Baalzebub, that is, the god of flies, who was considered the
patron deity of medicine. A temple to that idol was erected at Ekron,
which was resorted to far and wide, though it afterwards led to the
destruction of the place (Zec 9:5; Am 1:8; Zep 2:4). "After visiting Ekron, 'the god of
flies' is a name that gives me no surprise. The flies there swarmed, in
fact so innumerably, that I could hardly get any food without these
troublesome insects getting into it" [Van De
3. the angel of the Lord—not an
angel, but the angel, who carried on all communications between
the invisible God and His chosen people [Hengstenberg]. This angel commissioned Elijah to
meet the king's messengers, to stop them peremptorily on the idolatrous
errand, and convey by them to the king information of his approaching
death. This consultation of an idol, being a breach of the fundamental
law of the kingdom (Ex 20:3; De 5:7), was a daring and deliberate rejection
of the national religion. The Lord, in making this announcement of his
death, designed that he should see in that event a judgment for his
4. Thou shalt not come down from that
bed—On being taken up, he had probably been laid on the
divan—a raised frame, about three feet broad, extended along the
sides of a room, covered with cushions and mattresses—serving, in
short, as a sofa by day and a bed by night, and ascended by steps.
Elijah departed—to his ordinary abode,
which was then at Mount Carmel (2Ki 2:25; 1Ki 18:42).
5. the messengers turned back—They did
not know the stranger; but his authoritative tone, commanding attitude,
and affecting message determined them at once to return.
8. an hairy man—This was the description
not of his person, as in the case of Esau, but of his dress, which
consisted either of unwrought sheep or goatskins (Heb 11:37), or of camel's haircloth—the
coarser manufacture of this material like our rough haircloth. The
Dervishes and Bedouins are attired in this wild, uncouth manner, while
their hair flows loose on the head, their shaggy cloak is thrown over
their shoulders and tied in front on the breast, naked, except at the
waist, round which is a skin girdle—a broad, rough leathern belt.
Similar to this was the girdle of the prophets, as in keeping with
their coarse garments and their stern, uncompromising office.
Elijah Brings Fire from Heaven on Ahaziah's
9. Then the king sent unto him a captain of
fifty—Any appearance of cruelty that there is in the fate of
the two captains and their men will be removed, on a full consideration
of the circumstances. God being the King of Israel, Ahaziah was bound
to govern the kingdom according to the divine law; to apprehend the
Lord's prophet, for discharging a commanded duty, was that of an
impious and notorious rebel. The captains abetted the king in his
rebellion; and they exceeded their military duty by contemptuous
man of God—In using this term, they
either spoke derisively, believing him to be no true prophet; or, if
they regarded him as a true prophet, the summons to him to surrender
himself bound to the king was a still more flagrant insult; the
language of the second captain being worse than that of the first.
10. let fire come down—rather, "fire
shall come down." Not to avenge a personal insult of Elijah, but an
insult upon God in the person of His prophet; and the punishment was
inflicted, not by the prophet, but by the direct hand of God.
15, 16. he arose, and went down with
him—a marvellous instance of faith and obedience. Though he
well knew how obnoxious his presence was to the king, yet, on receiving
God's command, he goes unhesitatingly, and repeats, with his own lips,
the unwelcome tidings conveyed by the messengers.
2Ki 1:17, 18. Ahaziah Dies,
and Is Succeeded by Jehoram.
17. Jehoram—The brother of Ahaziah (see
on 2Ki 3:1).