AHAZIAH (ā'ha-zī'a, Heb. ’ăhazyâh, Jehovah hath grasped)
The pervasive depravity of mankind which renders evil more easily propagated than good makes the intermarriage of a member of a godly family with an ungodly one almost invariably disastrous. Ahaziah was the miserable fruit of the error of Jehoshaphat, his otherwise righteous grandfather, in securing Athaliah the morally depraved daughter of a morally depraved daughter of the vile Ethbaal, king and priest of the soused-with-sexual-depravity religion of ancient Canaan as bride for Ahaziah’s father. There were strong reasons, indeed, for the Mosaic command to exterminate the Canaanites and the prohibition of intercourse with them on all levels.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(’achazyah and ’achazyahu, "Yah holds, or sustains"):
Son of Ahab and Jezebel, eighth king of Israel (1Ki 22:51-2Ki 1:18).
1. His Reign:
Ahaziah became king over Israel in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and he reigned two years, 854-853 BC. There is, here an incongruity between the synchronism and the length of the reigns of the kings. Jehoshaphat began to reign in the fourth year of Ahab (1Ki 22:41), and he reigned 22 years (1Ki 16:29). Accordingly Ahaziah’s first year, in the twenty-second year of Ahab, would fall in the nineteenth year of Jehoshaphat. The chronological statement in 2Ki 1:17 is probably taken from the Syriac, and both are in harmony wrath a method of computation followed by certain Greek manuscripts.
2. His Character:
A good name does not insure a good character. Ahaziah, the "God-sustained," served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked to anger Yahweh, the God of Israel, Just as his father before him had done. He appears to have been weak and unfortunate, and calamities in quick succession pursued him.
3. The Revolt of Moab:
Ahab had sought the good and became an enemy to the best. His house and the nation suffered the consequences. "Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab." Ahaziah appears to have been too weak to offer resistance. The Moabite Stone dates the revolt in the days of Ahab. No doubt it began at the time of Ahab’s last campaign against Syria.
4. His Maritime Alliance:
According to 1Ki 22:48 f Ahaziah attempted to form an alliance with Jehoshaphat of Judah to revive the ancient maritime traffic, but failed. According to 2Ch 20:35-37 the alliance was consummated, in consequence of which the enterprise came to nothing. See Jehoshaphat.
5. His Sickness and Death:
Ahaziah suffered a severe accident by falling through the lattice in his upper apartment in Samaria, and lay sick. As a worthy son of Jezebel and Ahab, he sent messengers to consult Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, regarding his recovery. But Israel belonged to Yahweh. Accordingly the messengers were met by the prophet Elijah who for the last time warns against the corrupting moral influences of the Baal religion. "Thus saith Yahweh, Is it because there is no God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from the bed whither thou art gone up, but shalt surely die" was the message which he sent back to the embassy, and the death of the king speedily followed.
Sixth king of Judah (2Ki 8:25-29; 9:16 f = 2Ch 22:1-9); also written Jehoahaz (2Ch 21:17; 25:23), which is merely a transposition of the component parts of the compound. The form "Azariah" (2Ch 22:6) is an error, fifteen Hebrew manuscripts and all the versions reading Ahaziah.
1. His Brief Reign:
Ahaziah, youngest son of Jehoram, began to reign in the twelfth year (2Ki 8:25) of Jehoram of Israel. In 2Ki 9:29 it is stated as the eleventh. The former is probably the Hebrew, the latter the Greek method of computation, the Septuagint Luc also reading eleventh in 8:25. He was 22 years old when he began to reign and he reigned one year (2Ki 8:26). The reading "forty two" (2Ch 22:2) is a scribal error, since according to 2Ch 21:5,20 Jehoram the father was only 40 years old at the time of his death. Syriac, Arabic and Luc read 22, Septuagint Codex Vaticanus 20.
See Chronology of the Old Testament.
2. His Character:
(Compare 2Ki 8:27; 2Ch 22:3,4.) In view of the disaster which befell the royal house (2Ch 21:16,17), the inhabitants of Jerusalem placed Ahaziah the youngest son upon the throne. That "he walked in the way of the house of Ahab" is exemplified by Chronicles to the effect that his mother, the daughter of Jezebel, counseled him in the ways of wickedness and that the house of Ahab led him to his destruction. The influence of Jezebel was at work in Judah. Ahaziah dedicated "hallowed things" to Yahweh (2Ki 12:18), but he did evil in Yahweh’s eyes.
3. His Alliance with Jehoram of Israel:
(Compare 2Ki 8:28,29; 2Ch 22:5,6.) Ahaziah cultivated the relations which had been established between the two kingdoms by Ahab. Accordingly he joined his uncle Jehoram of Israel in an expedition against Hazael, king of Syria. Ramoth-gilead was captured and held for Israel against the king of Syria (2Ki 9:14). However, Jehoram of Israel was wounded and returned to Jezreel to be healed of his wounds. It appears that the army was left in charge of Jehu at Ramoth-gilead. Ahaziah apparently went to Jerusalem and later went down to Jezreel to visit Jehoram. In the meantime Jehu formed a conspiracy against Jehoram.
4. His Death:
The death of Ahaziah, as told in 2Ki 9:16 f, differs from the account in 2Ch 22:7-9. According to the account in Kings, Ahaziah who is visiting Jehoram, joins him in a separate chariot to meet Jehu. Jehoram suspecting treachery turns to flee, but an arrow from the bow of Jehu pierces his heart and he dies in his chariot. Ahaziah tries to escape, but is overtaken near Ibleam and mortally wounded by one of Jehu’s men. He fled to the fortress of Megiddo, where he died. His servants conveyed his body in a chariot to Jerusalem, where he was buried. According to the Chronicler, this account is very much abbreviated (2Ch 22:7 f). His destruction is of God because of his alliance with Jehoram. Jehu, who was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, first slew the kinsmen of Ahaziah. He then sought Ahaziah who was hiding in Samaria. When he was found, he was brought to Jehu and put to death. He was buried, but where and by whom we are not told.
That there were other traditions respecting the death of Ahaziah, is proved by Josephus, who says that when Ahaziah was wounded he left his chariot and fled on horseback to Megiddo, where he was well cared for by his servants until he died (Ant., IX, vi, 3). S. K. Mosiman