Ahaziah, first son of Ahab

“Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; for he served Baal and worshiped him, and provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done.” (1Ki 22:51-53)

After Ahab's death, king Mesha of Moab rebelled and refused to pay Israel the annual tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and a hundred thousand rams with the wool (2Ki 1:1, 3:4). At Ahaziah's accession, the revolt of Moab, which the Moabite Stone suggests may have started during the closing years of his father's reign, was successfully concluded. Scripture mentions a failed maritime alliance with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah (2Ch 20:35-37), but provides few other details about his reign. However, it does conclude with a fascinating account of the circumstances surrounding his death.

The king's palace in Samaria featured a rooftop room enclosed with latticework that blocked direct sunlight while letting in cooling breezes. Somehow Ahaziah fell through this latticework and was severely injured in the fall. Consistent with his apostate mindset, he sent to enquire of Baal-Zebub, the “god of diseases” of Ekron, whether he would recover. Ekron was the northernmost of the major Philistine cities located about 22 miles west of Jerusalem. Ahaziah's messengers were intercepted en route by Elijah, who asked why they sought an answer from Baal-Zebub — “is there no God in Israel?” Elijah turned the messengers about and sent them back with a prophecy that Ahaziah would not leave his sickbed but would surely die because of his unbelief.

“Then he (Ahaziah) said to them, What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words? So they answered him, A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.” (2Ki 1:7-8)

Ahaziah's response to this dire prediction was to send three waves of captains with their fifty to procure Elijah from the top of a hill where he sat. The first two units of fifty men were consumed by a fire from heaven. The third captain begged mercy and persuaded Elijah to come meet with king Ahaziah. An angel of the Lord commanded Elijah not to fear, but to go down and return with the captain. Elijah appeared before the king and rehearsed the prophecy verbatim. Thus at the end of a short reign, Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. Because he had no son, his brother Jehoram became king in his place.