Ahab's Sons

At that time Ahaziah, Ahab's oldest son, took over the reins of the kingdom of Israel. He followed in the footsteps of his father and was completely dominated by his mother Jezebel. During his reign, the Moabites rebelled and refused to pay tribute to the kingdom of Israel. After the defeat his father had suffered by the Syrians, Ahaziah did not consider it prudent to impose dominion over the Moabites by the force of arms.

Ahaziah's reign was short-lived. One day, whilst looking out of a lattice window in the upper chamber of his palace in Samaria, the king fell out and received grievous injuries. He sent some of his servants to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether he would recover. Outside the city the messengers were met by Elijah who bade them return to the king with the stern message: "Is there no G‑d in Israel that you go to enquire of Baal-Zebub? Therefore thus saith the L-rd, "Thou shalt not come down from thy bed, but shalt surely die!"

The messengers returned to the king with the tidings. Ahaziah became so enraged that he sent a captain with fifty men to capture the prophet. They spotted the prophet upon the top of a mountain and ordered him to come down and follow them to the king. Suddenly a fire descended from heaven and consumed the captain and his men. Undaunted by his failure, Ahaziah sent out another captain with fifty men. They, too, shared the same fate. For the third time a captain and fifty men arrived on the scene, but this captain went up and threw himself on his knees and implored the prophet to spare them. Then Elijah came down and accompanied them to the king. He fearlessly told the stricken king he should die, and indeed death occurred soon after Elijah had departed. Since Ahaziah had no son, his brother Jehoram (or Joram) succeeded him to the crown.