I Kin. 22:1-II Kn. 1:18; II Chron. 18:1-21:1
Three years after Israel’s war with Syria and Ahab’s treaty with Ben-Hadad, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah had become friends with Ahab. Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram had married Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. That mistake formed a family and political alliance between the two kings.
Through a series of requests for advice from Ahab’s prophets and God’s prophet, Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat’s armies joined forces to capture Ramoth Gilead from Syria. That was after Micaiah had prophesied that he saw, “all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd…” Ahab’s four hundred false prophets had advised war, but the true prophet of God spoke the true word of God.
Ahab disguised himself as a regular soldier and went into the war. He was mortally wounded and died that evening. After his burial, his blood was washed from the chariot, “and the dogs licked up his blood…according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.” His son, Ahaziah then became king of Israel.
Good people and good kings make mistakes and sin. After the death of Ahab, Jehoshaphat returned home to Jerusalem. He was met by Jehu, the prophet who rebuked him for participating in Israel’s war.
However, the king had maintained his good qualities of trying to seek the Lord. In order to reform Judean worship he set up impartial judges in the fortified cities with Levites, priests and some of the chief fathers of Israel to serve in Jerusalem.
Another great accomplishment of Jehoshaphat was his reliance upon God to see him through a great threat from three groups of people that were not disturbed during the wilderness wanderings—Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir. Those people had mobilized themselves to, “throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.”
The king realized that he had no power over such a great multitude that they were facing. He prayed for help. The prophet Jahaziel gave them instructions from the Lord. “Do not be afraid…the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…”
What followed was mass confusion. “For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” Judah spent the next three days gathering the valuable spoils of precious jewelry from the bodies of the slain.
The people of Judah along with their king rejoiced and blessed the Lord for His deliverance from their enemies. Word spread among the other kingdoms of how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Judah. Peace reigned the remainder of Jehoshaphat’s twenty-five years as king. After his death, his son Jehoram became king of Judah.
During the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah, Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, became king of Israel. It is the duty of parents to properly train their children in the ways of the Lord. That did not happen in the case of Ahaziah. He followed in the wicked ways of his parents, Ahab and Jezebel. Neither did he remove the idol worship of Jeroboam, the first king of God’s divided people, Israel.
Accidents happen to kings as well as common people. Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room and was severely injured. As his father had done, he also relied upon a false god by sending messengers to inquire of the outcome of his injuries.
An angel of the Lord sent Elijah to intercept the king’s messengers and to give them messages from the true God. The first was in the form of a rebuke asking if there was no God in Israel that they must inquire of the god, Baal-Zebub. God’s second message informed Ahaziah that he would not come down from his bed, but would die.
The king sent three different captains of fifty men to bring Elijah to him. “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly.’” The first two captains issued the command that the prophet of God be submissive to the wicked king. In each incident, Elijah called down fire from heaven and the captain and his men were destroyed. God expects humility from His people. The third captain humbled himself and begged for the lives of himself and his men. That act of humility did not change the king’s message, but it did bring their safety and God did send Elijah to Ahaziah. The king died in his second year. Since he had no son, he was succeeded by his brother, Jehoram.