10 April 2010

Ahaziah (of Judah)

It's hard to keep track of Bible characters. They often have the same name, live at the same time, do pretty much the same things (are evil in the sight of the Lord), and have the same fate (God usually kills them). It will drive you nuts if you're not careful.

Take king Ahaziah, for example.

First of all, there were two of them: Ahaziah of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah. They lived at about the same time (9th century BCE), were evil in the sight of the Lord, and they were both (more of less) killed by God.

I've already told you about Ahaziah of Israel. He was the guy that God killed for asking the wrong god if he would die after God burned to death 102 messengers for asking Elijah to come down from his hill so that Ahaziah could ask Elijah to ask God if he was going to die (even though he'd already been told God was going to kill him for asking the wrong god).

But this story is not about him. It's about the other Ahaziah, king Ahaziah of Judah.

There are a couple things to keep in mind about him.

1. Ahaziah of Judah had an alias: Jehoahaz (2 Chronicles 21:1725:23).

2. And he is the only person in the Bible (or anywhere else as far as I know) who was older than his own father. Here's how we know that.

Ahaziah of Judah began to reign when he was 42 years old after God killed his father Jehoram (by making his bowels fall out).
Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign. 2 Chronicles 22:1-2
And his father's bowels fell out (with a little help from God) when he was 40 years old.
The LORD smote him [Jehoram] in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass ... his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness ... Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 2 Chronicles 21:18-20
(2 Kings 8:26 says that Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began to reign, which means that he was both 22 and 42 years old when God made his dad's bowels fall out -- and that's almost as cool as being older than your father.)

Okay, but how did Ahaziah of Judah die?

For that we have to go back to the Jehu chronicles. You remember Jehu, don't you? The guy who madly drove around in his chariot killing people for God? Yeah, well, Ahaziah was on his list.

Jehu's first victim was Ahab's son, Jehoram, the king of Israel. (God wanted him killed since his father, Ahab, didn't kill a captured king.)

But Ahaziah was with Jehoram at the time and was pursued and wounded by Jehu. Ahaziah fled to Megiddo and died there.
When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so ... And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. 2 Kings 9:27
Since I couldn't tell from this story whether or not Ahaziah died from the wound or later from natural causes, I left it off the list of God's killings.

But then I read the story in 2 Chronicles.
And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick. And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram [Jehoram]: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him. 2 Chronicles 22:6-9
According to this story, Jehu killed Ahaziah while he was hiding out in Samaria. "And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God."

So I don't know who to believe. Did Ahaziah die in Meggido or in Samaria?

I'm not sure. But I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that God approved of his killing, however and wherever he might have died. For "the destruction of Ahaziah was of God."

God's next killing: Joash, the princes, and army of Judah


Nathan said...

Was Megiddo ever considered part of Samaria?

Steve Wells said...


"Was Megiddo ever considered part of Samaria?"

The atlas that I have (Harper Collins Atlas of the Bible) shows Megiddo and Samaria as separate city-states during the mid 9th century BCE, with Samaria south of Megiddo.

Does anyone else have any information on this? Brucker maybe?

Matthew Blanchette said...

Seems to me like Ahaziah could teleport himself... or, the inconsistency is simply a result of the story being fictional. ;-)

You be the judge.

Also, Steve? You put "(more of less) killed by God", instead of "(more or less) killed by God" by mistake; just wanted to point it out... :-S

Unknown said...

My ESV Bible in 2 Chronicles 22:2 reads, "Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem." What version do you have that says he was 42?