1 Kings Chapter 1: Let Fire Come Down from Heaven

Dec 27th, 2009 | By | Category: 1 & 2 Kings, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

1 Kings Chapter 1: Let Fire Come Down from Heaven

2 Kings 1:1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.

Moab rebelled against Israel after Ahab died, probably feeling that Ahaziah was weaker in

character, rulership, and organizational ability.

2 Kings 1:2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.

As the result of a fall, Ahaziah was sick, so he sent messengers to find out if he would recover. However, instead of inquiring of God, he sent the messengers to Baal-zebub (Beelzebub), the lord of the flies or hornets, a god of Ekron, that is, a Philistine god (Matt. 10:25).

Q: Was Beelzebub derived from the Philistines?

A: Yes. Also, this worship spread northward into Phoenicia, which is Lebanon today.

Comment: Beelzebub must have been a powerful god for the scribes and Pharisees to accuse Jesus of using this power at his First Advent (Luke 11:14-20).

Reply: Yes, they meant that Jesus accomplished his miracles by Satanic power because of his close relationship with the Devil. They were forced to admit that the cures were miraculous, so they ascribed them to an evil source. The world back there recognized the power of evil.

Ahaziah was the son of Ahab. What an insult to Jehovah for the king of the ten tribes to inquire about his future from a foreign god of a different religion! Similarly, King Saul sought information from the witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:7-19).

2 Kings 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?

2 Kings 1:4 Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

Elijah was told to intercept the messengers of Ahaziah and ask, “Are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, because there is no God in Israel?” The message from God was that Ahaziah would die for his disobedience.

2 Kings 1:5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?

After Elijah delivered the message, the messengers returned to Ahaziah, who asked the reason for their speedy return.

2 Kings 1:6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

The messengers repeated to Ahaziah the message that “a man” had given them.

2 Kings 1:7 And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?

2 Kings 1:8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

When Ahaziah asked for a description of this “man,” he knew immediately that he was Elijah.

With the nature of the message being so strong, the king did not need much of a description.

Elijah was “an hairy man” in that he was clothed in a hairy garment. Moreover, he wore “a girdle of leather about his loins.” In other words, “hairy” did not refer to his body but to the practical untreated animal skins that comprised his raiment and gave him an unkempt appearance. This description of Elijah is helpful.

Comment: Matthew 3:4 tells that John the Baptist wore “raiment of camel’s hair.” This incident in 2 Kings shows why some who saw John thought that perhaps Elijah had been resurrected (John 1:19-23).

Reply: Yes, and God had said, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Mal. 4:5).

2 Kings 1:9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.

2 Kings 1:10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

2 Kings 1:11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.

2 Kings 1:12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

Twice a captain with 50 men was sent by Ahaziah to apprehend Elijah. And twice Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume the 50 and their captain. The first captain said to Elijah, “Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.” Elijah replied, “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty.” The second captain spoke similarly, and Elijah replied the same way. Why did both captains call Elijah a “man of God”? In each case, the words were probably spoken with a disparaging, sarcastic, and/or mimicking inflection; that is, the tone was not respectful. Why did Elijah say, “If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven”? He was proving his authority from Almighty God.

Comment: Ahaziah would have known the history of his father Ahab’s dealings with Elijah, so for him to react this way and try to apprehend the prophet shows a tendency toward incorrigibility.

Reply: Yes, the contest with the 450 false prophets followed by their slaying was known.

Ahaziah’s desire to apprehend Elijah shows not only that he had a mean streak but also that he had a character similar to that of the first two captains. Elijah had already predicted that Ahaziah would not be cured of his illness and would die, yet he intended to apprehend and reprove the prophet. Thus Elijah refused to go with the captains.

2 Kings 1:13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.

2 Kings 1:14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.

2 Kings 1:15 And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.

The third captain with his 50 men showed meekness, sincerity, and humility. He used the term “man of God” respectfully and even got down on his knees. In addition to being concerned for his own life, he was concerned for the life of the 50 men underneath his charge, calling them Elijah’s “servants.”

The angel of God said, “Go down with him. Do not be afraid.” Here is an insight into Elijah’s character. His waiting for instruction before going to Ahaziah shows that although the prophet spoke strongly, he did so only when he felt it was the Lord’s will. This lesson is good for Christians to remember so that they do not get too strong or brave in their own strength. To please the Lord, they need the full assurance of faith that they are doing the right thing. Thus, after being assured by the angel as to what God’s will was for him, Elijah obeyed promptly— regardless of any natural inclinations. He arose and went with the captain to King Ahaziah.

Q: Is there an antitype here with another series of three? Israel fought three wars with Syria, and now three different captains, each with a group of 50, went out to Elijah.

A: Possibly the antitype is that there will be an audience of truth. For example, the Lord said Paul was “a chosen vessel” to bear His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15). Somehow in the final act at the end of the age, the Lord’s people will be invited to speak. Paul was asked to speak, and that will also be the experience of some of the feet members. The following types verify this thought. King Nebuchadnezzar gave the three Hebrew children a private audience. Jesus had a private audience with Pilate. John the Baptist had an opportunity to rebuke King Herod. Thus, as the Scriptures suggest, being called to the attention of the authorities will be a part of the final witness.

2 Kings 1:16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

When Elijah got to Ahaziah, he repeated the earlier message he had given to the messengers who were on their way to inquire of the god of Ekron as to the king’s fate. The messengers took back the message from God that because Ahaziah was inquiring of Baal-zebub, he would die. That message was secondhand, or indirect; now the same declaration was given in person.

Why did the king summon Elijah? What was his attitude? Ahaziah probably wanted to browbeat Elijah into changing his testimony, but instead the prophet repeated the message forcefully: “Thou shalt not come down off that bed … but shalt surely die.” From God’s words, “Be not afraid of him,” Elijah drew a sufficiency of strength and displayed no fear before Ahaziah.

2 Kings 1:17 So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.

Now two Jehorams were on the throne contemporaneously, one in the northern kingdom and the other in the southern kingdom. Ahaziah had no son, so the Jehoram who reigned over the ten tribes was probably a brother of Ahaziah, that is, another son of Ahab.

2 Kings 1:18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

The book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel were edited. The original records were tenfold greater than what is recorded in the Bible.

We get only the information the Lord deemed needful for His people.

Comment: Right after the Micaiah account, 2 Chronicles 19:1,2 reads, “And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” Thus God sent a seer to reprimand King Jehoshaphat after he went to battle in Ramoth-gilead in cooperation with King Ahab. The rebuke was, “Should you help the ungodly and love those who hate God? Therefore, God’s wrath is come upon you.”

Reply: Yes, fraternization is wrong, even in business. Incidentally, this Jehu is not the one who was anointed to be the king of Israel.

Chapter 1 ends with Ahaziah’s dying in Samaria. The chapter started with, “Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.” Moab’s rebellion will be treated in 2 Kings 3:5.

(1990-1991Study)

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