("whom Jehovah holds".)
1. Son of Ahab and Jezebel; king of Israel; a worshipper of Jeroboam's calves, and of his mother's idols, Baal and Ashtoreth. After the Israelite defeat at Ramoth Gilead. Syria was master of the region E. of Jordan; so Moab (2 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 3:5), heretofore tributary to Israel, refused the yearly tribute of 100,000 rams with their wool, and 100,000 lambs (2 Samuel 8:2; Isaiah 16:1; 2 Kings 3:4). Ahaziah was prevented by a fall through a lattice in his palace at Samaria from enforcing it; but Jehoram his brother subsequently attempted it. Ahaziah sent to Baalzebub (lord of flies), god of Ekron, to inquire, should he recover? Elijah, by direction of the angel of the Lord, met the messengers, and reproving their having repaired to the idol of Ekron as if there were no God in Israel, announced that Ahaziah should die. The king sent a captain of 50 and his men to take Elijah. At Elijah's word they were consumed by fire. The same death consumed a second captain and his 50.
The third was spared on his supplicating Elijah. Elijah then in person announced to the king what he had already declared to his messenger.
So accordingly Ahaziah died. He was in alliance with Jehoshaphat in building ships at Ezion Geber to go to Tarshish; but the ships were wrecked, the Lord, as He intimated by Eliezer son of Dodavah of Mareshah, thereby manifesting disapproval of the alliance of the godly, with Ahaziah "who did very wickedly. Jehoshaphat therefore, when he built a new fleet of merchant ships (as the phrase "ships of Tarshish" means; the other reading is "had ten ships"), in which undertaking Ahaziah wanted to share, declined further alliance; bitter experience taught him the danger of evil communications (1 Corinthians 15:33). Let parents and young people beware of affinity with the ungodly, however rich and great (2 Corinthians 6:14, etc.).
2. Nephew of the former. At first viceroy during his father's sickness, then king of Judah, son of Jehoram of Judah and Athaliah, Ahab's cruel daughter (2 Kings 9:29, compare 2 Kings 8:25).
Called Jehoahaz (2 Chronicles 21:17-19). Azariah ("whom Jehovah helps," substantially equivalent to Ahaziah or Jehoahaz by transposition, a name sadly at variance with his character), in 2 Chronicles 22:6, may be a transcriber's error for Ahaziah. In 2 Chronicles 22:2, for 42 there should be, as in 2 Kings 8:26, "twenty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign," for his father Jehoram was only 40 when he died (2 Chronicles 21:20).
Ahaziah walked in all the idolatries of Ahab his maternal grandfather, his mother being his counselor to do wickedly. He allied himself with Jehoram of Israel, brother of the former Ahaziah (in spite of the warning God gave him in the fatal issue of the alliance of godly Jehoshaphat, his paternal grandfather, with wicked Ahab), against Hazael of Syria at Ramoth Gilead. Jehoram was wounded, and Ahaziah went to see him at Jezreel. There his destruction from God ensued by Jehu, who conspired against Joram. Akin to Ahab in character, as in blood, he might have overspread Judah with the same idolatry as Israel, but for God's intervention.
Fleeing by the garden house, he was smitten in his chariot at the going up to Gur by Ibleam, and he fled to Megiddo and died there.
God's people must separate from the world, lest they share the world's judgments (Revelation 18:4). In 2 Chronicles 22:9 we read Ahaziah was hid in Samaria, brought to Jehu, and slain. The two accounts harmonize thus. Ahaziah fled first to the garden house (Bethgan), and escaped to Samaria where were his brethren; thence brought forth from his hiding place to Jehu, he was mortally wounded in his chariot at the hill Gut beside Iblcam, and reaching Megiddo died there. Jehu allowed Ahaziah's attendants to bury him honorably in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David, "because, said they, he is the son grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart." Otherwise "in Samaria" may mean "in the kingdom of Samaria," or 2 Chronicles 22:9 may mean merely, he attempted to hide in Samaria, but did not reach it. The recurrence of the same names Joram and Ahaziah in both the dynasties of Israel and Judah is a delicate mark of truth, it being the natural result of the intermarriages.