2 Kings 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 2 Kings 1)

Verse 1

[1] Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.

Moab — This had been subdued by David, as Edom was; and upon the division of his kingdom, Moab was adjoined to that of Israel, and Edom to that of Judah, each to that kingdom upon which it bordered. But when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were weak and forsaken by God, they took that opportunity to revolt from them; Moab here, and Edom a little after.

Verse 2

[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, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.

Chamber — In which, the lattess might be left to convey light into the lower room. But the words may be rendered, through the battlements (or through the lattess in the battlements) of the roof of the house. Where, standing and looking through, and leaning upon this lattess, it broke, and he fell down into the court or garden.

Baal-zebub — Properly, the god of flies; an idol so called, because it was supposed to deliver those people from flies; Jupiter and Hercules were called by a like name among the Grecians. And it is evident, both from sacred and prophane histories, That the idol-gods, did sometimes through God's permission, give the answers; though they were generally observed, even by the Heathens themselves, to be dark and doubtful.

Verse 3

[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 enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?

And say — Dost thou not cast contempt on the God of Israel, as if he were either ignorant of the event of thy disease, or unable to give thee relief; and as if Baal-zebub had more skill and power than he?

Verse 5

[5] And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?

Why, … — Before you have been at Ekron: which he knew by their quick return.

Verse 8

[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.

An hairy man — His garment was rough and hairy, such as were worn by eminent persons in Greece, in ancient times; and were the proper habit of the prophets.

Girdle — As John the baptist also had. That by his very outward habit, he might represent Elijah, in whose spirit and power he came.

Verse 9

[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.

Man of God — So he calls him by way of scorn.

Come — The king commands thee to come to him: which if thou refuseth, I am to carry thee by force.

Verse 10

[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.

Let fire, … — Elijah did this, not to secure himself, he could have done that some other way: nor to revenge himself, for it was not his own cause that he acted in: but to prove his mission, and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.

Verse 11

[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.

And said — He discovers more petulancy than the former; and shews, how little he was moved by the former example.

Verse 13

[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.

Besought — Expressing both reverence to his person, and a dread of God's judgments. There is nothing to be got by contending with God: if we would prevail with him, it must be by supplication. And those are wise who learn submission from the fatal consequences of obstinacy in others.

Verse 16

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

He said — To his very face. Nor durst the king lay hands upon him, being daunted with the prophet's presence, and confidence; and affrighted by the late dreadful evidence of his power with God.

Verse 17

[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.

Jehoram — His brother.

The son of Jehoshaphat — Jehoshaphat, in his seventeenth year, when he went to Ahab, and with him to Ramoth-Gilead, appointed his son Jehoram his vice-roy, and (in case of his death) his successor. In the second year from that time, when Jehoram was thus made vice-king in his father's stead; this Jehoram, Ahab's son, began to reign: and in the fifth year of the reign of this Jehoram son of Ahab, which was about the twenty-fourth year of Jehoshaphat's reign, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was made king of Judah, together with his father.