The Bible – Old Testament
After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel.
1 Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his roof terrace at Samaria and had been injured. So he sent out messengers with the instructions: “Go and inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.”
Meanwhile, the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go, intercept the messengers of Samaria’s king, and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron?’
For this, the LORD says: ‘You shall not leave the bed upon which you lie; instead, you shall die.'” And with that, Elijah departed.
The messengers then returned to Ahaziah, who asked them. “Why have you returned?”
“A man came up to us,” they answered, “who said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him: The LORD says, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? For this you shall not leave the bed upon which you lie; instead, you shall die.'”
The king asked them, “What was the man like who came up to you and said these things to you?”
2 “Wearing a hairy garment,” they replied, “with a leather girdle about his loins.” “It is Elijah the Tishbite!” he exclaimed.
Then the king sent a captain with his company of fifty men after Elijah. The prophet was seated on a hilltop when he found him. “Man of God,” he ordered, “the king commands you to come down.”
“If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered the captain, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.
Ahaziah sent another captain with his company of fifty men after Elijah. “Man of God,” he called out to Elijah, “the king commands you to come down immediately.”
3 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered him, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And divine fire came down from heaven, consuming him and his fifty men.
Again, for the third time, Ahaziah sent a captain with his company of fifty men. When the third captain arrived, he fell to his knees before Elijah, pleading with him. “Man of God,” he implored him, “let my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants, count for something in your sight!
Already fire has come down from heaven, consuming two captains with their companies of fifty men. But now, let my life mean something to you!”
Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; you need not be afraid of him.”
So Elijah left and went down with him and stated to the king: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, you shall not leave the bed upon which you lie; instead you shall die.'”
4 Ahaziah died in fulfillment of the prophecy of the LORD spoken by Elijah. Since he had no son, his brother Joram succeeded him as king, in the second year of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
The rest of the acts of Ahaziah are recorded in the book of chronicles of the kings of Israel.
1 Baalzebub: in this form, “Baal of flies.” The name in the Hebrew text is a derisive alteration of Baalzebul, “Prince Baal.” The best New Testament evidence supports the latter form in ⇒ Matthew 10:25; ⇒ Luke 11:15. Later associations with Aramaic beeldebaba, “enemy,” gave the ancient name its connotation of “devil.”
3  Divine fire: literally, “fire of God,” which in Hebrew sounds quite like man of God. The play on words is the basis for Elijah’s alleged retort. This story was told among the people to enhance the dignity of the prophet and to reflect the power of God whom he served. The mercy which God extends even to the wicked is described in ⇒ Wisdom 11:17-12, ⇒ 22 and the prophet Elijah was well aware of it (⇒ 1 Kings 21:28-29).
4  Joram: in the Second Book of Kings the name Joram (yoram), alternately Jehoram (yehoram), appears in numerous passages to designate both the king of Judah, son and successor of Jehoshaphat (848-841 B.C.), and the contemporary king of Israel, son of Ahab (852-841 B.C.). For the convenience of the reader in distinguishing these two kings, the longer form, Jehoram, is used to designate the king of Judah and the shorter form, Joram, to designate the king of Israel. See note on ⇒ 2 Kings 3:1.