Elijah and Elisha
2 Kings 1 – 2
2 Kings 1 – 2
O U T L I N E
|– Elijah and Elisha
|2 Kings 1 – 2
|– Elijah and Ahaziah
|2 Kings 1
|– The Ascension of Elijah
|2 Kings 2:1-11
|– Elisha: Christ in the Power of the Spirit
|2 Kings 2:12-25
Overview. The history resumes in 2 Kings with the divided nation of Israel. Throughout the course of this book we have a nation divided that becomes a nation collapsed that becomes a nation taken captive. The opening chapter takes place around 930 BC, and the book spans about 300 years of Israel’s history culminating with the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. In the northern Kingdom, there are 20 kings in total, and all of them are bad. In the southern kingdom there are 19 kings in total, 11 of them are bad. The end of the Northern Kingdom is in 722 BC with the Assyrian captivity, but in grace a little time is extended to Judah, about 150 years, before the Babylonian captivity. Not only is Judah taken captive, but Babylon becomes the head of gold, extending dominance over the Earth. 2 Kings gives us the failure of Israel under the dispensation of kings with God’s corresponding government toward that nation, and yet at the same time His over ruling purpose in grace, and His faithfulness to His purpose to preserve a Messianic line. While the books of chronicles focus on the northern southern Kingdom of Judah, the books of Kings taken to account the Northern Kingdom as well. Therefore, in the books of the kings we have two prophets that God raised up in the sphere of the Northern Kingdom. These two men, whose names are very similar, Elijah and Elijah, were treatments that he gave for the Kingdom of Israel which was morally sick and approaching death. Elijah’s ministry was one of judgment, and Elisha’s was one of grace. Grace being rejected, there was nothing left but judgment.
Elijah and Ahaziah
2 Kings 1
2 Kings 1
1 And Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. 2 And Ahaziah fell down through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and was sick; and he sent messengers and said to them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this disease. vv.1-2 Setting. As is common in the history of nations, whenever a king dies, other nations make a move to gain the upper hand. Here Moab rebels against Israel after the death of Ahab. No doubt the incredibly high tribute that was levied upon Moab by Solomon was a great burden for that small nation (2 Kings 3:4). This was no mere political coincidence. We find that this was a consequence of the sinful course of Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:52-53). Ahaziah was the son of Ahab by Jezebel, and his name means “Jehovah holds”. Ahaziah represents someone who has a superficial knowledge of God, or the name of being a believer, without the reality. In addition to the rebellion of Moab there was a second judgment that fell on the northern Kingdom. The king fell through “the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria” (like the screened fence along the edge of his rooftop patio) and became sick. The nation was morally sick and God caused this to happen to bring the king’s physical condition into line with the nation’s moral condition. It is amazing how when people get sick they get religious. This king turns to a false god, proclaiming Baal-zebub as his god, defying the meaning of his own name, and shaking his fist against Jehovah. Baal-zebub was the “lord of the flies”. In Ekron, one of the five cities of the Philistines, they worshiped the Lord of the flies or dung beetle. Romans 1 describes how the mind of man is darkened when he rejects the true knowledge of God. Nature abhors a vacuum and so does the spiritual realm. When God is rejected, man’s mind is enveloped in darkness. Behind that idol was a demon, and the power of Satan. In New Testament times the name Baal-zebub is used synonymously for the power of Satan. For the Lord of the flies, God has prepared a flyswatter.
3 And the angel of Jehovah said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, Is it because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? 4 Now therefore thus saith Jehovah: Thou shalt not come down from the bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt certainly die. And Elijah departed. vv.3-4 Elijah’s Mission. The Angel of the Lord is a construction that we gather from many scriptures is a reference to the Lord Jesus Himself in a preincarnate form. The Lord told Elijah to intercept the messengers of the king and to deliver a solemn message. There was the rhetorical question that dealt with the root matter. “Is it because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?” This is a question for us to ponder. Elijah was a man that was unafraid to speak against evil and pronounce judgment. He was a discerning man, one who could sniff out the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Ahaziah had had abundant evidence that Jehovah was God in Israel. Recall the contest upon Mount Carmel, as well as the death of Ahab at the word of the Lord. Did the king want an answer? He would get an answer, but it would not be from the god of Ekron. The God of Israel says, “Thou shalt not come down from the bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt certainly die”. For the wages of sin is death.
5 And the messengers returned to him; and he said to them, Why have ye returned? 6 And they said unto him, A man came up to meet us, and said to us, Go, return to the king that sent you and say to him, Thus saith Jehovah: Is it 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 the bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt certainly die. 7 And he said to them, What manner of man was he that came up to meet you, and told you these words? 8 And they said to him, He was a man in a hairy garment, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite. vv.5-8 The Messengers Return. The messengers having returned prematurely were questioned by the king. They described the man that came to meet them, and his message. Their description to the king was that he was a man and a hairy garment, girt with a girdle of leather. It speaks to us of a man who lived with consistent self- denial. This was the opposite of the character of the king, who lived a life of self-pleasing. The king recognized the persona of Elijah. His father had had trouble with the same prophet.
9 And he sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him, and behold, he sat on the top of the mount. And he spoke to him: Man of God, the king says, Come down! 10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, And if I be a man of God, let fire come down from the heavens and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from the heavens, and consumed him and his fifty. vv.9-10 The First Captain and His Fifty. The unrepented King continues in his defiance. He seeks to bend the prophet to his own will. We see a boldness in Ahaziah which is imbibed by the first captain of fifty. He uses the term “man of God”, but shows by his words that the authority of God in the prophet was not appreciated relative to the authority of his master. What the world wants is to bring the man of God down. The world wants to dishonor Christ, and stumble the believer. What can man do against God? “He that sitteth in the heaven shall laugh” (Psalm 2). Elijah had called down fire from heaven once before this, in 1 Kings 18 at the contest of Mount Carmel. At that time the fire of God was reserved for the burnt offering on the altar of Israel. The fire speaks of the judgment of God against sin which was poured out on Christ on the cross. If you will receive Christ as Savior, that judgment need not fall on you. But in rejecting God’s offer of salvation, and in demanding God come to man on his terms, that fire is reserved for the sinner! Thus fire from heaven characterized Elijah ministry, and we see this at the close when he is parted from Elisha by a chariot of fire and taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. Many years later the disciples of the Lord Jesus remembered this account when they noticed that the Samaritans were not receiving the word of the Lord. In Luke 9:51-56 the disciples asked the Lord if they should do as Elijah had done, and call fire down from heaven. But it was not then the time for judgment, it was still the day of grace.
11 And again he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he spoke and said to him, Man of God, thus says the king: Come down quickly! 12 And Elijah answered and said to them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from the heavens and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from the heavens, and consumed him and his fifty. vv.11-12 The Second Captain and His Fifty. The stubborn king commits fresh troops to the fruitless objective. The command is renewed, and in an aggravated tone, with the word “quickly” added. Again fire comes down, and the captain in his fifty are consumed. Although it is not noticeable in the English, there is a play on words here that is quite plain in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for man is ‘ish’ while the Hebrew word for fire is ‘esh’. The play on words is for emphasis. The captain commands, “Ish of God, come down”. Elijah says, “If I be an Ish of God, let esh come down” … and the ‘esh’ of God came down.
13 And again he sent the captain of a 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 to him, Man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. 14 Behold, there came down fire from the heavens, and consumed the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties; but now, let my life be precious in thy sight. vv.13-14 The Third Captain and His Fifty. The third captain begins his speech with the same expression, “Man of God”, but his attitude is totally different. The third captain is convinced of the judgment of God, having seen the proof of it in the other two captains. This captain is also convinced that God can show grace. It is an example of the faith that Hebrews 11:6 describes; “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” That faith was pleasing to God. This man also takes note of the lives of his fifty men. This is a contrast to King Ahaziah, who would commit fifty men to their destruction as carelessly as a chess player moves a pawn. This captain begs for his life, and the lives of his men.
15 And the angel of Jehovah said to Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him to the king. 16 And he said to him, Thus saith Jehovah: Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down from the bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt certainly die. vv.15-16 Elijah Before Ahaziah. Assured by the Lord, Elijah goes with this 3rd captain. He stands before the king, and delivers the message as Jehovah had commanded him. Notice that the message has not changed from the beginning of the chapter. Man may defy God – may shake his fist at God – but the Word of God does not change.
17 And he died according to the word of Jehovah that Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram began to reign in his stead, in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; for he had no son. v.17 The Death of Ahaziah. Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord. The Lord was vindicated (or proven righteous from the beginning) in the death of Ahaziah. In this chapter we have examples of what Paul speaks of in Romans 9 as vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy. Ahaziah was a vessel of wrath. He set his will against God and was destroyed. God’s wrath and power were made known in the death of Ahaziah. But the third captain is an example of a vessel of mercy; “that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:22-23). The successor to the throne of Israel was the king’s brother Jehoram, because Ahaziah had no sons at the time of his death. This Jehoram is distinguished from the Jehoram of Judah. The latter was the son of Jehoshaphat and the brother-in-law of Ahaziah by his marriage to Athaliah.
18 And the rest of the acts of Ahaziah, what he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? v.18 The Acts of Ahaziah. The remainder of the acts of Ahaziah are said to be recorded in the chronicles of the kings, with no special note attached.