The Book of Second Kings continues the drama begun in First Kings. Israel had been divided in 1 Kings Chapter 12 and the two kingdoms had begun to slide into idolatry and corruption toward collapse and captivity. Second Kings relates the stories of 12 kings of the northern kingdom (called Israel) and the 16 kings of the southern kingdom (called Judah). For 130 years, Israel endures the succession of evil rulers until they were conquered by Shalmaneser of Assyria and led into captivity in 722 B.C. (17:6). Of all the kings in both north and south, only two—Hezekiah and Josiah—were called good. Jehoshaphat though, according to scripture—“Did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,” but only Hezekiah and Josiah were called “good.” Because of their obedience to God and the spiritual revivals during their reigns, Judah stood for an additional 136 years until falling to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
Verse 2 – Baal-Zebub was not the same god as Baal, the Canaanite god worshiped by Ahab and Jezebel. Baal-Zebub—“Lord of the Flies,” was the god whose temple was located in the city of Ekron. This god was thought to have the power of prophecy. King Ahaziah was injured and wanted to know if he would recover, so he sent messengers to Ekron to learn of his fate. Turning to pagan deities was disloyal to God and was worthy of death (Exodus 22:20).
Verses 3, 4 – Elijah challenged king Ahaziah on his false worship by the question, “Is it because there is no God in Israel?” Then Elijah announces that Ahaziah would die.
Verses 9, 10 – Round two! Therefore, now Ahaziah knows who his enemy is. He sends his captain and 50 men back to Elijah and they tell Elijah that the king commands for him to come down. They knew Elijah was “a man of God” but yet disrespected him. Elijah simply told them “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men. Poof! Gone!
Verses 11, 12 – I wonder how long the king waited before he realized his men weren’t coming back. The king foolishly trusted in his own power and pride again. Surely, this prophet won’t defy the king a second time. Wrong! The king sends another 50 men to Elijah. The same thing was said and fire came down from heaven and consumed the men.
Verses 13-15 – Notice how the third captain came before Elijah. Although the first two captains called Elijah “man of God,” they were not genuine in their respect for him. This third captain also called Elijah man of God, but he humbly begged for mercy. His attitude showed respect for God and His power. That one act saved the lives of him and his men. Effective living begins with a right attitude towards God. At this point, God sent an angel to tell Elijah to go with the company.
Verse 16 – Perhaps at this point Ahaziah recognized the power of God, but there is no recorded evidence of it.