Ahaziah of Israel

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For the king of the Southern Kingdom, see Ahaziah.

King Ahaziah of Israel (Hebrew אחזיהו המלך held by YHWH) (898-896 BC according to Ussher,[1] or 853-852 BC according to Thiele[2][3]) was the eighth king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.[4][5] He succeeded his father Ahab and in fact served the first year of his two-year reign as viceroy under Ahab.


This Ahaziah was the son of Ahab by Ahab's wife Jezebel, and a member of the ill-fated House of Omri. He had about seventy brothers, including Jehoram, his eventual successor.


In the twenty-first year of his reign, Ahab made his son Ahaziah his viceroy. Then, within a year, Ahab was dead. Upon his death, the Moabites, which had been the Northern Kingdom's vassals, revolted.[4][6]

Ahaziah did as much evil in the sight of God as did his father Ahab, in that he continued to worship Baal himself and to encourage his subjects to do the same.[3] The Bible condemns him in strong terms for leading his entire kingdom to sin.

He attempted twice to revive the maritime trade in the Red Sea, by making an alliance with King Jehoshaphat of the Southern Kingdom. Jehoshaphat agreed the first time, but the trade fleet was wrecked before it even got out of harbor.[4] Ahaziah tried to persuade Jehoshaphat to build another fleet, but Jehoshaphat refused.


Ahaziah fell through a lattice in a high room of his palace in Samaria. He sent messengers to ask at Ekron of the god Beelzebub (literally, "The Lord of the Flies") whether he would recover.[3][4]

But those messengers never arrived at Ekron. They came back to Ahaziah and said that a stranger had intercepted them and told them to bring back a dire message: that Ahaziah would never get out of his bed, and would die in it. Ahaziah pressed them to describe this man, and from their description he determined that the man was none other than Elijah, who had troubled his father's peace at various times during his reign.

Ahaziah sent a platoon-sized force of fifty soldiers to arrest Elijah. They did not come back. Ahaziah sent another, with the same result. The third platoon, however, brought Elijah back into the presence of the king—but definitely not under arrest.

Elijah did not spare Ahaziah's feelings or his royal prerogatives. He asked straight-out whether it was because God had no more presence in the Northern Kingdom that Ahaziah had to ask Beelzebub about his recovery. Elijah then told Ahaziah directly: he would never get out of bed.[3][4]

And he did not. Ahaziah died after a brief and mostly miserable two-year reign. He left no issue, and therefore his brother Jehoram succeeded him.


  1. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 521-523
  2. Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp. 267-268
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Author unknown. "Visible Judgment: The Reign of Ahaziah." 2π Bible Pages. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Authors unknown. "Entry for Ahaziah." WebBible Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  5. Authors unknown. "Entry for Ahaziah." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  6. II_Kings 1:1

See also