1st and 2nd Kings were originally one book divided into two in the Septuagint (BC294-289). It appears Isaiah and Jeremiah were the authors using the public records of the kings. It could be that Isaiah wrote to the time of Hezekiah (2Chr. 32:32).

... The purpose of the book is to show the reason for the Davidic Kingdom being disrupted and to reveal why Yahweh sent Israel into captivity (Eze. 21:24-32). It describes the events in the Northern Kingdom of Israel from the ministry of Elisha to the death of Jehu, Israel's 10th king (chs. 1-10). It provides alternating annals of both kingdoms to the captivity of Israel. Jonah, Amos and Hosea prophesied at this time in the north (chs. 11-17).

The record continues to the end of the Kingdom. It was a time of remarkable prophetic ministry; the prophets Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah prophesied at this time (chs. 18-25). Judah out-distanced Israel for over a century. The Northern Kingdom was compared to the shameful example of Jeroboam,

"who made Israel to sin."

The Southern Kingdom was likened to the glory of David. The one example cast the shadows of death; the other revealed the light of life.

19 kings reigned over the north for a period of 250 years, whilst 20 kings reigned in the south from the time of the Disruption for 390 years. The 19 kings of the north came from seven different dynasties in contrast to the one in the South. The record of the kings graphically shows the faithfulness of Yahweh to the Davidic Covenant in the preservation of a line (cp. 2Kings 8:19).


Political weaknesses in the north

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

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.


WHEN Ahab died, ELIJAH, the prophet, was still in the land of the living. Elijah's figure, next to Moses, stands out as the brightest among the prophets. Though he did not write a book and have a place in Scripture in this sense, he more sensibly influenced the nation's affairs, and more strikingly manifested the power and glory of God than any of those whose names are on the books of the prophets.

He did not sink out of view with his flight from Jezebel. He was in seclusion for a time, but he came out of that seclusion early in the reign of Ahaziah, Ahab's successor. Ahaziah had an accident that was likely to prove fatal, and being anxious to know how it would turn out, he sent messengers to Ekron, a Philistine city, to enquire at the God of thatcity (Baalzebub-afterwards known as Beelzebub) whether he would recover.

While this disgraceful scene was being enacted-(a King of Israel sending a public commission of enquiry of a heathen god that was no god, concerning a matter that none but God could tell), the angel of the Lord ordered Elijah to leave his seclusion and go and intercept the messengers at Samaria, and tell them that the King would die. The messengers returned to the King with this message.

They did not know who Elijah was. They spoke of him as " a man that came up to meet them." The King asked what sort of a man he was.His enquiry evoked the only personal description we have of any o£ the prophets in the Scripture. The messengers said

"He was a hairy man and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins."

This was not much of a description, certainly. But it was enough to enable Ahaziah to recognise him. He said, " It is Elijah, the Tishbite." Ahaziah's father had tried in vain to get hold of Elijah. Ahaziah thought the opportunity was now favourable for effecting his arrest. He sent a military troop, fifty strong, under a captain, to go after him and bring him back.

If we think it strange that a sick king, under a prophetic intimation of imminent death, should be guilty of this madness, we must remember that the superstitiousness capable of believing in a heathen idol would naturally regard the powers of Elijah as magical powers resident in Elijah himself which could be nullified by imprisonment and death.

The captain and his troop discovered Elijah on the top of a hill, and summoned him in the King's name to give himself up. There is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time for the servants of God to be passive and to resist not evil, as when Jesus laid down his life, and as when his brethren, in obedience to his commandments, have to follow his example. But there is a time for the avenging hand to be lifted-as when Joshua was commanded to destroy the Canaanitish nations for their wickedness.

Elijah was the prophet of God, not merely to teach the right way, but to punish Israel's departure therefrom. Hence a famine of three-and-a-half years : and hence now the destruction of this captain and his fifty men by fire sent down at the prophet's command.

Another captain and another fifty men perished in like manner. A third captain and a third fifty, taking a more respectful attitude, were spared, and Elijah, by direction of the angel, went down with them to the king and personally delivered the message of death, and came away again in safety.

This incident concluded the work of Elijah

Ministry of the Prophets Ch 3

Ahaziah seeks Baalzebub 

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.

3 But the angel of Yahweh 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 Elohim in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?

4 Now therefore thus saith Yahweh, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

The Messengers return

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

6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith Yahweh, Is it not because there is not Elohim in Israel, that thou sendest to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

7 And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?

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.

Elijah calls fire from heaven

Thou man of Elohim

9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of 50 with his 50. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of Elohim, the king hath said, Come down. 

I do not forget what the Lord Jesus said of John the Baptist, and what Mark and Luke say concerning him. Matthew says that John was he of whom Isaiah spoke, and Luke makes the same reference. Mark quotes both Malachi and Isaiah to prove that a messenger and a proclamation were to precede the appearance or manifestation of the Lord; and having said this, he proceeds with his history of events. Speaking of John, the Lord says,

"This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee."

"But in Malachi's prophecies above quoted "a great and terrible day" is spoken of, even the day of the Lord's coming and appearance as a refiner's fire and fuller's soap. Now before that day, says the prophet, a messenger shall be sent; and at the close of his prophecy tells us his name in these words:

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall restore the heart of the fathers to the children, and (hashiv understood, restore, turn,) the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse."

Now the contemporaries of Jesus understood this in its obvious sense, namely, that the identical Elijah who was translated should return to Palestine on a mission to Israel before their being made to pass through the refining and purifying process on the day of terror. This appears from the question put by the disciples to Jesus after seeing Elijah on the mount with Moses-

"Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?"

This was a reason urged by the scribes for rejecting Jesus. As if they had said,

"This Jesus cannot be the Messenger of the Covenant, for Elijah has not yet made his appearance."

The disciples were in a difficulty. They acknowledged Jesus to be the Christ, but they had seen him before Elijah, which did not harmonize with Malachi's testimony. Jesus admitted that the Scribes were right about the coming of Elijah; for he said,

"Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things."

This is a truth that must not be lost sight of. Elijah's mission is to restore all things when he comes. What things? Not things pertaining to Gentiles; for there is nothing Gentile worth restoring. Destruction, not restoration, is to come upon the things of the Gentiles, both ecclesiastical and civil. The things to be restored are the things of Moses' law, as far as compatible with faith in the blood of the New Covenant, constituting the Amended Law.

Hence in the verse preceding that about Elijah, the Lord says to Israel,

"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even the statutes and judgments." (Mal. 4:1.)

These are the civil law of the nation, the law of the state, the existence of which is quite compatible with the New Covenant to which it will be accommodated in the time of emendation.

On a former occasion, Jesus said to the multitude,

"If ye will receive it, John is the Elijah being about to come"-Elias ho melton erkesthai (Matt. 11:14).

I understand Jesus to say in these words, that Elijah's coming is still future. He says, too, "John is Elijah"-but in what sense are they identical? Let the Angel of Yahweh, who appeared to John's father, answer the question-

"John shall go before the Lord, Israel's God in Elijah's spirit and power, to restore to posterity the fathers' dispositions, and disobedient ones to just persons mode of thinking; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:17.)

Then "Elijah's spirit and power, " like his mantle on Elisha, had fallen upon John; and hence the identity, which, however, did not at all affect the proper coming of Elijah at the appointed time. In this sense Jesus said to his disciples,

"But I say unto you (though there is truth in what the Scribes say) that Elijah once came (elthe 2. aorist) already, and they did not know him, but have done to him whatsoever they listed." (Matt. 17:12.)

John said of himself plainly,

 "I am not Elijah." (John 1:21.)

The appearances, then, of the messenger of the Covenant to the nation are preceded by messengers individually two but officially and spiritually one.

The power and spirit of Elijah. viz., one spirit and power through whomsoever manifested, the operation of which in regard to Israel prepares them for the appearance of the Messenger of the Covenant in their midst. This one spirit-power is exhibited in the history of Elijah.

On comparing it with John's, their identity evidently consisted in their both being possessed of the same spirit of prophecy and a like authority in Israel, which appears to have been "the power" referred to by the Angel. The word of the Lord came to them both while sojourning by the Jordan, and thence their influence was felt among all ranks and classes of the nation.

But "John did no miracle" (John 10:41); Elijah performed many of great magnitude: John's identity in power with Elijah was therefore not wonder-working.

Christ's mission to Israel was covenant-confirming and individually enlightening and converting (Jer. 23:5), not political: his political mission pertains to the future (Luke 1:32-33). Yahweh's messengers, who precede and introduce his king's appearing, have each a mission corresponding to Christ's.

Hence John's mission in Elijah's spirit-power was confirming and personally enlightening and converting; while Elijah's, when he comes in his own proper person to Israel, will be nationally enlightening, converting, and political. The combined result of the Elijah-spirit-power mission is the spiritual and political restoration of all things before Christ's manifestation to the Twelve Tribes as their king sitting on David's throne in Zion.

The restoration effected by this power through John was a spiritual restoration affecting the hearts of many of the people, not of all; a restoration of the Abrahamic mind and disposition in his contemporaries. Beyond this nothing was restored. But through "Elijah the Prophet" the same spirit-power will "restore all things," and among these the tribes of Israel, when its mission will be complete.

Mystery of the covenant of the Holy Land explained

10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of 50, If I be a man of Elohim, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy 50. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his 50.

Instant judgement and destruction. Elijah may again call down fire from heaven prior to the Messiannic age - Zech 14: 12.

11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of 50 with his 50. And he answered and said unto him, O man of Elohim, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.

12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of Elohim, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy 50. And the fire of Elohim came down from heaven, and consumed him and his 50.

The Third captain acknowledges Yahweh's power

13 And he sent again a captain of the third 50 with his 50. And the third captain of 50 went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of Elohim, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these 50 thy servants, be precious in thy sight.

Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Bowing the knee he saves himself and his accompanying soldiers. Some will be spared Psa 2:12, putting their trust in Zion's King

14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.

15 And the angel of Yahweh said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.

16 And he said unto him, Thus saith Yahweh, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no Elohim 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.

Death of Ahaziah

17 So he died according to the word of Yahweh 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.

18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?