Ahaziah, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 12, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After Jehoram king of Judah died, his son Ahaziah took over as king. Joram was still the king of Israel when Ahaziah began his reign. Ahaziah was only 22 when he became the king, and his reign only lasted a year! But his short reign is still significant. Ahaziah became king in the midst of tragedy. His father Jehoram was killed in battle, and so were Ahaziah’s older brothers, leaving him as the only one left to take over the throne (2 Chronicles 22:1).

One important piece of Ahaziah’s reign is who he’s related to and how that affected his reign. 2 Kings 8:26-27 tells us, “His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He followed the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family.” Omri was one of the evil kings of Israel, and Ahab is generally considered the evilest king to ever reign in Israel (or Judah).

Ahaziah’s father Jehoram was also considered an evil king of Judah, so the deck was definitely stacked against him simply because of his family. This point is further emphasized in 2 Chronicles 22:3-4: “He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing.”

The major event of Ahaziah’s reign was what happened surrounding the battle at Ramoth-Gilead. Ahaziah and Judah joined forces with Joram and Israel to fight against the Arameans there. Joram was wounded in that battle, and went to Jezreel to recuperate, where Ahaziah went to visit him (2 Chronicles 22:5-6). While Joram was wounded, Jehu was anointed as the next king of Israel (more about him next week). Jehu goes to Jezreel with the intent to kill Joram and thus stop the line of Ahab from reining on the throne of Israel.

While Jehu is there executing those in Joram’s household, he finds Ahaziah and his people there. Jehu kills Ahaziah’s officials and relatives, but Ahaziah escaped and fled to Samaria. But, Jehu’s men tracked down Ahaziah, captured him, and brought him back to Jehu, who killed him (2 Chronicles 22:7-9).

Why did Ahaziah go visit the wounded Joram? That’s a great question, and one that Scripture does not give us a clear answer for. But Ahaziah’s mother was Athalia daughter of Ahab, and Joram’s father was Ahaziah son of Ahab (yes, they share the same name), so that means this King Ahaziah and King Joram were first cousins. It’s likely that Ahaziah went to visit Joram simply because they were related and as a gesture of goodwill.

However, again this is a case of who you surround yourself with can do great harm. Jehu’s primary mission was to kill Joram, but since Ahaziah was evil as well and he was in the vicinity, he was killed as well, thus ending his very short reign over Judah.

It all goes back to the alliance between Judah and Israel through the marriage of Jehoram of Judah to Athalia, Ahab of Israel’s daughter. If not for that marriage, then Ahaziah would not have had such close ties to the royal family of Israel, and he likely would not have gone to visit Joram and thus been killed. While Azahiah did not make that mistake, his father Jehoram did, and Ahaziah continued to reap the negative consequences of that action.

Ahaziah’s grandfather was Jehoshaphat who was one of the good kings in Judah, but the legacy of evil from Ahab and the ruling family of Israel easily overpowered the good that Jehoshaphat did for Judah, through Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram and his son Ahaziah.

What kind of legacy are you leaving? Whether you’re old or young, every person is leaving a legacy in some way. Even a good legacy can quickly go bad, so what are you doing to maintain a lifestyle of following God and to encourage that in those around you? A history of obedience to God is great, but we must keep listening to God and following His ways in the present for the sake of our future and for those around us.

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