Ahaziah

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AHAZIAH

AHAZIAH (Heb. אֲחַזְיָה, אֲחַזְיָהו; "yhwh holds firm"), the name of two biblical kings.

(1) Son of *Ahab, king of Israel (c. 853–852 b.c.e.). The biblical account of his two-year reign (i Kings 22:52–ii Kings 1:18) faults Ahaziah for following his father and mother in sponsoring the cult of the Tyrian Baal, inquiring of Baal-Zebub of Philistine Ekron in addition to his maintenance of the calf-cult initiated by Jeroboam i. The defeat of the army of Israel and the death of Ahab in the war with the Arameans (853 b.c.e.) encouraged *Mesha, king of Moab, to free himself from Israelite suzerainty and to engage in war with Ahaziah. Apparently the Ammonites also gained their freedom at that time (ii Chron. 20:1). The traditional alliance between the house of Omri and Judah suffered when *Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, refused partnership in the maritime commercial venture organized at the port of Ezion-Geber which was proposed by the king of Israel (i Kings 22:49–50; see, however, ii Chron. 20:35–37). In the second year of his reign Ahaziah was severely injured in a fall from the window of an upper story of his palace and sent to ask for an oracle of Baal-Zebub, god of Ekron. *Elijah reproved him for this act and prophesied that he would die (ii Kings 1:2 ff.). Given the fantastic elements in the chapter, i.e., repeated fire from heaven called down by the prophet, we might do well to explain the account of Ahaziah's deeds as a theological justification for his brief reign and premature death. Ahaziah left no sons and was succeeded on the throne by his brother Jehoram.

(2) The son of *Jehoram, king of Judah, and *Athaliah, daughter (or sister) of Ahab, king of Israel. Ahaziah ascended the throne at the age of 22 and reigned for one year over Judah (c. 842–841 b.c.e.; ii Kings 8:25 ff.). His name is misspelled "Johoahaz" in ii Chronicles 21:16–17 and "Azariah" in ii Chronicles 22:6. He followed his mother Athaliah in all matters relating to the cult. The political alliance with the dynasty of Omri was revived and he and his uncle or cousin King Jehoram of Israel went to war against Ḥazael, king of Aram (ii Kings 8:28–29; ii Chron. 22:5–6). Jehoram was wounded in the battle, and Ahaziah visited him in Jezreel. Because of this kinship and friendship, *Jehu killed him as well as Jehoram (ii Kings 9:27–28; ii Chron. 22:9).

bibliography:

Bright, Hist, 223 ff., 232–4; Yeivin, in: jqr, 50 (1959/60), 219 ff.; em, 1 (1965), 210–1. add. bibliography: M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, ii Kings (ab; 1988), 21–28, 98–100; W. Thiel, in: abd, 1, 107–9.