Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.XXII.
THE SHORT REIGN OF AHAZIAH(2Chronicles 22:1-9).
(Comp. 2Kings 8:25-29.)
Made Ahaziah . . . king.—This variation from the usual formula—“And Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead”—has been supposed to indicate that the succession was disputed, either Athaliah, the queen-mother, or Jehoiada, the high priest, opposing it. It is more likely that the difference of expression simply points to the use of a different source by the writer.
The band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp.—The Hebrew is obscure for want of further details. “The troop that came among the Arabs to the camp” appears to have been some party of half-savage warriors, who, after the Jewish camp had been stormed by the invaders and the royal princes taken prisoners, fell upon and slew their captives. (Comp. 2Chronicles 21:17; and Judges 8:18, seq.; 1Samuel 15:32.)
All the eldest.—Heb., the former (rîshonîm). Syriac: “For all the elder the troop had destroyed them; for the Arabs came and destroyed the camp of Israel.”
Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.(2) Forty and two years old.—An error of transcription. 2Kings 8:26, twenty and two; and so the Syriac and Arabic: the LXX. has “twenty.” Ahaziah could not have been forty when he succeeded, because his father was only forty when he died (2Chronicles 21:20).
Athaliah the daughter of Omri—i.e., granddaughter, she being daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Kings adds, “king of Israel,” which the chronicler purposely omits. (Comp. Micah 6:16 : “The statutes of Omri,” “the works of the house of Ahab.”)
He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counseller to do wickedly.(3) He also.—The pronoun is emphatic: he too, like his father. Kings: “And he walked.”
For his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.—Not in Kings; an explanatory remark added by the chronicler. (Comp. 2Chronicles 20:35; 2Chronicles 21:6.) Her influence would be used in support of the Baal worship, which was the symbol of alliance with the northern kingdom.
Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellers after the death of his father to his destruction.(4) Wherefore.—And he did the evil. So 2Kings 8:27.
For they were his counsellors.—Or, became.
To his destruction.—Literally, to destruction to him, the same peculiar expression being used which occurred in 2Chronicles 20:23. This last half of the verse is evidently the chronicler’s own free expansion or interpretation of the words of Kings, “for he was son-in-law of the house of Ahab.”
He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramothgilead: and the Syrians smote Joram.(5) He walked also after (in) their counsel.—An allusion to Psalm 1:1. He became a close partner in the politics of his ally, and joined in his expedition against the Syrians. The words are not in Kings.
And went with Jehoram.—2Kings 8:28, “Joram.”
King of Israel.—Added by chronicler.
Hazael king of Syria.—See Note on 2Kings 8:8, seq.; 13:3.
The Syrians.—Heb., hārammîm, instead of ‘Arammîm’ (Kings). So Vulg. and Targum. The Syriac, as usual, confuses Aram with Edom. The LXX. renders “the archers,” as if the word were the participle of rāmāh, “to shoot.” Perhaps the chronicler intended ha-rômîm, “the archers.” (Comp. 1Samuel 31:3; Jeremiah 4:29.)
And he returned to be healed in Jezreel because of the wounds which were given him at Ramah, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick.(6) And he—i.e., Joram, 1Kings 8:29, and LXX.
Because of the wounds.—Omit “because.” So
Kings, and LXX. (ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν), Syriac, Arabic, and Targum, as well as some Hebrew MSS. The Hebrew text has “because the wounds,” which makes no sense. The word rendered “wounds” (makhim) only occurs besides in 2Kings 8:29; 2Kings 9:15. (Ki, “because,” has originated out of min, “from.”)
Azariah.—A mistake for “Ahaziah.” So Kings, LXX., Vulg., Syriac, Arabic, and some Hebrew MSS.
Went down.—Whether from Ramah or Jerusalem is not clear. (See 2Kings 9:14.)
Jehoram.—Kings, Joram; and so the versions.
And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.(7) And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God.—Literally, And from God came the downtreading of Ahaziah, so that he went to Joram. The coin cidence of the visit with Jehu’s rebellion revealed the working of Divine providence. It thus came to pass that the three chief representatives of the house of Ahab—Joram, Jezebel, and Ahaziah—were involved in one catastrophe of ruin; Athaliah, however, escaped for the time. “Downtreading” (tebûsah) occurs here only. (Comp. mebûsah, Isaiah 22:5.)
With Jehoram.—So 2Kings 9:21.
Against Jehu.—Rather, unto Jehu. Kings, l.c., “to meet Jehu.”
The son of Nimshi—i.e., grandson. Jehu was son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi (2Kings 9:2).
And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them.(8) When Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab.—The Hebrew phrase strictly means to plead with, or argue a cause with. (Comp. 1Samuel 12:7.) When God is said to plead with men, the notion of judicial punishment is often involved, as in Joel 3:2; Isaiah 66:16; and such is the meaning here. Jehu was an instrument of Divine vengeance, even when fulfilling the projects of his own ambition, as were the savage Assyrian conquerors (Isaiah 10:5-7).
And found.—Rather, he found.
The sons of the brethren of Ahaziah.—Comp. 2Kings 10:12-14, where the details are given. The persons whom Jehu slew are there called Ahaziah’s “brethren”—i.e., kinsmen (a common use; so LXX. here), and are said to have been forty-two in number. The Hebrew term is wide enough to include cousins and grandsons as well as nephews of the king. The “princes of Judah” who accompanied them would naturally be members of the court in charge of them, and are perhaps to be included in the total of forty-two persons. Thenius, indeed, in his note on 2Kings 10:13, alleges that we must understand the real brothers of Ahaziah, whom the chronicler gets rid of (!) on an earlier occasion (i.e., 2Chronicles 21:17; 2Chronicles 22:1), because he required a Divine judgment in the lifetime of Jehoram. buch arbitrary criticism hardly deserves refutation; we may, however, remark that Thenius relies on the untenable assumption that Jehoram could not have begotten any children before Ahaziah, whom he begot in his eighteenth or nineteenth year.
That ministered to Ahaziah.—In attendance on Ahaziah—i.e., attached to the retinue of Ahaziah as pages, &c.
He slew them.—And slew them.
And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.(9) And he sought Ahaziah.—In 2Kings 9:27-28 we find a different tradition concerning the death of Ahaziah. That passage, literally rendered, runs as follows: “And Ahaziah king of Judah had seen it (i.e., the death of Jehoram, 2Kings 9:24), and he fled by the way of the garden palace, and Jehu pursued after him, and said, Him, too, smite (shoot) ye him in the chariot!—on the ascent of Gûr, beside Ibleam; and he fled to Megiddo, and died there.” (Perhaps and they smote him has fallen out before the words on the ascent of Gûr.) “And his servants brought him in the chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own grave, with his fathers, in the city of David.” Such divergences are valuable, because they help to establish the independence of the two accounts.
For he was hid.—Now he was hiding.
And when they had slain him.—And they put him to death, and buried him; for they said, &c.
He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord.—A didactic remark in the usual manner of the chronicler.
So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.—Literally, And the house of Ahaziah had none to retain strength for kingship (= capable of assuming the sovereignty). Another sentence marked throughout by the chronicler’s own style. (Comp. 2Chronicles 13:20, “retained strength.”) It forms the transition to the account of Athaliah’s usurpation of the throne.
But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.ATHALIAH SEIZES THE GOVERNMENT (2Chronicles 22:10-12).
(Comp. 2Kings 11:1-3.)
(10) But when Athaliah.—See 2Kings 11:1, with which this verse nearly coincides.
Destroyed.—So Kings and some Hebrew MSS., and all the versions. Hebrew text, she spake, a mistake of some scribe.
All the seed royal.—Even after the massacres described in 2Chronicles 22:1; 2Chronicles 22:8, there would doubtless be left a number of persons more or less nearly connected with the royal family, besides the immediate offspring of Ahaziah, who are, in the first instance, intended by this phrase.
But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.(11) Jehoshabeath.—Kings, “Jehosheba.” (Comp. “Elisheba,” Exodus 6:23; and Ἐλισάβετ (LXX.), Luke 1:7.)
The daughter of the king.—Kings adds “Joram,” and “sister of Ahaziah.”
That were slain.—That were to be put to death.
In a bedchamber.—Literally, in the chamber of beds, i.e., where the bedding was kept. (See Note on 2Kings 11:2.)
The wife of Jehoiada the priest.—So Josephus. Thenius questions the fact, on the supposed grounds—(1) that the high priest did not live in the Temple; but the passage he alleges (Nehemiah 3:20-21) does not prove this for Jehoiada; and (2) that the chronicler contradicts himself in asserting that the priest’s wife also lived within the sacred precinct; but again his reference (2Chronicles 8:11) is irrelevant. Ewald calls the statement in question “genuinely historical;” and there is not the smallest reason to doubt it.
And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.(12) With them.—With Jehoiada and his wife. Kings, “with her;” LXX., “with him;” Syriac and Arabic, “with her.” (See Note on 2Kings 11:3.)