OU TORAHDedicated by the Jacobs and Chill Families in Memory of Harold and Pearl Jacobs
Dora Bas Rivka Silver O'H
Lord of the Flies
NOTE: It's going to get a little bit confusing soon if you don't pay attention, because some names are going to start repeating. Just as many British monarchs had the same name - and the US had two Presidents named John Adams and two named George Bush - there are some kings with duplicated names. We ended the book of I Kings with Achaziah, son of Ahab, king of Israel, but there will also soon be an Achaziah, son of Yehoram, king of Judah. That Yehoram is the son of Yehoshafat (Jehoshaphat), but there will be a king of Israel also named Yehoram before this chapter is through. Later, there will be a second king named Yaravam, also of Israel. So just watch to see whether it's a king of Judah (which included Benjamin and Levi) or a king of Israel (Ten Tribes) and you'll do just fine.
So, Ahab died and was succeeded by his son, Achaziah. Achaziah had a fall (Rashi says down the stairs, Radak says through a skylight) and was badly injured. He sent messengers to Baal-Zevuv, the idol of Ekron, to see if he would recover. (You probably know Baal-Zevuv by one or two other names. It's often Anglicized "Beelzebub" and it literally translates into "Lord of the Flies," as in the book of the same name.)
An angel came to the prophet Elijah with a message: G-d wasn't real happy about Achaziah inquiring of an idol, so he would die of his injuries. Elijah told the messengers, who returned to the king with that prophecy. Achaziah heard it and asked, "Who told you that?" They replied, "A hairy man with a leather belt." "Elijah!" he exclaimed.
Achaziah sent a squad of fifty men to bring Elijah to him, but Elijah called upon a Heavenly fire that consumed them. Achaziah sent another fifty, who were likewise consumed. A third squad of fifty was sent and the captain was none too keen to be consumed by a Heavenly fire, so he called out, "We don't really want to be doing this; we were ordered to by the king. So could you please not consume us?" This being a reasonable request, the angel instructed Elijah to accompany the troops back to Achaziah, secure in the knowledge that he would be safe.
When he got there, Elijah reiterated the prophecy that Achaziah would die of his injuries. Sure enough, he died. Achaziah had no sons, so he was succeeded by his brother, Yehoram. (The other Yehoram was king of Judah at this time, but we'll learn more about him in chapter 8.)
A short Insight into II Kings, Chapter 1The Medresh Tanchuma contrasts the attitude of Eliyahu haNavi and the attitude of the Prince of Tzur regarding the talents with which they were blessed.
In Sefer Yechezkel (28:2), Yechezkel is told to relate a message from Hashem to the Prince of Tzur saying, “Because your heart has become proud and you have said, 'I am a god; I occupy the seat of G-d in the heart of the seas' – but you are a man and not a god, though you set your heart like the heart of G-d.”
The Navi explains that since the Prince of Tzur had used his wisdom and discernment to amass wealth, including treasures of gold and silver and had been successful in commerce he became proud and haughty.
However, the prophets of the Jewish people despite their close connection to Hashem and the powers with which they were blessed did not become haughty. They were even able to call themselves “Men of G-d” and did not become prideful. As the verse says concerning Eliyahu's rebuttal to the Captain of Fifty, “If I am a 'Man of G-d' let a fire descend from Heaven and consume you and your fifty men. A fire then descended ...”
The Medresh continues, “Hashem said, 'I revive the dead and Eliyahu revives the dead. Yet, he did not say 'I am G-d.' I bring down rain and Eliyahu brings down rain. I brought down fire and sulfur on S'dom and Eliyahu brought down fire. Yet, he did not say 'I am G-d.'”
For the great men of B'nei Yisrael like Moshe and Eliyau, despite the fact that have achieved great spiritual heights, never became haughty thinking that they were not mere mortals.