Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 19

God chooses Hazael as king of Aram

1 Kings 19:15

Elijah had prayed desperately about the people in northern and central Israel. They had turned completely away from God. So, he wanted to know whether God had also turned completely against them. If so, their situation was hopeless.

At first God seemed not to answer Elijah’s question. Instead, God gave him instructions, like the instructions that a master gives to his servant. A servant does not need to know his master’s plan; he only needs to obey his master.

God’s words to Elijah were like a poem, with three sections. In the first section (verses 15-16), God told Elijah to appoint three people. In the second section (verse 17), God told Elijah about three judgments. The third section (verse 18), about the people who were loyal to God, also seems to be in three parts.

In this first command to Elijah, God reminded Elijah that he rules the whole world, and not just Israel. Damascus was the capital of Aram, also called Syria, a powerful nation on the north-east side of Israel. God had chosen a new king for that great nation.

It is strange that God links Damascus with the word for a desert (a dry place) or a wilderness (a wild place). Damascus is a large city in a great plain, famous for its plentiful supply of water. Perhaps God was describing its people’s state as he saw them; without any knowledge whatever of the true God. However, God still claimed authority over it.

It seems that God did not want Elijah to go there and to appoint Hazael at once. In fact, the proper time to appoint Hazael was not until after Elijah had gone to heaven. In 2 Kings 8:7-15, Elisha told Hazael that he would be king. On the next day, Hazael murdered Aram’s previous king, and he declared himself to be the new king.

Next part: God chooses Jehu and Elisha (1 Kings 19:16)


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