Ahaziah of Judah

"This entry is not about King Ahaziah of Israel."

Ahaziah of Judah (אחזיהו המלך) was king of Judah, and the son of Jehoram and Athaliah, the daughter of king Ahab of Israel. He is also called Jehoahaz (2 Chronicles 21:17; 25:23). He took the throne at the age of 42 in the years of the House of Ahab but he was biologically 22 years old (2 Chronicles 22:2). William F. Albright has dated his reign to 842 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the date 841 BC. Under the influence of his mother Athaliah, he introduced forms of worship that offended the Yahwistic party.

He joined his uncle Jehoram, king of Israel, in an unsuccessful expedition against Hazael, king of the Arameans. Jehoram was wounded in the battle, and when Ahaziah went to visit his uncle at Jezreel, he was caught up in the revolt of Jehu; Ahaziah fled for his life, but was wounded at the pass of Gur, and had strength only to reach Megiddo, where he died (2 Kings 9:22-28). He is said to have reigned only one year.

The author of the inscription on the Tel Dan Stele (found in 1993 and 1994 during archeological excavations of the site of Lashish) claimed to have slain both Ahaziah, son of Jehoram, and Jehoram; the most likely author of this monument is Hazael of the Arameans. Although the inscription is a contemporary witness of this period, kings of this period were inclined to boast and make exaggerated claims; it is not clear whether Jehu killed the two kings (as the Bible reports) or Hazael (as the Tel Dan Stele reports).


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