I and II Kings were originally considered a single book. As we follow along in the biblical narrative we learn more about the Hebrew monarchies, from the middle of the ninth century BC to near the middle of the sixth century. (That means that in these 25 chapters we are covering the history of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms for a period longer than our own national history as citizens of the USA. This is an overview, for sure, but there are some memorable kings and prophets.)
II Kings 1:1-10
1 After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.
2 Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria and was injured, so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.” 3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up, go to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? 4 Now therefore thus says the Lord: You shall not leave the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.” So Elijah went.
5 The messengers returned to the king, who said to them, “Why have you returned?” 6 They answered him, “There came a man to meet us, who said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and say to him: Thus says the Lord: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not leave the bed to which you have gone but shall surely die.’ ” 7 He said to them, “What sort of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” 8 They answered him, “A hairy man with a leather belt around his waist.” He said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill and said to him, “O man of God, the king says: Come down.” 10 But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
God of our ancestors and Lord of our Life, let us learn the stories of how you have walked through the generations with your people, so that we might journey boldly with you today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.