A Certain Young Man

by Dody Gibson

Ahab had the distinction of being the most evil, malevolent, degenerate king that reigned over God’s people. His choice of a queen did nothing but further his selfish ambition. The Scripture tells us that; “There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” (I Kings 21:25)

An alliance had been established between the king of Israel and that of Judah. A marriage was arranged between their children, Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah and Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. She was as wicked as her parents and eventually ordered the murder of all her grandchildren to secure her unrightful control of the throne.

We are all familiar with Ahab’s covetousness toward Naboth’s vineyard. When he refused to sell, Jezebel arranged to have him falsely accused and with his sons stoned to death so they could take possession of the vineyard for themselves. This beautiful garden was adjacent to the king’s palace in an area known as Jezreel.

It was Elijah who prophesied that, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.” (I Kings 21:19) This prophesy came true even as the Lord had spoken, not only for Ahab, but for his queen, Jezebel, his son and heir to the throne, Joram and presumably all the remaining sons, numbering seventy. (I Kin.22:37-38, II Kin.9:37, II Kin. 9:24-26, II Kin.10:1,7)

Now let us go back and look at some of the details surrounding Ahab’s death.

It had been three years without war between Syria and Israel. In that year, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, came to visit Ahab. A great feast was made to impress the visiting royalty. Ahab had sheep and oxen killed in abundance to provide for Jehoshaphat and those who came with him. But there is no free lunch and there was a price to pay. So an affinity was made between these two kings to go against Syria and take possession of Ramoth-Gilead, which was one of the six cities of refuge. In some earlier battle it had fallen into control of the Syrians. But first it was decided to consult a prophet by the name of Micaiah as to the will of God in this venture.

Ahab was reluctant and at receiving very bad news responded, “Did I not tell you he would only prophesy evil concerning me?” Ahab was a bit shaken by the prophecy of his death and that “all Israel would be scattered upon the hills as sheep that have no shepherd.” (I Kings 22:17) Nevertheless, they proceeded with the battle plan. It was his plot to enter the conflict in disguise, hoping to escape the consequences and frustrate the words of Micaiah . He could then return safely to the palace as he had boasted earlier.

Benhadad, king of the Syrians, commanded his thirty-two captains over his chariots to concentrate their fight against the King of Israel only. Jehoshaphat then became the direct object of their aggression being the only one in royal apparel. But the Lord intervened and turned them aside, saving his life. (II Chron.18:31)

At this point something happened that can only be described as providential. A certain man in the Syrian army drew his bow at random. The arrow found its way into a narrow space in the armor that Ahab was wearing and caused a chest wound ultimately resulting in massive blood loss causing his death. And yes, at their return to Samaria, bloodstains on his chariot and armor were washed in that same pool adjacent to the palace even as Elijah had prophesied.

An inscription to Shalmaneser, mentions Ahab: “I have destroyed 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men of Ahab, King of Israel.” Surely the remaining army was scattered upon the hills and there was a proclamation about the going down of the sun that, “Every man return to his own city and every man to his own country.” In essence, find a place to hide!

But what about this certain young man in the Syrian army? The Bible does not identify him but Josephus says he was none other than Naaman, calling him a young nobleman. It is most certainly the same that we read about some five chapters later and about as many years. Benhadad was still in power. We now find Naaman the captain of the host, a fitting reward for the soldier who gave this great army victory in that day, or so was thought. The first verse says he was a great man with his master and honorable because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria and he was a mighty man of velour. (II Kings 5:1-14)

But he was now a leper. Somehow he had contacted this dread disease which, barring a miracle, always resulted in death. It is a familiar story of the little Jewish captive girl who recommended him to seek out the prophet Elisha who would heal her master of his affliction.

First Naaman consulted Benhadad who gave him permission to go and to take an impressive gift to the king of Israel. Now this king was Jehoram, son of Ahab, the man he had killed in battle. It must have taken some courage to now affront this king but remember Naaman was left anonymous in the scriptures. And too, Jehoram wanted no quarrel with Syria. So Naaman is directed to Elisha who tells him to dip in the river seven times. Perhaps Elisha, a prophet of God, knew him to be the one who had taken the life of the Lord’s anointed and the reason he did not treat this Syrian as a noble guest. And possibly Naaman had become too prideful in his now elevated position of power. It seemed beneath his dignity to allow the muddy waters of the Jordan to wash over him.

But in the end God has His way of dealing with each person individually and it will always be His way. Yes, all the pieces fit together.

And that’s the Amazing Truth!

Millstadt, IL 62260

Dody Gibson See other articles by Dody Gibson