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Hazael

Hebrew: חֲזָאֵל —transliteration: Chazael or Chazahel

Meaning: “God sees” or “God has seen” or “Whom God beholds”

This is the name of an officer of Ben-hadad II, king of Syria, who ultimately became king himself, as prophecied according to the word of the Lord to Elijah (1 Kings 19:15), after he had put the current king to death (2 Kings 8:15). Hazael is mentioned by name 23 times in Scripture.

“Then the Lord said to him: ‘Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria.’” —1 Kings 19:15 NKJV

“It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill.” —1 Kings 19:17 NKJV

The prophet Elisha and Hazael—and his treachery

Hazael’s interview with Elisha is mentioned in 2 Kings 8.

Then Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying,

“The man of God has come here.”

And the king said to Hazael,

“Take a present in your hand, and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord by him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’”

So Hazael went to meet him and took a present with him, of every good thing of Damascus, forty camel-loads; and he came and stood before him, and said,

“Your son Ben-Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’”

And Elisha said to him,

“Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover.’ However the Lord has shown me that he will really die.”

Then he set his countenance in a stare until he was ashamed; and the man of God wept. And Hazael said,

“Why is my lord weeping?”

He answered,

“Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child.”

So Hazael said,

“But what is your servant—a dog, that he should do this gross thing?”

And Elisha answered,

“The Lord has shown me that you will become king over Syria.”

Then he departed from Elisha, and came to his master, who said to him,

“What did Elisha say to you?”

And he answered,

“He told me you would surely recover.”

But it happened on the next day that he took a thick cloth and dipped it in water, and spread it over his face so that he died; and Hazael reigned in his place.

—2 Kings 8:7-14 NKJV

Wars

The Assyrians soon after his accession to the throne came against him and defeated him with very great loss; and 3 years afterwards again invaded Syria, but on this occasion Hazael submitted to them.

He then turned his arms against Israel, and ravaged “all the land of Gilead,” etc. (2 Kings 10:33), which he held in a degree of subjection to him (2 Kings 13:3-7; 2 Kings 13:22).

He aimed to also subjugate the Kingdom of Judah, when King Joash bought peace by giving Hazael “all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king’s house” (2 Kings 12:18; 2 Chronicles 24:24).

Death and succession

Hazael reigned about 46 years (B.C. 886-840), and was succeeded on the throne by his son Ben-hadad (2 Kings 13:22-25), who on several occasions was defeated by Jehoash, the king of Israel, and compelled to restore all the land of Israel his father had taken.

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Article Version: March 20, 2019