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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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King of Damascus from 886 to 840 B.C. Sent by his master Benhadad originally to Elisha to ask if he would recover from his sickness. The prophet answered he might recover (the disease not being fatal), but "that he should surely die." Then Elisha gazing at Hazael burst into tears (typifying Him who wept over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41), and said his weeping was "because I know the evil thou wilt do unto Israel ... their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child." Hazael replied, expressing surprise at such a one as he being about to do so (See EHISHA for the true translated of 2 Kings 8:13). Herein Elisha fulfilled Elijah's commission, that he should appoint Hazael king of Syria to be the Lord's scourge of fits guilty people (1 Kings 19:15).

Hazael having murdered Benhadad became king, and fought with Ahaziah king of Judah, and Jehoram of Israel, for Ramoth Gilead (2 Kings 8:28). The atrocities foretold (the same as in Hosea 13:16) were doubtless perpetrated by him when in Jehu's days "Jehovah cut Israel short, and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel, from Jordan eastward, all ... Gilead, the Gadites, Reubenites, Manassites, from Aroer by the Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan" (2 Kings 10:32-33). Jehovah therefore threatened, and executed his threat, "for three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron; and I will send a fire into the house of Hazael," etc. (Amos 1:3.) The very same image is used in the independent history (an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness), concerning the king of Syria's oppression of Israel under Jehoahaz, Jehu's son: "he made them like the dust by threshing" (2 Kings 13:7).

A black marble obelisk of the central palace of Nimrud, now in the British Museum, is inscribed with the names of Hazael and Benhadad of Syria, and Jehu of Israel, mentioned as tributaries of Shalmauubar king of Assyria. The tribute from Jehu is mentioned, gold, pearls, precious oil, etc. The name Hazael means "whom God looks on," implying some connection with the true God (El). El was also in the name of ELisha, who appointed him in the name of El; probably he assumed this name because of this call. Benhadad means on the contrary "worshipper of Hadad," the Syrian idol. Hazael led the Syrians, we read in the Assyrian monuments, in confederacy with the Hittites, Hamathites, and Phoenicians, against Assyria; at Antilibanus the Assyrians slew 16,000 of his warriors, and took 1,100 chariots. Three years later Hazael submitted to the Assyrians when they again invaded Syria.

It was after this, when the Assyrians were prevented by internal troubles from continuing to invade, that Hazael assailed Gilead toward the close of Jehu's reign (about 860 B.C.), and held Israel in a kind of subjection (2 Kings 13:3-7; 2 Kings 13:22). He took Gath and even "set his face to go up to Jerusalem" (2 Kings 12:17) in Joash's reign (2 Chronicles 24:23-24), "and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people" (it was God's righteous retribution, for it was "the princes of Judah" who with flattering "obeisance" at Jehoiada's death persuaded Joash to "leave the house of the Lord God of their fathers, to serve groves and idols," 2 Kings 12:17-18, and stoned Zechariah son of Jehoiada, who "testified against them," 2 Kings 12:19-22), and sent all the spoil to Damascus; Jehovah delivering "a very great host into the hand of a small company of Syrians, because the Jews had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers" (2 Kings 12:23-24).

Joash saved Jerusalem only by "sending to Hazael all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah his fathers had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king's house" (2 Kings 12:18). Hazael died about 840 B.C., after a 46 years' reign. Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, recovered from Benhadad, Hazael's son, the cities taken by Hazael. Jeroboam II still further "restored the coast of Israel from the entering in of Hamath unto the sea of the plain," according to Jonah's prophecy, through the Lord's great compassion (2 Kings 13:25; 2 Kings 14:25-27). Hazael's cruelty and ambition failed to secure a lasting dynasty; see Jeremiah 17:11.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Hazael'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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