What spiritual significance is attached to the sequence in which God instructs Elijah to anoint first Hazael, then Jehu then Elisha? (1 Kings 19:15-16) Why a heathen king of Syria first, before two of God's own people?

  • 1
    Welcome to BH. Good question.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 7, 2018 at 23:01
  • Perhaps because Hazael was to have the upper hand in war and victory, his anointing perhaps symbolized his superiority over Judah and Israel.
    – bach
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:53
  • "So far as the Scripture record goes we have no notice that Elijah performed this command in its literal sense, Hazael being subsequently informed by Elisha (2 Kings 8:13) that the Lord had made known that he should become king over Israel, though even then he was not anointed. We must interpret the meaning of the command in accordance with the prophet’s action, judging that he understood what was intended by the words... Hence ‘anoint’ in the text becomes equivalent to ‘point them out as the anointed ones.’" (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges).
    – bach
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:53
  • The order seems to be of one of rank and/or urgency. Syria, as the largest sovereign territory, having suzerainty over Israel, its small vassal state; and lastly, a non-king. Also, the Syrian guest might have left soon, in order to return to his own country, whereas the latter two were compatriots; and among them, Elisha was always at Elijah's side, so there was no stringent need for him to be the first, whereas the Israelite king had to be anointed before they left his palace, since the two prophets did not reside at the royal court.
    – Lucian
    Jul 12, 2018 at 16:16
  • Even more interesting is that he didn't do what he was told as was pointed out by Jeff Lucas in his book "Elijah Anointed and Stressed". Mar 4, 2019 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


The reason for the order is given in the next verse:

17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and him that escapeth the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

This is later what happened. The Kings Joram & Ahazia went to war war with Hazael, king of Syria (2Ki 8:26-29). After Joram got wounded in the battle, Jehu killed both kings (2Ki 9:23-28) and the whole house of Ahab.

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