Reference to 1 Kings 19: 15: God commanded Elijah to anoint Hazael king over Aram. But given that Hazael was a foreigner and non-believer who supposedly didn't acknowledge God, why would he recognize the authority of Eliajh and thus submit to God even it was for becoming king.

I recognize that the scripture doesn't say if Eliajh actually anointed Hazael as king or not. But in case he did, wouldn't this act considered as Hazael accepting the authority of Eliajh and thus God, which tells that he became a believer.

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Hazael certainly was a pagan. Elijah was, indeed told by God to go to Damascus to anoint Hazael, then he anointed Elisha as prophet in his stead. Next, Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, besieged Samaria. A great famine (that Elisha had foretold) caused the king of Samaria to seek to kill Elisha. But God miraculously caused the Syrian army to hear such a noise of chariots and horses, they panicked, fearing the Israelites had hired Hittite and Egyptian armies to come to fight them. They fled in the twilight, leaving everything. Such miracles of God was what caused pagans all around to acknowledge both Elijah and Elisha as men of God. But it is other O.T. verses that show the full situation.

In 2 Kings chapter 8 we learn that Elisha came to Damascus; Ben-Hadad was king of Syria and was then very sick. The king said to Hazael to take a gift to meet "the man of God". His reputation was just as massive amongst the pagans as was Elijah's. Hazael met Elisha with gifts carried by 40 camels. Hazael asked if the king would recover. Elisha foretold the king's death, then wept. When Hazael asked why, Elisha said,

"Because I know the evil that thou wilt do to the children of Israel; their strongholds thou wilt 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. The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria." So he departed from Elisha and came to his master... on the morrow, he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water. and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 6:8-8:15)

In Amos chapter 1 we learn that Damascus was the capital of the Aramean state directly north of Israel, and a constant enemy in Amos's day (he was prophesying during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah - 792-740 BC; and Jeroboam II over Israel - 793-753 BC). In Amos 1:13 we are told that God would punish Ammon for ripping open pregnant women in Gilead (remember 2 Kings 8:12?) Greed for land bred a brutal genocide that would be punished, leaving the state without leaders to continue such practices. God raised up the Assyrians to carry the prophecy of Amos out.

This goes to show that God is sovereign over all the nations, his own, and all the pagan ones. He knows who will become king, when, and how, and prophets like Elijah and Elisha were God's spokesmen to say such things in advance, proving them to be men of God whom even the pagans respected. So, when Hazael submitted to Elijah's anointing, he knew to keep quite until a later time when he could make his move. He moved when Elisha was prophet, having told him his king would die, no doubt thinking of that earlier anointing, and that his hour had come. So he murdered the king. Then the prophet Amos foretold God's destruction of Hazael, later on.

Hazael never was a worshipper of the God of Israel. He never submitted to the one, true God, being a pagan and an evil person. Oh, he did submit to Elijah anointing him to be king, for that was what he desired. Then, later, when Elisha told him his pagan king would die, his evil desire caused him to murder, to grab the crown his way. Then God dealt with him a bit later still. Read Jeremiah's prophecy in ch.49 vss.1-6 about God bringing Ammon to ruin, and its god, Molech, whom Hazael worshipped.


In the ancient world, people believed in many Gods - Chapter Twenty shows the Amarites think Israel have gods of the hills, and indeed chapter twenty shows that it is greater than what they supposed (hence the Aramite's defeats). Elijah was a miracle worker, Elijah's God had caused a famine and then rain in Judah (Chapter 18), and this is the God of the successful king David and the very wise king Solomon. This is no small God that Hazael could possibly blanch from.

(Although, even if He was a small god - it would still not be reasonable for Hazael to offend by not accepting such an anointing, and it would surely be flattering.)

The next time that we see Hazael is in Kings 2:8, he is still not king and we do not know if he has been anointed, although we know that Elijah has been taken up by the hurricane.

7 Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,” 8 he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the Lord through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

My bold is the divine name, thus we know that the Aramite king acknowledged and respected God. And the natural reading of 2 Kings 8:7-15, that it is in reaction to Elisha's two prophecies (the king's recovery and Hazael becoming king) that Hazael acted to become king.

To conclude, in the ancient world people acknowledge the fully cacophony of gods, but any gave particular respect to certain ones of them. That Hazael and the Amarites respected God's power is demonstrated in 2 Kings 8, but he also gave them a sound defeat in 1 Kings 20, which could have been a turning point.

  • This answer explains a problem with the OP's presumptions. It is true that 'Hazael was a foreigner' but at this point in history people, including even many Israelites, understood that each nation had its own God. So if Israel's God wanted to support Hazael, he wouldn't necessarily have a problem with that... Similar to Solomon wanting the support of the national deities of his foreign wives, who were often princesses of pagan nations. Feb 19, 2023 at 0:56

The word "anoint" is sometimes used figuratively and not literally.

Judges 9:8

One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.'

Isaiah 45:1

"This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut

Like Hazael, Cyrus was a gentile anointed/appointed by God to rule. There are no specific descriptions in the Bible that they were actually literally anointed by any prophet.

But in case he did, wouldn't this act considered as Hazael accepting the authority of Eliajh and thus God, which tells that he became a believer.

1 Samuel 10:1

Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?

Saul was called by God, anointed by Samuel. But he lost his calling.

1 Samuel 15:28

Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you [Saul] today and has given it to one of your neighbors--to one [David] better than you.

Assume that Hazael was literally anointed. He could be a polytheist. He could accept to be anointed as king by God-sent Elijah. For Hazael, he would accept any god who worked with him. It was easy for him to believe in the Lord among other gods as long as he was empowered as the king.

  • My question remains unanswered. Hazael was a 'pagan', and assuming he was anointed, why would he accept to be anointed as king by God-sent Elijah ? For Hazael, accepting it would be considered as recognizing the authority of Elijah and God, which means Hazael became a believer of God.
    – joon
    Mar 7, 2021 at 2:34
  • @joon This is a great question. I do not mean to be facetious in say this but your question made me think of it from a new angle. Elijah called down fire from heaven a couple of times. Two of those were to burn alive a captain and his 50 soldiers. If this is Elijah's reputation, then who in his right mind would not accept his authority as of God? ;) On a more serious note, I am surprised to see you are still without answer on this. Why do you equate Hazael accepting Elijah's anointing as king with him becoming a believer in God?
    – user49416
    Mar 24, 2022 at 12:07

The truth is that Elijah disobeyed God and did not anoint Hazael or king Jehu. Elijah went straight and anointed Elisha. We can prove that Elijah did not do it because later the scriptures tell us that Elisha went and anointed those two. He would not have done that if it was already done.

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