How could God burn with fire from heaven a hundred and two innocent people, for that is what seems to happen to Ahaziah’s men in chapter 1?
The fact is, there is only one innocent in this chapter and that is Elijah.
The text has already been plain about Israel’s apostasy and idolatry. The soldiers would have been a part of that. Furthermore, they were not just coming to give Elijah safe escort to Ahaziah. Elijah needed no protection (except from Ahaziah!). They were coming as a show of force. The idea was to intimidate Elijah into changing his prophecy against the king. The first two companies and commanders are but doing the king’s bidding – but it is a sinful bidding. The third commander calls on the mercy of Elijah and the Lord – and is not killed.
As you read these stories, what should impress you is the absolute sovereignty of God. He is a God of mercy. We’ve seen that repeatedly. But He is also a serious God who brooks little nonsense. Modern Christians like to think of the way of the Lord as an optional highway on their way to heaven. There is, in fact, nothing optional about it. It’s not “God’s way or the highway.” It is “God’s way” or no way. However much we want to emphasize the forgiving mercy of God, this side of the Lord must not be forgotten. To do so is to land in certain peril.
And incidently, “innocence” before God does not exist for any adult. He expects everyone to search Him out and to know Him and obey Him.