Scriptures

2 Kings 13

Introduction

In this chapter we find the focus returning to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Jehoahaz reigned from 814 to 798 B.C. When we read the 2 Kings 13:1, it tells us that he began his reign in the twenty-third year of Joash in the south, which is a total of seventeen years. This also means that he reigned until the thirty-ninth or fortieth year of Joash.

However, when read 2 Kings 13:10, the text tells us that he died and his son, Jehoash took over as king of Israel in the thirty-seventh year of Joash. This tells us that 2 Kings 13:1, is referring to his join reign in his early years but 2 Kings 13:10, is referring to the total number of years of his reign.

Adam Clarke in his commentary says the following concerning the chronology.

‘The chronology here is thus accounted for; Jehoahaz began his reign at the commencement of the twenty-third year of Joash, and reigned seventeen years, fourteen alone, and three years with his son Joash; the fourteenth year was but just begun.’

Jehoahaz King Of Israel

‘In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them. So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel, and for a long time he kept them under the power of Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad his son. Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD’s favour, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. The LORD provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before. But they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; they continued in them. Also, the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria. Nothing had been left of the army of Jehoahaz except fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers, for the king of Aram had destroyed the rest and made them like the dust at threshing time. As for the other events of the reign of Jehoahaz, all he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehoahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoash his son succeeded him as king.’ 2 Kings 13:1-9

Jehoahaz ‘did evil in the eyes of the Lord’, because he followed the sins of Jeroboam, that is idolatry. He wasn’t able to lead Israel, and as a result he couldn’t fend off Hazael, king of Aram and Ben-Hadad. Jehoahaz sought the Lord’s favour and received it in the form of a deliverer.

It appears that Hazael had taken the cities, and so, Israel now lived in their own homes, probably tents, as they did before. Hazael now controlled the cities, while Israel lived in the rural areas.

Notice that the ‘Asherah pole’ is mention as still standing in Samaria, this tells us how pagan Samaria was, this city had a golden calf just like Dan and Bethel, Hosea 8:6.

Hazael totally destroyed the army of Jehoahaz, he was merciless and brutal. He made Israel ‘like the dust at threshing time’, is a metaphor to describe just how merciless and brutal Hazael was, Amos 1:4.

The idea being conveyed here is that Hazael made the defeated soldiers lie down, and then Hazael’s army would drive iron threshing instruments over them to kill them.

Jehoash King Of Israel

‘In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them. As for the other events of the reign of Jehoash, all he did and his achievements, including his war against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehoash rested with his ancestors, and Jeroboam succeeded him on the throne. Jehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. ‘My father! My father!’ he cried. ‘The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’ Elisha said, ‘Get a bow and some arrows,’ and he did so. ‘Take the bow in your hands,’ he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. ‘Open the east window,’ he said, and he opened it. ‘Shoot!’ Elisha said, and he shot. ‘The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!’ Elisha declared. ‘You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.’ Then he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and the king took them. Elisha told him, ‘Strike the ground.’ He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.’ 2 Kings 13:10-19

Adam Clarke in his commentary says the following.

‘Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, was associated with his father in the government two years before his death. It is this association that is spoken of here. He succeeded him two years after, a little before the death of Elisha. Joash reigned sixteen years, which include the years he governed conjointly with his father.’

Elisha had become seriously ill, and when Jehoash king of Israel went to see him, he wept and called out ‘my father, my father’, which shows us the great respect he had for Elisha. Elisha prophecies for the very last time, in this prophecy he speaks about Israel’s confrontation with Aram.

Notice that Elisha asks him to shoot an arrow towards the east, which was symbolic of Israel’s victory over Aphek. When Jehoash is asked to strike the ground, the number of numbers he struck the ground with his arrows would signify how many times he would strike Aram. Sadly, he didn’t strike the ground more than three times, which meant that he wouldn’t be able to complete destroy the threat of Aram.

This was the last recorded prophecy of Elisha, and as we’re going to read next, it was exactly followed just as he said it would be.

‘Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence. Hazael king of Aram died, and Ben-Hadad his son succeeded him as king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns.’ 2 Kings 13:20-25

After the death and burial of Elisha, the Moabites would come and raid the countries farms for food. The Israelites were burying a man, but when they saw the Moabite raiders, they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the man’s body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came back to life.

The reason for this miracle, was possibly to reassure Jehoash, that God was going to bring about the fulfilment of Elisha’s last prophecy, concerning victory over Aram.

Because of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Lord was gracious and spared Israel at this time in their apostasy. It’s important to note that they weren’t spared because of anything they had done; they were spared because of God’s promise to their forefathers.

We read how Elisha’s last prophecy came into fulfilment as Jehoash has victory over Aram three times. It’s also clear that these victories took place after Hazael had died, because Israel was able to repossess the cities from Ben-Hadad, which Hazael had earlier taken, 2 Kings 13:5. The Ben-Hadad mentioned here would be Ben-Hadad III, the son of Hazael.

Go To 2 Kings 14

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