2 Kings 13

Who was Jehoahaz and how does the Scripture appraise his reign?
[A] He was the son of Jehu (2 Kings 10:35 and 13:1).

[B] He became king over Israel during the twenty-third year of Joash’s forty-year reign in Judah (2 Kings 13:1). This was the year that Joash had the chest built to collect funds for the rebuilding of the house of the Lord (see 2 Kings 12:6).

[C] Like every king of Israel before him, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam” (2 Kings 13:2, 6).

Practical Consideration: The evil that men do is always “in the sight of the Lord.”
The formula used to appraise the reigns of the kings of Israel is the same in every case, “and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.” The evil, and the good, that men do is always “in the sight of the Lord.” No man does evil “behind the Lord’s back.” The fact that God is watching should motivate men to hold on to their integrity and do that which is pleasing in the sight of God.

Practical Consideration: The partial reformation of Jehu became a snare to the next generation.
The reforms of Jehu stopped short of removing the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan (see Item 12 on page 29 of these notes for additional information). This failure to completely remove the things that were not pleasing to God became a snare to the next generation. Someone has said, “May those who come behind us find us faithful, and may the footprints that we leave lead others to believe.”

What did Israel experience throughout the reign of Jehoahaz?
God’s anger was kindled against Israel because the nation persisted in its sin. He allowed the Syrians (under Hazael and Ben-hadad) to oppress Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:3, 22). God’s aim in allowing the Syrians to oppress Israel was redemptive in nature. He hoped that such pressure would cause Israel to repent.

Practical Consideration: Spiritual apostasy leads to personal and national decay.
Israel suffered as a nation because of a stubborn refusal to forsake “the sins of the house of Jeroboam.” The national decay was a result of spiritual decay. God allowed other nations to oppress Israel in the hope that they would repent and turn from their wicked ways. There is no health and well being apart from a right relationship with God.

Did Israel experience any respite from Syrian oppression?
Yes. According to 2 Kings 13:4-5, “Jehoahaz entreated the favor of the Lord, and the Lord listened to him … and the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Arameans.” Adversity finally drove the king to prayer. In spite of God’s grace and compassion (see 2 Kings 13:23) however, the nation continued in its sin (2 Kings 13:6). The prayer of Jehoahaz was not followed by reformation.

Practical Consideration: God takes notice of humility.
Adversity drove Jehoahaz to his knees. He cried out to God in desperation and the Lord listened. James 4:6 reminds us that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Who was the “deliverer” provided by the Lord?
Although the “deliverer” is not specifically named, there are several interpretations regarding who was the “deliverer.”

[A] Some believe that the “deliverer” was the son and grandson of Jehoahaz. These men regained many of the cities and regions taken by the Syrians during the reign of Jehoahaz. See 2 Kings 13:25.

[B] Others believe that the “deliverer” was an Assyrian king (perhaps Adadnirari III, 810-793 B.C.) who was a threat to Hazael and drew his attention from Israel.

[C] The reference “and the sons of Israel lived in their tents as formerly” (2 Kings 13:5b) suggests that the respite Israel experienced from Syrian oppression probably was sometime after the reign of Jehoahaz when the people felt they could leave the security of their walled cities to live in tents among their flocks. It is not likely that the people “lived in their tents as formerly” during the reign of Jehoahaz. 2 Kings 13:3 and 22 suggest that the people of Israel lived under the threat of invasion throughout the reign of Jehoahaz.

What was the condition of Israel’s army after years of oppression by the Syrians?
Israel’s army was severely reduced to “not more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and 10,000 footmen” (2 Kings 13:7). This illustrates the great price Israel paid for her apostasy. God used the Syrians to chastise His people yet they refused to forsake their sin.

Who became king after the death of Jehoahaz?
Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz, became king over Israel after the death of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:9-10). He is not to be confused with Jehoash (Joash) of Judah. He reigned a total of sixteen years. The Scripture appraises his reign in the same way as the kings before him, “and he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not turn away from all the sins of Jeroboam” (2 Kings 13:11). After his death, his son Jeroboam (Jeroboam II) sat on the throne (2 Kings 13:13).

What encounter did Jehoash (Joash) the king of Israel have with Elisha?
“When Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die,” Jehoash, who apparently had great respect for the dying prophet, visited him (2 Kings 13:14). Elisha instructed the king to shoot an arrow out of the east window of the room (toward Syria). The king did as he was instructed after “Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands” (2 Kings 13:16). Elisha referred to the arrow as “The Lord’s arrow of victory. . .over Aram” (2 Kings 13:17).

Elisha then instructed the king to take the arrows in his hand and strike the ground. The king did as he was instructed and struck the ground three times (2 Kings 13:18). Elisha was angry with the king for only striking the ground three times because each strike represented a victory in battle over Syria (see 2 Kings 13:25). Had the king struck the ground five or six times he could have led Israel to destroy Syria (2 Kings 13:19).

What was the final miracle associated with Elisha?
Some men were in the process of burying a man when they were surprised by an invading band of Moabites. With no time to complete the burial, the men cast the dead man into the tomb of Elisha. The dead man’s body came in contact with the bones of Elisha and as a result “he revived and stood up on his feet” (2 Kings 13:21).

Practical Consideration: We should be concerned about our posthumous influence.
Elisha’s influence continued on even after his death. The incident of the dead man who was revived because he came in contact with Elisha’s bones is instructive. It reminds us that we should be concerned about our witness and influence even after we die. May we live in such a manner that people who come in contact with our influence after we die will be blessed.

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