What advice did Elisha give to the Shunammite woman? (2 Kings 8:1-2)
Elisha told the woman that there was going to be a seven-year drought in the land and advised her to live elsewhere during that period of time. The woman and her household thus went to live in the land of the Philistines to avoid the drought and resulting famine. (Someone has noted that even the shade of a tree you don’t like can shelter you from the storm!)
What happened when the woman returned to her home after the seven-year period? (2 Kings 8:3-6)
Upon returning home, the woman discovered that someone had taken advantage of her absence by taking her property (perhaps it was the king or some relative). She therefore went to appeal to the king to have her property returned to her.
Meanwhile, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, was relating to the king all the great things that Elisha had done, not the least of which was raising a dead boy to life. (This event probably occurred prior to Gehazi being cursed with Naaman’s leprosy.) While Gehazi was relating the events of Elisha’s deeds to the king, the Shunammite woman was admitted into his presence.
Gehazi confirmed the woman’s identity and the woman confirmed Gehazi’s story. The king then ordered that the woman’s property be returned along with anything that land had produced during her absence.
Practical Consideration: Good deeds do not always go unnoticed.
King Jehoram asked Elisha’s servant Gehazi to relate to him all the great things that the prophet had done. It is easy to think that no one notices the good that we do. We should however, labor knowing that God is watching and that the good which we do may be an encouragement to others. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Who was Hazael? (2 Kings 8:8)
Hazael was a man who served on the court of Ben-hadad, king of Aram.
What encounter did Elisha have with Hazael? (2 Kings 8:7-10)
When Ben-hadad became seriously ill he was informed that Elisha was in Damascus. The king, who had once sought to capture the prophet (see 2 Kings 6:8-23), sent Hazael to inquire of Elisha regarding the outcome of his illness. Hazael, laden with gifts, went and so inquired of Elisha. Elisha told Hazael that while his master would recover from his illness, he would nevertheless surely die.
What did Elisha know about Hazael? (2 Kings 8:11-15)
While Hazael feigned altruistic concern for his master, Elisha knew the evil lurking in Hazael’s heart. He knew that Hazael would usurp the throne of Syria by killing Ben-hadad. He also knew that Hazael would perpetrate great evil upon the sons of Israel. This knowledge caused Elisha to weep. And indeed Hazael murdered his master and perpetrated many atrocities upon the Israelites during his more than forty-year reign.
Practical Consideration: The heart of man is deceitful.
A recent news report announced that doctors in a Portland, Oregon hospital placed the wrong heart within a transplant patient. They felt, however, that the man would live long enough to undergo another operation and receive the right heart. The only thing that is worse than receiving the wrong heart is living life with a heart that is wrong. Jeremiah 17:9 declares, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” Elisha had insight into the heart of Hazael and wept at the evil he saw lurking there. May we always allow the Great Physician access to our hearts. He is the only One who understands the heart and is capable of making a heart right.
What does the Bible tell us about Joram (Jehoram)?
[A] He was the son of good king Jehoshaphat (king of Judah). Ahab also had a son named Joram (Jehoram) who ruled in Israel (see pages 4 and 5 of these notes). The two should not be confused.
[B] He began his reign at the age of thirty-two and reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
[C] He was an evil king who “walked in the way of the kings of Israel” (2 Kings 8:18 and 2 Chronicles 21:6). He was probably influenced to do evil by his wife Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter (see 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2). This was a poor matrimonial alliance, to say the least.
[D] Jehoram “killed all his brothers with the sword, and some of the rulers of Israel also” (2 Chronicles 21:4) when he became king of Judah.
[E] He led Judah spiritually astray (2 Chronicles 21:11).
[F] He was unsuccessful in putting down the revolts of Edom and Libnah (2 Kings 8:20-23)
[G] Elijah sent him a letter informing him that both he and his family would suffer severe judgment because of their wickedness (2 Chronicles 21:12-15).
[H] His death was no great loss and upset no one! 2 Chronicles 21:20 records, “and he departed with no one’s regret.”
Practical Consideration: Live so that people will cry at your funeral.
King Jehoram of Judah was such a wicked ruler that when he died no one cried at his funeral. In fact, the writer of Chronicles records that “he departed with no one’s regret” (2 Chronicles 21:20). How sad! We should live our lives in such a way that people will cry at our funeral.
Who was Ahaziah?
[A] He was the youngest son of Joram who became king of Judah after his father’s death (2 Kings 8:24-25)
[B] He began his reign at the age of twenty-two and reigned only one year in Jerusalem (2 Kings 8:26).
[C] Like his father, he too, was influenced to do evil because of his relation to the house of Ahab (2 Kings 8:27 and 2 Chronicles 22:4). He was especially influenced to do evil by his mother (2 Chronicles 22:3).