2 KINGS CHAPTER 13.
The Reign of Jehoahaz and Joash of Israel.
JEHOAHAZ KING OF ISRAEL. — V. 1. In the three and twentieth year of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, began to reign over Israel. The reign of Joash occupied twenty-one full years, the extra months being reckoned, according to Jewish chronology, as full years. And reigned seventeen years, or sixteen years and a few months according to the modern exact way of reckoning. V. 2. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed, walked in the way of, the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. V. 3. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, for the continuation of the calf-worship, and He delivered them into the hand of Hazael, king of Syria, whose devastating campaigns Elisha had foreseen, chap. 8, 12, and into the hand of Benhadad, the son of Hazael, all their days, that is, those of Jehoahaz. V. 4. And Jehoahaz besought the Lord, as even unbelievers will in great dangers, and the Lord hearkened unto him; for He saw the oppression of Israel; His sympathy was with the people rather than with the king, because the king of Syria oppressed them. V. 5. (And the Lord, not immediately, but after some years, gave Israel a savior, in the person of Joash, but especially in Jeroboam II, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians. And the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, safely in their homes, as beforetime. V. 6. Nevertheless, or although, they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein; and there remained the grove also in Samaria; the worship of Asherah, the female idol Astarte, to whom wooden images were erected, did not cease entirely. The Lord showed much patience for the sake of gaining and keeping the people in His worship.) V. 7. Neither did he, the king of Syria, v. 4, leave of the people to Jehoahaz, of his army, but fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing, as the dust which is trodden under foot, an expression which signifies utter defeat and destruction. Such was the situation when Jehovah decided upon His merciful and unmerited course. V. 8. Now, the rest of the acts of 3ehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, his military exploits, are they not written In the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? V. 9. And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria. And Joash, his son, reigned in his stead. The Lord is full of long-suffering and mercy, for He does not desire the death of sinners, but that they should repent and live.
JEHOASH KING OF ISRAEL. — V. 10. In the thirty and seventh year of Joash, king of Judah, began Jehoash, the son of Jehoaha; to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years. V. 11. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboani, the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, the calf-worship was continued as before; but he walked therein, he not only tolerated the idolatry connected with this cult, but was guilty of it himself. V. 12. And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, all his works in peace and war, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah, king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? V. 13. And Joash slept with his fathers, a fact which is here inserted to round off the narrative; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne; and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Some important events of his reign are next related. V. 14. Now, Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died, being severely ill for some time. And Joash, the king of Israel, came down unto him and wept over his face, for lie realized what a loss the death of Elisha would be to the entire nation, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof! Elisha, like Elijah, had been a powerful defense of Israel against great and mighty enemies, as the history of the kingdom during the period had shown. V. 15. And Elisha, having a last message for the king, said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. V. 16. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow, literally, “Let thy hand rest on the bow”; for the left hand rests upon the bow as it is drawn. And he put his hand upon it. And Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands, thus signifying that the impulse for the act came from the Lord, that it was performed in the name and by the authority of Jehovah. V. 17. And he said, Open the window eastward, that being the direction in which the enemies lived. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he, Elisha, said, while the arrow was speeding forward, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; the arrow was a symbol of the deliverance which Jehovah would surely give, and it was a pledge of Jehovah against the forces of Syria; for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek till thou have consumed them, they would suffer a decisive defeat. V. 18. And he, Elisha, said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground, hitting or shooting to the earth, to indicate that whosoever would be hit by the arrows would be stretched to the ground. And he smote thrice and stayed, stopping before the prophet had bidden him to. V. 19. And the man of God was wroth with him and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it, till the might of the Syrians had definitely been broken; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice, administer only three defeats to its armies. Jehoash was lacking in that importunity which was and is necessary in asking any gifts from the Lord. V. 20. And Elisha died, having reached a good old age, probably eighty years; and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites Invaded the land at the coming in of the year, small bands which made incursions for the sake of plunder, on the order of Bedouin border raids, coming when the season of military campaigning opened. V. 21. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they, who were occupied with this work, spied a band of men, whom they took to be some of the raiders; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha, hastily depositing him there since they had no time to dig a grave. And when the man was let down, gradually approaching the corpse of Elisha, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, restored to life by a miracle of God, and stood up on his feet. The Lord wanted to remind His people once more that He has absolute power over death and can recall men to life as He chooses. V. 22. But Hazael, king of Syria, oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz, such had been the condition under his reign. V. 23. And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, He regarded and treated them with merciful compassion, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast He them from His presence as yet, His merciful patience was not yet exhausted, the promise of His kindness was still held out to them. V. 24. So Hazael, king of Syria, died; and Benhadad, his son, reigned in his stead. V. 25. And Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz, took a gain out of the hand of Benhadad, the son of Hazael, the cities which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz, his father, by war, in the campaigns during which he had almost conquered the entire country of Israel. Three times, according to the number of times that he shot at the ground, did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel. Like that of Elisha, the memory of all teachers is a testimony to later generations. Note also: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, 2 Pet. 3, 9.