2 Kings



by Ken Cayce



Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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2 Kings Explained





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Book of 2 Kings Explained

Title: See introduction from 1 Kings.


The books of Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew text and formed a two volume corpus with the present books of Samuel. Therefore, 2 Kings is actually the fourth book in the series on the history of the Hebrew kings as presently arranged. It also serves as the final account of the demise of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The narrative of this volume concentrates on the miraculous ministry of the prophet Elisha. Events parallel the prophetic ministries of Amos and Hosea in Israel and eight prophets of Judah, including Isaiah and Jeremiah. The book also cover the reign of Amaziah (853 BC), to (Zedekiah (586 B.C.), in Judah. Included are the accounts of the Assyrian conquest of the northern tribes and the deportation of Judah in the Babylonian captivity.


Historical Setting: Anyone wishing to indulge in hours of true drama that makes fiction seem tame should begin with 1 Samuel and read straight through to the end of 2 Kings. Those four books narrate the rise and fall of the monarchy in Israel. From its establishment under the prophet Samuel to its demise with the deportation of the last two tribes into captivity. It is a sad, often violent story made bearable only by the unconditional promise of God to King David that his throne would never lack for one of his descendants (Acts 2:29-30). That final seed of David will one day sit upon that throne, the Son of David, Jesus of Nazareth (Matt. 1:1; 12:23; 21:15; 22:42).


After Solomon's reign, the 10 northern tribes of Israel united under Jeroboam (not a descendant of David), while the two southern tribes (Benjamin and Judah), were ruled by Solomon's son, Rehoboam. Jeroboam introduced Baal worship in the north, and it remained. Because the northern tribes would not remove idols from the land, God removed the tribes from the land. The Assyrians invaded in 722 B.C. and took control of the north, taking many of the Israelites captive. All of Israel's 20 kings (who ruled the northern 10 tribes) were evil.


Judah's 20 kings (who ruled over the southern two tribes), all descendants of the Davidic dynasty, fared a bit better. Eight were considered righteous, notably Hezekiah (16:20; 18:1 - 20:21) and Josiah (21:26 - 23:30). Both destroyed idols and called Judah back to the worship of the Lord. But their efforts were not enough. The final three kings of Judah were all wicked and saw Babylon carry captives away from Judah in three waves. During the concluding wave (in 586 B.C.), the temple was burned and Judah was destroyed.


Not surprisingly, most of the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament were active during the time of 2 Kings. They condemned the idolatry, immorality, social injustice, and ungodly alliances perpetuated by Israel's ungodly kings and called those rulers and the people to return to God. The story of Elijah's ministry begins in the last pages of 1 Kings and concludes in 2 Kings with Elisha's succession. These books were written sometime between 586 and 536 B.C.


In Kings we see the gloomy picture of the decline of both the northern and southern kingdoms (Israel and Judah), during their final days of independence. However, the major religious revivals under Hezekiah and Josiah are also recounted. Israel again is depicted as the starting point of God's dealing with the Gentile nations. Israel's spiritual disobedience and idolatry are viewed against the backdrop of the rising fortunes of Assyria in the eighth century B.C. and Babylon in the sixth century B.C. The northern kingdom finally fell to the Assyrians (in 722 B.C.), and the southern kingdom fell to the Babylonians (in 605 B.C.), with the final destruction of Jerusalem coming (in 586 B.C.).


Authorship. The author of 2 Kings is not known with certainly, although Jewish tradition claims it was Jeremiah. He certainly had every quality necessary to be the author of this material. He was both a prophet and a priest. He had direct access to Judah's last kings and was an eyewitness of her final destruction. For a detailed discussion of authorship, see introduction to 1 Kings.


The story of Israel as a nation began when the descendants of Jacob were redeemed from captivity in Egypt and introduced to their Redeemer, the God of Abraham, in the Sinai desert. The story of Israel concludes at the end of 2 Kings with the nation back in captivity. From the Exodus to the Exile, it took nearly 900 years for Israel's unfaithfulness to bear its bitter fruit, undeserved captivity in Egypt, followed by fully deserved captivity by the Assyrian and Babylonians empires. Yet all was not lost.


Though the prophets, God continued to emphasize that Israel, remained His chosen people, the apple of His eye (Jer. 31:35-37; Zech. 2:8). Amos reported that the tabernacle (house), of David would be restored (Amos 9:11). Where Israel's sin abounded, God's grace abounded all the more (Rom. 5:20).


2 Kings was originally the concluding half on one volume and was finalized sometime after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. The first 17 chapters capture events in the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah; the final eight chapters focus on Judah alone.


A special feature of the books of the Kings is the correlation of historical facts with theological truths. This is no mere history as an end in itself but is the story of the living God who acts in the affairs of men and nations. Here is the record for all to read, of God's providential care of His people.





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2 Kings 1 2 Kings 10 2 Kings 19
2 Kings 2 2 Kings 11 2 Kings 20
2 Kings 3 2 Kings 12 2 Kings 21
2 Kings 4  2 Kings 13 2 Kings 22
2 Kings 5 2 Kings 14 2 Kings 23
2 Kings 6 2 Kings 15 2 Kings 24
2 Kings 7 2 Kings 16 2 Kings 25
2 Kings 8 2 Kings 17  
2 Kings 9 2 Kings 18  

2 Kings 1



2 Kings Chapter 1

2 Kings 1:1 "Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab."


"Moab rebelled": Paid them no more tribute, but utterly disclaimed their authority over them. Moab had been subdued by David, as Edom was; and, upon the division of his kingdom, the former was adjoined to that of Israel, and the latter to that of Judah, each to that kingdom upon which it bordered. But when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were weak, and forsaken by God, they took that opportunity to revolt from them: Moab here, and Edom a little after.


See (note on Gen. 19:37-38 and Introduction to Ruth).


Ahab had been a powerful, though evil, king. He had kept the subjection of Moab going during his reign. Many believe that Moab had payed tribute for at least 40 years. At the death of Ahab, they saw their opportunity to get free, and took it.


2 Kings 1:2 "And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that [was] in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease."


"Ahaziah": This king of the northern kingdom of Israel is not to be confused with Ahaziah of Judah (8:25 - 9:29).


Ahaziah's story begins (in 1 Kings 22:51). Failing to "inquire" of Israel's God revealed the depth of his apostasy. "Baal-Zebub" (lord of the flies"; Matt. 10:25), was one of many fertility gods whose name was a form of Baal ("lord"). This suggests that he was the storm god who controlled diseases brought by flies.


"Ahaziah fell down through a lattice" that enclosed the upper balcony. Ahaziah's rooftop room was enclosed with crossbars of interwoven reed or wood strips, which shut out direct sunlight while letting in cool breezes. It was not sturdy enough to keep Ahaziah from falling to the ground below (for unexplained reasons). This took place in 852 B.C.


The name "Baal-zebub" may conceal a more original Baal-zebul, meaning "Baal Is Prince." The Canaanite deity's name was also corrupted by Hebrew writers to Baal-zebel, "Lord of Dung." The word "inquire" is usually reserved for the consulting of an oracle. Philistine soothsayers enjoyed a wide reputation in those times (1 Sam. 6:2; Isa. 2:6). Apparently, Baal was uniquely the cult "god of Ekron."


"Ekron": The northernmost of the major Philistine cities, located about 22 miles west of Jerusalem (see note on 1 Sam. 5:10).


Ahaziah had followed his father Ahab to the throne. This means that Ahaziah had fallen from the second floor, and injured himself severely. He was, possibly, so broken up, that he was near death. Ahab and Jezebel were worshippers of Baal. It is logical that their son would be, too. This Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, was a false deity. Ahaziah had placed his faith in a nothing. This false god could not help him.


2 Kings 1:3 "But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?"


"The angel of the Lord": Although some interpret this as a reference to the pre-incarnate Christ (e.g. Gen. 16:7-14; Judges 2:1-4; see note on Exodus 3:2). Probably here the reference is to an angelic messenger, like the one sent earlier by the Lord to Elijah (19:35; 1 Kings 19:17). The Lord's messenger was in contrast to the messengers of the wicked king (verses 2, 3, 5).


"Elijah": The record of this unusual prophet to Israel begins (in 1 Kings 17:1 see note; and extends to 2 Kings 2:11).


A "king" was often designated by his capital city (1 Kings 21:1; Jonah 3:6).


We see from this, that Elijah was still prophet for the LORD in the land. The LORD sent Elijah to stop him from inquiring of the false god. This is a message, which speaks truth. They had turned their backs on the One True God, to worship Baal. They were not seeking God, but Baal.



Verses 4-8: Incredibly, Ahaziah's "messengers" did not recognize Elijah even though he was his father Ahab's enemy (1 Kings 21:20). "Hairy man" may refer either to Elijah's garment or to having a long beard or long hair, like someone who had taken a Nazirite vow (Num. 6:5). Ahaziah died from the injuries from his fall (in 850 B.C.; 1:2-17).


2 Kings 1:4 "Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed."


"Shalt surely die": The Lord's punishment on Ahaziah for consulting a false god instead of the true God was that he would fail to recover from his injuries. This was a merciful application of the Mosaic Law (Exodus 22:20), which demanded death (verses 16-17).


Elijah gave the messengers the message the LORD had sent him with, and departed. He did not want to be hunted down and killed. Ahaziah would die for his worship of the evil false gods. This was not what he wanted to hear, but was the truth.


2 Kings 1:5 "And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?"


To Ahaziah king of Israel, as they did as soon as Elijah was gone from them; concluding from his habit, his gravity, and the authority with which he spoke, that he was a prophet of the Lord, and especially from his knowledge of them, and of what they were sent about.


"He said unto them, why are ye now turned back?" for, by the time they had been gone, he knew they could never have been at Ekron and returned.


Ahaziah knew that the messengers had not been gone long enough to receive a message from the false god. He wants them to explain why, they are back so soon.


2 Kings 1:6 "And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die."


"And say unto him": King Ahaziah. Then they repeated all that is said by the angel to Elijah, and he had delivered to them (2 Kings 1:3). And which was a sufficient reason for their turning back, since they got a full answer from a man of God, of what they were to inquire of at Ekron. Which was, whether the king would recover of this disease or not.


They gave the message to him the very way that Elijah had told them to. They did not tell him, however, that the message had been given them by Elijah.


2 Kings 1:7 "And he said unto them, What manner of man [was he] which came up to meet you, and told you these words?"


What appearance or figure did he make? What was his habit or clothing?


"Which came up to meet you, and told you these words?" That they had related to him.


2 Kings 1:8 "And they answered him, [He was] a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It [is] Elijah the Tishbite."


"A hairy man": Literally "possessor of hair." This has been interpreted in two ways:


(1) Elijah was physically hairy; or


(2) Elijah wore a garment made of hair.


The language supports the second viewpoint that Elijah wore a coarse wool garment girded at the waist with a leather belt. (Zechariah 13:4), describes such a garment as belonging to prophets (Matthew 7:15). Further, the New Testament describes John the Baptist, who came in the spirit and likeness of Elijah, as clothed in camel's hair (Matthew 3:4).


"Elijah" probably wore a "hairy" garment with a "leather" belt at the waist (Zech. 13:4; Matt. 3:4).


It is highly unlikely that they had not known Elijah and his reputation. They were, probably, afraid to tell him who the prophet was. They were afraid for their own lives. Notice, how a true prophet is dressed.


Matthew 3:4 "And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey."


2 Kings 1:9 "Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of a hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down."


"Thou man of God": A technical title for a man who spoke for God (1 Kings 12:22, Tim. 6:11 and notes on Deut. 33:1).


Ahaziah had probably heard how Elijah called down fire from heaven, and then killed 450 prophets of Baal. He would take no chances with him not coming. He sent 50 of his best men to bring him back. He was sitting on the top of a hill, when they found him. They call him "man of God".



Verses 10-16: "Man of God" is synonymous with prophet, used for Shemaiah (1 Kings 12:22), Elijah, (seven times; 1:9, 10-13; 1 Kings 17:18, 24), Elisha (more than two dozen times between 4:7 and 13:19), and two unnamed prophets (23:16-17; 1 Kings chapter 13; 20:28). Repeating the phrase shows that God's reputation is at stake.


"Fire come down from heaven": This was the proof that Elijah was a prophet of the Lord and entitled to respect. Additionally, it was an indication that Elijah was like Moses, who also was validated as the Lord's prophet by fire from heaven (Num. 16:35).


2 Kings 1:10 "And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I [be] a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty."


"Fire come down from heaven" was often a sign of divine judgment (1 Kings 18:36-38; Luke 9:54).


There is a reference to this very thing in the following Scripture in the New Testament.


Luke 9:54 "And when his disciples James and John saw [this], they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?"


Elijah had tremendous power to call down fire. He could have been known as the prophet of fire. He had no sooner said it, than the fifty were consumed of the fire.


2 Kings 1:11 "Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly."


The king, not being at all terrified with the awful judgment upon the former, sends another.


"And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, come down quickly": He flouts the prophet in the same manner as the former, and in the king's name commands him to come down, and that immediately. Which the king added to his orders, or he himself, signifying he would not be trifled with, if he did not come down directly, he would force him.



Verses 12-14: The "fire ... from heaven" (possibly lightning), demonstrated God as Israel's ruler, the One to who Ahaziah should submit (Luke 9:54). The "third captain" had more respect for God and His prophet than Ahaziah did, so God would depose Ahaziah. A similar message was given earlier to the king's messengers (1:3-4).


2 Kings 1:12 "And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I [be] a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty."


The same as he had to the first captain, and made the same request of fire from heaven; which accordingly came down, and destroyed this captain and his fifty also.


The very same thing happened to the captain and his fifty of the second group that happened to the first group. Notice, the statement, "if I be a man of God". It is as if he is saying, you say I am, let's see if I am.


2 Kings 1:13 "And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight."


Which was most daring and insolent, and showed him to be dreadfully hardened, to persist in his messages after such rebuffs. And the third captain of fifty went up; instead of calling to the prophet at the bottom of the hill as the other did, he went up to the top of it.


And came and fell on his knees before Elijah": In reverence of him as a prophet of the Lord, and under a dread of the power he was possessed of, of calling for fire from heaven on him and his men, as the former instances showed.


"And besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight": He knows their lives lay at his mercy; he begs they might be spared, since it was not in contempt of him, and through ill will to him as the prophet of the Lord, but in obedience to the king's command, that they were come to him.


News had travelled back about what had happened to the first two groups. This third captain came, because his king sent him. He humbled himself before Elijah, recognizing Elijah and Elijah's God. He wanted to live, but he had to carry out the message of the king. He begs for his life, and the life of his men.


2 Kings 1:14 "Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight."


He owns the facts, and ascribes the death of them to the true cause, and appears to have an awful sense of the judgment of God on them, fearing the same would befall him and his.


"Therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight": By sparing it, what is precious and valuable being spared.


He makes Elijah aware that he knows of the other groups, who had come to get him.


2 Kings 1:15 "And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king."


"Angel of the Lord" (see note on 1:3).


This is a re-assurance from the LORD that He would be with Elijah. The appearance of the angel is bringing the message to Elijah, to have no fear of what might happen to him. Elijah obeyed the message sent to him by the angel of the LORD.


2 Kings 1:16 "And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, [is it] not because [there is] no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die."


For the third time, God's question includes the phrase "is it because there is no God in Israel? (1:3, 6), which implies foolishness when trusting anything else. Yahweh controls life and well-being. When people do not pray or they turn to things like money, sex, or status for what only God can provide, they act like God does not exist.


"Baal-zebub" (see note on 1:2).


This implies, that he would have been saved, if he had sent to Elijah in the first place, rather than to the false god.


2 Kings 1:17 "So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son."


Two kings named "Jehoram" are in view here. Jehoram the son of Ahab and brother of Ahaziah reigned over the northern kingdom from 852 to 841 B.C. Jehoram "the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah", reigned as co-regent with his father from 853 to 848 B.C. and in his own right from 848 to 841 B.C.


"Second year": 852 B.C. this was the second year of Jehoram of Judah's co-regency with Jehoshaphat his father (see notes on 3:1; 8:17; 2 Chron. 21:4-20).


He was condemned for his worship of false gods, and died, just as the LORD had said through Elijah. Some believe Jehoram was the brother of Ahaziah. Jehoram and Joram are the same person. "Jehoram" means whom Jehovah exalts. We can see that Ahab had high hopes for this son, as well, by the name he gave him. Ahaziah did not even finish his second year of reign. Jehoram began, before the second year was up. This is a bit confusing speaking of Jehoram as the son of Jehoshaphat. We will not belabor that here. The main thing we must know, is that he was evil, and the last of the family of Ahab to reign.


2 Kings 1:18 "Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"


During his two years' reign, which yet were imperfect, and his acts must be but few.


"Are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? In which were written his father Ahab's also, and his predecessors' (see 1 Kings 22:39).


The historical book is mentioned again.


2 Kings Chapter 1 Questions


Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of _________.


How long had Moab paid tribute to Israel?


What accident did Ahaziah have?


Where did he send messengers?


What did he send them for?


Who was the god of Ekron?


How did Elijah know to go and meet them on the road?


What did Elijah say to the messengers?


What message did Elijah tell them to give their king?


Why would Ahaziah have to die?


What did the king ask the messengers, when they arrived?


What did the messengers call Elijah?


What was Elijah wearing?


The minute the king heard what the man was wearing, he said it was _________.


Who did the king send to get Elijah?


What happened to them?


Who did he next send?


What happened to them?


What did the third captain do differently?


What was he really doing, when he knelt and said what he did?


Why did Elijah go with him to see the king?


What does verse 16 imply?


Who took his place as king, when he died?


What does "Jehoram" mean?





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2 Kings 2



2 Kings Chapter 2

Verses 1-3: "Gilgal, Beth-el," and Jericho were like modern-day Bible colleges or seminaries for prophets in training (2:5, 15). The younger men received instruction in Scripture under more experienced prophets.


2 Kings 2:1 "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal."


"By a whirlwind": Literally "in the whirlwind." This was a reference to the specific storm with lightning and thunder in which Elijah was taken to heaven (verse 11). The Lord's presence was connected with a whirlwind (in Job 38:1; 40:6; Jer. 23:19; 25:32; 30:23; Zech. 9:14).


"Elisha": The record of this prophet, who was the successor to Elijah, begins (in 1 Kings 19:16 see note), and extends to his death (in 2 Kings 13:20).


"Gilgal": Although some take this to be the Gilgal located west of the Jordan River near Jericho (Joshua 4:19; 5:9), the close affinity to Beth-el (verse 2), and its distance from Jericho (verse 4), seem to indicated that the Gilgal mentioned here was located in the hill country of Ephraim about 7 miles north of Beth-el.


Elijah was in this world, but he had never been of this world. His life had been full of dramatic happenings. More than once, Elijah had called down fire from heaven. He was the prophet, who had miraculous happenings, more than the others. He will go to heaven as he had lived on the earth, in a miraculous happening. It is stating in the verse above, the ascension of Elijah in a whirlwind, as if it had already happened. Elijah, like Enoch, is still alive. They did not go the way of the grave. Elisha had abandoned home and family to follow Elijah. It seems, they had now gone to Gilgal.



Verses 2-3: For the "sons of the prophets" (see the note on 1 Kings 18:4). Apparently, the prophetic schools at "Beth-el" and Jericho (verses 4-5), recognized the leadership of "Elijah."


Faithfulness and loyalty to "Elijah" were essential traits for Elijah's successor. Some suggest Elisha was disobedient in not staying, but Elijah was testing Elisha (He passed). When Elijah tested him a third time, Elisha still refused to put his own comfort first.


2 Kings 2:2 "And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said [unto him, As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el."


"Beth-el": A town in Benjamin about 8 miles north of Jerusalem, where one of Israel's false worship centers was located (see note on 1 Kings 12:29).


Elisha had stayed with Elijah for years. He was not about to leave him now. Elijah knows that his life on earth is coming to an end. He possibly does not want Elisha to see his last hours. He could want to be alone. It is probably and evident to Elisha too, and he wants to be there and witness the home-going of Elijah.


2 Kings 2:3 "And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace."


"The sons of the prophets" (see note on 1 Kings 20:35).


"Take away": The same term was used of Enoch's translation to heaven (in Gen. 5:24). The question from the sons of the prophets implied that the Lord had revealed Elijah's imminent departure to them. Elisha's response that he didn't need to hear about it ("hold ye your peace"), explicitly stated that Elijah's departure had been revealed by the Lord to him also (verse 5).


"From thy head": I.e., from supervising you, an allusion to the habit of students sitting beneath the feet of their master, elevated on a platform. Elisha would soon change from being Elijah's assistant to serving as the leader among the prophets.


It seemed that many of the prophets and their sons knew, it would be that very day that Elijah would go home to be with the LORD. Elisha tells them, he knows it too.


2 Kings 2:4 "And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, [As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho."


"Jericho": A city about 14 miles southeast of Beth-el in the Jordan River Valley (Joshua 2:1; 6:1), to which Elisha accompanied Elijah (verse 6).


This is the second time that Elijah had tried to get away from Elisha. Elisha will not be left though. If Elijah goes to Jericho, so will Elisha.


2 Kings 2:5 "And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace."


"Take away" uses the same Hebrew verb that describes Enoch's entrance into heaven (Gen. 5:24).


It appears, that even at Jericho the prophets and their sons know, Elijah is about to leave this earth. This is the very reason Elisha will not let Elijah out of his sight.


2 Kings 2:6 "And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, [As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on."


At Jericho, seemingly very desirous to get rid of him, that he might not see his assumption.


"For the Lord hath sent me to Jordan": Where passing that he was to be taken up.


"And he said, Elisha swore as before, he would not leave him.


"And they two went on; to Jordan, which was six miles from Jericho.


This is the third time that Elijah had tried to get away from Elisha, but Elisha will follow Elijah wherever he goes, because he wants to witness his home-going.


2 Kings 2:7 "And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan."


To have a view, if they could, of the assumption of Elijah to heaven, and be witnesses of it.


"And they two stood by Jordan": On the banks of it, even Elijah and Elisha.


These sons of the prophets wanted to view from afar Elijah going up to heaven in the whirlwind. The older prophets were not that curious, thinking that the LORD might not approve of them looking on, even from a distance. By the Jordan River, just Elijah and Elisha stand together.


2 Kings 2:8 "And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped [it] together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground."


"Waters ... were divided": Elijah rolled up his cloak into a kind of rod and struck the water of the Jordan River. Immediately, the water parted, leaving a dry path through the river bed for the two prophets to cross. Elijah's act recalled Moses' parting of the Red Sea with his rod (Exodus 14:21-22), and the parting of the Jordan when Israel crossed over into the Land (Joshua 3:14-17). The crossing put Elijah on the Jordan's east bank, the area where Moses' life came to an end (Deut. 34:1-6).


This man of miracles had done it again. He had struck the water of the river with his folded up garment, and it parted for Elijah and Elisha to walk over.



Verses 9-10: As Elijah's spiritual heir, "Elisha" asks for "a double portion" of Elijah's "spirit" (Deut. 21:17 with 1 Kings 19:16-21), so that Elijah's God-empowered spiritual activity might continue after his departure, through his successor. Obviously only God could grant such a request.


2 Kings 2:9 "And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me."


"A double portion": In Israel, the firstborn son inherited a double share of his father's possessions and with it the right of succession (Deut. 21:17). "A double portion of thy spirit" was not merely Elisha's request to succeed Elijah in his prophetic ministry, since the Lord had already revealed this succession (in 1 Kings 19:16-21). Nor was it Elisha's desire for ministry superior to Elijah's, though Elisha did, in fact, do twice as many recorded miracles as Elijah. Apparently, Elisha was asking to succeed Elijah in the prophetic office as God had promised, with spiritual power beyond his own capabilities to meet the responsibilities of his position as Elijah's successor. He desired that Elijah's mighty power might continue to live through him.


Elisha requested a "double portion of "Elijah's "sprit," the energizing power characterizing Elijah's ministry. Elisha wanted God's empowerment far more than wealth.


Elisha had seen so many of the miracles done through Elijah, that his only wish was for the Spirit within Elijah would be twice as strong within him. We see that Elijah loved Elisha, and had asked what he wished.


2 Kings 2:10 "And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: [nevertheless], if thou see me [when I am] taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be [so]."


"A hard thing": Since only God can give spiritual power, Elijah did not have the ability to grant Elisha's request. Elijah told Elisha that if Elisha saw his departure, it would be the sign that God Himself would grant Elisha's request.


This is a very hard thing, because the miracles of Elijah had been so fantastic themselves. Elijah places this directly in the LORD's hands. It is the LORD's decision, whether to grant this wish or not. Elisha will know the answer, when Elijah is carried up. If he sees the ascension of Elijah, God had granted his wish.



Verses 11-12: The "chariot" and "horses of fire" were likely an angel squadron on special assignment. Elisha's exclamation speaks to the reason God commanded Israel's kings not to stockpile horses (Deut. 17:16), or fear armies with chariots (Deut. 20:1); every powerful resource is found in God, who fights for His people (6:17; Deut. 20:3-4; Psalm 104:4).


2 Kings 2:11 "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."


"Elijah" followed Enoch in being taken "into heaven" without dying (Gen. 5:24).


"Chariot of fire, and horses of fire": The horse-drawn chariot was the fastest means of transport and the mightiest means of warfare in that day. Thus, the chariot and horse symbolized God's powerful protection, which was the true safety of Israel (verse 12). As earthly kingdoms are dependent for their defense on such military force as represented by horses and chariots, one single prophet had done more by God's power to preserve his nation than all their military preparations.


They had to be separated, so Elijah would go up, and not both of them. God divided them with His fire.


Psalms 104:4 "Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:"


The chariot of fire and the horses of fire accompanied Elijah up, but he went up in the whirlwind.


2 Kings 2:12 "And Elisha saw [it], and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces."


"My father": The sons of the prophet recognized the leader of their company as their spiritual father. This title of respect for a person of authority (Gen. 45:8; Judges 17:10), was later used for Elisha (6:21; 13:14).


Elisha's tribute to his spiritual father as the foremost prophet of all would be echoed at his own death (13:14). Elisha's tearing of his "clothes" was a sign of mourning at his personal loss.


Elisha saw it, so he indeed received the double portion of a son. Elisha is calling Elijah father, here. He received the favorite son portion. He was so humbled by it all, that he rent his clothes.


This tearing of the clothes in this manner was showing complete horror at the magnitude of God. It was also, a way of mourning for the loss of Elijah. This close encounter with God would put horror in anyone's heart.


2 Kings 2:13 "He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;"


Elijah had placed his prophetic "mantle" (likely some sort of shawl or cloak), on Elisha as Israel's next prophet (1 Kings 19:19). Now Elisha demonstrated his acceptance of the call.


The mantle of Elijah had come to Elisha. He went back to the River Jordan that had parted for them to come over.


2 Kings 2:14 "And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where [is] the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over."


Performing the same miracle as Elijah (2:8), demonstrated that Elisha had received a double portion of his mentor's spirit (2:9). This put him in the tradition of Moses and Joshua, who respectively parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22), and the Jordan River (Joshua 3:9-17). Like Joshua ("Yahweh Saves"), Elisha would live up to the meaning of his name ("God Saves").


"Waters ... divided": Elisha repeated the action of Elijah (verse 8), in using the cloak to immediately part the waters of the Jordan River, allowing Elisha to again cross over on dry land. This confirmed that Elisha had received from God the same great power as his master, Elijah.


He did exactly as he had seen Elijah do and had the very same results. The Jordan opened, and he walked over on dry land.


2 Kings 2:15 "And when the sons of the prophets which [were] to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him."


When "the sons of the prophets" saw Elisha, they sensed "the spirit of Elijah" on him. God always provided a prophetic voice to guide His people, sending John the Baptist (Luke 1:17), Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, who empowered the apostles and all who followed them.


"Bowed ... to the ground": This action symbolized the submission of the prophets to the preeminence of Elisha as the prophet in Israel.


Prophets have an insight from God that not everyone has. They were suddenly aware of what had happened, as they saw Elisha. He was probably, greatly changed in appearance.


2 Kings 2:16 "And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send."


They knew that when souls went into God's presence at death, bodies remained on earth. Out of sensitivity to the body of Elijah, they wanted to retrieve it for appropriate care. Elisha knew Elijah's body would not be left behind, because he had seen his bodily ascension (verse 11), which the others had not, so he said, "No."


The fifty sons of the prophets are not sure that Elijah had ascended into heaven. They know something had happened, but they are not aware of what. It was too far for them to see Elijah, as he ascended. It was several miles in fact. They thought, perhaps, the whirlwind had taken him up and dropped him, causing him to die. They wanted to go and seek his body for burial. Elisha, tells them they need not go. He is in heaven.


2 Kings 2:17 "And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not."


"Ashamed": (In 8:11 and Judges 3:25), this term was used for the feeling of embarrassment under the unrelenting pressure of their request. But with shame for his own failure to believe what he had seen, Elisha was also embarrassed for the prophets, knowing the futile outcome of their search (verse 18; compare 1 Kings 18:12).


They did not believe Elisha, and kept asking him over and over until he finally let them go to look. He knew Elijah was not there, but he could not convince them. They did not understand a person going to heaven without benefit of the grave. They looked three days, but of course they did not find him.


2 Kings 2:18 "And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?"


Waiting their return to hear the report they made: which when they had.


"He said unto them, did I not say unto you, go not? assuring them it would be fruitless, and to no purpose; though this search of theirs served both to confirm the assumption of Elijah, and the truth of Elisha being a prophet of the Lord.


Elisha waited at Jericho, until they finished their three days of hunting for the body of Elijah. He reminds them, he had said it would be futile to look.



Verses 19-24: These two public miracles clearly established that "Elisha" had succeeded Elijah. They also set the tone for the spiritual power of his ministry.


That Elisha "healed" ("purified"), "this" Salty "Water" manifested God's unique power operating through him (4:41; Exodus 15:25-26).


2 Kings 2:19 "And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city [is] pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water [is] nought, and the ground barren."


The inhabitants of Jericho, perceiving him to be a prophet, and endowed with a power of working miracles.


"Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth". In a plain, surrounded with gardens and orchards, with vineyards, oliveyards, and groves of palm trees, and other odoriferous ones.


"But the water is naught, and the ground barren": That is, that part of it where this water was, or ran, for from thence it became barren; or "caused to miscarry", as the word signifies. Not only trees cast their fruit, which it watered, but women became abortive that drank of it, as Josephus says, and so did the cattle. Abarbinel thinks it was so from the times of Joshua, being cursed by him; but, if so, it would not have been inhabited again. Rather this was owing to a new curse, upon its being rebuilt; though this might affect only a small part of the ground, not the whole, as before observed.


In this verse, the miracles for others to witness of Elisha began. They liked their city, but the water was bad.



Verses 20-21: Cruse ... salt": Salt purifies water, but the small amount used there could not clean the whole water supply. Rather, the use of salt from a new jar symbolized the cleansing of the waters that God would miraculously do. The healing of Jericho's water through Elisha, freed the city from Joshua's curse, making it habitable for humans once again (Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34).


2 Kings 2:20 "And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought [it] to him."


The "new cruse" and the "salt" are evidently chosen from a regard to symbolism. The foul stream represents sin, and to cleanse it emblems of purity must be taken. Hence, the clean "new" dish previously unused, and thus untainted; and the salt, a common Scriptural symbol of incorruption (see Lev. 2:13; Ezek. 43:24; Matt. 5:13).


Salt, generally, would make bad water worse. Salt water is not what they needed, but fresh. The new cruse was used, so that no uncleanness had ever been in the cruse.


2 Kings 2:21 "And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren [land]."


The "waters" of Jericho may still have felt the effect of Joshua's curse (Joshua 6:26). For purification by "salt" (see Lev. 2:13; Num. 18:19; Ezek. 43:24).


Elisha cast the water into the spring of waters and they became fresh and clear. They took on a new name, Ain-es-sultan. This spring, now, had become a beautiful fountain of sweet water. Notice, Elisha tells them that the LORD healed the waters.


2 Kings 2:22 "So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake."


The spring intended is probably that now called Ain-es-Sultan, which is not much more than a mile from the site of the ancient town. It is described as a large and beautiful fountain of sweet and pleasant water. The springs issuing from the eastern base of the highlands of Judah and Benjamin are to this day generally brackish.


The waters obeyed the Word of the Lord spoken by the prophet Elisha.



Verses 23-24: These "youths" were young men, not children, and possibly false prophets of Baal. "Go up" implies Elisha should go into heaven as Elijah had. "Baldhead" might allude to the outcast lepers of that day or to Elisha's actual head (whether bald by heredity or shaven by choice), but more likely it was a derisive comment (Isa. 3:17, 24). Their contempt reflected disrespect for the Lord (Deut. 27:13-16).


2 Kings 2:23 "And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head."


"Bald head" was a taunt of scorn (Isa. 3:17, 24). These "children" were older youths of responsible age who were actually blaspheming God by casting doubt upon Elisha's report of the "going up" of Elijah. The baldness was regarded as a disgrace.


The baldness of Elisha referred to here may be:


(1) Natural loss of hair;


(2) A shaved head denoting his separation to the prophetic office; or more likely,


(3) An epithet of scorn and contempt, Elisha not being literally bald.


These youths were sarcastically taunting and insulting the lord's prophet by telling him to repeat Elijah's translation ("go up").


Therefore, both God and His newly designated prophet were to be vindicated so proper respect might be shown.


Many of the prophets were at Beth-el. He possibly could have been going to relate to them what had happened to him. We will find in this, that it is a dangerous thing to speak ill of a true prophet. These children laughed at the prophet, because he was bald.


2 Kings 2:24 "And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."


"Cursed": Because these young people of about 20 years of age or older (the same term is used of Solomon in 1 Kings 3:7), so despised the prophet of the Lord, Elisha called upon the Lord to deal with the rebels as He saw fit. The Lord's punishment was the mauling of 42 youths by two female bears. The penalty was clearly justified, for to ridicule Elisha was to ridicule the Lord Himself. The gravity of the penalty mirrored the gravity of the crime. The appalling judgment was God's warning to any and all who attempted to interfere with the newly invested prophet's ministry.


The boys were probably following Elisha and jeering at him. This is a terrible time for anyone to come against him. It would be important for all to show great respect for the one the LORD had chosen to follow in Elijah's footsteps. This cursing them was in the name of the LORD, which meant they had tried to defame his position with the LORD. They were suddenly punished by being torn by she (female), bears. This is not something for Christians to do. This was under the law, and Christians live under grace. It is however, a very dangerous thing to say bad things about God's anointed.


2 Kings 2:25 "And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria."


"Mount Carmel": For the location (see note on 1 Kings 18:19). Elisha associated his prophetic ministry with Elijah's stand against Baalism.


"Samaria": The capital city of the northern kingdom, located in central Palestine (1 Kings 16:24).


Elisha was probably telling the other prophets what had happened to Elijah. Carmel was a spot, where Elijah had been well-known. This is where he called down fire from God to lap up the offering by fire. Elisha went on to Samaria, because much of his ministry would be near there.


2 Kings Chapter 2 Questions


1. How did Elijah go to heaven?


2. Why was Elisha following Elijah?


3. How had Elijah lived on the earth?


4. Who, besides Elijah, went to heaven without going the way of the grave?


5. What did Elijah try to get Elisha to do?


6. Why would Elisha not do what Elijah asked him to do this time?


7. Why did Elijah not want Elisha to follow him?


8. What did the sons of the prophets at Beth-el ask Elisha?


9. How did Elisha answer them?


10. Where did Elijah go after Beth-el?


11. What did the sons of the prophets at Jericho say to Elisha?


12. Where was the third place that Elijah went?


13. Who followed Elijah and Elisha from a distance?


14. Why had the older prophets not followed them?


15. What miracle did the LORD do, at the Jordan River, for Elijah?


16. Who went over Jordan with Elijah?


17. What did Elijah ask Elisha?


18. What did Elisha want?


19. How did Elijah answer Elisha's request?


20. Who will decide, whether Elisha's request will be answered, or not?


21. How were Elijah and Elisha separated?


22. How did Elijah go up into heaven?


23. When Elisha saw Elijah go up accompanied by the chariots of fire and the horses of fire, what did he do?


24. What did Elisha pick up and carry back with him?


25. What did Elisha do at the River Jordan?


26. What was the first thing the fifty asked Elisha to let them do?


27. How long did they look?


28. Where did Elisha wait for the fifty?


29. How does Elisha make the water sweet?


30. Who laughed at Elisha for being bald?


31. What happened to them?


32.Why did he go back to Carmel?





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2 Kings 3



2 Kings Chapter 3

Verses 1-3: "Jehoram" was the second "son of Ahab" to rule "Israel". He reigned from 852-841 B.C. Although Jehoram "put away" the "sacred pillar", a cultic object used in "Baal" worship, he was sympathetic to idolatry in Israel and continued the religious policies of his parents as well as his predecessor, "Jeroboam" (1 Kings 12:26-33; 13:33).


2 Kings 3:1 "Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years."


"Jehoram" (see note on 1:17). He was Ahaziah's brother (1 Kings 22:51).


"Eighteenth year": Ca. 852 B.C. This was Jehoshaphat of Judah's 18th year of rule after the death of his father Asa (in 870 B.C.). Jehoshaphat was co-regent with Asa from 873-870 B.C. Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram was co-regent with his father from 853-848 B.C. (see notes on 1:17; 8:17).


"Twelve years": 852-841 B.C.


2 Kings 3:2 " And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made."


"Image of Baal": This was probably an image of the god Baal that King Ahab had made and placed in the temple he built to Baal (1 Kings 16:32-33). This image was only put in storage not permanently destroyed, because it reappeared at the end of Jehoram's reign (10:26-27).


Jehoram was the last of the line of Ahab. All of the kings of Israel were evil, and he was no exception. He was not as evil as some of the others, however. He did not do away with the golden calves, but he did stop the worship of Baal, by destroying the image of Baal. It was, probably, the terrible end that came to Ahab and Ahaziah that caused him to tear the image of Baal down.


2 Kings 3:3 "Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom."


"Jeroboam": Ca. 931-910 B.C. (see notes on 1 Kings 11:26 - 14:20; 2 Chron. 9:29 - 13:20).


"The sins of Jeroboam" involved the state religion that Jeroboam I had established as a rival to the true faith in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:26-33).


This is speaking of the calf worship. It is strange, but they tried to worship God and these calves all at the same time. It appears, the reason they kept the calf at Beth-el and the calf at Dan, was to keep the people from going to Jerusalem and worshipping at the temple.



Verses 4-5: The "Mesha" Stele (or Moabite Stone), is a witness to historical accuracy. Found in Jordan (in 1868 and dating to about 840 B.C.), this inscribed stone provides King Mesha of Moab's description of how he was oppressed by Israel's King Omri.


2 Kings 3:4 "And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel a hundred thousand lambs, and a hundred thousand rams, with the wool."


Mesha king of Moab": According to the Moabite Stone (discovered at Dihon, Moab, in A.D. 1868 and dated to ca. 840-820 B.C.). Moab, which is located east of the Dead Sea between the Arnon River and the Brook Zered, had been Israel's vassal since Omri (ca. 880 B.C.). Moab's king, Mesha, was a sheep breeder (Amos 1:1), who supplied the king of Israel with lambs and wool. This was Moab's annual tribute to the Israelite king.


Now, we see the reason for the revolt of Moab. The tribute Moab paid was excessive.


2 Kings 3:5 "But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel."


"Moab rebelled": Mesha used Ahab's death as an opportunity to cast off the political domination of Israel with its heavy economic burden. Moab's rebellion took place in 853 B.C. during the reign of Ahaziah (1:1). Jehoram determined to put down Moab's rebellion upon his accession to Israel's throne in 852 B.C. He mobilized Israel for war (verse 6), and asked Jehoshaphat of Judah to join him in the battle (verse 7).


Confirmation of this event comes from the Moabite Stone set up by Mesha, "the king of Moab" (see the note on 1 Kings 16:27).


Moab did not fight Israel for their independence until after Ahab was dead, because Ahab was a very strong opponent. He was also, very cruel, and might have wiped their people out to get their animals and other wealth.


2 Kings 3:6 "And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel."


"And numbered all Israel" Who were fit to bear arms, got them together at some place, and mustered them, and prepared for a war with Moab, to reduce them.


This numbering was, possibly, taking stock, to see how many military they could muster in case of war. Numbering the people without God's permission was forbidden.


2 Kings 3:7 "And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I [am] as thou [art], my people as thy people, [and] my horses as thy horses."


Family ties again brought "Jehoshaphat" into a military expedition (see the note on 1 Kings 22:4).


Jehoshaphat had made an agreement with Ahab, when he was still alive. Jehoshaphat would help them, because of this earlier agreement, and because Moab was their mutual enemy.


2 Kings 3:8 "And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom."


"The wilderness of Edom": This was the long and circuitous route by the lower bend of the Dead Sea, the arid land in the great depression south of the sea known as the Arabah, or an area of marshes on Edom's western side. According to the Moabite Stones (see note on 3:4), Mesha's army firmly controlled the northern approach into Moab. Therefore, an attack from the south had a much better chance of success. It was the most defenseless position and Mesha could not enlist help from the forces of Edom (verse 9).


One of the main reasons that Jehoshaphat chose this direction, was because Edom was a dependency of Judah, and would let them pass with no conflict. Edom was an enemy of Moab, themselves, and some of their troops might join them in the battle. Going by Edom was not the shortest route, but was probably the safest.



Verses 9-14: The biblical writer consistently refers to "the king of Israel" without naming him, perhaps to keep "Elisha" as the real focus of the narrative. "Poured water on the hands of Elijah" denotes selfless service to another, which Elisha committed to (in 1 Kings 19:21).


2 Kings 3:9 "So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days' journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them."


Apparently, Jehoshaphat had gained the allegiance of the Edomites in the previous Trans-Jordanian war (2 Chron. Chapter 20).


In the last lesson, we mentioned the fact that Edom did not have a king. They were ruled by a deputy that Jehoshaphat had set up. It is interesting here, that they have gained enough strength that they now have a king. It is also interesting, that they join the battle with Moab led by their king. Israel's troops will be in the front lines, because this battle is really theirs. Judah will back them up, and then the troops of Edom will back up Judah. This was such a tremendous amount of troops, you can see it would be easy to run out of water. This means they were travelling 7 days to get to the area of the battle.


2 Kings 3:10 "And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!"


Lamenting their sad case, as being desperate; and he was the more concerned, as he was the principal who had drawn the other kings into this affair, though he throws it upon the Lord and his providence.


"That the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hands of Moab": Into whose hands they must inevitably fall, if they could have no water to refresh them; since they would be so weak as not to be able to stand a battle with them, and be dispersed here and there in search of water, and so fall into their hands. Extreme thirst is intolerable. It is reported of Lysimachus, that he delivered himself and his army into the hands of the enemy for a draught of water. Leo Africanus relates, that in the desert of Azaoad stand two marble pillars, testifying that a rich merchant bought of a carrier of wares a cup of water at the price of 10,000 ducats; but there not being water sufficient neither for the one nor the other, they both died of thirst.


The fear of the king of Israel, is because of what happened to Ahab and Ahaziah. He realizes that it was not God who sent them to this war, but their own desire. He fears the LORD will be angry with them and destroy Israel, Judah, and Edom.


2 Kings 3:11 "But Jehoshaphat said, [Is there] not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may inquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here [is] Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah."


Whatever Jehoshaphat's faults might have been in allowing himself to be drawn into dangerous circumstances, he was consistently concerned with spiritual things. As on the previous occasion (1 Kings 22:7-28), so here he asks for a true "prophet" in order that the Lord's will may be known in the entire enterprise. Whether "Elisha" was ministering in the area or had accompanied the military forces, as was often done in the ancient Near East, is uncertain.


"Poured water on the hands": Probably derived from the custom of washing hands before and after meals. The idiom meant that Elisha had personally served Elijah. Jehoshaphat recognized that Elisha was a true prophet of the Lord (verse 12).


Notice, it is Jehoshaphat who calls for the prophet of God. It appears, that everyone knew of the miracles Elijah had done. They did not however, know much about Elisha, except that he served Elijah.


2 Kings 3:12 "And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him."


To give them an answer, which he concluded from his being a servant and disciple of Elijah, whom he succeeded in his office, and of whom he had, doubtless, heard. And from his following the camp, and being in it, which he easily imagined was not to fight, but to assist by his advice and counsel. And by his prophecies, as there might be occasion for them.


"So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him": Descended from their chariots, and went to the tent in the camp where he was. They did not send for him to come to them, but, in honor of him, went to him themselves.


Jehoshaphat knew that this man of God would be the one they needed to see. Jehoshaphat, a man who did right in God's sight, was in very bad company with these two evil kings.


2 Kings 3:13 "And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab."


"What do I have to do with thee": A Hebrew idiom that expressed the completely different perspective of two individuals (2 Sam. 16:10). Elisha sarcastically ordered Jehoram to consult the prophets of his father Ahab, prophets of the northern kingdom's deviant religion (1 Kings 22:6; 10-12), and the prophets of his mother Jezebel, the prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18:19).


Elisha first reprimands Jehoram for his evil ways. He reminds him that his father Ahab, and his mother, Jezebel, had brought the worship of Baal into the land. Even though Jehoram had torn down the statue of Baal, he was still an evil king in the sight of the LORD. Notice that Jehoram says, it was the LORD who brought these three together. He is afraid the LORD will destroy them, as he did Ahab and Ahaziah.


2 Kings 3:14 "And Elisha said, [As] the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee."


"Regard the presence": Elisha agreed to seek word from the Lord because of his great respect for Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 22:43).


The only thing Jehoshaphat did that was displeasing to the LORD, was the times he made alliance with the evil kings. It appears, the LORD forgave him for that, because he was righteous in God's sight. Elisha would not have even answered the kings of Israel and Edom, but will speak to Jehoshaphat.



Verses 15-19: Calling for a "musician" reflects one of the various ways God disclosed His word to His prophets, through music (1 Sam. 10:5), visions (Isa. 21:2; Dan. 1:17; 2:19), or personal reflection (Jer. 11:18-23).


2 Kings 3:15 "But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him."


Elisha's call for a minstrel is not evidence that he was an ecstatic, as sometimes suggested. Elisha was simply setting a proper atmosphere for spiritual things in the midst of dire conditions. Music was an important part of Israel's spiritual experience, whether individually or in situations of formal religious worship.


"A minstrel": The music was used to accompany praise and prayer, which calmed the mind of the prophet that he might clearly hear the word of the Lord. Music often accompanied prophecies in the Old Testament (1 Chron. 25:1).


Music definitely has a place in worship. The beautiful spiritual songs in the church prepare our hearts to receive the message God has for His people. This is the reason for the minstrel here. Elisha will listen to the soft music, and get his mind off the world. The music will have a calming influence. Elisha would close out the world, and listen to the Word the LORD speaks through him.


2 Kings 3:16 "And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches."


"This valley": Probably the northeast area of the Arabah, west of the highlands of Moab and southeast of the Dead Sea (see verse 8).


We remember, they were out of water. These ditches would hold water for them.


2 Kings 3:17 "For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts."


No rain was to fall where the Israelites and their enemies were encamped; there was not even to be that all but universal accompaniment of rain in the East, a sudden rise of wind (compare 1 Kings 18:45; Psalm 147:18; Matt. 7:25).


"Cattle, and your beasts": The former are the animals brought for food. The latter are the baggage animals.


We are not told where the water comes from, but we can assume that the water flows into these ditches from another spot. It may rain heavy in another place, and flow the water into the ditches. It is not important how the ditches are filled with water. It is a miracle from God.


2 Kings 3:18 "And this is [but] a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand." Elisha explains that filling these ditches with water is a minor miracle. The great miracle that will take place here, will be the Moabite defeat by the Lord. He will deliver the Moabites into their hands.


To give them such a plenty of water in such an extraordinary manner: he would do for them what was greater, not only save them from falling into the hand of Moab, which they feared.


"But he wilt deliver the Moabites into your hands": Which was more than was asked for, or expected.


2 Kings 3:19 "And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones."


These wartime directions go beyond the normal limits allowable in battle situations (Deut. 20:19-20).


These four points of "attack" on both natural and human resources would not only defeat the Moabites in the moment but disable them long-term.


This is not a commandment to do these things, but rather prophetically speaking of what they would do. The Moabites were not living for God. This is speaking of a total destruction of the land, which would have to be rebuilt.



Verses 20-25: Events unfolded as Elisha predicted (3:16-19), proving him a true prophet of God. To "deliver the Moabites into Israel's hand" was indeed "a simple matter" for the Lord (3:18). But no one would have imagined that God would use the blood-like reflection of the "sun" on the "water" to do so.


Kir-haraseth" was the capital of Moab (Isa. 16:7).


2 Kings 3:20 "And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water."


"Meat offering": This was offered daily (see Exodus 29:38-41).


"Came water by the way of Edom": Divinely created flash floods from the mountains of Edom caused water to flow in the direction of the Dead Sea. This water was caught in the canals that had been built in the valley (verse 16).


The early morning was the time of the morning sacrifice. It appears, there had been heavy rain in Edom, and the water flowed into the ditches from there.


2 Kings 3:21 "And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armor, and upward, and stood in the border."


The kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom.


"They gathered all that were able to put on armor, and upward": that were of an age capable of that, and all who were more grown; or "girt on a girdle", a military one, with which the sword was girt, who were at age to wear and knew how to wield a sword.


"And stood in the border": Of their land, between Edom and them, to defend themselves and their country against these invaders.


It seemed, that the Moabites had gathered all the men of the land who were old enough to fight, and gave them armor. They quickly covered the border, where the enemy was coming from.


2 Kings 3:22 "And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side [as] red as blood:"


Water ... red as blood": As the Moabites looked down at the unfamiliar water in the ditches dug in the valley below them, the combination of the sun's rays and the red sandstone terrain gave the water a reddish color, like pools of blood. Unaccustomed to water being in those places and having heard no storm (see verse 17), the Moabites thought that the coalition of kings had slaughtered each other (verse 23), and so went after the spoils. The coalition army led by Israel defeated the Moabites, who had been delivered into their hands by the Lord (see verses 18, 24).


2 Kings 3:23 "And they said, This [is] blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil."


They were very confident of it, having no notion of water, there having been no rain for some time; and perhaps it was not usual to see water at any time in this place.


"The kings are surely slain": They and their forces.


"And they have smitten one another": Having quarreled either about their religion, or about want of water, and the distress they were come into through it, laying the blame of their coming out to war. Or of their coming that way, on one another; and the Moabites might rather think something of this kind had happened, from what had lately been done among themselves, and their allies (2 Chron. 20:23).


"Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil": Having no occasion to fight, or prepare for it; all they had to do was to march directly to the enemy's camp, and plunder it.


It appears, these ditches did more than supply water to them. The ditches, possibly, had red clay at the bottom, and the water on it caused it to appear to be blood. It could also have been a sunrise of redness that caused the water to look red. They knew that Israel had broken away from Judah, and they thought some of the rivalry between them had sprung up in battle. They want to believe these three kings and their men had turned on each other. They want it so badly, they had convinced themselves that is what happened.


2 Kings 3:24 "And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in [their] country."


Not in an orderly regular manner, in rank and file, as an army should march, but in a confused manner, everyone striving who should get there first, and have the largest share of the booty.


"The Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them": Being prepared for them, they fell upon them sword in hand, and soon obliged them to flee.


"But they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country": They pursued them closely, and slew them as they fled, and followed them not only to their borders, but into their own country. Though Schultens, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders the passage, "and they blunted their swords in it (in that slaughter), even by smiting the Moabites".


The Moabites had run in on Israel expecting to take a spoil, and instead, the Israelites killed many, and the others retreated. The Israelites did not stop the battle when the Moabites ran. They followed them into their land to destroy them.


2 Kings 3:25 "And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about [it], and smote it."


"Kir-haraseth": The coalition army invaded Moab and besieged its capital city, Kir-haraseth, located about 11 miles east of the Dead Sea and about 20 miles northeast of the Arabah.


We see the prophecy of Elisha fulfilled here. They went through the land destroying everything in sight. The good trees are trees that are useful to the people living there. They could even be speaking of fruit trees. Kir-haraseth was a fortress, and could not be broken down without the heavier rams and such. This is possibly, why it was not immediately torn down. The battering rams and the catapults, which threw large stones at them, tore it down.


2 Kings 3:26 "And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through [even] unto the king of Edom: but they could not."


"The king of Moab" probably decided to fight the Edomite forces because of Edom's lesser forces and to punish "Edom" for siding with the allied Israelite armies.


The king saw that they were all about to die. The king takes his strongest and bravest men, who had probably, been his personal guard, and tried to break through into the ranks of Edom, but they could not.


Kings 3:27 "Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him [for] a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to [their own] land."


"His eldest son ... offered him": In desperate hope for intervention by his idol god, Mesha sacrificed his oldest son to the Moabite god Chemosh. This was done in plain view of everyone inside and outside the city in an attempt to induce Chemosh to deliver the Moabites from disastrous defeat.


"Great indignation against Israel": It seems best to understand that the king's sacrifice inspired the Moabites to hate Israel more and fight more intensely. This fierceness perhaps led Israel to believe that Chemosh was fighting for the Moabites. Thus, the indignation or fury came from the Moabites.


Despite Israel's success (3:24-25), the Moabites rallied and forced Israel to return home without complete victory. God graciously meets the needs of His people, but He will not be coerced, manipulated, or used by those who, like Jehoram, do not obey Him.


The Moabite king's desperate sacrifice of his "son" is often paralleled in the literature of the ancient Near East. This verse provides an instance where the Bible supplements the information from secular history (i.e., the Moabite Stone). The Israelites left the scene with disgust at what they saw.


In Moab, the eldest son of the ruler who died, would take the throne. The rule over the land was handed down from father to son. Human sacrifice was offered by the heathen people who surrounded Israel and Judah. The sacrifice was of his eldest son, because he was the most precious to him. This human sacrifice would have been an abomination to God. It would also have been revolting to the Israelites and those of Judah. It was certainly revolting to the people of Moab. This drastic step so shocked everyone that the war ended. Israel, Judah, and Edom went home.


2 Kings Chapter 3 Questions


1. Who became king of Israel at the death of Ahaziah?


2. How many years did he reign?


3. How was his evil reign different from that of Ahab and Jezebel?


4. What was the sin of Jeroboam mentioned in verse 3?


5. Why had they kept the golden calf at Bethel and at Dan?


6. Who was king of Moab at this time?


7. How did they make their living?


8. When did Moab revolt against Israel?


9. What did Jehoram do to prepare for war?


10. Who did he send to for help?


11. Was he willing to help him against Moab?


12. Why was Jehoshaphat willing to help fight Moab?


13. Who chose the direction of attack?


14. Why did he choose this way, since it was not the shortest?


15. What suddenly comes to the king of Israel about the LORD?


16. Who asks if there is a prophet to consult?


17. Who did one of the servants recommend?


18. How did Jehoshaphat show confidence in the prophet?


19. Who did Elisha tell the king of Israel he should inquire of?


20. Who was the only reason Elisha would speak to them?


21. Who did Elisha ask for?


22. What is the benefit of soft spiritual music in church?


23. What did Elisha tell them to do?


24. What would the LORD do for them in this battle?


25. In verse 19, what did Elisha tell them they would do?


26. When did the water come into the ditches?


27. Who fought for Moab?


28. When the Moabites saw the ditches of water, what did they believe they were?


29. Who attacked first?


30. What did the armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom do, that fulfilled the prophecy of Elisha?


31. What did the king of Moab try to do with 700 of his choicest men?


32. What terrible thing did he do, when his plan of attack failed?


33. What effect did this have on everyone?





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2 Kings 4



2 Kings Chapter 4

Verses 1-7: The amount of "oil" the widow received was limited only to the number of "vessels" she collected. God met her needs both for the present and the future.


2 Kings 4:1 "Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen."


"The sons of the prophets" did marry at times. Levitical legislation allowed for debtors to work off their debts (Exodus 21:2-4; Lev. 25:39-40; Deut. 12:12). The enslaving of family members in lieu of a debt was a common practice in the ancient Near East.


(See note on 1 Kings 20:35).


"My two sons to be bondmen": According to the Mosaic law, creditors could enslave debtors and their children to work off a debt when they could not pay (Exodus 21:2-4; Deut. 15:12-18). The period of servitude could last until the next year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:39-40). Rich people and creditors, however, were not to take advantage of the destitute (see Deut. 15:1-18).


This one verse tells us a lot. Prophets were permitted to have wives. We must notice that she went to the prophet for help. Indirectly she is going to God. She knew there would be no mercy shown her by the worldly creditor. If the creditor cannot get the money, he will take her sons into servitude to pay the indebtedness. This is a type and shadow of all of us, who owe our lives for the debt of sin we committed. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus (our High Priest), paid our debt in full for us. Let us follow the story, and see what this man of God does to help this widow.


2 Kings 4:2 "And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil."


"A pot of oil": A flask of oil used to anoint the body.


Elisha realizes that he must help her out of this problem. The verse above is as if he is thinking with the words he says. Notice, she submits to his decision, when she calls herself his handmaid. Her husband was a prophet, so the oil is, probably, a small portion of anointing oil.


2 Kings 4:3 "Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, [even] empty vessels; borrow not a few."


For he perceived that she had none.


"Even empty vessels": Which they might more readily lend her.


"Borrow not a few": But as many as she could get; the prophet, under a divine impulse, was directed to say this to her, foreseeing, by a spirit of prophecy, that a large quantity of oil would be given her.


These vessels are like buckets, or pots. She is to gather all of the spare containers that her neighbors have.


2 Kings 4:4 "And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full."


"Shut the door upon thee": Since the widow's need was private, the provision was to be private also. Further, the absence of Elisha demonstrated that the miracle happened only by God's power. God's power multiplied "little" into "much," filling all the vessels to meet the widow's need (1 Kings 17:7-16).


The miraculous provision was a spiritual experience and not designed for public show (Matt. 6:6).


God will multiply what she has, and every time she pours one vessel full, she is to get another vessel and fill it, until all the vessels she has are full. Notice, God uses what she already had to bless her. It is like the five loaves and two fishes, which Jesus fed the multitude with.


2 Kings 4:5 "So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought [the vessels] to her; and she poured out."


And did as he advised her, borrowed many empty vessels of her neighbors, having faith in what the prophet had said to her.


"And shut the door upon her, and upon her sons": And then went to work as she was directed, with her sons.


"Who brought the vessels to her": the empty ones she had borrowed.


"And she poured out": The oil out of her pot into them.


2 Kings 4:6 "And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, [There is] not a vessel more. And the oil stayed."


For the oil being miraculously increased as it was poured forth, there was enough to fill all the vessels. Ben Gersom and Abarbinel say, that when the pot was emptied, all the air that entered it was turned into oil.


That she said to her son, bring me yet a vessel": As she had two sons, one it is probable was setting aside the full vessels, as she poured into them. And the other in bringing to her the empty vessels, and to whom she thus speaks.


"And he said unto her, there is not a vessel more": Not an empty one, they were all filled.


"And the oil stayed": It ran no longer, it was no more multiplied; there was no necessity of continuing the miracle. This oil may be an emblem of the grace that flows from the fullness of it in Christ, to which it is compared, which will be always flowing, as long as there is a vessel of salvation, or faith in any to receive it (see Matt. 25:3; 1 John 2:20).


She and her sons did just as Elisha had told her to do. They poured until all of the vessels were completely full. Then the oil stopped reproducing itself.


2 Kings 4:7 "Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest."


Elisha the prophet, what had been done, what a quantity of oil she had, and advised with him what was to be done with it.


"And he said, go, sell thy oil, and pay thy debt": What was thus miraculously produced was no doubt very good and excellent, and would fetch a good price. And she is therefore bid to turn it into money, and pay her debts with it. She was not to keep it all for her own use, and indulge to luxury with it, but first pay her just debt, as everyone ought to do that is able.


"And live thou and thy children of the rest": So that it seems there was enough to pay her debt with it, rid her of her troubles, and somewhat remaining for the support of herself and children.


This oil was so much that it easily paid her debt, and was a living for her and her two sons. There could have been more children, but we know there were two sons. She waited, until Elisha told her to sell it, before she did this. God is good. He will see to the needs of those in service for Him. In this case, He took care of even more than their needs.



Verses 8-14: Elisha wanted to thank the Shunammite woman for "all this care" and hospitality she had shown him and his servant. The absence of children in the Old Testament was interpreted as a curse or, at best, a sign of shame. And with "no son," she would likely end up impoverished once her "husband" died.


2 Kings 4:8 "And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where [was] a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And [so] it was, [that] as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread."


"Shunem": A town in the territory of Issachar near Jezreel (Joshua 19:18), on the slopes of Mt., Moreh, overlooking the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley (see note on 1 Kings 1:3).


The woman was a "great woman," a lady who was financially well-off and of significant social standing.


This is the beginning of a totally different happening. Shunem was in Galilee. The fact that the "woman was great" could mean great in stature, or it could mean well thought of. It, probably, means that she was a woman of financial means. This would be more likely, since it would be in direct contrast to the widow earlier in the lesson. She discovered Elisha passing her house, and she invited him in to eat. It seemed, that every time Elisha came this way, he made it a point to stop and eat here. Many people travelling in those days depended on the hospitality of the people to feed them. There were no restaurants.



Verses 9-10: For the upper room where the prophet's chamber was located (see the note on 1 Kings 17:19).


2 Kings 4:9 "And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this [is] an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually."


"Man of God" (see note on 1:9). The woman recognized Elisha as a prophet uniquely separated unto God. Elisha's holiness prompted the woman to ask her husband that a separate, small, walled upper room be provided for the prophet (verse 10). The woman must have feared the "holy" Elisha coming into contact with their "profane" room (Lev. 10:10).


He must not have told them that he was a prophet, but she had decided that he was by his clothes and his actions. Probably, he prayed before eating, or perhaps, he spoke of the LORD.


2 Kings 4:10 "Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither."


Either of the city, to which their house might join, or of their garden, a little distance from the house. Though the Jewish writers commonly understand it of a little edifice built up of walls of stone or bricks, and not one with reeds, or stud and mud.


"Let us set for him there a bed": That he may stay all night when he pleases.


"And a table": Not only to eat his food, but to write on, and lay his books on he reads. Of the table of a scholar of the wise men, in later times, we are told, that two thirds of it were covered with a cloth, and the other third was uncovered, on which stood the plates and the herbs.


"And a stool": to sit upon at the table.


"And a candlestick": With a candle in it, to light him in the night to read by, and the like.


"And it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither": Where he would be free from the noise of the house, and be more retired for prayer, reading, meditation, and study.


"And where he would not be disturbed by the servants of the family, and be mixed with them. All this she contrived, both for his honor, and for his quietness and peace.


She felt that she would like to help Elisha more, than just feeding him when he came by. They would fix him a place to rest his weary bones.


2 Kings 4:11 "And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there."


As he had been in practice to do.


"And he turned into the chamber": Built for him, and to which he was directed.


"And lay there": All night, and which no doubt was frequently repeated by him, he accepting of the kindness of his host.


We see, that she had been correct in assuming he needed a place of rest, when he came by. He did stop and rest for a while.


2 Kings 4:12 "And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him."


"Gehazi": Elisha's personal servant who was prominent here (and in 5:20-27). Probably Gehazi is the unnamed servant (in verse 43). The term "servant" used there was used (in 1 Kings 19:21), of Elisha's relationship to Elijah. Throughout this narrative, Elisha contacted the Shunammite woman through Gehazi (verses 11-13, 15, 25, 29). Gehazi was involved in this ministry so that he might have opportunity to mature in his service to the Lord.


The word for "servant" here designates one who is a professional trainee. It is used of young soldiers (in 1 Kings 20:14-15), and of Elisha's own relation to Elijah (in 1 Kings 19:21).


"Gehazi" held a privileged and responsible position with Elisha.


2 Kings 4:13 "And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what [is] to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people."


"I dwell among mine own people": This reply expressed her contentment, since she wanted nothing.


Elisha wanted to repay her for her kindness. He thought, perhaps, she wanted him to speak for her to the king, or the captain of the host. She was satisfied with her station in life, and told him she would rather live among her own people. Notice, she asked for nothing herself.


2 Kings 4:14 "And he said, What then [is] to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old."


"No child, and her husband is old": This remark implied two things:


(1) She suffered the shame of being a barren woman (Gen. 16:1; 18:10-15; 25:21; 30:1-2; 1 Sam. 1:6); and


(2) Her husband might die without an heir to carry on his name (Deut. 25:5-10).


Since she would not tell Elisha anything she wanted for her kindness, Elisha had Gehazi to check and see, if there would be anything she wanted, or needed. In the Hebrew families, the women thought it was a curse from God not to have children. She had not mentioned this, but Gehazi found out for Elisha.


2 Kings 4:15 "And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door."


Perhaps finding an impulse on his own mind, from the Spirit of God, that this was the thing to be done for her.


"And when he had called her, she stood in the door": Of his chamber (See 2 Kings 4:12).


2 Kings 4:16 "And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, [thou] man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid."


"Nay, my lord": In response to Elisha's announcement that she would have a son, the woman asked Elisha not to build up her hopes if she would be disappointed later. Her reply indicated that she felt having a son was impossible.


"Man of God" (see note on 1:9).


There are several instances in the Bible, where people beyond childbearing age have children. They are a gift from God. It is more than she can believe. Her heart's desire would be fulfilled. He tells her, the baby will be born before this time the next year.


2 Kings 4:17 "And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life."


"Conceived ... bare": This was like Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 21:1-2).


His prophecy came true. She had her son.



Verses 18-23: Based on her actions, the woman may have been trying to keep the boy's death a secret from her husband until Elisha came.


2 Kings 4:18 "And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers."


Perhaps was six or seven years of age, or more.


"It fell on a day that he went out to his father to the reapers": It was harvest time, and the men were reaping the corn in the fields. And his father, though a wealthy man, was with them to direct them, and see they did their business well, as Boaz formerly. And the child went out from the house to the field, to see his father and the reapers, for his recreation and diversion.


2 Kings 4:19 "And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother."


The lad may have suffered a fatal sunstroke.


"My head, my head": The child probably suffered sunstroke. The cries of the boy, the part affected, and the season of the year ("reapers"), lead to that conclusion. Sunstroke could be fatal, as in this case (verse 20).


Children, who live on a farm, love to go out and watch the fields being reaped. He was, probably, still a small child, but old enough to go to the field with his father. He suddenly grabs his head and begins to complain of pain. This could have been a sunstroke, or many other things. I personally have experienced extreme heat and fainted from it. Your head pounds severely with this.


2 Kings 4:20 "And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and [then] died."


The lad led him home, and delivered him to his mother.


"He sat on her knees till noon, and then died": Out of her great affection, she took him on her knees, and laid his head in her bosom to sooth the pain, and in this posture he continued until the middle of the day, and then expired. By which it appears it was in the morning when he went into the field, and when the sun was pretty high, and beat strongly on him. Which, it may be, produced a fever, and which issued in his death.


Whatever happened to him in the field was very serious. He is not in a coma, he is dead.


2 Kings 4:21 "And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut [the door] upon him, and went out."


Into the little chamber built for the prophet.


"And laid him on the bed of the man of God": Not from any imagination of any virtue in it to bring her child to life. Though she might think of the prophet, and have faith that he could raise it to life, as Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath's son laid on his bed, of which she might have heard. But this being a private room, and into which none went, she laid it here to conceal its death from her husband and family, and to prevent grief, and that they might not bury it until she returned.


"And shut the door upon him": That no creature might enter, and, do any damage to his corpse.


"And went out": Not out of the chamber, that she did before she shut the door, but out of the house.


She knew her only help was the LORD. She left the child on the bed of Elisha. She put him in Elisha's room, so no one would disturb him, until she could get back with Elisha.


2 Kings 4:22 "And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again."


In the field, who might be within call, or by a messenger she sent to him.


"And said, send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again": Intimating that she should not be long gone, but should return again presently. Saying not a word of the death of the child, or of the occasion of her going.


Notice, she did not tell her husband, that their son was dead. He does know that she wants to go for the prophet Elisha, because the child is sick. She calls for an animal to ride, and an escort to go with her.


2 Kings 4:23 "And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? [it is] neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, [It shall be] well."


"Neither new moon, nor Sabbath": The first day of the month and the seventh day of the week were both marked with special religious observance and rest from work (Num. 28:9-15). The husband implied that only on such dates would a person visit a prophet. She apparently concealed the death of the child from him ("it shall be well"), to spare him unnecessary grief, in light of the power of the man of God whom she believed might do a miracle for the boy.



Verses 24-28: Her few words to Elisha's servant "Gehazi" suggest that the woman wanted only the prophet to know her "distress." Elisha's statement that "the Lord has hidden it from me, and had not told me" is a reminder that prophets possessed no special power or insight on their own but were dependent on the Lord's revelation.


2 Kings 4:24 "Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not [thy] riding for me, except I bid thee."


Her servant did it by her order.


"And said to her servant, drive, and go forward": Make all the haste he could.


"Slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee": Do not be afraid of riding too fast for me; if thou does, I will tell thee; till then, keep on a good pace. Abarbinel says she walked afoot all the way, and ordered the man not to slacken his pace in riding for her, unless she called to him. The Targum seems to favor this sense, "do not press me to ride unless I call to thee;" so that the ass was for Elisha to ride on. But one would think, that, as she was in haste, quicker dispatch would be made by her riding than by walking (see 2 Kings 4:22).


The husband tries to tell her, that she will not be able to find Elisha. She knows in her heart, that she will be able to find him. She is saying to this servant to go as fast as he can, and not to worry about her comfort.


2 Kings 4:25 "So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, [yonder is] that Shunammite:"


"Mount Carmel" had become a familiar retreat for Elisha (2:25). Perhaps a prophetic school had grown up at the scene of Elijah's great triumph (1 Kings 18:16-45). The distance from Shunem was about 15 to 25 miles from Mount Carmel.


His home must have been at mount Carmel. It seems, she went directly to mount Carmel. Elisha saw her coming.



Verses 26-30: At first, the Shunammite woman's response to Elisha seemed to resemble the bitter response of the widow of Zarephath to Elijah (1 Kings 17:18). But here determination to speak to Elisha suggested her confidence in his willingness and ability to act. The woman believed the Lord could work through the prophet to bring about her child's recovery, just as He had done when she conceived. Her faith stands out in a time of national disbelief and disobedience.


2 Kings 4:26 "Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, [Is it] well with thee? [is it] well with thy husband? [is it] well with the child? And she answered, [It is] well."


"Is it well": She withheld the real sorrow of her son's death, waiting to tell the prophet Elisha directly.


Elisha is concerned and sends his servant running to meet her to ask of her well-being. She does not tell Gehazi her problem, the same as she did not tell her husband. Her problems are just for Elisha's ears.


2 Kings 4:27 "And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul [is] vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid [it] from me, and hath not told me."


"By the feet": The grasping of the feet was a sign of humiliation and veneration.


Gehazi thought that she should not have touched the prophet, and he was about to pull her away from the prophet, when Elisha told him to leave her alone. She had been a blessing to Elisha. He certainly wanted to hear of her problems. Generally, the Lord revealed to him ahead of time about problems, but in this instance he did not.


2 Kings 4:28 "Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?"


It was not at her request she had one, at least the first motion was not from her; the prophet first told her, and assured her she should have one. Without her asking for it; she might be pleased with it, and desire the promise might be fulfilled. But it was not an inordinate, importunate, desire of one, in which she had exceeded, that so the taking it away from her might be a correction of her for it.


"Did I not say, do not deceive me": By giving hopes of a child, and yet have none; and now it was equally the same, or worse, to have one, and then to have it taken away again as soon as had almost. So the Targum, "did I not say unto thee, if a child is given me, let it live, if not, do not trouble or grieve me"? And then, no doubt, she told him plainly the child was dead, and where she had laid it, though not recorded (see verse 16).


2 Kings 4:29 "Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child."


"Lay my staff upon the face of the child": Elisha sent Gehazi ahead because he was younger and, therefore, faster. He may have expected the Lord to restore the child's life when his staff was placed upon him, viewing that staff as representative of his own presence and a symbol of divine power (2:8).


The laying of Elisha's "staff" on the dead child's "face" would symbolize the prophet's claim upon the "child" until he could come. The prophet's staff was the symbol of his God-given power (Exodus 4:1-4; 17:8-13).


The "staff" was the symbol of God's power and Elisha's authority (Psalm 23:4). Laying it "on the face of the child" signified Elisha's intention to personally come to the woman's home and expressed faith that God would restore the child's life.


Elisha sent Gehazi ahead, because he could travel faster. He sent his own staff.


2 Kings 4:30 "And the mother of the child said, [As] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her."


She wished the prophet himself to go to her child. The writer appropriately substitutes "the mother of the child" for "the Shunammite" or "the woman" in connection with this impassioned utterance, which induced the prophet to yield to her wishes.


This mother was determined to get help for her son. She would not leave, until Elisha came with her. She was not satisfied with Elisha's staff being carried to her son by Gehazi. Elisha would have to come to her son, himself.


2 Kings 4:31 "And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but [there was] neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked."


The prophet and the Shunammite.


"And laid the staff upon the face of the child": as he was ordered.


"But there was neither voice nor hearing": It seems as if he spoke when he laid the staff on the child, but it heard and answered him not, so that there was no sign of life in it.


"Wherefore he went again to meet him": Upon the road between Carmel and Shunem.


"And told him, saying, the child is not awaked": By which he expresses its being dead. Or, if he knew nothing of its death, he supposed it fast asleep, which was the reason of its not hearing and answering, though the former seems best.


The woman was right. It must be Elisha. Elisha was not in error in sending the staff. We read of aprons and handkerchiefs being sent from the body of Paul, and healing people. Perhaps Gehazi did not believe the boy would be restored by this. We know the mother did not believe this would restore him. For this type of miracle, there had to be a vast amount of faith.



Verses 32-37: God's prophets were not only preachers of sin and repentance but also agents of His healing mercy and compassion (1 Kings 17:23).


Verses 32-35: Elisha's faith and practice are evident. Not only did he believe God but he acted in accordance with known prophetic procedures in such cases (1 Kings 17:21; Acts 20:9-10).


2 Kings 4:32 "And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, [and] laid upon his bed."


Of the house of the Shunammite, and into the chamber built for him.


"Behold, the child was dead, and laid upon the bed": Upon his bed, and where he found him and was really dead.


Just as the woman had told Elisha, the boy is dead.


2 Kings 4:33 "He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD."


Himself and the dead child; that nobody might come in and interrupt him in his prayers for the restoration of it to life, nor see the motions and gestures he used, and the postures he put himself in.


"And prayed unto the Lord": That he would restore the child to life.


This means no one was in the room except Elisha and the boy. This prayer was an urgent request of the LORD.


2 Kings 4:34 "And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm."


"Stretched himself upon the child": Like Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:17-24), Elisha demonstrated the Lord's power over death by raising their son from the dead. Also like Elijah, part of the restoration process involved lying on top of the boy's body.


This personal contact of his flesh upon the flesh of the child brought warmth to the child's body, which was cold in death. When he put his mouth on the boy's mouth, it could have been that he breathed into the boy's mouth to get oxygen to him.


2 Kings 4:35 "Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."


Left the chamber, and came down to the house where the family chiefly resided, and walked to and fro in deep thought and meditation, and, no doubt, in fervent utterances for the wished-for blessing to be completed.


"And went up": To the chamber again, and up to the bed in it.


"And stretched himself upon him; as before: and the child sneezed seven times": Which was a sign of life, and even of health; and hereby his head was cleared, as some observe, of those conditions that had caused the pains in it, and had issued in death.


"And the child opened his eyes": Looked upon the prophet, another sign of life.


Again, he warmed the body of the child with his body. Also, virtue could have gone from him to the child. Of course, that virtue came from the LORD through Elisha to the boy. This sneezing seven times shows that his lungs were full of air again. He is breathing. "Seven" means spiritually complete.


2 Kings 4:36 "And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son."


To come up to the chamber to him.


"So he called her: and when she was come in unto him, he said, take up thy son": From off the bed, alive, safe, and sound.


He did not allow the mother in the room, when he was praying for the boy. Gehazi was told to call the mother. The boy had to be a small child for the mother to be able to pick him up in her arms. He is alive, his mother's faith in the LORD through Elisha, had caused him to live.


2 Kings 4:37 "Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out."


In reverence of him, and with the most profound gratitude and thankfulness for the mercy received:


"And took up her son, and went out": Of the chamber into her house, with great joy and gladness.


This was her way of thanking Elisha for the life of her child.



Verses 38-41: This is the third of four short stories in this chapter in which God used Elisha to perform a miracle. "Death in the pot" means the stew included poisonous plant ingredients.


2 Kings 4:38 "And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and [there was] a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets [were] sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets."


Where he was with Elijah a little before his assumption to heaven (2 Kings 2:1). And whither he went, there being a school of the prophets, as he did to all places where there were any, and where he had been before with Elijah. Partly to instruct, encourage, and strengthen them, and partly to confirm his office as a prophet by miracles, which he did in several places he came to.


"And there was a dearth in the land": A famine through drought.


"And the sons of the prophets were sitting before him": As disciples before their master (see Acts 22:3).


"And he said unto his servant": very probably Gehazi.


"Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets": Who seemed to have lived together in one house or college, and to be to the number of one hundred (see 2 Kings 4:43), and therefore required to have a large pot set on to boil pottage for them all.


"Gilgal" (see note on 2:1). This was about 40 miles south of Shunem.


"Sons of the prophets" (see note on 1 Kings 20:35).


Elisha had to be visiting the school of the prophets at Gilgal when this verse begins. He, probably was thought of as the head of the prophets in the land. He had taken the place of Elijah. It would be natural for him to check in and see how things are going with the would-be prophets. This great pot was to make some sort of meal for the prophets.


2 Kings 4:39 "And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred [them] into the pot of pottage: for they knew [them] not."


"Wild gourds": Probably a kind of wild cucumber that can be fatally poisonous if eaten in large quantities.


2 Kings 4:40 "So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O [thou] man of God, [there is] death in the pot. And they could not eat [thereof]."


When the pottage was boiled, they poured it out into dishes or basins, for the sons of the prophets to eat.


"And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot": Poison, the cause of death; the pottage was so exceeding bitter, that they concluded there must be some poisonous herb in it.


"And they could not eat thereof": They stopped eating, it being so very disagreeable, and, as they supposed, dangerous.


This type gourd was not edible. Food was so scarce, that the young prophet who went to the field to find something to eat, had just got the first living thing he saw. Boiled gourd would taste terrible, and under some circumstances could be poisonous. The wild variety would probably be poisonous.


2 Kings 4:41 "But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast [it] into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot."


"Meal": The meal itself did not make the noxious stew edible, but a miraculous cure was accomplished through the meal. Like Elijah (1 Kings 17:14-16), Elisha used meal to demonstrate the concern of God for man.


Elisha poured meal into the boiling pot of gourds, as he had put salt in the water at Jericho to purify it. God told Elisha to put the meal in the water. The act of obedience to God purified the food in the pot.



Verses 42-44: The middle stories in chapter 4 demonstrate God's power over death. The first and final stories focus on His providing food, this time for a hundred men from 20 barley loaves and a little grain. This miracle foreshadows an even greater miracle: Jesus' feeding of the multitudes (Matt. 14:13-21; 15:29-39; Mark 6:30-44; 8:1-10; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15).


2 Kings 4:42 "And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat."


"Baal-shalisha": The exact location is uncertain.


"Bread of the firstfruits": Normally such "first fruits" were reserved for "God" (Lev. 23:20), and the priests (Num. 18:13; Deut. 18:4-6). Though the religion in the northern kingdom was apostate, the man who brought the loaves to Elisha was a representative of godly religion in Israel.


This is a miracle feeding of lesser proportions, than the thousands Jesus fed with the five loaves and two fishes, but a miracle none the less. There were over 100 men to be fed here, with twenty loaves. The man from Baal-shalisha is insignificant, as was the boy with the fishes.



Verses 43-44: This scene anticipates the ministry of the great Bread of Life (John 6:35), who multiplied the loaves (Matt. 14:16-20; 15:36-37; John 6:11-13).


The multiplication of the loaves in accordance with the Word of the Lord through His prophet anticipated the messianic ministry of Jesus Himself (15:36-37).


2 Kings 4:43 "And his servitor said, What, should I set this before a hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave [thereof]."


His servant Gehazi very probably.


"What, should I set this before one hundred men?" For so many, it seems, the sons of the prophets were in this place; and these loaves being very small, no more, it is thought by some, than one man could eat. And the ears of corn but few, the servant suggests they would be nothing comparatively to such a company of men:


"He said again, give the people, that they may eat": He insisted upon it that his orders should be obeyed:


"For thus saith the Lord, they shall eat, and shall leave thereof": It was suggested to him by a spirit of prophecy, there would be enough for them, and to spare.


Elisha knew that God would multiply the food, as he had multiplied the oil for the widow. There would be plenty to eat, if they would eat in faith.


2 Kings 4:44 "So he set [it] before them, and they did eat, and left [thereof], according to the word of the LORD."


The twenty barley loaves, and the full ears of corn.


"And they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord": As the disciples did at the miracle of the loaves and fishes; though that must be allowed to be a greater miracle than this (Matt. 14:17).


We see, in this, an entirely different miracle that Elisha brought from God, than the previous miracles he had done. When we say that Elisha did them, we mean that the LORD did them through Elisha. Their faith multiplied the food to fill them all.


2 Kings Chapter 4 Questions


1. Who was the woman who cried out to Elisha in verse 1?


2. Why could her husband not help her?


3. What was she crying out about?


4. What is this situation, in verse 1, a type and shadow of?


5. What was the only thing she had in the house?


6. What is she doing, when she calls herself handmaid?


7. What did Elisha tell her to do?


8. What was she to do with the vessels she borrowed?


9. Who helped her do what Elisha had told her to do?


10. What did she do, when all the vessels were full?


11. How much was the oil worth?


12. Where was Shunem?


13. What did the fact that the woman was great mean?


14. What did she tell her husband about Elisha?


15. What did they do for Elisha, besides feed him, when he came by?


16. Who was Elisha's servant?


17. When he offered to speak for her to the king, what was her reply?


18. When Elisha inquired further of her needs, what did he find out?


19. What did Elisha promise her that seemed impossible?


20. When did the promise come true?


21. Where was the son, when he took sick?


22. What was the outcome of his sickness?


23. Where did the woman go for help?


24. Did she tell her husband he was dead?


25. Where did she find Elisha?


26. What did the servant of Elisha run ahead and do?


27. Who was in the sickroom, when Elisha prayed?


28. What did Elisha do, besides pray?


29. What did Elisha do the second time he went into the room?


30. What unusual thing did the child do, to show he was alive?


31. When the woman saw her son was restored to her, what did she do?


32. What was in Gilgal, where Elisha went?


33. What did Elisha tell the young prophet to do?


34. What was wrong with the food?


35. What did Elisha do to it to make it pure?


36. What did the man from Baal-shalisha bring to them to eat?


37. How many had to eat of this?


38. What did the servitor say about this food?


39. There would be plenty to eat, if they ate in __________.


40. What do we mean, when we say that Elisha did miracles?





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2 Kings 5



2 Kings Chapter 5

2 Kings 5:1 "Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, [but he was] a leper."


"Naaman": A common name in ancient Aram, or Syria, meaning "gracious, fair." Four phrases describe the importance of Naaman:


  1. He was the supreme commander of the army of Aram as indicated by the term "captain," used of an army's highest ranking officer (Gen. 21:22; 1 Sam. 12:9; 1 Chron. 27:34;
  2. He was "a great man," a man of high social standing and prominence;
  3. He was "highly respected," a man highly regarded by the king of Syria because of the military victories he had won; and
  4. He was "a valiant warrior," a term used in the Old Testament for both a man of great wealth (Ruth 2:1), and a courageous warrior (Judges 6:12; 11:1).

Severely mitigating against all of this was the fact that he suffered from leprosy, a serious skin disease (verse 27; see notes on Lev. Chapters 13, 14).


The author attributes Naaman's greatness and success to God's sovereignty. "Naaman" was a military leader of one of the region's most powerful nations, "Syria;" He was a man of position, prestige, power, and wealth; and admired hero, but also a "leper." Leprosy (generic for many skin diseases), was feared because of social rejection as well as the physical suffering it caused (Luke 4:27).


"King of Syria": Either Ben-hadad I or, more likely, Ben-hadad II (see note on 1 Kings 15:18).


"By him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria": Naaman's military success was attributable to the God of Israel, who is sovereign over all the nations (Isa. 10:13; Amos 9:7).


The name "Naaman" means pleasantness. Naaman had possibly been an army officer in the army of Ben-hadad. It seems that at this point in time, he had been made captain of the host. The master, spoken of here, is Ben-hadad. He had led the Syrian army in battle against the Assyrians, and the LORD had helped him to victory. He was honored by his countrymen, because of his bravery and skill in battle. It appears from the verse above, that he was a good moral man as well. His leprosy had not been severe enough to keep him out of battle.



Verses 2-4: God uses the weak to humble the mighty. Naaman was a great man; she was a "young girl." He was Aramean; she was an Israelite. He was a commander; she was a captive. He had fame; she was a servant.


2 Kings 5:2 "And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife."


"Companies": Naaman led the Syrian army in quick penetrations across Israel's border (1 Sam. 30:8, 15). On one of his raids, he captured a young Israelite girl used as a servant, who ultimately told him of Elisha.


It seemed, there was never a peace between Syria and Israel that lasted very long. There were border skirmishes frequently. This little maid from Israel had been captured on one of these raids.


2 Kings 5:3 "And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord [were] with the prophet that [is] in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy."


The prophet ... in Samaria": Elisha maintained a residence in the city of Samaria (6:32).


The word for "leprosy" designates not only Hansen's disease (15:5), but also serious skin conditions (Lev. 13:1-46), and various types of fungi (Lev. 13:47-56; 14:33-57).


It appears, the maid was happy in her captivity. It even appears that she cares for Naaman, her master. She believes, that if Naaman was in Samaria, Elisha could heal his leprosy. She is aware the healing comes from the LORD, but is mightily manifested through Elisha. She is so sure of this, that she tells her mistress.


2 Kings 5:4 "And [one] went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that [is] of the land of Israel."


What the girl had said to her mistress; one of the servants of the house that overheard it; or rather, Naaman went and told his lord the king of Syria. For as this was said to his wife, no doubt she told it to her husband, and not a servant; and the following words require this sense, and is the sense of most Jewish commentators.


"Saying, thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel": Who for her wit and beauty might be well known at court by the name of the Israelite girl.


This possibly means that Naaman went in and told Ben-hadad that this girl said, there was a prophet in Israel, who could cure Naaman's leprosy.


2 Kings 5:5 "And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand [pieces] of gold, and ten changes of raiment."


"King of Israel": Jehoram (see note on 1:17).


"Ten talents of silver and six thousand pieces of gold": About 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold.


Naaman also, sent ten changes of clothing. This means that Naaman was very important to the kingdom, and he must be cured regardless of cost. Notice who he sends the money to. It is the king of Israel. Such a gift would surely turn the head of the king of Israel.


2 Kings 5:6 "And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have [therewith] sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy."


The contents of which were, so far as it concerned Naaman and his case, which are only observed, these.


"Now when this letter is come unto thee": Was received by him.


"Behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant unto thee": The bearer of it.


"That thou mayest recover him of his leprosy": Meaning not he himself, but that he would recommend him to the care of a proper person, his prophet, and enjoin him to do the best he could for him. But the king of Israel mistook his meaning, as appears by what follows in the next scripture.


Messengers from kings were allowed to carry their messages to the king of the land without danger. Ben-hadad was a heathen king. He thought if there were someone in the land that could heal Naaman, he would surely be working for the king. He sent the letter and the gifts to the king, so Naaman would be healed.



Verses 5-7: Jehoram feared that the "letter" of the "king of Syria" might have been a pretext for war. Letters of provocation were common enough in the ancient Near East (1 Kings 20:1-11).


2 Kings 5:7 "And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, [Am] I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me."


"Rent his clothes": This action was a sign of distress and grief (1 Kings 21:27). Jehoram thought that Ben-hadad expected him to cure Naaman's leprosy. Since Jehoram knew that this was impossible, he thought he was doomed to have a major battle with the Syrians. When Elisha heard of Jehoram's distress, he told the king to send Naaman to him for healing (verse 8).


The king of Israel knew that only God could give life to a person. Someone with leprosy was thought of as being dead. The king of Israel knew how serious a sin it would be, to put himself in the place of God. He tears his clothes to prove that this is not his idea. He believes this to be some kind of a trick the king of Syria is pulling, to get him in trouble with God.


2 Kings 5:8 "And it was [so], when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."


"There is a prophet in Israel" was the same as saying Israel had a real God.


We do not know for sure, but it appears the king was not aware of Elisha's part in the raising of the woman's son from the dead. Elisha heard of this, and sent word to the king to send Naaman to him. It was almost as if he was saying, "the king of Israel and the king of Syria will realize there is a prophet in the land". This was as much for the benefit of Israel, as it was for Syria.


2 Kings 5:9 "So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha."


In his chariot drawn by horses; or "with horsemen and chariots", a great retinue, both for his own grandeur, and for the honor of the prophet, and to make him the more respectable by him.


"And stood at the door of the house of Elisha": Who now dwelt at Gilgal, as is probable (see 2 Kings 4:38), hither Naaman was directed, and here he stopped. And having sent a messenger to Elisha to acquaint him who he was, and what was his business, he stayed waiting for an answer.


From a very early age, the Syrians used horse-drawn chariots. This was not unusual then. This proud man would not go into the humble house of Elisha.



Verses 10-14: No one should seek a display of God's power without first submitting to Him. The cure for Naaman's spiritual need (his true problem), was to humble himself (Luke 5:12-13). Elisha's counsel would force him to set aside his pride and his preconceived notions and trust God, even though he had hoped for a more dignified healing process.


2 Kings 5:10 "And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean."


Or returned an answer by Naaman's messenger; he did not go out to him, choosing to be retired, as he commonly did. And being perhaps employed in prayer for the cure; and it may be also to show his contempt of or little regard he had to worldly grandeur and honor, as well as to mortify the pride of Naaman.


"Saying, go and wash in Jordan seven times": So, according to the law of the cleansing the leper, he was to be sprinkled seven times, and on the seventh day his flesh was to be bathed or dipped all over in water, which is meant by washing here (Lev. 14:7).


"And thy flesh shall come again to thee": Which was eaten and consumed by the disease on him.


"And thou shalt be clean": Freed from this pollution, or filthy disease, with which he was defiled. For a leper was reckoned unclean (Lev. 13:3).


Since he did not come in to Elisha, Elisha did not come out to him, but sent him a message. The commander of the army would find this a very degrading thing to do, as if he were not clean.


2 Kings 5:11 "But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper."


"Surely come out to me": Because of his personal greatness (verse 1), his huge gift (verse 5), and diplomatic letter (verse 6), Naaman expected personal attention to his need. However, Elisha did not even go out to meet him. Instead, he sent his instructions for healing through a messenger (verse 10). Naaman was angry because he anticipated a personal cleansing ceremony from the prophet himself.


Because of his prominence "Naaman" expected a greater reception from Elisha.


We see a very proud man. He was a great man in his land, and he expected the holy man to show him respect. We must remember, he had shown the holy man no respect. He had made up his mind, how this healing was to take place, and none of his expected things happened. He did not even hear the holy man call upon his LORD. He is insulted.


2 Kings 5:12 "[Are] not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage."


"Damascus," the capital of Syria, has been labeled the oldest continually inhabited city in the world (Isa. 7:8). It is located northeast of the Sea of Galilee and Mount Hermon in northern Palestine. Three major caravan routes passed through Damascus. Major roads extended from the city to the southwest into Palestine and Egypt, straight south to Egypt and the Red Sea, and east to Babylon. Damascus owed its prosperity to two rivers, the Abana and the Pharpar (verse 12). The Syrian people were so proud of these streams that Naaman the Syrian leper almost passed up his opportunity to be healed when Elisha told him to dip himself in the waters of the Jordan River in Israel. He thought of the Jordan as an inferior stream in comparison with these majestic rivers (verse 9-14). However, it was obedience to God's Word that was the issue, not the quality of the water. In the days of Israel's divided kingdom, Damascus was the capital of an Aramean kingdom that engaged in hostilities, not only with Israel and Judah, but also with mighty Assyria.


His pride was about to keep him from being healed. He was familiar with the rivers of Damascus, and he knew they were clean. He could not believe he had come so far, to just wash in the water of the river. He was really angry.


2 Kings 5:13 "And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, [if] the prophet had bid thee [do some] great thing, wouldest thou not have done [it]? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?"


"My father": The title "father" was not usually employed by servants to their masters, but was a common term of servitude, humility, or respect. The use of the term here may indicate something of the warmness that the servants felt for Naaman (2:12). His servants pointed out to Naaman that he had been willing to-do anything, no matter how hard, to be cured. He should be even more willing, therefore, to do something as easy as washing in a muddy river.


The servants were not so puffed up with pride. They are saying to Naaman, what will it hurt to wash in the water and try it? You might be healed. You have come so far, why not just try washing in the river like the prophet said?


2 Kings 5:14 "Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."


"Flesh of a little child": This description indicates that ancient leprosy was a disease of the skin, distinct from modern leprosy, a disease primarily of the nerves.


For the term "man of God" (see the note on 1 Sam. 9:6-11).


He realized how foolish it was, not to take the advice of the holy man, after he had come so far to get his advice. He swallowed his pride, and obeyed the commands of God which came from Elisha's lips. He immediately had soft skin like a young man. His leprosy was gone, and his skin was very soft.



Verses 15-18: More than Naaman's physical condition had changed. He displayed new attitudes as well: thanksgiving (verse 15), reverence (verse 17), and humility (verse 18).


Verses 15-16: Naaman's conversion is reminiscent of other Gentiles in the Old Testament: Rahab (Josh. 2:11; Ruth (Ruth 1:16), and the sailors and Ninevites in the Book of Jonah (Jonah 1:14, 16: 3:5-10). He expressed his belief in the Lord by confessing that "there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel."


2 Kings 5:15 "And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that [there is] no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant."


"There is no God ... but in Israel": Upon his healing, Naaman returned from the Jordan River to Elisha's house in Samaria (about 25 miles), to give confession of his new belief. Naaman confessed that there was only one God, Israel's God, the Lord. In saying this, Naaman put to shame the Israelites who continued to blasphemously believe that both the Lord and Baal were god (1 Kings 18:21).


He had been angry, when he left the house of the prophet before. Now, he went back and honored the prophet, who the LORD used to heal him. He recognizes the God of Elisha as the One True God. He tries to pay Elisha for the healing.


2 Kings 5:16 "But he said, [As] the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take [it]; but he refused."


Elisha demonstrated well the spiritual principle that God's ministers ought not to make merchandise of the ministry.


"He refused": To show that he was not driven by the mercenary motives of pagan priests and prophets, Elisha, though accepting gifts on other occasions (4:42), declined them here so the Syrians would see the honor of God only.


It was not wrong for the prophet to take an offering. In fact, generally the person blessed, did give an offering. It perhaps, was because Naaman had first expressed his importance, or it could have been because he was a heathen. Elisha possibly, wanted Naaman to see that a person could not buy the favors of God. Elisha wanted Naaman to realize that it was the LORD who truly healed him.



Verses 17-19: Most people believed deities had power only on their own soil (17:26-28). Naaman wanted to build an altar "to the Lord" with dirt from the land of Israel to insure that Yahweh would be present when he worshiped in his homeland of Syria ("Rimmon").


2 Kings 5:17 "And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD."


"Two mules' burden of earth": In the ancient Near East, it was thought that a god could be worshiped only on the soil of the nation to which he was bound. Therefore, Naaman wanted a load of Israelite soil on which to make burnt offerings and sacrifices to the Lord when he returned to Damascus. This request confirmed how Naaman had changed, whereas he had previously disparaged Israel's river, now he wanted to take a pile of Israel's soil to Damascus.


Naaman said above, "There is no God in all the earth, save in Israel". The request (in verse 17), was to take a little of Israel home with him, so he could worship on the soil of Israel. His burnt offering and sacrifices would be made on that soil. In doing this, he would be recognizing the God of Israel.


2 Kings 5:18 "In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, [that] when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing."


"Rimmon": The Hebrew term "Rimmon" (literally "pomegranate"), is a parody of the Syrian deity, Hadad, whom the Assyrians named "Ramanu" (literally "the thunderer"). Hadad was the storm god, usually identified with the Canaanite god, Baal. As an aide to Syria's king, Naaman's duty demanded that he accompany the king to religious services at the temple of Rimmon in Damascus. Naaman requested that the Lord forgive this outward compromise of his true faith in and commitment to the Lord.


Naaman is asking in this, for the LORD to forgive him for going to the house of Rimmon to worship. He will no longer believe in any other god than the LORD. He will go to the house of Rimmon to keep from being killed. He is saying in advance, that the visit to the house of Rimmon would be to please his leader, and he would worship in form only. His heart will be forever with the LORD.


2 Kings 5:19 "And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way."


That is, the prophet said to Naaman.


"Go in peace": In peace of mind; be assured that God has pardoned this and all other transgressions.


"So he departed from him a little way": About a mile, as the Targum, and so other Jewish writers; of this phrase (see Gen. 35:16). Some say a land's length, that is, about one hundred and twenty feet; rather it was a thousand cubits, or half a mile.


In this, we do not see Elisha expressing approval of Naaman going to the house of Rimmon. He does not reprimand him either. He does send him away in peace.



Verses 20-27: "Gehazi" was struck with Naaman's "leprosy" because he succumbed to greed (Col. 3:5).


Verses 20-21: Gehazi's basic selfishness and shallow spiritual condition come to the surface in the following account. By contrast, "Naaman," who had resented being received by Elisha's messenger previously (verses 10-11), now comes down to meet the prophet's "servant."


2 Kings 5:20 "But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, [as] the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him."


Within himself, observing what had passed.


"Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought": He speaks contemptibly of Naaman, as an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and reproaches his master for letting him go free, without paying for his cure. When he thought he should have taken what he brought and offered, and given it to needy Israelites, and especially to the sons of the prophets, that wanted it. And perhaps it mostly disturbed him, that he had no share of it himself:


"But, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him": The word for "somewhat", wanting a letter usually in it, is what is sometimes used for a blot. Jarchi observes, that Gehazi taking something from Naaman, was a blot unto him, and indeed such a one that he could not wipe off.


The greed of Gehazi is showing. He is like many today, who are in the ministry for the money they make from it. That is the wrong reason to minister, as we will see in the next few verses. It is such a shame that he tries to include the LORD in this act of lying and stealing. He uses the phrase "as the LORD liveth". Had he been a true servant of the LORD, and of Elisha in particular, he would have trusted Elisha's judgment on this matter.


2 Kings 5:21 "So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw [him] running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, [Is] all well?"


As fast as he could.


"And when Naaman saw him running after him": Which he might observe, looking back, or be informed of by some of his servants.


"He lighted down from the chariot to meet him": In honor to the prophet, whose servant he was.


"And said, is all well?" Fearing something ill had befallen Elisha; or he himself had done something wrong, which caused the servant to run after him.


Naaman had seen Gehazi serving Elisha. His respect, shown here, is for Elisha.


2 Kings 5:22 "And he said, All [is] well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments."


"My master hath sent me": A lie for selfish gain revealed the sad state of Gehazi's character. Another lie followed to cover up (verse 25).


The servant of Elisha is giving an excuse to Naaman for Elisha changing his mind about the gift. Of course, this whole statement is a lie. A talent of silver was thought to weigh about 75 pounds. This is worth a great deal.


2 Kings 5:23 "And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid [them] upon two of his servants; and they bare [them] before him."


"Two talents of silver": About 150 pounds of silver.


Naaman was so thankful for his healing that he wanted to give even more than was asked. He insisted on giving two talents of silver and two changes of garments. It took two men to carry the silver. Even at that, the load would have been very heavy. These servants were not Gehazi's.


2 Kings 5:24 "And when he came to the tower, he took [them] from their hand, and bestowed [them] in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed."


Of Samaria, or which was near it; a fortified place, and where was a watch, to whom he could safely commit the money and clothes.


"He took them from their hand": Not willing they should go any further with him, lest the affair should be discovered to his master.


"And bestowed them in the house": Deposited them there in the hands of some person whom he could trust; or laid them out, or ordered them to be laid out, in the purchase of houses, lands, vineyards, etc. (see 2 Kings 5:26).


"And he let the men go, and they departed": To their master.


Gehazi knows what he had done was wrong. He did not let the two carrying the load of silver come back into the city, for fear Elisha would find out what he had done. He hid the silver in the house, perhaps his own, and went to Elisha.


2 Kings 5:25 "But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence [comest thou], Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither."


To know his will, and minister to him, as he had used to do, and as if he had never been from the house.


"And Elisha said unto him, whence comest thou, Gehazi?" Where had he been, and where was he last?


"And he said, thy servant went no whither": He pretended he had never been out of doors, which was another impudent lie. One would have thought that he who had lived so long with the prophet, and had seen the miracles wrought by him, and knew with what a spirit of prophecy he was endowed, would never have ventured to tell such an untruth, since he might expect to be detected. But covetousness had blinded his eyes and hardened his heart.


We can look back to when the staff of Elisha was sent by Gehazi to put on the face of the dead boy. We remember, the boy did not improve. Now, we know it was the hands of this liar that kept the staff from helping. God knew the heart of Gehazi even then. His heart had not been with the LORD all along.


2 Kings 5:26 "And he said unto him, Went not mine heart [with thee], when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? [Is it] a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?"


"Went not mine heart with thee": Elisha knew Gehazi lied. Though his body did not move, Elisha's mind had seen all that had transpired between Gehazi and Naaman.


All of man's ways (Job 11:11; Psalm 139:1-4), are ever open to the omniscient and omnipresent God!


Elisha loved Gehazi. He had been Elisha's personal servant, as Elisha had been Elijah's. Gehazi should have known that Elisha would know everything he did. Elisha had a vision of the whole thing. Gehazi's plan for the money was to buy oliveyards, vineyards, sheep, oxen, menservants and maidservants. He was tired of being poor, and wanted to be rich from the ministry. This sounds all too familiar, does it not?


2 Kings 5:27 "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper [as white] as snow."


"Leprosy ... shall cleave unto thee": Gehazi's greed had cast a shadow over the integrity of Elisha's prophetic office. This made him no better in the people's thinking than Israel's false prophets, who prophesied for material gain, the very thing he wanted to avoid (verses 15-16). Gehazi's act betrayed a lack of faith in the Lord's ability to provide. As a result, Elisha condemned Gehazi and his descendants to suffer Naaman's skin disease forever. The punishment was a twist for Gehazi, who had gone to "take something" from Naaman (verse 20), but what he received was Naaman's disease.


He took the gifts of Naaman, now he will also have his leprosy. He will no longer serve Elisha. He must go out from him. He was no longer fit to serve Elisha. He was not trustworthy, and his greed made him unfit for the ministry. The leprosy that Gehazi received was the worst kind. He received his as a curse for his terrible sin. He could stop the leprosy with himself, by never getting married. If he married and had a family, the curse of the father would be on his sons and daughters.


2 Kings Chapter 5 Questions


1. Who was captain of the host of the king of Syria?


2. What kind of captain was he?


3. What does the name "Naaman" mean?


4. Who is the master spoken of in verse 1?


5. How did the little maid happen to be in Naaman's house?


6. How do we know the little maid liked Naaman?


7. Who does she suggest Naaman go to see, to get rid of his leprosy?


8. Naaman takes the maid's suggestion to whom?


9. What did Ben-hadad send as a gift to Elisha?


10. How much does a talent of silver weigh?


11. Who sent the letter to the king of Israel?


12. What did the letter request of the king?


13. When the king of Israel read the letter, what did he do?


14. When did Elisha send word to the king that he would help Naaman?


15. How did Naaman get to Elisha?


16. Why did Elisha not come out and speak personally with Naaman?


17. What did Elisha tell him to do?


18. How did Naaman feel about this?


19. His _________ was about to keep him from being healed.


20. Who spoke to Naaman, and convinced him to do what Elisha had told him to do?


21. What happened, when he obeyed the words of Elisha?


22. What admission did Naaman make in verse 15?


23. When Naaman offered Elisha gifts for what he had done, what did Elisha do?


24. What did Naaman ask Elisha for?


25. What did he want with dirt from Israel?


26. Who ran after Naaman, and asked for a gift?


27. What did Naaman give Gehazi?


28. Where did Gehazi hide the silver?


29. What did Elisha tell Gehazi, when he came back?


30. What punishment came on Gehazi for his sin?





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2 Kings 6



2 Kings Chapter 6

2 Kings 6:1 "And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us."


"Place where we dwell": the sons of the prophets, those specially instructed by Elisha, lived together in a communal setting. The word translated "live" can also be understood as "sit before." The term is used this way of David sitting before the Lord in worship (2 Sam. 7:18), and the elders sitting before Ezekiel to hear his advice (Ezek. 8:1; 14:1). The "place" here refers to a dormitory where Elisha instructed the sons of the prophets. The growing number of men who wished to be taught led to the need for a larger building.


It appears, that there had been many young men, who had come to the school of the prophets. They had run out of space for housing these young men. This school was at Jericho, and it would have been difficult to expand here.


2 Kings 6:2 "Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye."


The Jordan valley was well wooded. Its present bed is still "overarched by oleanders, acacias, thorns, and similar shrubbery." If all were to take part in felling the trees, the work would soon be done.


"Where we may dwell". Literally, to sit (or, dwell) there. The reference seems still to be to sitting in the hall of instruction.


Elisha is suggesting, that they move near the Jordan River, several miles away. If they all work together, they can build the facilities they need. The timber in this particular area would belong to anyone who wanted to cut it. This land had not been designated to any particular family. Elisha sends them out to begin the work.


2 Kings 6:3 "And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go."


Or be pleased to go with us; he begged it as a favor, that, being awed by his presence, they might preserve peace and order. And have his advice as to the spot of ground to erect their edifice on, and might be protected by him from harm and mischief by men or wild beasts.


"And he answered, I will go": He consented to it, knowing perhaps beforehand that he should have an opportunity of working a miracle there, as he did.


It appears, one of the young men wanted Elisha to go with them, so the blessings of God would be on their project.


2 Kings 6:4 "So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood."


"Jordan ... wood": The Jordan Valley had mostly smaller kinds of trees, e.g., willow, tamarisk, and acacia that did not give heavy lumber. The resulting structure would be a humble, simple building.


It seems trees were plentiful here to build their school. All of the young men cut the wood for the school.



Verses 5-7: God was concerned enough about this circumstance that He performed a miracle, causing the "borrowed" and costly "ax head" to float so it could be retrieved by the young man, who would not have had the money to pay for it (Exodus 22:14).


2 Kings 6:5 "But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed."


"Axe head ... borrowed": Iron was expensive and relatively rare in Israel at that time and the student-prophet was very poor. The axe head was loaned to the prophet since he could not have afforded it on his own and would have had no means to reimburse the owner for it.


They were cutting down trees, and trimming them into beams in the crudest fashion. They were using axes for this purpose. While he was working with the axe, one blow knocked the head of the axe off, and it fell into the water. The young man started crying out for help, because he had borrowed the axe.


2 Kings 6:6 "And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast [it] in thither; and the iron did swim."


"The iron did swim": Elisha threw a stick in the river at the exact spot where the axe head entered, and the stick caused the heavy iron object to float to the surface. Through this miracle, the Lord again provided for one who was faithful to Him.


Even though this is a minor miracle, in the sense that the axe was not an expensive loss, it is a major miracle to get iron to float. Elisha is the man of God spoken of here.


2 Kings 6:7 "Therefore said he, Take [it] up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it."


This the prophet said to the man that had lost it.


"And he put out his hand, and took it": It being on the top of the water within his reach.


So many times, we do not realize the necessity for miracles. We must remember, that the men observing this miracle were all in training to be prophets. This would build up their faith. You must have an impossibility in the natural, before you can have a miracle.



Verses 8-18: Elisha understood the reality of powerful, unseen, spiritual forces. The "horses and chariots of fire" recall the convoy that took Elijah to heaven (2:11). God's spiritual army did not battle on behalf of the prophetic community just that once; it is at work for every believer in any age who takes on spiritual forces (Rom. 8:31; Eph. 6:10-12).


2 Kings 6:8 "Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place [shall be] my camp."


"King of Syria": Either Ben-hadad I, or more likely, Ben-hadad II (verse 24; see note on 1 Kings 15:18).


"Warred": The king of Aram, or Syria, was probably sending raiding parties (verse 23), to pillage and plunder Israelite towns.


Hostilities between the Syrians (Arameans), and Israelites continued after the death of Ahab.


We do not know exactly how long after Naaman had been healed of leprosy, that the Syrians came to war against Israel. The miracle performed by Elisha seems to be long forgotten.



Verses 9-10: "Pass not such a place". Elisha, receiving supernatural revelation, continually identified to Jeroham the Israelite towns which the king of Aram, or Syria, planned to attack. Jehoram then took the proper precautions and appropriately fortified those towns so as to frustrate the Syrian plan.


2 Kings 6:9 "And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down."


"The man of God": I.e., Elisha (verse 12; see note on Deut. 33:1).


"King of Israel": I.e., Jehoram (see note on 1:17).


It seems, that Elisha warned the king of Israel of the attack by the Syrians. The king at the time, was probably Jehoram.


2 Kings 6:10 "And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice."


Sent spies thither to see whether the Syrians were there or not, and whether it was truth the man of God told him. For he had no hearty respect for the prophet, though he had been so serviceable to him.


"And saved himself there, not once, nor twice": Escaped the snares the king of Syria laid for him, not once, nor twice only, but many times.


We see that the king of Israel, on checking out the situation told him by the prophet, found it to be true two different times. The king himself, did not go to that area, but sent scouts to check it out.


2 Kings 6:11 "Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not show me which of us [is] for the king of Israel?"


"Which of us": The Syrian king was sure someone in his household was revealing his plans to Israel.


It appears, that the king of Syria thought some of his own men had been traitors to him. He did not know how the king of Israel found out about the sneak attack. He wants the men to admit it, if they were on the side of Israel, rather than on the side of Syria.


2 Kings 6:12 "And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that [is] in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber."


He believed every one of his counsellors were true and faithful to him.


"But Elisha the prophet, that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber": What is said in the most private place, and in the most secret manner. This man had heard much of Elisha, by Naaman, very probably. Or perhaps he had attended him in his journey to Israel for a cure. And so might have personal knowledge of Elisha, and be acquainted with the affair of Gehazi; from whence he concluded, that he, who had the thoughts of men revealed to him. And had knowledge of their words and counsels, though ever so secret (see Eccl. 10:20).


We are not told who this servant is. It could very well have been Naaman. He would know firsthand of the miracle abilities of Elisha.


It was a relief, that none of his own people had played the traitor.


2 Kings 6:13 "And he said, Go and spy where he [is], that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, [he is] in Dothan."


"Dothan": A town in the hill country of Manasseh located about 12 miles north of Samaria and 12 miles south of Jezreel. Dothan commanded a key mountain pass along a main road that connected Damascus and Egypt (Gen. 37:17).


"Fetch him": The king of Syria's plan was to capture Elisha, who knew all his secrets (verse 12), so that no matter how great Elisha's knowledge might be, he would not be free to inform Israel's king.


Dothan was north of Samaria. The spies had found Elisha there, and brought back the information to their king. The king intends to send men, and bring Elisha back to him.


2 Kings 6:14 "Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about."


"A great host": In contrast to the smaller raiding parties (verses 8, 23), the king of Syria sent a sizable force, including horses and chariots, to take Elisha prisoner. Arriving at Dothan, the army encircled the town.


This great host of the army with chariots and horses encircled the city, so Elisha would not be able to escape. They came by night, so as to not be detected, until they were completely around the city.


2 Kings 6:15 "And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?"


Either out of his master's house, or out of the city upon some business to be done early in the morning; this was not Gehazi, but a new servant.


"Behold, a host compassed the city, both with horses and chariots": Which he could see at the door of his master's house, the city being built upon an eminence; or which he perceived, as soon as he came out of the gates of the city, or was about so to do.


"And his servant said unto him": Elisha being with him; or else he returned to his master on the sight of such an army, and not being able to go forward.


"Alas, my master! how shall we do?" To get out of the city, and through this host, and proceed on our intended journey; and if he understood that the intention of this formidable host was to take his master. His concern might be the greater; and the more as he was a new servant, and not so well acquainted with his master's being possessed of a power of doing miracles.


This servant was alarmed at the number of soldiers around the city. He had no idea, they were here just to take Elisha back to their king. He felt fear in his heart, that they were about to attack the city and kill them all, or take them for slave labor. He is very alarmed, and runs to Elisha to find out how they can protect themselves.


2 Kings 6:16 "And he answered, Fear not: for they that [be] with us [are] more than they that [be] with them."


"For they that be with us": Elisha was referring to God's heavenly army or "host" (Joshua 5:13-15; 2 Chron. 32:7-8; Dan. 10:20; 12:1).


This servant could not believe the answer that Elisha gave. Notice, "fear not". The following Scripture is what Elisha is saying. Psalms 3:6 "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set [themselves] against me round about."


2 Kings 6:17 "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain [was] full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."


"Open his eyes": Elisha asked the Lord to enable his servant to see this heavenly host. The Lord gave his servant the ability to see the normally unseen world of God's heavenly armies, here waiting to do battle with the Syrians (Gen. 32:1-2).


For the existence and availability of heavenly armies (see Gen. 32:1-2; Deut. 33:2-3; Psalms 68:17; 103:19-20; Zech. 14:5; Matt. 26:53).


The young man had been looking with physical eyes. The eyes of his understanding were opened, and he saw the heavenly warriors around Elisha.


Psalms 68:17 "The chariots of God [are] twenty thousand, [even] thousands of angels: the Lord [is] among them, [as in] Sinai, in the holy [place]."


Of course, there are many more than even the ones mentioned in Psalms above. The army protecting Elisha was from heaven.


2 Kings 6:18 "And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha."


"Blindness": This word occurs only here (and in Gen. 19:11). The term is related to "light" and seems to mean "a dazzling from bright light" (note the "chariots of fire" in verse 17). Both biblical uses of the term involve a miraculous act with angelic presence and both are used in the context of deliverance from danger.


It is amazing, the power that the LORD had given Elisha. This blindness was speaking of them being confused, and not being able to take Elisha. It was not total blindness, but partial, since they would be able to see enough to follow Elisha. We do know, they were not thinking clearly, to let the one they had come for lead them away.


2 Kings 6:19 "And Elisha said unto them, This [is] not the way, neither [is] this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria."


"Follow me ... to the man whom ye seek": By going to Samaria himself, Elisha did not lie, but did truly lead the Syrian army to where he ultimately would be found.


They blindly followed Elisha away from Dothan. Samaria would have been the last place they would have gone, if they had been aware of what they were doing.


2 Kings 6:20 "And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these [men], that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, [they were] in the midst of Samaria."


"Into Samaria": God delivered a sizable portion of the Syrian army into the hands of Israel without bloodshed. The Syrians discovered they were surrounded and captives of Israel.


Elisha had led them inside the walls of the enemy, even into the capital of Samaria. After he had led them into the city, he asked the LORD to open their eyes, and let them see where they were. Before, they had eyes to see, and they did not see; now they have eyes to see, and they do see.



Verses 21-23: This incident showed two things:


(1) The power of kindness;


(2) Elisha's compassion.


The decision to love Israel's neighbors (Lev. 19; Luke 10:25-37), not only overcame the king's recklessness but caused the Syrians to stop invading them. For the "king" to call Elisha "my father" signaled the prophet's spiritual authority.


2 Kings 6:21 "And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite [them]? shall I smite [them]?"


"My father" (see note on 5:13). By using this expression, which conveyed the respect a child had for his father, King Jehoram of Israel acknowledged the authority of Elisha.


Elisha is not the father of the king. This is a name showing respect. Now, that this great army of Syria is in the hands of the king of Israel, what does he do with them? He is an evil king, and his first thought is to kill them. Since Elisha brought them to him, he asks him what to do to them.


2 Kings 6:22 "And he answered, Thou shalt not smite [them]: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master."


"Thou shalt not smite them": Elisha, bearing divinely delegated authority, prohibited the execution of the captives. It was uncommon and unusually cruel to put war captives to death in cold blood, even when taken by the point of a sword but especially by the miraculous power of God. Kindness would testify to the goodness of God and likely stall future opposition from the Aramean, or Syrian, raiders. These kind deeds gained a moral conquest (verse 23).


You do not take helpless prisoners, and kill them. Elisha tells him they will not be killed, but fed. Elisha is showing the king of Israel a way to be at peace with Syria. If he shows kindness to these helpless soldiers now, perhaps the Syrian king will stop sending troops to Israel.


2 Kings 6:23 "And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel."


"Great provision": In the ancient Near East, a common meal could signify the making of a covenant between two parties (Lev. 7:15-18).


Elisha's kindness to his enemies is like Jesus' own injunctions (Matt. 5:43-47).


Jehoram did exactly as Elisha had told him. He was kind to them, and fed them, and gave them drink. They went back to Syria humbled by this whole affair. The raids that had been regularly sent against Israel, stopped at this time. We are not told for what period of time, but at least as long as this incident was fresh on their minds.



Verses 24-29: People paid inflated prices for what was not worth eating. Compare the price of a "donkey's head" at 80 shekels of silver in those dire circumstances, with that of one of Solomon's horses, imported from Egypt at the cost of 150 shekels of silver (1 Kings 10:29), in more prosperous times. What's worse, the people resorted to cannibalism (Lev. 26:27-29).


2 Kings 6:24 "And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria."


See note on (1 Kings 15:18).


This same Ben-hadad had laid siege to Samaria earlier (1 Kings 20:1), which was the result of Ahab's foolish and misplaced kindness (1 Kings 20:42). The Aramean "king" was "Ben-hadad II" (see the note on 1 Kings 20:1).


"All his host": In contrast to the smaller raiding parties (verses 8, 23), and the larger force seeking Elisha's capture (verse 14), Ben-hadad gathered his entire army, marched to Samaria, and besieged the capital.


This happens much later, than the incident we just studied. Ben-hadad had forgotten. Here, he is back around Samaria, where his troops had been freed from before.


2 Kings 6:25 "And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was [sold] for fourscore [pieces] of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five [pieces] of silver."


"An ass's head ... fourscore pieces of silver": The siege resulted in a terrible famine gripping the city of Samaria. This ignominious body part of an unclean animal (Lev. 11:2-7; Deut. 14:4-8), sold at an overvalued price of about two pounds of silver.


"Doves dung ... five pieces of silver": "Doves dung" was either a nickname for some small pea or root, or literal dung to be used as fuel or food in the desperate situation. Approximately one pint cost about two ounces of silver.


The situation was so severe that even forbidden food was sought at exorbitant prices.


Samaria was a walled city, and the king and his men were inside the city. The siege had gone on so long, that there was no food left. We see the extent of the lack of food, when an ass's head would sell for 80 pieces of silver.


2 Kings 6:26 "And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king."


"Help, my lord, O king": The woman asked King Jehoram to render a legal decision in her dispute with another woman (see note on 1 Kings 3:16-27).



Verses 27-29: The extreme conditions had brought on cannibalism. This was the prophesied result of Israel's disobedience (Lev. 26:29; Deut. 28:53, 57). It would be repeated again at the fall of Jerusalem (Jer. 19:9; Lam. 2:20; 4:10). Josephus reports similar conditions during the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman legions in New Testament times.


2 Kings 6:27 "And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?"


Mistaking her meaning, as if she prayed him to relieve her hunger; the margin of our Bible is, "let not the Lord save thee"; and so some understand it as a wish that she might perish. And so Josephus, that being wroth, he cursed her in the name of God.


"Out of the barn floor, or out of the winepress?" When neither of them afforded anything; no corn was to be had from the one, nor wine from the other, no, not for his own use. And therefore how could he help her out of either?


The walls surrounding the cities were very wide. In this particular situation, the king is, possibly, checking on his troops and looking out across the land to see, if by chance, the enemy had gone. The woman is starving and calls to her king for food. She probably thought the king had food stashed away for his own use, and perhaps, he would give her some of his food.



Verses 28-29: Give thy son, that we may eat him": The curses of the Mosaic Covenant, especially for the sin of apostasy, predicted this sort of pagan cannibalism (Lev. 26:29; Deut. 28:52-57). The way in which the woman presented her case without feeling added to the horror of it.


2 Kings 6:28 "And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow."


His passion subsiding, or pitying her as in distress, and supposing that there might be something particular and pressing in her case.


"And she answered": This woman said unto me; who was now with her, and to whom she pointed.


"Give thy son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow": And this was agreed to between them, that first one should be eaten, and then the other. And that they should feed upon one as long as it would last, and then on the other. For it is not to be limited precisely to a day and tomorrow.


The king becomes aware, that she wants him to judge a matter for her. Cannibalism is strictly forbidden. These women have agreed to do something opposed to the will of God. There are three times in Jewish history, when this very thing took place. At the siege of Samaria here, in Jerusalem at the siege of Nebuchadnezzar, and in Jerusalem at the siege of Titus.


2 Kings 6:29 "So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son."


Thus, what was predicted by way of threatening, began to be accomplished (Deut. 28:53; see note there). And of which there were other instances of a like kind at the siege of Jerusalem, both by Nebuchadnezzar and Titus Vespasian.


"And I said unto her on the next day": After her child had been wholly eaten up.


"Give thy son, that we may eat him": According to agreement.


"And she hath hid her son": Either to save him alive, or to eat him herself alone.


This is the most unnatural thing a mother could do. The normal mother will protect her child to the end in every circumstance. The second mother, who hid her son, is more like a true mother.


2 Kings 6:30 "And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, [he had] sackcloth within upon his flesh."


"Rent his clothes": A sign of distress and grief (see note on 1 Kings 21:27).


Sackcloth ... upon his flesh": A coarse cloth, made from goat's hair, worn as a sign of mourning (Gen. 37:34). He was not truly humbled for his sins and the nation's, or he would not have called for vengeance on Elisha.


The mourning of the king, over such conditions as this, caused the king to tear his clothes. Under his outer garment, it was revealed that he had been wearing sackcloth.



Verses 31-33: The Aramean king had recognized that his most dangerous foe was God's prophet "Elisha" (verses 12-15). Now the godless Jehoram likewise blames all his troubles on him. Subsequently, Jehoram comes to himself, and the repentant "king" runs after his "messenger" to avert the slaying of the prophet.


2 Kings 6:31 "Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day."


"The head of Elisha": Jehoram swore an oath to have Elisha killed. The reason Jehoram desired the death of Elisha could have been:


  1. The king viewed the siege as the work of the Lord (verse 33), so he assumed that the Lord's representative the prophet, with whom the kings of Israel were in conflict, was involved as well; or
  2. The king remembered when Elijah had ended a famine (1 Kings 18:41-46; or
  3. Jehoram thought that Elisha's clemency to the Syrian army (verse 22), had somehow led to and added intensity to the present siege; or
  4. Because Elisha had miracle power, he should have ended the famine.

But, most likely the reason he wanted Elisha dead was because he expected that his mourning, perhaps counseled by the prophet as an act of true repentance (which it was not; see note on verse 30), would result in the end of the siege. When it did not, he sought the prophet's head.


This is interesting, that the king is blaming Elisha for this. He is remembering the kindness they had shown the Syrians, and this is their repayment for letting them go at the request of Elisha.


2 Kings 6:32 "But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and [the king] sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: [is] not the sound of his master's feet behind him?"


"The elders sat with him:" The elders were the leading citizens of Samaria, whose gathering indicated the high regard in which Elisha was held by the prominent of Samarian society.


"Son of a murderer": This phrase can mean both that:


  1. Jehoram was the son of Ahab, who was guilty of murder (1 Kings 21:1-16); and that
  2. He had the character of a murderer.

God had warned Elisha what was taking place. The king of Israel was very evil and was indeed, a murderer. Elisha was in his home that was in the middle of Samaria. The elders had come to Elisha, possibly for some answers to the terrible predicament the city was in. The king wanted Elisha beheaded. Elisha told the elders to hold the door, so the king's men cannot come in and kill him.


2 Kings 6:33 "And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil [is] of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?"


"What should I wait for the LORD any longer": Jehoram rightly viewed the Lord as the instigator of the siege and famine in Samaria and declared that he saw no hope that the Lord would reverse this situation.


Their deduction of why the war had left them in such bad shape was true. This certainly was from the LORD. The king was very evil, and the people were worshipping false gods. The king wanted to know, if they must wait even longer than they had already. He is saying, "How long can the LORD allow this to happen"?


2 Kings Chapter 6 Questions


1. What is the problem spoken of in verse 1?


2. Where was the school of the prophets at that time?


3. What was Elisha's solution to the problem?


4. Why did one young man want Elisha to go?


5. What river would this new facility be near?


6. What happened, while they were cutting the trees?


7. Why was the young man concerned about so minor a thing, as an axe head?


8. What did Elisha do?


9. What strange thing did the iron part of the axe do?


10. How could this be thought of as a giant miracle?


11. How would this benefit these young prophets?


12. In the last lesson, Naaman was healed of leprosy, why, then, was Syria trying a sneak attack on Israel now?


13. Who did Elisha warn of the sneak attack?


14. The king of Syria accused his men of what?


15. When he found it was Elisha, the prophet, who told of the invasion, what did he do?


16. Where was Elisha staying at this time?


17. Who did the king of Syria send to bring Elisha back?


18. Who discovered the city was completely surrounded by the army of Syria?


19. Why did Elisha tell him not to fear?


20. What calmed the fear of the servant of Elisha?


21. How was the servant able to see the army of the LORD encamped around Elisha?


22. What did Elisha ask the LORD to do to the Syrian army?


23. Where did Elisha lead the Syrians?


24. What happened to them, as soon as they were inside the city walls of Samaria?


25. What did the king of Israel want to do with them?


26. What did they do, instead?


27. Sometime after this happening, what did Ben-hadad do?


28. How bad was the famine in Samaria?


29. Where was the king, when the woman called out to him?


30. What terrible thing had she and another woman done?


31. When the king heard what she said, what did he say he would do to Elisha?


32. What does Elisha call the king?


33. What question does the king ask Elisha?





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2 Kings 7



2 Kings Chapter 7

Verses 1-2: Elisha foretold that food would once again be available as prices stabilized (7:16), but the officer's doubt brought judgment on himself (7:17). The truth of these prophecies is emphasized through repetition (7:18-20).


Windows in heaven" pictures heaven as a storehouse from which God dispenses provisions (Psalm 78:23; Mal. 3:10).


2 Kings 7:1 "Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, Tomorrow about this time [shall] a measure of fine flour [be sold] for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria."


"A measure ... for a shekel": About 7 quarts of flour would sell for about two-fifths of an ounce of silver.


Two measures ... for a shekel": About 13 to 14 quarts of barley would also sell for about two-fifths of an ounce of silver. These prices, when compared to those in 6:25, indicated that the next day the famine in Samaria would end.


"In the gate": In ancient Israel, the city gate was the marketplace where business was transacted (Ruth 4:1; 2 Sam. 15:1-5). Normal trade at the city gate of Samaria implied that the siege would be lifted.


Jehoram had felt that all was really lost (6:33). Elisha's words were designed to give the discouraged king new assurance that the Lord was in charge of the whole situation and was ever merciful toward a repentant and obedient heart.


We will see, in this chapter, the deliverance of Samaria out of the hands of Syria. This measure of fine flour would be about a peck and a half of flour. A shekel was 10 penny weights of whatever metal this is speaking of. This would be a drastic change from the inflated price of food, we saw in the last lesson. This would be the price of flour in times of plenty.


2 Kings 7:2 "Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, [if] the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see [it] with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof."


"A lord on whose hand the king leaned": For lord or "officer" (see note on 9:25). The king depended upon this officer as his chief adviser.


"You shalt see ... but ... not eat": The royal official questioned the Lord's ability to provide food within the day. For that offense against God, Elisha predicted that the officer would witness the promised miracle, but he would not eat any of it. How this prophecy was fulfilled is described (in verses 16-17).


The officer's disbelief would cause him to fail to partake of any of the promised plenty, even though he would live to see it (verses 19-20).


This lord, upon whom the king leaned, was a very close servant. His doubt in what Elisha had said would cause him not to eat of the food. Remember, this is not spoken to the king. The servant was denouncing Elisha and God. It was almost as if he was denying that Manna fell from heaven before.



Verses 3-11: God's grace is available for all. Four "leprous men" were the first to receive His provision (food, clothes, silver, and gold), after He caused the Syrian army to flee their well-stocked "camp." Whether the men feared divine or human punishment, they sensed an obligation to share their "good news." This account foreshadows the ministry of Jesus, who graciously cleansed lepers and preached good news to the poor (Matt. 11:5; Luke 7:22).


Verses 3-4: Lepers were not allowed inside the cities (Lev. 13:46).


2 Kings 7:3 "And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?"


"Leprous men": The account of these lepers is used to tell of the siege's end and the provisions for Samaria (verses 3-11).


"At the entering in of the gate": In the area immediately outside the city gate, four lepers lived, shut out of Samaria because of their disease (Lev. 13:46; Num. 5:3). The lepers knew that living in Samaria, whether just outside or inside the gate, offered them nothing but death.


2 Kings 7:4 "If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine [is] in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die."


Contrary to the law which forbid them.


"Then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there": Not being able to obtain food to preserve life.


"And if we sit here, we die also": Having nothing to eat to support nature.


"Now therefore let us come, and fall unto the host of the Syrians": Put ourselves into their hands, and lie at their mercy.


"If they save us alive, we shall live": If they do not put us to death, but give us bread to eat, our lives will be preserved.


"And if they kill us, we shall but die": Which we must inevitably do, whether we stay here, or go into the city.


The 4 lepers were sitting around waiting to die. They happened to be, just outside the city gate. They knew, if they entered the city, there was nothing but famine there. If they went to the camp of the Syrians, the worst thing that would happen to them would be that they killed them. They were dying anyway, what difference did it make when?


2 Kings 7:5 "And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, [there was] no man there."


"Uttermost part of the camp of Syria": Literally "the edge of the camp". The normal meaning of this phrase would refer to the back edge of the army camp, the farthest point from the wall of Samaria.


They went in the twilight, so no one would see them. To their amazement, when they got into the camp, there was no one there. They had all left during the night.


2 Kings 7:6 "For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, [even] the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us."


The Hittites and ... Egyptians': Sometime before the arrival of the lepers, the Lord had made the Syrians hear the terrifying sound of a huge army approaching. They thought the Israelite king had hired two massive foreign armies to attack them. The Hittites were descendants of the once-great Hittite empire who lived in small groups across northern Syria (see note on 1 Kings 10:29). Egypt was in decline at this time, but its army would still have represented a great danger to the Syrians.


These "Hittites" were the Neo-Hittite descendants of that once great Hittite nation in ancient Anatolia (i.e., modern Turkey).


They had heard the chariots alright, but it had been the army of heaven they had heard. They were so frightened, when they heard the noise of the many chariots that they fled for safety. They assumed this was the army of Egypt and the army of the Hittites coming against them.


2 Kings 7:7 "Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it [was], and fled for their life."


Or in the dark, as the Targum; when the twilight was going off; so that the lepers came very quickly after they were gone (2 Kings 7:5).


"And left their tents, and their horses, and their asses": Such was their fright, that they could not stay to loosen their cattle, with which they might have made greater speed, but ran away on foot: and they left.


"Even the camp as it was": Took nothing away with them, either money or provisions.


"And fled for their life": Which they imagined to be in great danger.


It appears they fled so fast, that they took nothing with them that might slow them down. They left in the middle of the night. They must have run away on foot, because they left their horses and asses.


2 Kings 7:8 "And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid [it]; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence [also], and went and hid [it]."


They had been starving with the people of the city of Samaria. The first thing they did, was eat and drink, until they could hold no more. They took some of the wealth (all they could carry) two different times out of the camp, and hid it for later.


2 Kings 7:9 "Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day [is] a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household."


"Mischief": The lepers did not fear that the Syrians would return, but that the Lord would punish them for their sin of not telling the Israelite king of their discovery.


Failure to share their good fortune with others would be a sin worthy of judgment against the lepers (Prov. 15:27; 21:17-18; 1 Cor. 10:24). So ought men to share the Good News of the gospel with all (Rom. 10:13-15).


Probably not their honesty, but their fear of being killed caused them to go, and tell the city of the good fortune. Of course, they would report it to the king and his house first.


2 Kings 7:10 "So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, [there was] no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they [were]."


The chief of those that had the care of the gate of it; for there were more than one, as follows.


"And they told them, saying": The porter, and the watchmen with him.


"We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man": Not one to be seen or heard.


"But horses tied, and asses tied": To their mangers; the latter, as well as the former, were used for war, not only to carry burdens, but to fight upon, as Aelianus relates of some people. And especially when there was a want of horses, as Strabo; and both observe that this creature was sacrificed to Mars.


"And the tents as they were": None of them struck, nor anything taken out of them.


It is strange, that they would have left their horses behind, because they could have travelled faster on their horses. Sometimes people do strange things when they are terribly frightened. The lepers report all of this to the porter, for him to tell the king. The king had no idea, neither did these lepers, why the Syrians had fled.


2 Kings 7:11 "And he called the porters; and they told [it] to the king's house within."


The porter of the city called to the porters of the king's palace.


"And they told it to the king's house within": To some of his domestic servants within the palace, and they reported it to the king.


2 Kings 7:12 "And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we [be] hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city."


"What the Syrians have done to us": Jehoram greeted the report from the lepers with great suspicion. He thought that the Arameans, or Syrians, were feigning the pull back to appear defeated, in order to lure the Israelites out of Samaria for a surprise attack on them to gain entrance into the city. However (verses 13-15), describe how the leper's report was confirmed.


When the porter tells the king, he does not believe that they had fled. He believed they had set a trap to catch them, when they came out to the camp. Undoubtedly, it had slipped his mind, what Elisha had told him.


2 Kings 7:13 "And one of his servants answered and said, Let [some] take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they [are] as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, [I say], they [are] even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see."


Not having died through the famine as the rest.


"Behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it": Behold, I say, they are even as the multitude of Israel that are consumed. Signifying, there was a like consumption among the horses as among the people, and they that remained were starving as they were. So that should those horses, and the men, fall into the hands of the Syrians, and perish, it would be no great matter. The loss would not be much, since they must perish if they continue in the city. According to the Vulgate Latin version, these five horses were all that were left.


"And let us send and see": Whether the report of the lepers is true or not.


2 Kings 7:14 "They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see."


Not five, but two only, and those the best, that drew in the king's chariot perhaps, and so were better fed, and fitter for this expedition.


"And the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, go and see": Whether they are fled or not.


There were very few horses left in the city. These were kept for emergencies. They were so hungry, there was very little to lose by going to see, if it was true they had fled and left their goods for the taking. The king sent a chariot and men to check this out.



Verses 15-20 (see note on 7:1-2).


2 Kings 7:15 "And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way [was] full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king."


Not finding them in the camp, and knowing the route they would take to their own land, they went as far as Jordan, over which they must pass.


"And, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels which the Syrians had cast away in their haste": In their fright and flight, such of their clothes as hindered them in running. And their armor, as Josephus seems rightly to understand the word used, these they threw away for quicker dispatch.


"And the messengers returned and told the king": That it was as the lepers said, and what they themselves had seen.


They left so fast, they left articles all along the way. Anything they thought might slow them down in their getaway, they left on the side of the road. It was obvious that something had frightened them so badly, they had fled home as fast as they could go.



Verses 16-20: By repeating words from verses 1-2, and by explicit statements ("according to the word of the Lord" (verse 16); "just as the man of God had said / spoken" (verses 17-18), the text emphasizes that Elisha's prophecy (in 7:2), literally came to pass.


2 Kings 7:16 "And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was [sold] for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD."


Of their riches, and of their provisions; of which there was such a plenty, not only for present use, but for sale.


"So that a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel": Etc., as it was written.


"According to the word of the Lord": Through Elisha (2 Kings 7:1).


The prophet had spoken the truth. You can easily see why the whole town emptied, and ran for what food they could find. They would be like the lepers. They would eat first, then spoil the other things in the camp after.


2 Kings 7:17 "And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him."


Not to keep out the enemy, of which there was no danger; but to prevent disorders and tumults among the people. And that they might go out in an orderly and regular manner.


"And the people trod upon him in the gate": Being eager to get out for food; and he endeavoring to keep order among them, they pressed upon him, and threw him down, and trampled him under foot. Or he was placed here to regulate the market, which everyone might be supplied in time, but through the people's pressing to get provisions, he was overran, and trod upon.


"And died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him": So that he saw the plenty, but partook not of it, as he said (see 2 Kings 7:2).


The lord, in the verse above, is speaking of the arrogant servant of the king, who laughed at Elisha and at God for saying God would open the windows of heaven and send food to them. He was left to watch the gate, and the stampeding people ran over him, and killed him. He truly would not eat of the food.


2 Kings 7:18 "And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria:"


As (in 2 Kings 7:1), and what he said to the king there, and to the lord (in 2 Kings 7:2), are repeated in this and the next verse. That it might be observed how exactly the prophecies were fulfilled.


For the term "man of God" (see the note on 1 Sam. 9:6-11).


2 Kings 7:19 "And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, [if] the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof."


(As in 2 Kings 7:2).


"And he said": That is, Elisha, as in the same place.


This repeats what Elisha had said to the king and his arrogant servant. This was a reminder to them, and to us, that Elisha truly was a man of God. His words were spoken as an oracle of God. They were God's Words in the mouth of Elisha.


2 Kings 7:20 "And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died."


As the prophet predicted.


"For the people trod upon him in the gate, and he died" (see 2 Kings 7:17).


It is a dangerous thing to speak against God's anointed. This servant found that out, by paying with his life. He saw this with his eyes and had time to regret it. He died, before he ate of the food.


2 Kings Chapter 7 Questions


1. What word of encouragement does Elisha speak to the king of Israel?


2. How much was a measure of fine flour?


3. What does a shekel weigh?


4. Who doubted what Elisha said?


5. What did Elisha say to him?


6. How many leprous men were at the gate of the city?


7. Why did they decide to sneak into the Syrian camp?


8. What did they find?


9. Why had the Syrians left?


10. What had they left behind?


11. What chariots had they really heard?


12. What did the lepers do at first, when they found the Syrians gone?


13. What caused these lepers to go to the city, and tell that the Syrians were gone?


14. Who did they tell?


15. What did the king think, when he heard they were gone?


16. What did one of the servants of the king suggest they do, to find out if they were gone?


17. Who went to check it out?


18. What was strewn along the way?


19. Who went out to the camp to spoil the camp?


20. Where did the servant, that the king had leaned upon, stay?


21. What happened to him?





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2 Kings 8



2 Kings Chapter 8

Verses 1-6: The Lord brought "famine" to punish Israel's sin. But in His mercy, He spared the Shunammite woman who had been kind to Elisha (4:8-37). Based on the details given ("went forth to cry ... for her house and for her land"), she was probably now a widow. King Jehoram administered justice and kindness, unlike King Ahab in a similar situation (1 Kings 21:1-16).


2 Kings 8:1 "Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years."


"A famine ... seven years": Seven-year famines were known in the ancient Near East (Gen. 41:29-32). Since the Shunammite woman would have been only a resident alien in a foreign land, her return within 7 years may have aided her legal claim to her property (Exodus 21:2; 23:10-11; Lev. 25:1-7; Deut. 15:1-6).


This Shunammite woman had befriended Elisha on several occasions. He had prayed, and God had brought her son back to life on one occasion. He knew the 7 year famine that would come upon the land. He went to his friend, and told her to take her family out of the land before the famine begins. The famine in Egypt, at the time of Joseph, had been for 7 years as well. It seems, a severe famine lasts 7 years.


2 Kings 8:2 "And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years."


"Land of the Philistines": The area located southwest of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea coastal plain between the Jarkon River in the north and the Besor Brook in the south. The fact that the famine was localized in Israel demonstrated that this was a curse, a punishment for apostasy (Deut. 28:38-40), because of Israel's disobedience of the Mosaic Covenant.


This woman does not doubt what the prophet Elisha has told her. She immediately does exactly as the prophet has told her to do. She knows that Elisha spoke as an oracle of God. She chose the land of the Philistines, because they were less subject to famine. Grain was plentiful there, and there was much water there as well. She was a woman of means, so she could move fairly easily.


2 Kings 8:3 "And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land."


"Cry unto the king": The Shunammite woman made a legal appeal to the king to support her ownership claim. In Israel, the king was the final arbiter of such disputes (see note on 1 Kings 3:16-27). Providentially, the widow arrived just as Gehazi was describing how Elisha had raised her son from the dead (verse 5).


She had not sold her land, but had left it to find safety for her family. When she came back after the seven years, it seems someone had tried to claim her place. She had gone to the king to judge on the matter.



Verses 4-6: The Lord had sovereignly arranged the circumstances so that as the king's curiosity concerning "Elisha' was being satisfied by "Gehazi," the needs of the lady from Shunem could be met. How often the Lord weaves together the little threads of the believer's life for God's glory and the believer's good.


2 Kings 8:4 "And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done."


Elisha's servant, just at the same time the woman made her application to him. So that this was before he was dismissed from the service of the prophet, and consequently before the affair of Naaman's cure, and so before the siege of Samaria.


"Saying, tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done": The miracles he wrought, as the dividing of the waters of Jordan, and healing those near Jericho. The affair of procuring water for the armies of the three kings in Edom he needed not to relate, since Jehoram was an eyewitness thereof. The next was the multiplying the widow's cruse of oil, when he in course came to those that were done for the Shunammite woman.


This particular account was while Gehazi was still in good standing with Elisha. Later on, Gehazi becomes a leper because of his greed and lying. The king perhaps, had not heard much of the miracles Elisha had done, and who would be better to tell him of them than his closest servant?


2 Kings 8:5 "And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this [is] the woman, and this [is] her son, whom Elisha restored to life."


Which was the Shunammites's son.


"That, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life cried to the king for her house, and for her land": Came and presented her petition to the king at that very instant.


"And Gehazi said, my lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life": The very person I am speaking of.


Of course the greatest miracle that Gehazi had seen Elisha do, was the restoration of life to the young boy. God arranged that at the very moment he is telling of this miracle, the woman, who it happened to, would enter. She will confirm the fact, that this miracle really did take place.


2 Kings 8:6 "And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that [was] hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now."


"Restore all ... all the fruits": The king's judgment was to return to the woman everything she owned, including the land's earnings during her absence.


Not only did she have the opportunity to tell the king of the miracles of Elisha, but the king believed her about her claim for her land, and she was restored her property as well.



Verses 7-15: This illness would not kill "Ben-hadad", but he also would not escape death for long. That Elisha "settled his countenance steadfastly" suggests a rigid facial expression characteristic of a trance associated with giving a prophetic oracle. Elisha supernaturally discerned the murder plot that was in Hazael's heart.


2 Kings 8:7 "And Elisha came to Damascus; and Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither."


"Elisha came to Damascus": It was unusual for a prophet to visit foreign capitals, but not unknown (Jonah 3:3). Elisha went to Damascus, the capital of Syria, to carry out one of the 3 commands God had given to Elijah at Horeb (1 Kings 19:15-16).


"Ben-hadad" (see note on 1 Kings 15:18). Ben-hadad died 841 B.C., the same year as Jehoram of Israel (3:1), Jehoram of Judah (8:17), and Ahaziah of Judah (8:25-26).


"Man of God" (see note on Deut. 33:1).


We are not told why Elisha came to Damascus. We can safely assume the LORD sent him. He might have been having trouble in Samaria at this time, but I would assume, it was to meet Hazael. Ben-hadad, king of Syria, is sick. Everyone in Syria knew of the miracles that Elisha had performed in the past. The king will surely try to get help from Elisha.


2 Kings 8:8 "And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?"


"Hazael": His name means "God sees" or "who God beholds." Hazael was a servant of Ben-hadad and not a member of the royal family. Assyrian records called Hazael the "son of a nobody" and his lineage was not recorded because he was a commoner.


We know that before the ascension of Elijah into heaven, the LORD had told him to anoint Hazael as king of Syria. If he did that, it was long before the opportunity arose for Hazael to be king. It was Hazael that Ben-hadad sent to inquire of Elisha, if he would live over this sickness?


2 Kings 8:9 "So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?"


"Every good thing of Damascus": The city of Damascus was a trade center between Egypt, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia. It had within it the finest merchandise of the ancient Near East. Ben-hadad evidently thought that an impressive gift would influence Elisha's prediction.


"Thy son": Ben-hadad approached Elisha with the humble respect of a son for his father (5:13; 6:21).


Elisha was not the father of Ben-hadad. This was a way of showing the honor due Elisha from Ben-hadad. This gift, that he sent, was tremendous. The gift consisted of gold, and silver, and expensive clothing, just like the offering that Naaman had brought earlier for his cleansing from leprosy. He wanted Elisha to tell him, if the sickness he had was fatal or not.


2 Kings 8:10 "And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath showed me that he shall surely die."


"Recover ... die': Ben-hadad wanted to know whether or not he would recover from his present illness. In response, Elisha affirmed two interrelated things:


  1. Ben-hadad would be restored to health; his present sickness would not be the means of his death;
  2. Ben-hadad would surely die by some other means.

It appears, that the king is going to die. Hazael would probably not want to tell the king that. Elisha just says, "If you want to, go and tell him he will live, but he will die".


2 Kings 8:11 "And he settled his countenance steadfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept."


"He was ashamed": With a fixed gaze, Elisha stared at Hazael because it had been revealed to him what Hazael would do, including the murder of Ben-hadad (verse 15). Hazael was embarrassed, knowing that Elisha knew of his plan to assassinate the Syrian king.


This is speaking of Elisha. When he could control his feelings no longer, he began to weep.


2 Kings 8:12 "And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child."


Such barbaric actions were not unknown in the ancient Near East (Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13). "Hazael" would indeed perpetrate these 3 shameful practices (10:32; 13:3-7, 22).


"The evil": Elisha mourned, knowing the atrocities that Hazael would bring on Israel. The harsh actions mentioned here were common in ancient wars (Psalm 137:9; Isa. 13:16; Hosea 10:14; 13:16; Amos 1:13; Nah. 3:10). Hazael did prove to be a constant foe of Israel (9:14-16; 10:32; 12:17-18; 13:3, 22).


Hazael appeared to be concerned about Elisha, but he was not interested in anyone, except himself. We must stop and take note that even an evil king like Hazael, was king because God put him in power. Wars in this region of the world, were bloody cruel wars where all of the things Elisha mentioned above are commonplace. They did not have human feelings toward their enemies or their families.



Verses 13-15: For the "dog" as a symbol of abasement or contempt (see 1 Sam. 24:14; 2 Sam. 9:8; 16:9). Perhaps "Elisha" had been appointed to fulfill Elijah's commission to anoint the Aramean Ben-hadad's demise previously and used Elisha's prophecy as a pretext for his crime. Elisha had foreseen his evil deeds. Hazael's usurpation does not pass without notice in the secular records of the ancient Near East. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser III called him "son of a nobody" (i.e., a usurper). Hazael reigned from around 841 to 801 B.C. and was a constant enemy of Israel.


2 Kings 8:13 "And Hazael said, But what, [is] thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath showed me that thou [shalt be] king over Syria."


"Thy servant a dog": To call oneself a dog was an expression of humility (see note on 2 Sam. 9:8). Hazael sought to deny that he would ever have the power to commit such atrocities. He was trying to convince Elisha that he had no plan to take over the kingship of Syria.


"Thou shalt be king over Syria": In response to Hazael's feigned self-deprecation, Elisha affirmed that the Lord willed that Hazael be king over Aram, or Syria (1 Kings 19:15).


At the time that Elisha said this, Hazael did not even know that he would be king. To call someone a dog, was about the lowest name you could call them. Hazael denies that he would act like a dog, if he became king. Elisha reminds him that the LORD showed him Hazael as king, and the kind of king he would be.


2 Kings 8:14 "So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me [that] thou shouldest surely recover."


Benhadad king of Syria.


"Who said to him, what said Elisha to thee? Concerning his recovery, which was the thing uppermost in his mind, and he was eagerly desirous to know how it would be.


"And he answered, he told me that thou shouldest surely recover": Which was false; for he only said that he "might", and not that he should. And he concealed what he also declared, that though he might recover of his disease, yet that he should surely die in another way.


He told the king what he wanted to hear. We are not told, whether Elisha accepted the camels with all the gifts on them or not. We do know that he gave Hazael a different answer, than the one he gave Ben-hadad.


2 Kings 8:15 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped [it] in water, and spread [it] on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead."


"He died": Hazael took a bed furnishing, soaked it, and killed Ben-hadad by suffocation.


"Hazael reigned in his stead": Upon Ben-hadad's death, Hazael took the kingship of Syria and ruled 841-801 B.C., during the reigns of Jehoram, Jehu, and Jehoahaz in Israel and Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Joash in Judah.


This to me, is saying that Hazael suffocated Ben-hadad to death. This makes the answer that Elisha gave a little more understandable. Ben-hadad would have recovered from his illness, had not Hazael suffocated him with the wet pillow over his face. Hazael was next in line to become king.



Verses 16-18: Now both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel were ruled by a king named Jehoram ("Yahweh Is Exalted").


"Joram" (a shortened form of the name) ruled the northern kingdom, "Israel", 852-841 B.C.; "Jehoram" ruled the southern kingdom, "Judah," 848-841 B.C.


2 Kings 8:16 "And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat [being] then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign."


"Jehoram" became co-regent with his father Jehoshaphat (see the note on 1:17).


"Fifth year": Ca. 848 B.C., the year Jehoshaphat of Judah died.


This is on an entirely different subject here. The rule of the kings of Syria are dropped, and now, this reflects back to the rule of the kings in Judah. There were two kings named Joram, or Jehoram. One ruled in Israel, and one in Judah. It is very strange that Israel would have a king by the same name as the king of Judah, at the same time. Jehoram of Judah married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. He did not follow in the footsteps of his father Jehoshaphat, who did right in the sight of God. Both Jehoram of Judah and Jehoram of Israel, were very evil.


2 Kings 8:17 "Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem."


"Eight years": 848-841 B.C. (see notes on 2 Chron. 21:4-20). Jehoram of Judah served as co-regent with his father Jehoshaphat for the final 4years of his reign, 853-848 B.C. Joram (Jehoram), became king of Israel during the second year of this co-regency, 852 B.C., (see notes on 1:17; 3:1). Jehoram of Judah ruled alone for 8 years after his father's death, until 841 B.C. (2 Chron. 21:15). Most likely, Obadiah prophesied during his reign.


This Jehoram (Joram), of Judah, reigned until he was 40 years old.


2 Kings 8:18 "And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD."


Jehoram's sins included the murder of his own brother (2 Chron. 21:2-4). The influence of Athaliah may be felt in this (11:1), for Jehoram was greatly influenced by his wicked wife, who was the daughter of "Ahab" and Jezebel. Therefore, the Lord sent judgment against Jehoram and Judah in the form of several political and military problems (2 Chron. 21:8-17). He himself died of a loathsome disease (2 Chron. 21:18-19).


"The house of Ahab": Jehoram officially sanctioned Baal worship in Judah as Ahab had in Israel (1 Kings 16:31-33).


"The daughter of Ahab": Jehoram was married to Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (verse 26). Just as Jezebel incited Ahab to do evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 21:25), so Athaliah influenced Jehoram. Athaliah's wicked actions are recorded (in 11:1-16; 2 Chron. 22:10 - 23:15).


Jehoram no doubt hoped that marrying the "daughter" of a king of Israel would help ease tensions between Judah and Israel; instead, Athaliah led Jehoram to repeat the sins of her father, Ahab" (2 Chron. 21:6). Politically expedient actions can be spiritually disastrous.


He brought the worship of Baal and Astarte to Judah. Probably, his evil wife brought them with her. Her mother Jezebel, and her father Ahab, had introduced the worship of these false deities in Israel. This wife's name was Athaliah, and she was just as evil as her mother.


2 Kings 8:19 "Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant's sake, as he promised him to give him always a light, [and] to his children."


God kept His covenant promises to maintain a remnant of Israel (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psalm 89:30-37). This eternal promise would be ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, the descendant of David and the Light of the World (Matt. 1:1; John 1:1-13; 8:12).


"Always a light" (see note on 1 Kings 11:36).


The Lord's faithfulness to the Davidic covenant remained despite the king's debased character (see the note on 2 Sam. 7:12-16).


We see the only reason God did not destroy Judah, was because of his promise to David. There would always be a glimmer of the Light of the LORD in Judah.


2 Kings 8:20 "In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves."


"Edom revolted": Edom had been a vassal of the united kingdom, and of the southern kingdom of Judah since David's reign (2 Sam. 8:13-14).


Edom was the land that Esau settled so many years ago. Edom was an enemy of God's people continuously. They were constantly breaking away from Judah, and proclaiming their freedom. This is just one more time, when they did that very thing.


2 Kings 8:21 "So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents."


A city in Edom, the same with the Zaara of Ptolemy. Some take it to be the same with Seir, the mountain or country of that name.


"And all the chariots with him": All the chariots of war he had.


"And he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about": Who came out of their cities in great numbers, and surrounded him, he having entered into their country in a hostile way, to subdue them.


"And the captains of the chariots": Which belonged to the Edomites; those he smote (2 Chron. 21:9).


"And the people fled into their tents": The army being routed.


"Zair": The exact location is unknown.


Joram is the same as Jehoram. He fought with the Edomites, to keep them from gaining their freedom from Judah.


2 Kings 8:22 "Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time."


"Edom revolted ... unto this day": During the reign of Jehoram, Edom defeated the Judean army, took some border lands, and became independent of Judah's' rule. The continuing sovereignty of Edom proved that none of the future kings of Judah recorded in 2 Kings was the anticipated Messiah because He would possess Edom (Num. 24:18).


"Libnah": A town located in the Shephelah on the border with Philistia, about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:42; 21:13). The revolt of Libnah was probably connected with that of the Philistines and Arabians recounted (in 2 Chron. 21:16-17).


Israel's conflicts with "Edom" were often accompanied by Philistine pressure on her western border (2 Chron. 21:16; 26:6-7; 28:17-19; Joel 3:4-8; Amos 1:6-8).


The battle of Jehoram was not effective. They still revolted. Libnah was near Philistia. They took advantage of the revolt of Edom and revolted too.


2 Kings 8:23 "And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"


Not in the canonical book of Chronicles, though some of his acts are recorded there (see 2 Chron. 21:1). But in the annals of the kings of Judah, written by persons appointed for that purpose.


2 Kings 8:24 "And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead."


But not in the sepulchers of the kings, and without any funeral pomp, and without any mourning and lamentation for him. He being not beloved, and his life not at all desirable (2 Chron. 21:19).


"And Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead": Of whom more is said in the following verses.


This is that same book of records that is not in the Bible. He was buried in the city of David. His very evil son, Ahaziah, who was the grandson of Jezebel and Ahab, reigned in his stead. Ahaziah was also called Azariah and Jehoahaz.



Verses 25-29: The reign of Ahaziah (841 B.C.) is not to be confused with that of Israel's King Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:51 - 2 Kings 1:8; see notes on 2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chron. 22:1-9).


2 Kings 8:25 "In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign."


"Ahaziah" had escaped the earlier Philistine and Arabian invasions (2 Chron. 21:16-17). He remained under the influence of Athaliah's paganism (2 Chron. 22:3-5).


I suppose, it is giving the name of the king of Israel, when each person is king of Judah, to show who they had to deal with during their reign. Ahaziah, probably was acting king during the two years of his father's illness. At his death, he became sole ruler.


2 Kings 8:26 "Two and twenty years old [was] Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel."


"Athaliah" is called the "daughter of Omri". Thus her descent by marriage is linked to the founder of Israel's Third Dynasty, Omri, the father of Ahab. For Ahaziah's age at this accession (see the note on 2 Chron. 22:2 and here on verse 18).


His mother's father was actually Ahab. Omri was her grandfather. The name "Athaliah" means whom Jehovah hath afflicted. Omri was prominent, because he did a great deal to establish the ten tribes as separate Israel.


2 Kings 8:27 "And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as [did] the house of Ahab: for he [was] the son in law of the house of Ahab."


"The house of Ahab": Like his father, Jehoram, Ahaziah continued the official sanctioning of Baal worship in Judah (see note on verse 18).


This is speaking of him carrying on the worship of Baal in Judah. He was a relative of Ahab. His mother was the daughter of Ahab.


2 Kings 8:28 "And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramoth-gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram."


Another Aramean/Israelite "war" at "Ramoth-gilead" again spells disaster for Israel (1 Kings 22:35-36).


"Ramoth-gilead" (see note on 1 Kings 22:3).


2 Kings 8:29 "And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick."


"Went down to see Joram": Ahaziah's travel to visit the recuperating Joram (also called Jehoram) king of Israel placed him in Jezreel (west of the Jordan, southwest of the Sea of Galilee), during Jehu's purge of the house of Omri (see 9:21-29).


His father and his uncle both, were named Joram or Jehoram. It would be a likely thing for these close relatives to join forces in battle against a mutual enemy. We remember, that Hazael was unusually wicked. He called himself a dog, when Elisha told him of what he would do. Ramoth-gilead was in the hands of Israel at the time of this war. Hazael was the aggressor then. His uncle, Joram, was wounded in the battle, but it was not a fatal wound. It appears that he and his uncle left the battlefront in the hands of capable captains, and went home to their capitals. It appears, from this, that Ahaziah actually took Joram, king of Israel, to Jezreel to be healed, before he went home to his own capital.


2 Kings Chapter 8 Questions


1. Elisha warned the Shunammite woman of a ___________.


2. How long will the famine last?


3. Where did she take her family, until the famine was over.


4. She knows that Elisha speaks as an ___________ of God.


5. Why did she choose the land of the Philistines?


6. After the 7 year famine, what did the woman do?


7. Who was the king speaking with, when she came to him?


8. What had the king asked him?


9. Gehazi told him of what miracle?


10. What did Gehazi tell the king that helped get her land back for her?


11. In verse 7, where did Elisha go?


12. Who was sick?


13. Who did Ben-hadad send to inquire of Elisha?


14. What did the king want to know?


15. How large was the gift he brought to Elisha?


16. What did Elisha tell Hazael to say?


17. Why did the man of God weep?


18. What does Hazael call himself in verse 13?


19. How did Elisha know of the evil he would do?


20. How did Ben-hadad really die?


21. What two kingdoms had a king named Joram, or Jehoram?


22. Jehoram of Judah reigned, until he was ________ years old.


23. What was the only reason God did not destroy Judah?


24. Who revolted from Judah?


25. How old was Ahaziah, when he began to reign?


26. What kind of a king was he?


27. Who did Hazael war against at Ramoth-gilead?


28. Who was wounded in battle, and taken to Jezreel to heal?





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2 Kings 9



2 Kings Chapter 9

Verses 1-10: By the act of anointing, people or objects were dedicated to God and set apart for a consecrated role in His service. Unlike some other kings of Israel, "Jehu" was anointed by a prophet, signifying God's approval of his ascent to the throne. He would be the one to "avenge ... the blood of all the servants of the LORD" whom "Jezebel" had killed (2 Chron. 22:7).


Verses 1-2: The original commission to Elijah is thus finally carried out by Elisha's students (1 King 19:16-17). For the girding up of the loins (see the note on 1 Kings 18:46).


2 Kings 9:1 "And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead:"


Who the Jews generally say was Jonah the son of Amittai.


"And said, gird up thy loins":" His loose and long garments about his loins, for quicker dispatch in travelling.


"And take this box of oil in thine hand": For a use after directed for.


"And go to Ramoth-gilead": Where Joram had left his army with his captains, to keep the city from the Syrians.


Perhaps the reason that Elisha did not go, was because he might be recognized. This young man in training to be a prophet, would not be recognized as a prophet. It would be much safer for him to do this, than for Elisha. This was special anointing oil. Ramoth-gilead was in the territory of Gad. It was across the Jordan and had belonged to Syria, until the recent battle when Joram recovered it for Israel. Joram, we remember, had returned from Jezreel after being injured in that battle.


2 Kings 9:2 "And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber;"


"Jehu": The Lord had previously told Elijah that Jehu would become king over Israel and kill those involved in the worship of Baal (1 Kings 19:17). The fulfillment of the prophecy is recorded (from 9:1 - 10:31).


"Inner chamber": A private room that could be closed off to the public. Elisha commissioned one of the younger prophets to anoint Jehu alone behind closed doors. The rite was to be a secret affair without Elisha present so that Jehoram would not suspect that a coup was coming.


Jehu was the son of Jehoshaphat. He was appointed by Elisha as king. Later he overthrew Joram (Jehoram), King Ahab's son and successor, and established a dynasty that lasted five generations and 90 years (chapters 9, 10; 15:2). Jehu ruled Israel for 28 years (841-813 B.C.), but his corrupt leadership weakened the nation. He became known for his violence against all members of the "house of Ahab" as he consolidated his power. At Jehu's command, Jezebel was thrown out of the palace window to her death (verse 33). Jehu ordered the death of 70 sons of Ahab (chapter 10). He also had Ahab's advisers and close acquaintances murdered. Jehu continued his slaughter against the family of Ahaziah, king of Judah (10:12-14). Then he had all the Baal-worshipers killed (10:18-28). Although he proclaimed his zeal for the Lord (10:16), he followed the Lord incompletely (10:31). Jehu's excessive violence led Hosea to denounce his bloodthirstiness (Hos. 1:4; 1 Kings 19:16; 2 Kings chapters 9 and 10).


The LORD had instructed Elijah to anoint Jehu. It seems that the task was passed down to Elisha, and now it is time to anoint him. It really does not matter who does the anointing. The main thing is, that it is the will of the LORD for him to be anointed. He was captain of the host of Israel at the time of his anointing. He was actually the grandson of Nimshi. This is not the same Jehoshaphat as the king in Judah. This one is the father of Jehu. This is not to be a public anointing. He is to take him to a private place and pour the anointing oil on his head.


2 Kings 9:3 "Then take the box of oil, and pour [it] on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not."


"Anointed thee king over Israel": The anointing with olive oil by a prophet of the Lord confirmed that God Himself had earlier chosen that man to be king (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13). This action of anointing by a commissioned prophet indicated divine investiture with God's sovereign power to Jehu.


"Flee, and tarry not": The need for hast by the young prophet underscored the danger of the assignment. A prophet in the midst of Israel's army camp would alert the pro-Jehoram elements to the possibility of the coup.


For anointing the head of a future "king" (see 1 Sam. 10:1-2).


This shows the danger he would be in. He must flee immediately after he anoints Jehu. He first pours the oil on Jehu, and then he proclaims him king.


2 Kings 9:4 "So the young man, [even] the young man the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead."


It is repeated, that it might be observed that it was a young man that went, who was more fit for this service than Elisha, partly because of his age, and partly because he would be less known. As also his age is remarked, this being a bold and daring action in a young man to anoint a new king, as well as it was honorable; and moreover, he was not only one of the sons of the prophets, but was a prophet himself. Though young, and still a more fit person for such a service; though the Targum is, a young man, a disciple of the prophets.


The young man did exactly as he had been instructed by Elisha.


2 Kings 9:5 "And when he came, behold, the captains of the host [were] sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain."


Either at a table, being at dinner, or at a council of war.


"And he said, I have an errand unto thee, O captain": Looking and directing his speech to Jehu; or, "I have a word to thee". Something to say to thee, intimating that he desired to speak to him alone.


"And Jehu said, unto which of all us?" Not perhaps at first thoroughly understanding who he meant; or however was willing to have it repeated and explained, that it might be manifest to the whole company that he was the intended.


"And he said, to thee, O captain": And to him only.


We see from this, that Jehu was not the only captain of the hosts. Some believe that he was the leader of all the captains. There seemed to be no designation, except they were captains however. It appeared, the captains were having some sort of meeting. The young prophet looked directly at Jehu and called him captain. He then, told him he needed to see him privately.


2 Kings 9:6 "And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, [even] over Israel."


Into the inner chamber in it.


"And he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel": For though they were fallen into idolatry, and from the pure worship of God, yet the Lord had still a right unto them, and as yet he had not wrote a "Loammi" (Hosea 1:9), upon them. And there were many among them which had not bowed the knee to Baal.


Notice, "Thus saith the LORD God of Israel". This leaves no doubt that this was the will of God being carried out by this young prophet. This is not an appointment by the people, or by the preceding king, but by the LORD.


2 Kings 9:7 "And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel."


"Avenge the blood": Jehu was to be the Lord's avenger (Num. 35:12), for the murders of the Lord's prophets (1 Kings 18:4), and of people like Naboth who served the Lord (1 Kings 21:1-16).


There were no descendants of Ahab to ever rule the house of Israel again. Not only was Jehu to kill the king, Joram or Jehoram, but all who might try to take his place as king from the house of Ahab. The time had now come for the vengeance of the LORD on Jezebel, as well. Ahab and Jezebel had been terrible leaders. They had brought in the worship of Baal and Astarte. They were a threat to all the prophets. They had really been a threat to all, who worshiped the One True God.



Verses 8-10: The announcement of Jehu repeats the prophetic threat of (1 Kings 21:21-23; compare 1 Kings 19:15-17).


2 Kings 9:8 "For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:"


Be cut off by death, and that in a violent manner, not one should escape.


"And I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel": Of these phrases (see 1 Kings 14:10; 21:21).


This just means that all of the males in the family of Ahab will be killed. The statement "whole house" indicates women and children too, will perish.


2 Kings 9:9 "And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:"


"Like the house of Jeroboam ... Baasha": God would thoroughly annihilate Ahab's line in the same way as Jeroboam's dynasty and Baasha's dynasty had previously ended violently (1 Kings 15:27-30; 16:8-13).


God had given Ahab and his family plenty of time to change. He even showed them who was truly God, with the fire that came from heaven on mount Carmel. They did not take heed. He is one of the worst kings Israel had, but, he was not quite as evil as Jezebel. God will wipe out this evil in Israel with the death of Ahab's entire family. The same thing had happened to Jeroboam, and Baasha. They were all involved in the same type of sin.


2 Kings 9:10 "And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and [there shall be] none to bury [her]. And he opened the door, and fled."


"Dogs shall eat": Dogs were considered scavengers in the ancient Near East and they would devour the corpse of Jezebel.


"Jezreel": Formerly the area of Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-16).


"None to bury her": In Israel, the failure to be buried indicated disgrace (see note on 1 Kings 13:22).


We see a promise of the same thing in the following Scripture.


1 Kings 21:23 "And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."


When a person was not buried at death, this was another humiliation for them.


2 Kings 9:11 "Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: and [one] said unto him, [Is] all well? wherefore came this mad [fellow] to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication."


"This mad fellow" is derogatory. The soldier demonstrated his disdain for Elisha's servant (verses 1, 4), by referring to him as crazy or demented. (In Jer. 29:26 and Hosea 9:7), this same term is used as a derogatory term for prophets whose messages were considered crazy. Jehu's response referred to the prophet's "babble," not his behavior.


The world often misunderstands God's servants as insane (Paul was accused of this in Acts 17:18), and considers them babblers. Still, their obedience is paramount (Lev. 22:31; John 14:15).


Jehu comes back into the area, where the captains were gathered. They inquired if all was well. They possibly thought something had happened to the king. The young man was not dressed like the young man of the day and that was why they called him a mad man. He was possibly, dressed in a prophet's garment. Jehu thinks perhaps, they knew the young man's mission. It appears, that they might have been already wondering what would happen, if the king died.


2 Kings 9:12 "And they said, [It is] false; tell us now. And he said, Thus and thus spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel."


"Thus and thus": This refers to the repeating of the prophecy (in verses 4-10).


They tell Jehu, they had not sent the young man. Jehu was reluctant to tell them what he said, but does, when they continued to ask him. He admitted to them that the young man brought him the message, that the LORD had anointed him king of Israel.


2 Kings 9:13 "Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put [it] under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king."


"Blew with trumpets": Having laid their cloaks under Jehu's feet with the steps of the house serving as a makeshift throne, the officers blew trumpets acclaiming Jehu as king. A trumpet often heralded such a public proclamation and assembly, including the appointment of a king (11:14; 2 Sam. 15:10; 1 Kings 1:34).


Laying down garments and blowing "trumpets" were ways of showing homage to a king (1 Kings 1:34; Matt. 21:8).


These captains seemed to favor this idea. It seems to me, the captains were relieved. They immediately recognized Jehu was king by placing their garments for him to walk on. The blowing of the trumpets was a proclamation that he was king.


2 Kings 9:14 "So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria."


He and the captains with him entered into a confederacy to depose Joram, and set him up as king.


"Now Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria": Having taken it, he left his army in it, under the command of his captains, of which Jehu was the chief, to keep it from the king of Syria. Which gave Jehu a fairer opportunity, having the army at his command, and at a distance from Joram, of forming a conspiracy against him.


Just the fact that the king was still living, when the captains declared Jehu king, made it a conspiracy. At Ramoth-gilead, the sight of the battle, Joram won and the city was kept by Joram. It was, now, a place of defense against Syria.


2 Kings 9:15 "But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, [then] let none go forth [nor] escape out of the city to go to tell [it] in Jezreel."


Let none go forth ... tell it in Jezreel": For Jehu to succeed in his revolt and to avoid a civil conflict, it was important to take Joram totally by surprise. Therefore, Jehu ordered the city of Ramoth-gilead where he had been anointed (verses 2-3) to be sealed lest someone loyal to Joram escape and notify the king.


If these captains had really declared Jehu king, along with the LORD having him anointed king, then the news must not get back to Joram at this time. The captains must keep this among themselves, until this was established. It was very important for it to be a secret at this time. If Joram found out, he would declare war against them, and they would be greatly outnumbered. They must go at this systematically.


2 Kings 9:16 "So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram."


In great pomp and majesty as a king.


"And went to Jezreel": Set forward on a march thither with his captains, and part of his army at least, from Ramoth-gilead; which, according to Bunting, was twenty four miles.


"For Joram lay there": To be cured of his wounds, as before observed.


"And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram" (see 2 Kings 8:29).


"To Jezreel": From Ramoth-gilead, Jezreel was straight west across the Jordan, north of Mt. Gilboa.


We see that Jehu went directly to Jezreel, where the king was. It appears, that he had taken a company of skilled men with him. He wanted to arrive before any news leaked to the king that he had been anointed king himself. The king of Judah, Ahaziah, was there visiting Joram.


2 Kings 9:17 "And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, [Is it] peace?"


Who could see afar off when an enemy was coming, and his business was to give notice of it. And especially he was now on his watch tower, because the king was there, and this was necessary for his safety.


"And he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company": A troop of soldiers, though he did not know who they were, and to whom they belonged, whether they were Syrians or Israelites; which was reported to the king.


"And Joram said, take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, is it peace?" He might fear some ill had befallen his army at Ramoth-gilead, and the Syrians had got the advantage of them. Or they had made an irruption into his country, and were coming to attack him at Jezreel; or there was an insurrection among his own people.


This watchman had been set here, to warn the king of anything that might be a problem. The scout that was to be sent out was to determine whether these people were enemies, or friends. Joram was not suspecting, that someone from his own country would be a problem to him.


2 Kings 9:18 "So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, [Is it] peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again."


Are things well in the army, or any disturbance in the kingdom? Are you come as friends or enemies?


"And Jehu said, what hast thou to do with peace?" or to ask such a question.


"Turn thee behind me": Which he was obliged to do, Jehu having such a company of soldiers with him. And this he did, that he might carry no tidings to Joram that he might not know as yet who he and his company were.


"And the watchman told, saying, the messenger came to them, but he cometh not again": Of this he sent word to the king what he had observed.


This is just another way of saying that he would not tell the messenger what his business was. He did tell him not to go back to Jezreel, but just keep on going away from the city. The scout realized there was something not just right here, and he went on behind Jehu. He did not go back to the city. The watchman, who had reported this to Joram, told him about this latest event.


2 Kings 9:19 "Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, [Is it] peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me."


The same as the first messenger did, and had the same answer, and was bid to do the same as in the preceding verse.


2 Kings 9:20 "And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving [is] like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously."


"Furiously" is derived from the same root as madman (9:11), and used as an exaggeration, like the phrase "He drives like a madmen."


The second man sent out to find out if this visit was peaceful or not, did the same thing as the first. He just kept going, instead of taking back a word to Joram. The chariot of Jehu was getting closer now, and the watchman thought he recognized Jehu. It appears that Jehu had been a very aggressive captain, because the watchman recognized him by the speed of his chariot.



Verses 21-26: Ahab earned his death sentence by unjustly acquiring Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:17-24). "Naboth" and "his sons" were killed, preventing a trace back to the property Ahab wanted. God judged leaders like Joram, who persisted in the sins of their parents (Ezek. 18:1-32). With the Lord's help, anyone can break a generational cycle, but it is especially important for leaders to do so.


2 Kings 9:21 "And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite."


"Naboth the Jezreelite": Providentially, the kings of Israel and Judah met Jehu at the very place where Ahab and Jezebel had Naboth killed (1 Kings 21:1-16). The alarmed king, aware by then of impending disaster, summoned his forces and, accompanied by Ahaziah, met Jehu as Jehu's men ascended the slope up to the city from the northern side.


The king of Judah and the king of Israel went out to meet the newly anointed king of Israel. They probably, were not expecting a fight, but were just anxious to hear of the reason for the hurry. The portion of Naboth was very near the town. They were just outside the walls of the city. This had to be, because the LORD wanted them to die where they had committed the sins. All of this, of course, was God's plans.


2 Kings 9:22 "And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, [Is it] peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts [are so] many?"


"What peace": Joram wished to know if Jehu's coming meant peace, apparently unsure of Jehu's rebellious plans. Jehu replied that there could be no true peace in Israel because of Jezebel's influence. "Harlotries," a common biblical metaphor for idolatry, and "witchcrafts", i.e., seeking information from demonic forces, described the nature of Jezebel's influence. Idolatry had lured Israel into demonic practices.


Jehu, we must remember, was doing exactly what the LORD had told him to do through the prophet. It was the LORD that wanted the house of Ahab destroyed. It appears, Joram realized before he got to Jehu that something was wrong, and called out to see if there was peace between them. The answer that Jehu gave was as if he was saying that the vengeance of the LORD has come on the house of Ahab, and especially on Jezebel. The whoredoms, spoken of here, was the harlotry in the church. She had men and women prostitutes that worked for the church. She was a very evil woman.


2 Kings 9:23 "And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, [There is] treachery, O Ahaziah."


"Joram turned his hands" on the reins. He had not anticipated Jehu's "treachery" and so, having driven the chariot himself, he turned it around to make his escape.


"Turning the hands" meant turning the chariot around, and going as fast as they could back to Jezreel. We must remember, that Ahaziah had connections to Jezebel and Ahab, as well. Joram shouted and warned Ahaziah.


2 Kings 9:24 "And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot."


To give the arrow all the force he could.


"And smote Jehoram between his arms": That is, between his shoulders, his back being turned to him, and the chariot an open one.


"And the arrow went out at his heart": Quite through him.


"And he sunk down in his chariot": And died immediately.


It appears, the arrow went completely through the body of Joram. He was shot in the heart. This arrow was a fatal strike. He fell into the bottom of the chariot.


2 Kings 9:25 "Then said [Jehu] to Bidkar his captain, Take up, [and] cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him;"


"Bidkar his captain": "Captain" originally referred to the third man in a chariot, besides the driver and a warrior; it was his task to hold the shield and arms of the warrior. The term was eventually applied to a high-ranking official (7:2). Jehu and Bidkar either rode together in one chariot as part of the chariot team or were in different chariots behind Ahab when Elijah gave his prediction to Ahab recorded (in 1 Kings 21:17-24).


"The LORD laid this burden upon him": The term "oracle" referred to a prophetic oracle, the prophetic utterance of Elijah recorded (in 1 Kings 21:19; 20-24). Jehu viewed himself as God's avenging agent fulfilling Elijah's prediction.


It seems, that Jehu chose Bidkar to carry him to the very spot, where the LORD said he was to be judged.


1 Kings 21:19 "And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine."


1 Kings 21:29 "Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: [but] in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house."


2 Kings 9:26 "Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take [and] cast him into the plat [of ground], according to the word of the LORD."


"Naboth ... sons": Although their deaths are not expressly mentioned in the record concerning Naboth, they are plainly implied in the confiscation of his property (see 1 Kings 21:16).


Elisha's prophetic sentence at last found it final fulfillment (see the note on 1 Kings 21:19).


The Word of the LORD is absolute. Whatever He says, He will do.



Verses 27-28: According to (2 Chron. 22:9), "Ahaziah" had managed to make it as far as Samaria, where he was at last apprehended by Jehu's men. Apparently, he was taken from there to "Megiddo," where he was executed. His body was returned to "Jerusalem" for interment in the royal tombs.


2 Kings 9:27 "But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw [this], he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. [And they did so] at the going up to Gur, which [is] by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there."


"Ahaziah the king of Judah ... died": Jehu and his men pursued Ahaziah and wounded him at the ascent of Gur by Ibleam. According to (2 Chron. 22:9), Ahaziah reached Samaria, where he hid for a while. Ahaziah then fled north to Megiddo, about 12 miles north of Samaria, where he died.


The LORD in a sense, had told him to kill Ahaziah as well, because he was descended from Ahab. Ahaziah saw what happened to Joram and turned his own chariot toward his home. It is not said who killed him, only that he was killed under orders of Jehu.


2 Kings 9:28 "And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulcher with his fathers in the city of David."


With the leave of Jehu, because he was the grandson of Jehoshaphat, a sincere worshipper of God (2 Chron. 22:9).


"And buried him in his sepulcher with his fathers in the city of David": (see 1 Kings 22:50).


Ahaziah reigned for a very short period of time (one year). He had already prepared himself a sepulcher to be buried in. Jehu did not try to stop his servants from carrying him to Jerusalem to be buried. Jehu had no quarrel with the servants of Ahaziah. The servants carried him home for burial.


2 Kings 9:29 "And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah."


"Eleventh year" (ca. 841 B.C. Compare 8:25), "twelfth year."


(In 8:25), the non-accession-year system of dating was used, so that Joram's accession year was counted as the first year of his reign (see note on 12:6). Here, the accession-year dating system was used, where Joram's ascension year and his second year were counted as the first year of his reign.


This is stressing the short period of time he reigned.



Verses 30-31: "Jezebel" died in queenly fashion. She made herself up so as to be in proper appearance and cast Jehu's words relative to "peace" (verse 22), back in his teeth, calling him "Zimri", a murderous traitor (1 Kings 16:10-11).


2 Kings 9:30 "And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard [of it]; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window."


"Painted her face": The painting of the eyelids with a black powder mixed with oil and applied with a brush, darkened them to give an enlarged effect. Jezebel's appearance at the window gave the air of a royal audience to awe Jehu.


"For "Jezebel" to "put paint" (makeup) "on her eyes" and adorn her hair reveals her pride. She either wanted to look and die like a queen or like a prostitute, identifying herself with the fertility cult of Asherah (Astarte), one of Baal's wives.


2 Kings 9:31 "And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, [Had] Zimri peace, who slew his master?"


Jezebel insulted Jehu by calling him "Zimri," after the traitor who reigned as king only seven days (1 Kings 16:9-10, 15). Her taunts suggested that Jehu's reign, like Zimri's, would be short-lived.


She was calling Jehu, Zimri. Perhaps, she meant by this, that he was like Zimri. Zimri was a captain of hosts, like Jehu. He had taken the kingdom from Elah, but he only lasted 7 days. She could have been implying that Jehu would last just 7 days, because he killed his master.


2 Kings 9:32 "And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who [is] on my side? who? And there looked out to him two [or] three eunuchs."


"Who is on my side": Some of Jezebel's own officials (eunuchs), threw her out of a second-story window, after which Jehu drove his horse and chariots over her body.


The LORD had commanded Jehu to destroy Jezebel. All of her beauty would have no effect on eunuchs. She was probably as wicked to her slaves as she was to everyone else. They would probably be happy to see her dead. The eunuchs were on Jehu's side.



Verses 33-37: Elijah prophesied Jezebel's fate (in 1 Kings 21:23-29). She was the epitome of corruption and became a symbol of immorality and idolatry (Rev. 2:20). As a sign of how severely she had offended the Lord, her body was left to scavengers rather than being properly buried.


2 Kings 9:33 "And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and [some] of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot."


Out of the window upon the ground.


"So they threw her down": Took her up, and cast her headlong, as they were bid.


"And some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall": Of the palace where she was.


"And on the horses": Which drew the chariot of Jehu.


"And he trod her underfoot": With his horses; according to Kimchi, her sentence, and so her death, was stoning, as a retaliation of Naboth. For stoning was done two ways, both by casting down persons on stones, and by casting stones upon them (see Acts 7:58).


It appears, that Jehu does not just want her killed, but humiliated in the process. This had been the evillest woman in all history. Her death must fit the crime. Even the treading of the horses over her, was to show Jehu's total disgust of her.


2 Kings 9:34 "And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed [woman], and bury her: for she [is] a king's daughter."


"A king's daughter": Jehu recognized Jezebel's royalty, while denying that she deserved to be the queen of Israel.


Her death did not curb his appetite. It was appropriate for Jezebel to be called (cursed woman). She had been the daughter of a neighboring king, as well as being queen of Israel. He would have her buried out of respect for the office, not out of respect for her.


2 Kings 9:35 "And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of [her] hands."


Leaving the mangled body on the bare earth, Jehu went to the banquet. It was, no doubt, important that he should at once show himself to the court as king. In calling Jezebel "this cursed one," Jehu means to remind his hearers that the curse of God had been pronounced upon her by Elijah (2 Kings 9:36), and so to justify his own conduct.


The servants of Jehu, according to his orders and instructions, went to bury her.


"But they found no more of her than the scull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands": The flesh, and even all the rest of her bones, being devoured by dogs, so that there was scarce anything of her to be buried (as in 2 Kings 9:10).


She had been torn apart by the chariot, when it went over her, but the dogs had eaten the edible parts of her. This was all done very publicly, to show what the LORD thought of her.



Verses 36-37: The words of Elijah's prophecy were literally fulfilled (1 Kings 21:23).


2 Kings 9:36 "Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This [is] the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:"


"This is the word of the LORD": Where and how Jezebel died fulfilled Elijah's prophetic oracle (1 Kings 21:23).


The following is the Scripture which prophesied that very thing.


1 Kings 21:23 "And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."


2 Kings 9:37 "And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; [so] that they shall not say, This [is] Jezebel."


For upon this spot her carcass fell when thrown out of the window of the king's palace, and here it was left; for the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which was in the portion of Jezreel, was next to the palace (1 Kings 21:1). There seems to be some allusion to her name Jezebel, which signifies "where is dung?"


"So that they shall not say, this is Jezebel": There being nothing left of her to be seen or pointed to, nor any grave nor monument over it on which was such an inscription, here lies Jezebel; or that might lead posterity to say, this is Jezebel's grave. Now though the words of this verse are not recorded elsewhere, as the words of the Lord, by Elijah. Yet as Jehu was present when they were spoken, and within the hearing of them, he now remembered them, and could repeat them. These circumstances bringing them fresh to his mind.


There would be no tomb, where people could go and raise a monument to her. She was not to be glorified in death, since she lived such a horrible life.


2 Kings Chapter 9 Questions


1. Who did Elisha call to run an errand for him?


2. Why did Elisha not go himself?


3. Where was Ramoth-gilead?


4. Who was he to go to see?


5. Who had first been told to anoint Jehu?


6. Jehu was actually the ____________ of Nimshi.


7. He was to be anointed ________ of Israel.


8. What was the young man to do, as soon as he has delivered the message to Jehu?


9. What did the young man call Jehu, in verse 5?


10. What did the young man do, when he had Jehu alone?


11. What was Jehu to do, when he took over as king?


12. Who had Jezebel been a threat to?


13. What did Ahab, Jeroboam, and Baasha have in common?


14. What will happen to Jezebel?


15. What did the other captains ask Jehu?


16. Why did they call the young prophet a mad man?


17. What did Jehu tell the captains?


18. What did they do, that showed they accepted him as king?


19. Why did they blow the trumpet?


20. What made this a conspiracy?


21. Where had Jehoram gone, to get over his wounds in battle?


22. Why is it important for the news to be withheld now?


23. How did Jehu get to Jezreel?


24. Who is in Jezreel visiting Joram?


25. Who told Joram, that Jehu was coming?


26. What does he do, to see if they are friendly or not?


27. Who went out to meet Jehu?


28. How was Joram killed?


29. Where did they carry Ahaziah's body, after he was killed?


30. How long had Ahaziah reigned in Judah?


31. What does Jezebel do, when she sees Jehu coming?


32. Why does she call him Zimri?


33. What happens to Jezebel?





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2 Kings 10



2 Kings Chapter 10

Verses 1-5: Jehu wrote his first "letter" to identify which of Ahab's remaining "seventy sons" was most likely to challenge him for the throne. Because he had recently killed "two kings," Joram (9:14-26), and Ahaziah (9:27-28), the leaders were afraid of Jehu.


2 Kings 10:1 "And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's [children], saying,"


"Seventy sons": These were the male descendants of Ahab, both sons and grandsons. Ahab had a number of wives (1 Kings 20:5), and therefore many descendants. Since these living relatives could avenge a dead kinsman by killing the person responsible for his death (Num. 35:12), Jehu's life was in jeopardy while Ahab's male descendants survived.


"Samaria": Ahab's surviving family members were living in the capital city of the northern kingdom, located about 25 miles south of Jezreel.


"Rulers ... elders ... them that brought up Ahab's children": Jehu sent the same message (verses 2-3). in a number of letters to:


  1. The royal officials, who had probably fled from Jezreel to Samaria;
  2. The leaders of the tribes of Israel; and
  3. Those appointed as the custodians and educators of the royal children.

The LORD had specifically told Jehu, through the prophet that anointed him, not to let any male descendants of Ahab live. Samaria was the principal residence of the king and his family. Jezreel that we read about in the last lesson, was like a country home. The letters were sent, so there would be no way of denying they had heard of Jehu's plans. The rulers, or elders, were those in charge.


2 Kings 10:2 "Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons [are] with you, and [there are] with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armor;"


Sons of Ahab, and some of Joram, and all either the sons or grandsons of Ahab.


"And there are with you chariots and horses": Military ones.


"A fenced city also": As Samaria was, well walled and fortified, and able to hold out a long siege.


"And armor": Of all sorts, to arm themselves and people within their defense.


Samaria was the best fortified city, because it was the capital city. Many of the sons of Joram, and the male descendants of Ahab, would be there too. Jehu reminds them, that they have chariots and horses and items of war.


2 Kings 10:3 "Look even out the best and meetest of your master's sons, and set [him] on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house."


"Fight for your master's house": Realizing potential conflict existed between himself and Ahab's family, Jehu was demanding that Ahab's appointed officials either fight to continue the royal line of Ahab or select a new king from Ahab's descendants who would fight Jehu in battle to decide which family would rule Israel (1 Sam. 17:8-9; 2 Sam. 2:9).


Jehu gives them warning, that he is going to take the throne. He is giving them an opportunity to prepare to fight against him, and keep the kingdom for themselves. Joram had sons, and perhaps, one of them would be strong, brave, and could lead them in battle.


2 Kings 10:4 "But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand?"


They were intimidated at once; for they saw the purport of those letters, that should they attempt anything of this kind, he would come upon them with his forces.


"And said, behold, two kings stood not before him": The kings of Israel and Judah, Joram and Ahaziah; but they were unarmed, and therefore how should they stand before an armed body of men Jehu had with him? This shows the fear of fright of these men to make use of such an argument as this.


"How then shall we stand? that is, before Jehu; but they were in much better circumstances than the two kings, as they are truly represented in (2 Kings 10:2).


It appears they were afraid, because Jehu had killed Ahaziah and Joram. They had not been in the army and they feared they would not be able to fight, and keep what they had. They had given up, even before they began. Fear gripped them.


2 Kings 10:5 "And he that [was] over the house, and he that [was] over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up [of the children], sent to Jehu, saying, We [are] thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou [that which is] good in thine eyes."


"He that was over the house ... city": These two officials were the palace administrator and the city governor probably the commander of the city's fighting force.


"We are thy servants": These officials and leaders transferred their allegiance from the house of Omri to Jehu.


The letters that Jehu had sent, had caused the people to decide exactly what they would do. It appeared, the elders and the city officials had decided to serve Jehu, instead of fight. They will not try to crown another king. They were willing for Jehu to be king. In every sense, they had surrendered.


2 Kings 10:6 "Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye [be] mine, and [if] ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by tomorrow this time. Now the king's sons, [being] seventy persons, [were] with the great men of the city, which brought them up."


Jehu's "second letter" asked others to kill for him. Killing the descendants of the previous dynasty was a common practice. Often the new king would "take ye the heads" of their rival to intimidate the citizenry and discourage rebellion.


"The ye the heads of the men": As a tangible sign of their surrender, Jehu required the officials to decapitate all of Ahab's male descendants and bring their heads to Jehu at Jezreel by the next day.


Jehu tested their loyalty to him. He says, if they were really willing to be his servant, they must show it by killing the 70 male descendants of Ahab and bringing their heads to him. He will remain at Jezreel. This had to be difficult for the men to do, but they knew they would all die, if they did not do this.



Verses 7-11: The killing of Ahab's household was sanctioned (10:10, 17), but Jehu overstepped the bounds of God's judgment in killing "his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests". He used his God-given power to meet his own selfish desires (10:31).


2 Kings 10:7 "And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him [them] to Jezreel."


"Heads in baskets": Out of fear, the officials obeyed Jehu by decapitating Ahab's male descendants. However, they did not personally go to Jehu in Jezreel, probably fearing that a similar fate would await them.


They probably killed them privately and put the heads in baskets to get them out of town without too much local notice. They sent them to Jehu at Jezreel.


2 Kings 10:8 "And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning."


"Two heaps": The practice of piling the heads of conquered subjects at the city gate was common in the ancient Near East, especially by the Assyrians. The practice was designed to dissuade rebellion.


Such grisly deeds were often practiced in the ancient Near East.


The heads were put on display, so all might see. Everyone who entered the gates, saw the heads of the princes.



Verses 9-11: Jehu's edict was calculated to remove all opposition to his kingship. He assured the officials in Samaria that they were only carrying out God's known will in accordance with the prophecies of "Elijah" (1 Kings 19:17).


2 Kings 10:9 "And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye [be] righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these?"


"Conspired ... slew": Jehu is referring to his murder of Joram (verses 14-24).


This speech to the people was to stop the talk that was generally whispered around about the new king. They thought Jehu conspired against his master, Joram. In a sense, he did just that. We must remember that the LORD anointed him king, and told him to rid Israel of the descendants of Ahab. He did kill Joram and Ahaziah, but their own people killed the seventy, whose heads were on display there in the street.


2 Kings 10:10 "Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done [that] which he spake by his servant Elijah."


"Word of the LORD": God had prophesied through Elijah the destruction of Ahab's house (1 Kings 21:17-24).


Elijah had been told of God of this very thing, before he died. We must continue to remember the evil that Ahab and Jezebel had done. They not only were vicious to people they were involved with, but they were the worst of any of the kings in bringing the worship of Baal to Israel. Every Word the LORD had spoken about the destruction of Ahab's descendants, will be carried out under the rule of Jehu.


2 Kings 10:11 "So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining."


"Jehu slew all": Jehu went beyond God's mandate and executed all of Ahab's officials, a deed for which God later judged Jehu's house (Hosea 1:4).


We would really be guessing, if we tried to estimate how many people were directly or indirectly, associated with Ahab. We do know from the Scripture above, that every one of them were killed. The priests the Scripture is speaking of, were probably priests of Astarte, who were not killed at Mount Carmel. The land was to be cleansed of the evil of Ahab.



Verses 12-17: Jehu also killed some of Ahaziah's relatives who had come from Judah to see Israel's royal family (presumably the 70 sons of Ahab). The writer offers no motive for the slaughter. Perhaps Jehu attempted to wipe out a potential heir because the house of Ahaziah and the house of Ahab were related (8:16-18), or because of his ongoing effort to eliminate Baal worship (2 Chron. 22:8).


2 Kings 10:12 "And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. [And] as he [was] at the shearing house in the way,"


To make a clear riddance there of all that belonged to Ahab, as at Jezreel, and abolish idolatry there.


"And as he was at the shearing house in the way": Or, "the house of the binding of the shepherds", who, in shearing their sheep, bind their legs together. The Targum is, "the house of the gathering of the shepherds;" where they used to meet and converse together. With some it is the proper name of a place, Betheked, a country village between Jezreel and Samaria. Jerom speaks of a village of this name, situated in a large plain, about fifteen miles from a place called Legion. Which village he takes to be this here.


2 Kings 10:13 "Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who [are] ye? And they answered, We [are] the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen."


"Relatives of Ahaziah': Since the brothers of Ahaziah, the slain king of Judah (9:27-29), had been previously killed by the Philistines (2 Chron. 21:17), these must have been relatives of Ahaiah in a broader sense, like nephews and cousins.


The size of this group of men indicated that they were not really on a visit, but probably had been sent to help with the problems in Israel. They were not the brothers of Ahaziah, because they were dead. These may be the nephews of Ahaziah. They too, were descendants of Ahab and Jezebel. In fact, it was the children and grandchildren of Ahab and Jezebel that they claim they were coming to see.


2 Kings 10:14 "And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, [even] two and forty men; neither left he any of them."


Jehu's bloodbath was also directed at Ahaziah's close relative. Since the two crowns of state had been brought into close relationship during the Third Dynasty of Israel, Jehu intended to eliminate any rival, however remote.


This slaughter by Jehu was because these people might have stimulated and strengthened those who were still loyal to the family of Ahab.


He killed them, because they were Ahab's relatives.


2 Kings 10:15 "And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab [coming] to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart [is] with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give [me] thine hand. And he gave [him] his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot."


"Jehonadab the son of Rechab": This man was a faithful follower of the Lord and a strict observer of the Mosaic Law, leading a life of austerity and abstinence. According to (Jer. 35:1-16), the Rechabites did not plant fields or drink wine. They shook hands, indicating a pledge of support for Jehu from this influential man.


"Jehonadab" was a religious zealot who was the leader of a pious separatist sect of nomads (Jer. 35). Because he was opposed to the great spiritual compromises in Israel, Jehonadab probably hoped that Jehu was likewise a zealous patriot who would also restore true religion in the northern kingdom.


Jehonadab was the great Kenite leader. The descendants of Rechab had bound themselves to abstain from wine, and would always be nomads. It appears, that Jehu knew who he was. He asked him, if he was on his side. It appears, that Jehu had a great respect for Jehonadab, and wanted his approval of removing the Baalites from the land. When he told Jehu that he was on his side, Jehu brought him up to ride in his chariot with him.


2 Kings 10:16 "And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot."


In destroying idolaters and idolatry, with an intent to do which he was going to Samaria; this seems to savor very much of vain glory, hypocrisy, and a pharisaical spirit.


"So they made him ride in his chariot": The servants of Jehu by his order opened the chariot door, and assisted Jonadab in getting into it.


2 Kings 10:17 "And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah."


By this act, Ahab's dynasty was completely ended. The full weight of Elijah's prophecy had come down on the house of "Ahab" (1 Kings 21:21).


All of this killing seems so cruel, but we must remember, that the LORD was removing the worship of Baal from the land. Jehu was just the instrument that the LORD used for this purpose.



Verses 18-29: The "house of Baal was built by Ahab (1 Kings 16:32). What Elijah began (1 Kings 18:40), Jehu finished. However, Jehu's reform was incomplete: he did not turn away from the worship of the "golden calves ... at Bethel ... in Dan", which were meant to represent Yahweh.



Verses 18-19: "Ahab served Baal a little ... Jehu shall serve him much": Though it was in fact a ruse (verse 19), Jehu promised to outdo Ahab's devotion to Baal. The people of Samaria might have thought that Jehu was seeking a military, not a religious, reformation. If so, Jehu was seeking Baal's blessing on his reign as king (verse 20).


2 Kings 10:18 "And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; [but] Jehu shall serve him much."


The people of Samaria, at least the principal of them.


"And said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu shall serve him much": Which some understand as spoken ironically; but the words seem to be spoken with a design to deceive the idolatrous inhabitants of Samaria. Making them to believe that he was hearty in the worship of Baal, and should show a greater respect to it, and more constantly attend it, than Ahab had done. And this he said with a view to draw them to the temple of Baal, and there destroy them, as the sequel shows. And in which he is not to be justified, however good his intention was; for evil is not to be done that good may come.


This really was a lie. He was tricking all of the followers of Baal to reveal who they were so he could kill them.


2 Kings 10:19 "Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice [to do] to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did [it] in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal."


All that were employed in the several parts of religious worship given him, and in performing any rite and ceremony belonging to it. In invocation of him, and singing praises to him, as the prophets; in offering sacrifices to him, as the priests; or in assisting them in their service, who may be meant by his servants or ministers.


"For I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal": By which, though he might mean a sacrifice of his prophets, priests, servants, and worshippers, he would have it otherwise understood, and his design was to deceive, which cannot be justified.


"Whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live": But be put to death. This he said, pretending his great zeal for Baal, when his view was by this threatening to get all his worshippers together to destroy them, that none might escape as follows.


"But Jehu did it in subtlety, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal": The Targum renders it, "with wisdom"; but Jarchi and Ben Gersom much better, "in deceit". The word signifies trickery, such as Esau charged Jacob with.


This is a clever plot of Jehu to get all of those who worshipped Baal, all of his priests and all of every group that served him, to appear before Jehu.


2 Kings 10:20 "And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed [it]."


Such as with the Jews was a holy convocation, when they were forbidden and restrained from doing any work on that day. And such a day Jehu would have appointed and proclaimed for Baal, that the people might be at leisure to attend.


"And they proclaimed it" According to his order, in Samaria.


2 Kings 10:21 "And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another."


"House of Baal": The idolatrous worship center that Ahab had built in Samaria (1 Kings 16:32). All the worshipers could fit into that one edifice because the number of Baals devotees had been reduced by the influence of Elijah and Elisha and by the neglect and discontinuance of Baal worship under Joram.


We can see how widespread the worship of Baal had become. Not only was the family of Ahab involved, but they had influenced many others as well. They had to come, because a solemn assembly had been called.


2 Kings 10:22 "And he said unto him that [was] over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments."


That had the care of the garments, in which the priests of Baal ministered.


"Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal": Not for the priests only, but for all that worshipped. And this he ordered for the greater solemnity of this service, as he would have it thought. But, in truth, that the worshippers of Baal might be separated, and distinguished from the worshippers of the Lord, that not one of them might be among them.


"And he brought them forth vestments": Out of the chamber or wardrobe in which they were, and they put them on.


The vestments were linen garments.


2 Kings 10:23 "And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only."


Who no doubt was led into the secret, and knew the design of Jehu, or he would not have gone into such an idolatrous place.


"And said unto the worshippers of Baal, search and look, that there be here with you none of the servants of the Lord, but the worshippers of Baal only": Pretending a great regard to the purity of their worship and sacrifices, that they might not be profaned by the company of such who were not worshippers of Baal, but of Jehovah. Whereas his view was to prevent any of the worshippers of God perishing with them, who might out of curiosity go in among them, to behold the manner of their service.


Jehu was making sure, that no worshippers of the True God were in here. The entire congregation was made up of the evil Baal worshippers. Jehu was still pretending to be one of them, so he would be sure to get all of them.


2 Kings 10:24 "And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, [If] any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, [he that letteth him go], his life [shall be] for the life of him."


To Baal, all things being ready for them.


"Jehu appointed eighty men without": Without the temple of Baal, at the several doors and avenues of it.


"And said, if any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him": Should be put to death for it in his stead; the life of a watchman set to guard should go for the life of one that escaped.


Jehu and Jehonadab have gone out, and now, have stationed 80 men to kill every one of the Baal worshippers. If they let one of them go, they will have to pay with their own lives.



Verses 25-26: The "the images" represented Baal's presence. Jehu made the temple of Baal "a draught house" (a latrine), to not only degrade Baalism but to render the site ritually unclean. Baalism had no place in Israelite culture.


2 Kings 10:25 "And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, [and] slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast [them] out, and went to the city of the house of Baal."


The chief of the priests of Baal, whose office it was to do this service.


"That Jehu said to the guard, and to the captains, go in and slay them, let none come forth": This he said to the eighty men set to guard the temple, and the officers over them. And perhaps they might also have a reinforcement, since such a number seems scarcely sufficient to destroy so many as were here. Though indeed it must be considered they were armed men.


"And they smote them with the edge of the sword": Put them all to death.


"And the guard and the captains cast them out": Those that were slain, as the Targum, their dead bodies. But it can hardly be thought they would be at the trouble of casting them out, when the house was to be pulled down, and made a jakes (a common sewer or dung house), as follows. Rather therefore it should be rendered, "they cast" or "flung themselves" with great force, and in great haste, as Kimchi. And rushed out of the temple, being eager to do as follows.


"And went to the city of the house of Baal": To pull it down; to some city near Samaria where was a temple of Baal. Or rather this may design the buildings about the temple of Baal, in which the priests and their families lived, and were so large that they might be called a city of themselves.


Jehu carried the deceit up to the very last moment. He even sacrificed for them on the altar. He then went out and told his men to come in and kill every person. It appears, that all of the bodies were cast out of the temple, after they had killed every one of them. They went to the house that had been erected for Baal in Samaria.


2 Kings 10:26 "And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them."


"The images": These were wooden idols distinct from the main image "pillar" of Baal (verse 27).


2 Kings 10:27 "And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day."


"Draught house": Literally "place of dung." This desecration of the site discouraged any rebuilding to the temple of Baal.



Verses 28-31: "Jehu" is commended and rewarded by "the Lord" for his carrying out of God's sentence against "the house of Ahab." However, Jehu's zeal for God was halfhearted at best. Although he stamped out Baalism, he did so more that likely because "Baal" had been so distinctly associated with the previous Third Dynasty. He did not turn the nation back to God, but back to the state religion of Jeroboam I. He himself had no "heart" for "the law of the Lord." Therefore, he is justly condemned by the later prophet Hosea (Hosea 1:4), for having used the command of God to mask his own lust for power. Jehu's willingness to do anything to further his own ends and to sustain himself at any cost is reflected in the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III which depicts his submission to the Assyrian king.


2 Kings 10:28 "Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel."


"Destroyed Baal out of Israel": Jehu rid the northern kingdom of royally sanctioned Baal worship. It was done, however, not from spiritual and godly motives, but because Jehu believed that Baalism was inextricably bound to the dynasty and influence of Ahab. By its extermination, he thought he would kill all the last vestiges of Ahab loyalists and incur the support of those in the land who worshiped the true God. Jonadab didn't know of that motive, so he concurred with what Jehu did.


He not only burned the images of Baal, but he tore the buildings down, that had been dedicated to Baal. They did not move the broken walls of the houses that had been dedicated to Baal. They left them as a reminder of what happened to those who worship false gods. The worship of Baal stopped, and never was revived in Israel.


2 Kings 10:29 "Howbeit [from] the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, [to wit], the golden calves that [were] in Beth-el, and that [were] in Dan."


The sins of Jeroboam": However, Jehu did continue to officially sanction other idolatry introduced into the northern kingdom by Jeroboam I (1 Kings 12:28-33).


The golden calves had been set up in two places of worship. They were mingled in with the worship of the LORD. They were put there to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship. Jehu allowed this to go on. It was not as bad as the worship of Baal, but was definitely a sin in the sight of the LORD. God had cursed this type of worship from the onset. While Jehu was house cleaning, he should have destroyed the two calves, but he did not. This is the very reason Jeroboam was destroyed.


2 Kings 10:30 "And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing [that which is] right in mine eyes, [and] hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that [was] in mine heart, thy children of the fourth [generation] shall sit on the throne of Israel."


By a prophet, he not being one himself; and this is generally supposed, by the Jews, to be Jonah the son of Amittai.


"Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes": In rooting out the idolatry of Baal, which was right in the sight of God, and was materially a good work. Though it might not be done from a good principle, nor every step taken in doing it justifiable.


"And hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart": That he had decreed within himself should be done, and had foretold by his prophets would be done, the doing of which was acceptable and well pleasing to him.


"Thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel": As they did, namely, Jehoahaz, Joash, Jeroboam, and Zachariah, though the last reigned but six months, just enough to fulfil this promise.


Actually, Jehu had done what the young prophet had told him to do. Of course, the young prophet was just conveying a message from the LORD. The LORD was pleased with Jehu getting rid of the Baal worship and worshippers. His reward from God for his actions was a promise that four generations of his would sit on the throne of Israel.


2 Kings 10:31 "But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin."


As to his moral conversation, he was not careful that it was according to the law of God, and what he did agreeable to it, it was not sincerely, and from the right principle.


"For he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin": Which he would, if he had had a cordial respect to all the commandments of the law.


The blessings of God are promised to those who keep His commandments. Jehu had performed well, a job that the LORD had given him to do. He stopped, as if he had won the prize. He did not live the life that he had started. He fell into the sins of Jeroboam. The calf worship was something that was an abomination to the LORD.



Verses 32-36: Jehu's reign was tumultuous. He came to power through conspiracy and murder and his legacy was bloody. Though he had been anointed by God and torn down the pillars of Baal, he did not completely walk in God's ways, so the Lord "cut Israel short" and parts were given to Hazael.


2 Kings 10:32 "In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel;"


The year 841 B.C. was a pivotal point in history. Since both Joram of the northern kingdom and Ahaziah of the southern kingdom had been killed, there was a change of rulership in both kingdoms. Jehu began a new (fourth) dynasty in "Israel" that was to span four generations. Athaliah usurped the throne of Judah and held it for seven years (chapter 11). Shalmaneser III managed at last to break the back of the Syro-Israelite coalition in the same year. However, increasing pressures in the east kept him closer to home after this, and so "Hazael" began a severe and extensive affliction of Israel. It was to last all the days of Jehu and his son Jehoahaz (841-798 B.C.; compare 13:1-3).


The LORD would not bless them in battle, because of their unfaithfulness to Him in the calf worship. They had no special favors from the LORD. Hazael was from Syria. He was a continuous threat to Israel.


2 Kings 10:33 "From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which [is] by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan."


"From Jordan eastward": Because Jehu failed to keep the Lord's law wholeheartedly (verse 31), the Lord punished him by giving Israel's land east of the Jordan River to Syria. This lost region was the homeland of the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh (Num. 32:1-42).


This is telling of some of the places, where Israel was attacked and did not fare well.


2 Kings 10:34 "Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"


Of the preceding kings from the times of Jeroboam, in which their several acts were recorded, and his also.


This is that same book of records that is mentioned so much, here in the book of Kings.


2 Kings 10:35 "And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead."


Died as they did.


"And they buried him in Samaria": Where Omri and Ahab, his predecessors, were buried (1 Kings 16:28).


"And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead": Who reigned seventeen years (2 Kings 13:1).


Jehu was buried in the capital of Samaria. "Jehoahaz" means Jehovah has laid hold of. He would be an evil king, like his father.


2 Kings 10:36 "And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria [was] twenty and eight years."


"Twenty and eight years": 841-814 B.C.


Jehu's reign of 28 years had been full of bloodshed. He pleased God in the destruction of Baal worship, but he did not follow the commandments of God.


2 Kings Chapter 10 Questions


1. How many sons of Ahab were in Samaria?


2. What was the capital city of Israel?


3. What was Jezreel?


4. In verse 2, Jehu encouraged them to do what?


5. Who did he suggest they put on the throne?


6. Why were they so afraid of Jehu?


7. What message did they send back to Jehu?


8. Who are they willing to be king?


9. What did Jehu tell the leaders to do, if they were truly on his side?


10. They put the heads in ____________.


11. What did Jehu do with their heads?


12. Who were killed, that were associated with Ahab?


13. Who were the priests mentioned in verse 11?


14. Who were the 42 Jehu met at the shearing house?


15. What happened to them?


16. Why were they killed?


17. Who was Jehonadab?


18. What was peculiar about the people of Rechab?


19. When Jehu found him to be a friend, what did he do?


20. Jehu told him to come with him, and see his _______ for the LORD.


21. Who had the LORD told to prophesy the destruction of Ahab's descendants?


22. What lie did Jehu tell the people of Israel?


23. Why did he do it?


24. How did Jehu plot to get all of the Baal worshippers in one place?


25. What were the vestments?


26. Who did Jehu have kill the Baal worshippers?


27. What did he do, after he killed all of the Baal worshippers?


28. What did he not do, that disturbed the LORD?


29. How many generations would Jehu have descendants on the throne of Israel?


30. Who attacked Israel, and the LORD did not help them?


31. Who reigned in the place of Jehu at his death?


32. How long had Jehu reigned?





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2 Kings 11



2 Kings Chapter 11

Verses 1-2: "Athaliah", meaning ("Yahweh Is Exalted"), was Ahab and Jezebel's daughter. The only woman to reign over Judah or Israel, she seized the throne following the death of her son 'Ahaziah" and even had her own grandchildren ("all the seed royal"), killed to maintain her grip on power.


2 Kings 11:1 "And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal."


"Athaliah": A granddaughter of Omri (8:26), and daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. She was zealous to rule after the death of her son, Ahaziah (9:27), and was dedicated to seeing the worship of Baal officially sanctioned in Judah (see note on 8:18). She reigned for 6 years (verse 3; ca. 841-835 B.C.; see notes on 2 Chron. 22:10 - 23:21).


"Destroyed all the seed royal": The previous deaths of Jehoram's brother (2 Chron. 21:4), and Ahaziah's bother and relatives (10:12-14; 2 Chron. 21:17), left only her grandchildren for Athaliah to put to death to destroy the Davidic line. Though the Lord had promised that the house of David would rule over Israel and Judah forever (2 Sam. 7:16), Athaliah's purge brought the house of David to the brink of extinction. Athaliah duplicated the wicked deeds of her husband, Jehoram (see the note on 8:18).


Athaliah was queen mother, when all of this happened. She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and was very evil. She had brought the worship of Baal into Judah, when she married Jehoram. The seed royal would be speaking of anyone who might ascend to the throne from the house of David. It seemed not to matter, that she was the mother and grandmother of some of them. She was as wicked as her mother, Jezebel. Notice, the word "all" in the Scripture above. This means a large number of people. She did not want to give up her position as queen mother.


2 Kings 11:2 "But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons [which were] slain; and they hid him, [even] him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain."


"Jehosheba" was Ahaziah's half-sister. Since "Joash" had been born to Joram through a mother other than "Athaliah" (2 Chron. 24:1), perhaps this was the case with Jehosheba also. She was married to the high priest Jehoiada (2 Chron. 22:11). Thanks to her courage, the sole surviving "son of Ahaziah" escaped notice in Athaliah's bloody purge.


"Joash": The grandson of Athaliah who escaped her purge. For six years, "Jehosheba" hid "Joash," a descendant of David, keeping alive God's promise of an eternal kingdom.


"Bedchamber": Literally "the room of the beds." It was either the palace storeroom where servants kept the bedding or a room in the living quarters of the temple priests.


Another name for Jehosheba was Jehoshabeath. It appears that she secretly entered where Joash was and had his nurse to sneak him out and hide him. He was the only one of the king's sons that was saved alive. This was a very brave thing for her to do seeing how wicked Athaliah was. It appears, that she hid him in a storage room where extra mattresses and things were kept. In fact, it was very near the queen's bedroom. This would have been a place seldom used. They were soon moved to the temple and hidden there.


2 Kings 11:3 "And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land."


"In the house of the LORD": The temple in Jerusalem.


"Six years": 841-835 B.C.


His aunt and Joash were both hidden in the temple for 6 years. It appears, that Athaliah was so caught up in the worship of Baal that she did not come to the temple, and did not know they were there. This wicked queen ruled over Judah during this time.



Verses 4-12: Jehoiada's plan to unseat the idolatrous usurper Athaliah was carefully orchestrated (2 Chron. 23:1-11).


The chief priest "Jehoiada" brought Joash out of hiding to initiate Athaliah's removal from power (2 Chron. 23:1-11). This act was a risk; the guards could have killed both of them right there in the temple. But Jehoiada must have sensed that Athaliah had little military or religious backing.


2 Kings 11:4 "And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and showed them the king's son."


"Seventh year": The beginning of Athaliah's seventh year of reign, 835 B.C.


"Rulers over hundreds": These were the commanders of each 100 soldier unit (2 Chron. 23:1-2), names 5 of these commanders. The bodyguards were "Carites" associated with the Pelethites (2 Sam. 20:23), who were mercenary soldiers serving as royal bodyguards. The escorts, literally "runners," were probably another unit of royal bodyguards who provided palace security (see 1 Kings 14:27). Jehoiada received an agreement of support from the royal guards, sealed with an oath of allegiance, and then presented Joash to them. The military leaders supported the plan to dispose of Athaliah and make Joash king.


Jehoiada was the high priest in the temple at this time. He was the husband of Jehosheba (verse 2; 2 Chron. 22:11). He had helped Joash and his aunt. It would not be an unusual thing for the high priest to call these leaders to the temple. They were probably, worshippers of Jehovah. Jehoiada told them of Joash, and asked them to remove this wicked queen and anoint the 7 year old king of Israel. They all agreed, and took an oath to do just that. These leaders would have to find people throughout the land who would be faithful to the cause. They would come to Jerusalem on the Sabbath, so as not to raise suspicion.



Verses 5-8: Jehoiada outlined his plan to crown Joash as the king. On a selected Sabbath, the royal guards coming on duty, including priests and Levites (2 Chron. 23:4), would guard the palace as usual. They would especially make sure that no word concerning the coup in the temple courtyard reached Athaliah and those loyal to her. The companies going off duty would not return to their quarters as usual, but would instead report to the temple to form a tight security ring around the young potential king. The successful accomplishment of Jehoiada's plan is recorded (in verses 9-12).


2 Kings 11:5 "And he commanded them, saying, This [is] the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the Sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king's house;"


These were the rulers over hundreds among the priests and Levites, and which he, as high priest, could command, and whom he could convene without suspicion, being such as he had a connection with, and were unarmed men. And for the better understanding of what follows, it should be observed, that the priests, in the times of David, were divided into twenty four courses, which were by turns to serve a week in the temple. The course that came in entered when the Sabbath began, and that which went out went out when it ended. And each course consisted of a thousand men. Now with respect to both these courses, both that which went in and that which went out, Jehoiada gave them the following charge:


"A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath": On the beginning of it, to do duty in the temple the week following:


"Shall even be keepers of the watch of the king's house": Which, according to some, was that part of the temple where the king was hid and brought up, supposed to be the north part of it. Or rather these were set at the north gate of the temple, which led to the royal palace, lest any should rush out of that, and kill the king.


This happens after an interval of time, where they have had time to make their plans and get the people involved. All of this had been done so quietly, that the queen had not suspicioned anything. A third of the people, who come in on the Sabbath, are to circle the king's palace and watch it.


2 Kings 11:6 "And a third part [shall be] at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down."


"The gate of Sur": The exact location of this gate is unknown. Verse 19 implies that this gate connected the temple with the palace.


This is explaining the sides of the palace, where they are to wait at the various gates. They do not want the palace destroyed. They just want the queen destroyed.


2 Kings 11:7 "And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king."


The course that went out of service at the end of the Sabbath; these were not suffered, not any of them, to go into the country, but were detained for the present purpose, and divided into two parts.


"Even they shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord about the king": These were placed in the temple where the king was, or where he should be brought forth, and be a guard on his right and left. This interpretation seems to be agreeably to the order of the text here, and is the sense of Jarchi. But there is this objection to it, that, by such a distribution of both courses, no provision is made for the services of the temple. Wherefore Dr. Lightfoot divides them into six parts, each into three. One third of the course that came in for service, the other to keep the watch at the king's house, and the other third at the gate Sur. And the course that went out, one third of them was placed at the gate behind the guard, and the other two to keep the watch of the house for the king's safety. But according to the account in (2 Chron. 23:4), there were but three ranks or orders of them in all. Wherefore the sense of Kimchi, Ben Gersom, and Abarbinel, seems most agreeable, that the first consisted of those that went in on the Sabbath. Not of all, but half of them, the other half being employed in the service of the sanctuary. And the other two of the course that went out, even all of them, they being entirely at leisure, who were divided into two parts, and disposed of as above.


The remaining two-thirds are to guard the house of the LORD. The young king is in the house of the LORD. If Athaliah found out about him being in the temple, she would gather her troops, and try to kill him. The men guarding the house of the LORD would keep that from happening.


2 Kings 11:8 "And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in."


Afterwards given them (2 Kings 11:10).


"And he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain": Any strange man that was not of them, that came into the ranks in which they were formed, was to be put to death as a spy, who might go and inform the queen what was happening. According to Jarchi, the word for "ranges" signifies the place through which the king went from his own house to the house of God; and here it seems the guards were placed.


"And be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in": When brought forth to be crowned and anointed, and returned again.


These guards were to build a human shield around the king. Anyone, who tried to get to the king, would be killed instantly. They could take no chances with his life. They are to stay with the young king at all times. When he goes to another room, they are to go with him.


2 Kings 11:9 "And the captains over the hundreds did according to all [things] that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest."


Of whom (see 2 Kings 11:4).


"And they took every man his men": Everyone his hundred.


"That were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath": Both the courses, (of which see 2 Kings 11:5).


"And came to Jehoiada the priest": With the said courses, at least as many of them as were to be employed in the present service.


There were five centurions, and they did exactly as Jehoiada had commanded them to do. They knew that the LORD's will was spoken through Jehoiada.


2 Chronicles 23:7-8 "And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever [else] cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out." "So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go [out] on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses."


2 Kings 11:10 "And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give king David's spears and shields, that [were] in the temple of the LORD."


"Spears and shields": These were probably part of the plunder David captured from King Hadadezer of Zobah (2 Sam. 8:3-12). Dedicated to the Lord by David (2 Sam. 8:7, 11), these articles were stored in the temple. Since the soldiers were already armed, these additional ancient weapons symbolically reassured the soldiers that the temple authorities approve of their actions.


It appears, there was an armory of some sort in the temple. This could have been because they were made with expensive metals, such as gold. We do know from the Scripture above, there were swords, spears, and shields.


2 Kings 11:11 "And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, [along] by the altar and the temple."


As ordered (2 Kings 11:8).


"From the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple": From the northeast to the southeast.


"Along by the altar and the temple": The altar of burnt offering, which stood in the court.


These guards stood man to man around all of the walls, so there would be no way an intruder would be able to get to the king. They were so ready, that they did not have their swords in their sheaths, but in their hands.



Verses 12-15: The coronation symbols were "the crown" (political), and "the testimony" (religious), the covenant made between God and the people. Joash (Jehoash), was, by both accounts, the rightful heir to the throne. He was in the line of David and had God's blessing on his reign. Athaliah's cry of "Treason! Treason!" was empty and ironic; she had gained power through her own act of treason.


2 Kings 11:12 "And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and [gave him] the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king."


"The testimony" This was a copy of the whole law (Psalm 119:88). According to (Deut. 17:18-20), a copy of the law was to be kept with the king always so that it became his guide for life.


"Anointed" A priest or prophet customarily anointed kings, as here (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13; 1 Kings 1:39; 2 Kings 9:6).


The young Joash held a copy of the law in accordance with the directions of (Deut. 17:18). The ideas of "crown" and "testimony" are also closely associated with the concept of covenant, so that Jehoiada's putting the crown on Joash's head and the testimony in his hand was likewise a symbolic proclamation that the young lad was David's rightful heir. His ceremony of national covenant renewal followed Athaliah's execution (verse 17).


The anointing of the young Joash was done in the temple of the LORD. It was Jehoiada who crowned him, and it was Jehoiada who anointed him. This shows the approval of the LORD of Joash as king of Judah. The statement "gave him the testimony" means that Jehoiada held the law over his head. This showed that, even though Joash was king, he was still under the law. The clapping of the hands, and the shouts of God save the king, showed the approval of Joash as king.


2 Kings 11:13 "And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard [and] of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD."


Their acclamations and shouts at the coronation of the king. For by this time the people had some knowledge of the affair, and ran, and came flocking to see the new king, and express their joy on this occasion, and whom they greatly praised (2 Chron. 23:12).


"She came to the people into the temple of the Lord": The outward court, where the people were assembled. And she seems to come alone, unattended, in great surprise and consternation, and was admitted to pass the guards, being the queen. And alone, and perhaps by the particular order of Jehoiada, though contrary to the general orders he gave (2 Kings 11:8).


This evil queen had finally heard the noise of the shouting and the clapping of the hands. She came to the temple to see just exactly what was going on. She was not a worshipper of Jehovah, so she had not come to the temple during all of this preparation. Now she comes, not to worship, but to check up on these happenings.


2 Kings 11:14 "And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner [was], and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason."


"Pillar": Either one of the two pillars, Jachin or Boaz, on the temple's front porch (1 Kings 7:21), or a raised platform in the court of the temple (2 Chron. 6:13).


"People of the land": Probably Jehoiada chose to stage his coup on the Sabbath during one of the major religious festivals, when those from Judah who were loyal to the lord would be in Jerusalem.


It appears up until this moment, Athaliah had no idea there was anything going on, that she should know about. When she walked in and saw the young man crowned king and everyone rejoicing, she suddenly realized what had happened, and cried treason. The people, who had been admitted in to the coronation of the king, blew trumpets proclaiming their new king. This queen had been so evil, none of the people here would help her.


2 Kings 11:15 "But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD."


Of the priests and Levites.


"And said unto them, have her forth without the ranges": The ranks of the guards, which were at the gate leading to the palace, or rather "within" them. The meaning is, that he ordered her to be taken out of the court of the temple, and be put within their ranks, and enclosed by them, that her blood might not be shed in the temple, and yet not escape them.


"And him that followeth her, kill with the sword": That takes her part, and offers to help and assist her, passing through the ranks after her, dispatch him at once.


"For the priest had said, let her not be slain in the house of the Lord": That it might not be defiled with her blood. By which it appears that the guards had orders concerning her before, should she come to the temple (see 2 Kings 11:13).


She was captured in the house of the LORD, but they were not to kill her there. They would carry her out away from the temple to kill her, because they did not want to defile the temple. It was highly unlikely that anyone would have followed her to help her, but if they did, they were to be killed, also.


2 Kings 11:16 "And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king's house: and there was she slain."


"King's house ... she was slain": Execution was not appropriate in the temple area since it was a place of worship (2 Chron. 24:20-22). Thus, the soldiers seized Athaliah and put her to death at one of the entrances to the palace grounds.


This is not a literal laying of hands on her, because she was a queen. They probably surrounded her and walked her away from the temple to be killed. This shamed her even more, to be killed in such a place, where they carried the horses in. She did not deserve to be treated differently, however.



Verses 17-18: The "covenant" was not merely an agreement made in the past but a vow that needed to be continually renewed and entered into again and again, reminding the people of the pledges that had been made at mount Sinai (Exodus 24:3-8). This renewal led to action against Baalism; Baal's "house", Baal's "Altars", and Baal's "priest" were destroyed.


2 Kings 11:17 "And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD'S people; between the king also and the people."


"A covenant": The renewal of the agreement between the people and the Lord and between the house of David and the people was appropriate because of the disruption under Athaliah. A similar ceremony was held later, during the reign of Josiah (23:1-3; see notes on Exodus 24:4-8).


At this point, Jehoiada was still in charge of all the happenings. The covenant (agreement), between the LORD and the King had to do with the people of Judah belonging to God. Their first obligation was to their God, and then to their king and nation. This agreement, that was made, was actually between three parties. God was the first part. The people of the land were the second part, and the young king was the third. The king must respect the LORD and the people. The people must obey God and the king. As long as they were obedient to God, they would be blessed.


2 Kings 11:18 "And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD."


"The house of Baal": A temple that had been built in Jerusalem and used by Athaliah to promote the worship of Baal in Judah. As Jezebel had promoted Baalism in Israel, her daughter Athaliah had sought its sanction in Judah. During Athaliah's reign as queen, Baalism gained its strongest foothold in Judah. This purge of Baalism in Judah paralleled the earlier purge of Baalism led by Jehu in the northern kingdom (10:18-29).


This house of Baal, and the false images and altars had been brought into the land by Athaliah. They tore them down, as they had killed her. They also killed the priest of Baal, Mattan, so that this worship of the false god would die out. Jehoiada appointed officers over the house of the LORD. Jehoiada re-established the worship in the temple. The Levites would again, serve in the temple.


2 Kings 11:19 "And he took the rulers over hundreds, and the captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the LORD, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king's house. And he sat on the throne of the kings."


Of which (see 2 Kings 11:4).


"And all the people of the land": As many as were assembled together on this occasion.


"And they brought down the king from the house of the Lord": The temple, which was built on an eminence.


"And came by the way of the gate to the king's house": The gate of the royal palace, where the king's guards were placed, and did their duty.


"And he sat on the throne of the kings": Where the kings of Judah used to sit, and this finished the formality of his being made king.


Joash had been hidden in a storage room just a very short time, until he could be taken to the temple for hiding. During all of the seven years in hiding, Joash had been hidden in the temple. Even all of the anointing services and the coronation had taken place at the temple, as well. Now, this young king will be taken to his palace and established as king. There was a large group of his captains and people who accompanied him to the palace to be set on the throne. He will keep a large number of these same men to guard the palace.


2 Kings 11:20 "And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword [beside] the king's house."


That one of the house of David was set upon the throne, which they might fear was extinct, as it very nearly was; the lamp of David was almost quenched. Only this single life left, from whom a line of kings proceeded, and the King Messiah. The promise of God cannot fail (see Psalm 132:11), this occasioned great joy.


"And the city was quiet": Was very easy at, yea, pleased with, the dethroning and death of Athaliah. There was no tumult on account thereof, nor such disturbances as she occasioned in her life.


"And they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king's house": As related (in 2 Kings 11:16), where she was buried, or what became of her carcass, is not said. Some have thought she was cast into the brook Kidron, because Josephus says Jehoiada ordered her to be taken into that valley, and there slain.


We just read that she was killed at the entrance, where they brought the horses in to the palace. That would have been very near the palace. Both Scriptures are correct. This evil queen's death would bring joy to all of the people, for being out from under her oppression.


2 Kings 11:21 "Seven years old [was] Jehoash when he began to reign."


"Jehoash": Jehoash and Joash are variants of the same name, meaning "'the Lord gave" (see notes on 2 Chron. 24:1-27).


He had to have been just a tiny baby, when he was hidden from the evil queen. I cannot think of any woman as evil as she was. She undoubtedly had killed her children and grandchildren to become queen. Jehoash is the same as Joash. "Joash" means whom Jehovah gave. What an appropriate name for the new king. He would have a big job for such a little boy, but Jehoiada and others would help him. His main help would come from God. There was peace, because that tyrant Athaliah was dead.


2 Kings Chapter 11 Questions


1. What terrible thing did the mother of Ahaziah do, when she heard he was dead?


2. What was this evil woman's name?


3. When she married Jehoram, what false worship did she bring in the land?


4. Why did she kill her relatives?


5. Who hid one of the baby sons of Ahaziah?


6. What is another name for Jehosheba?


7. Where did she hide him at first?


8. Where was he kept hidden 6 years?


9. Why did this evil queen not know he was there?


10. Who was the high priest in the temple at the time?


11. Who did the high priest call to the temple to covenant with?


12. How did the people find out about this?


13. When were they to meet at the temple?


14. How many were to watch the king's house?


15. Who were to guard the house of the LORD?


16. How closely would they guard Joash?


17. Where did the spears and shields come from?


18. How ready were the guards?


19. Who crowned the boy, Joash, and anointed him to be king?


20. Why did Athaliah come to the temple?


21. What did she cry out, when she saw what was happening?


22. What did they do to her?


23. Where did they kill her?


24. Who did Jehoiada make a covenant with?


25. After they had killed the queen, what did they do to cleanse the land?


26. Who chose the leaders for the temple?


27. Who went with him, when they took him to the palace?


28. What does "Joash" mean?





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2 Kings 12



2 Kings Chapter 12

2 Kings 12:1 "In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Zibiah of Beer-sheba."


So that he reigned twenty one or twenty two years contemporary with Jehu's reign, for Jehu reigned twenty eight years.


"And forty years reigned he in Jerusalem": The same number of years David and Solomon reigned.


"And his mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba": A city in the tribe of Simeon, in the extreme part of the land of Canaan southward. Her name in the Chaldee dialect is Tabitha, the same with Dorcas in Greek (Acts 9:36).


In the last lesson, we saw the crowning of the 7 year old son of Ahaziah as king. He had been hidden away from the time he was a baby, until he was 7. The wicked queen Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, had ruled from her son's death, after she had all of his descendants killed. Only Jehoash survived. Jehu had killed all the descendants of Ahab and Jezebel in Israel, and had destroyed the worship of Baal. In his 7th year to reign over the ten tribes of Israel, Jehoash (Joash) began to reign in Judah. The reign of Joash was to last 40 years. At first, he was a God fearing king.


2 Kings 12:2 "And Jehoash did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him."


The high "priest, Jehoiada," was Jehoash's counselor and spiritual advisor. Despite the reform during Joash's kingship, it appears that the young king's religious experience was heavily dependent upon the high priest and was decidedly less that a full commitment to the Lord (2 Chron. 24:2). After Jehoiada's death, "Jehoash" found new counselors and friends who turned his heart away from God, so much so that he did not intervene when his new associates put to death Zechariah, Jehoiada's son, for his faith (2 Chron. 24:17-22). Faith must be personal, not just "official."


Now we see why he did right in the sight of the LORD. He had lived 7 of his formative years in the temple with Jehoiada, the high priest. It seems, the high priest continued to guide him after he became king, and until the death of the high priest.


2 Kings 12:3 "But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places."


"The high places" may refer to Baalism (1 Kings 3:2-4; 14:23; 2 Chron. 24: 17-19, 24), or to local sanctuaries. These sites violated the divine mandate of a single sanctuary (Deut. 12:2-7, 13-14). Because Israel had only one God, He was to be worshiped in only one Sanctuary. As with most kings of Judah, Joash failed to remove these places of worship where, contrary to the Mosaic Law, the people sacrificed and burned incense to the Lord.


The LORD was worshipped in the high places instead of false gods, so it was not as bad as the worship of Baal and the other false gods. God did want them to worship in the temple in Jerusalem, but from time to time that had been impossible. They had gotten into the habit of worshipping in the high places, and it was hard to break the habit.



Verses 4-16: The repair of the temple was a matter of some urgency due to the destructive acts in Athaliah's day (2 Chron. 24:7).


God blessed and honored the king's efforts to put God's house in proper order and "repair ... the house".


2 Kings 12:4 "And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, [even] the money of every one that passeth [the account], the money that every man is set at, [and] all the money that cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of the LORD,"


Being minded or having it in his heart, to repair the temple (as in 2 Chron. 24:4). Not only because it was the sanctuary of the Lord, though that chiefly, but because it had been a sanctuary to him, where he was hid and preserved six years.


"All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord": Or rather, "that is to be brought", as De Dieu, and others render it, the particulars of which follow.


"Even the money of everyone that passeth the account": Or that passes among them that are numbered (as in Exodus 30:13). That were upwards of twenty years of age, and bound to pay the half shekel for the ransom of their souls. And it is called the collection or burden Moses laid on them in the wilderness (2 Chron. 24:6).


"The money that every man is set at": The price the priest set upon or estimated a man at, or whomsoever that belonged to him, that he devoted to the Lord, which by the law he was bound to pay for his redemption, and, till that was done, he and they were not his, but the Lord's (of which see Lev.27:1). And here the Targum calls it, the money of the redemption of souls, which is the gift of a man for the redemption of his soul.


"And all the money that cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of the Lord": Vows and freewill offerings made of their own accord.


(See 2 Chron. 24:5-14).


2 Kings 12:5 "Let the priests take [it] to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found."


"His acquaintance": This person would be a friend of the priest who either gave offerings or collected the offerings for the priest. However, some interpret the Hebrew term to mean "treasurer." This understanding views the individual as a member of the temple personnel who assisted the priest with the valuation of sacrifices and offerings brought to the temple.


"Repair the breaches of the house": During the reign of Athaliah, the temple had suffered major damages and temple articles had been taken for use in the temple of Baal (2 Chron. 24:7). Joash ordered the priest to channel the temple offerings to fund the needed repairs. This was to be in addition to the normal temple expenses.


During the reign of the wicked Queen Athaliah, the breaches had been made and they had never been repaired. The priests seemed not to have taken the initiative in re-building, and Joash thought this should be done. Even though the priests had great influence over him, they still did not have control of him. He was not like a puppet on a string. He had ideas of his own, and he wanted them carried out. The money that came into the house of the LORD was to be used for many purposes at the temple, one of which was the support of the priests. They were keeping all the money and not repairing the breaches.


2 Kings 12:6 "But it was [so, that] in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house."


"Three and twentieth year": Ca. 813 B.C. Judah seems to have used the non-accession-year system during the reigns of Athaliah and Joash (see note on 13:1), which did not count the first year of the reign but began with the second. This is how we count ages today, starting with the beginning of the second year as one. Joash was 29 years of age.


They seemed to be using the money for everything else, except fixing the breaches in the wall. After he had reigned 23 years, they still had not made the repairs he had told them to. This upset Jehoash.



Verses 7-11: A lagging work schedule caused the "king" to take a more direct hand in matters. The Jehoash "chest" made the offering process more visible and the money was more efficiently put into the hands of those responsible for the repairs. The people responded well (2 Chron. 24:10), and gave freely and willingly (Exodus 25:2).


The plan of Joash did not work. Either the revenue from these sources was inadequate to support the priests and Levites and also to pay for the temple repairs, or the priests for some unknown reason would not fund the temple repairs. Therefore, the priests no longer received the offerings from the people, nor did they fund the temple repairs from the income they had already received.


2 Kings 12:7 "Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the [other] priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no [more] money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house."


The common priests, Jehoiada being high priest.


"And said unto them, why repair ye not the breaches of the house?" In which they appeared to him very dilatory. The reason might be, the people were not forward to pay in their money, and they might not choose to begin the repairs until they had got it all in, or at least what was sufficient to carry them through them.


"Now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance": Suspecting that what they had received they kept for their own use.


"But deliver it for the breaches of the house": Into other hands for that use, and so dismissed them at once from collecting the money, and being concerned in the repairs of the temple.


It appeared that plenty of money had come in for the project, but they had just never begun repairing the breaches of the house. Somehow something had to change to get this project under way. Instead of the money being distributed out from now on, it would be collected and turned over for repairs.


2 Kings 12:8 "And the priests consented to receive no [more] money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house."


And delivered up what they had.


"Neither to repair the breaches of the house": Being very willing to be stop both services, and especially since they seemed to be suspected.


I do not see a reprimand of the priests by the king. It appears, that he talked to them, and they agreed that the money taken in must, must first go to fixing the breaches in the house.



Verses 9-16: Joash instituted a new plan. First, a single collection box was to receive all incoming offerings. When the chest was full, only the royal secretary and High-Priest would be authorized to empty it. Second, from the funds thus generated, men were hired to supervise and pay the carpenters, builders, masons, and stonecutters who worked on the temple repairs. The men involved were so trustworthy that no accounting was taken of them (verse 15).


2 Kings 12:9 "But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the LORD: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money [that was] brought into the house of the LORD."


"Priests that kept the door": These were priests who normally screened the people to keep unclean worshipers from entering the temple (25:18; Jer. 52:24). These priests took the offerings from the worshipers, who then personally watched the priest drop them into the chest.


Now, we see a positive thing done by the high priest. He prepared a chest for their offerings. The chest was near the altar. I would believe it to be near the brazen altar, since it was near the entrance to the house of the LORD. They would hand their tithes and offerings to the priests on duty, and they would put it in the chest.


2 Kings 12:10 "And it was [so], when they saw that [there was] much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the LORD."


Which might easily be guessed at by the number of the people which contributed.


"That the king's and the high priest came up": To the temple; the high priest did not choose to come alone, lest he should be suspected, but to have the king's secretary with him, that the money might be taken out of the chest, and told in the presence of them both: In (2 Chronicles 24:11), instead of the "high priest", it is the "high priest's officer", which the Targum there calls the Sagan of the high priest, or his deputy. Who, perhaps, attended when the high priest could not.


"And they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord": That is, they poured the money out of the chest, or emptied it (as in 2 Chron. 24:11), and counted it, and very likely set down the sum in writing, and put it up in bags, very probably sealed.


The high priest (Jehoiada), and the king's scribe counted the money together and made a record of it, so everyone would be pleased.


2 Kings 12:11 "And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD,"


Who were appointed overseers of the workmen employed in the repairs of the temple. Which overseers were laymen, and not priests, they being discharged from any concern in the repairs. This money "told", Kimchi interprets of its being coined; he supposes money coined and uncoined bullion to be brought, which was put in separate bags. And that, which was not coined, they coined it before they delivered it to the overseers to pay the workmen with.


"And they laid it out to the carpenters and builders that wrought upon the house of the Lord": Paid them with it, some that wrought in cutting the timber, and others in building with it.


As soon as there was quite a bit of money in the chest, and they had counted it and recorded it, they hired carpenters and other builders to go to work on the breaches in the wall.


2 Kings 12:12 "And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair [it]."


Which they cut out of the mountain, and the masons repaired the stone walls with.


"And to buy timber": Felled in Lebanon.


"And hewed stone": Fitted for building with.


"To repair the breaches of the house of the Lord": Where both timber and stone were wanting.


"And for all that was laid out for the house to repair it": In whatsoever else it needed, as iron and brass to mend it (2 Chron. 24:12).


It seemed to take all of the money they could collect for all of the laborers, and the materials used for building.


2 Kings 12:13 "Howbeit there were not made for the house of the LORD bowls of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money [that was] brought into the house of the LORD:"


Either to hold the blood of the sacrifices, or the drink offerings of wine.


"Snuffers": To trim the lamps; or, as Jarchi and other writers, both Jewish and Christian, musical instruments.


"Basins": Vessels to sprinkle the blood with, as the word signifies.


"Trumpets": Silver ones, to call the assembly, blow over the sacrifices, etc.


"Any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver": For any other use: these were not made.


"Of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord": Yet, (in 2 Chron. 24:14), it is said they were, which is to be reconciled thus. They did not make any of those things at first, until the house was repaired, and the charges of it defrayed. And then of what remained they made vessels for the house, which were wanting, that Athaliah had bestowed on Baalim (2 Chron. 24:7).


In the time of Solomon, all of these things had been in the temple. In fact, there was so much gold used that even the inside walls were covered with gold. The temple had been robbed since then. Rehoboam had used many of these things to buy off a neighboring king. Some of the evil kings, and the evil queen, had not helped keep the temple up. It seemed that funds were short now, and no funds had been set aside to buy these things for use in the temple. The most urgent thing at the moment, was to repair the breaches in the wall.


2 Kings 12:14 "But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the LORD."


They took care that the workmen should first be paid for the repairs of the temple.


The offerings they took in were just enough to pay the workmen.


2 Kings 12:15 "Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully."


That is, the king's secretary and the high priest, or his officer, never called to account the overseers of the workmen, to whom they committed the money to pay them with. And never examined how they laid it out, and for what.


"For they dealt faithfully": They saw they acted such an honest and upright part, and such a high opinion had they of them, that they never examined their accounts, or called for their bills.


There was not any treachery going on pertaining to the money. It was being properly distributed among the workers. The high priest was assured they were dealing fairly.


2 Kings 12:16 "The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the LORD: it was the priests'."


"Trespass money and sin money": The income from these offerings was distinct from the income mentioned in verse 4 and so was not used in the repair of the temple, but remained the property of the priests (see Lev. 4:1 - 6:7). The temple repairs did not deprive the priests of their income (Lev. 7:7).


The trespass and the sin money was the living of the priests'. They had no other income, only the money deposited in the chest was being used for the repairs.



Verses 17-20: The renewed Aramean pressure under "Hazael" was severe, including not only attacks against Jehoahaz and the northern kingdom (13:1-3), but also the Philistine coast. Even "Jerusalem" came under dire threat. Because Joash's faith had become apostate after Jehoiada's death, God used Hazael to attempt to bring Joash and Judah to repentance (2 Chron. 24:23-24). Joash became wounded in the battle (2 Chron. 24:25), and bought Hazael off with a bribe in order to deliver Jerusalem.


Joash's career did not end as grandly as it began. Once a God-fearing young ruler, he died a disappointment. The writer says only that Joash traded treasure from the Lord's temple to rescue Jerusalem from the attack by Hazael, "king of Syria". But (2 Chron. 24:17-27), says he allowed idol worship and even killed his own son. The Lord allowed the Aramean army to attack Jerusalem as an act of judgment upon His people for forsaking Him (2 Chron. 24:24).


2 Kings 12:17 "Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem."


"Hazael" (see notes on 8:8-15).


"Gath": One of the 5 major Philistine cities (1 Sam. 5:8), located about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Gath had previously belonged to Judah (2 Chron. 11:8).


It appears, that the Scripture, above, is a break away from (verse 16). It happens much later. It appears that after the breach was fixed, the priests set about putting the vessels in the temple back as they had been.


2 Chronicles 24:14 "And when they had finished [it], they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the LORD, [even] vessels to minister, and to offer [withal], and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada."


The high priest Jehoiada died before the happening (in verse 17 above).


2 Chronicles 24:15 "But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; a hundred and thirty years old [was he] when he died."


Hazael was the wicked king of Syria. He would take anyone he could.


2 Kings 12:18 "And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold [that was] found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king's house, and sent [it] to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem."


"All the hallowed things": When Joash's army was defeated by Hazael and his leading men killed (2 Chron. 24:23-24), he averted further attacks against Jerusalem by sending tribute to the king of Syria. This tribute included gifts donated to the temple in Jerusalem by kings of Judah (1 Kings 15:15, 18).


Fear can cause a person to do terrible things. Jehoash does not have Jehoiada to ask about these things, and makes a bad mistake. The things in the temple belong to God, not to Jehoash. He takes the hallowed things in the temple and buys off the king of Syria. It appears there had been a battle, where many lives had been lost. Jehoash not only gave away the treasures of the temple, but of his own palace as well.


2 Kings 12:19 "And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"


"Acts of Joash": A more complete account of the reign of Joash is found (in 2 Chron. 22:10 - 24:27).


The record book that is mentioned so many times before, is mentioned, again, as where the rest of his exploits are recorded.


2 Kings 12:20 "And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla."


"A conspiracy": Some of the officials of Joash conspired against him because he had killed the High-Priest Zechariah, the son of the priest Jehoiada (2 Chron. 24:20-22).


"House of Millo": Probably a house built on a landfill north of David's city of Jerusalem and south of the temple mount (2 Chron. 24:25).


A spiritually defeated Joash died in a palace intrigue and was excluded from the royal burial chambers (2 Chron. 24:25).


Joash had been a good king in the beginning. It seemed, as long as he had Jehoiada to guide him, he did just fine. He had become evil after the death of Jehoiada. Millo was a fortress, he went to for safety. His own commanders killed him.


2 Kings 12:21 "For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead."


The variation between the names of the assassins given here and those (in 2 Chronicles 24:26), are merely minor alterations, easily reconcilable on the basis of known manuscript evidence, and writing and spelling practices.


"Amaziah" (see 14:1-22), for the reign of Amaziah.


He was buried in the city of David, not necessarily in the same tomb area. We will find, in a later lesson that Amaziah becomes king, when he kills his dad's murderers. "Amaziah" means whom Jehovah strengthens. We are not told exactly why they killed Joash only that they did. Probably it was to seize power, since he was a very sick man. He reigned 40 years and was 47 when he died. Before we begin the questions, we must realize again, that Joash and Jehoash is the same person.


2 Kings Chapter 12 Questions


1. When did Jehoash begin to reign?


2. How many years did he reign?


3. Where did he reign?


4. Jehoash did that which was _________ in the sight of the LORD.


5. How long did he do that?


6. What was one thing that still went on in worship, which did not please God?


7. Why did they do that, with the temple available?


8. What did Jehoash say to do with the money offerings?


9. Who had made the breaches in the walls?


10. Who had great influence over Joash?


11. How long had Joash been reigning, and the breaches were still not repaired?


12. What question did Jehoash ask them about the breaches?


13. What did the priests consent to do about the money?


14. What did Jehoiada do, to keep the money for the building project?


15. Who counted and recorded the money?


16. Who was the money given to?


17. Why were there no vessels made for service in the temple?


18. Why did they not question the use of the money?


19. Who did the trespass money and the sin money belong to?


20. Who fought against Gath, and took it?


21. Where did he turn to next?


22. How did Joash keep him away from Jerusalem?


23. What had caused Joash to do this?


24. Who killed Joash?


25. Who reigned in his stead?


26. How old was Joash, when he died?





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2 Kings 13



2 Kings Chapter 13

Verse 1-6: "Jehoahaz" reigned from 814 to 798 B.C. and perpetuated idol worship in Israel. Despite his unfaithfulness, "the Lord harkened unto him" because God had compassion on Israel and intended to fulfill His promise to Jehu (10:30). The "groove", or Asherah, is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. Probably a Canaanite goddess or a cultic worship object, it was associated with Baalism.


2 Kings 13:1 "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 in Samaria, [and reigned] seventeen years."


"Twenty third year": 814 B.C. Joash of Judah began his reign in 835 B.C. (see note on 12:1), and Jehu of Israel died in 814 B.C. (see note on 10:36). Thus the 23rd year of Joash of Judah was calculated according to the non-accession-year system (see notes on 12:6; 13:10).


"Seventeen years": 814-798 B.C., i.e., part of 17 calendar years, with the actual reign counted as 16 years.


In all of these lessons, we are jumping back and forth from Israel to Judah, and then back to Israel. The ten tribes of Israel and the two tribes that make up Judah are very closely related. In both, we see that the LORD blesses them when they are faithful to Him. He severely punishes them, when they are unfaithful to Him. Judah had a few kings that tried to please God. In the tribes of Israel, there were no kings that truly lived for God. Again, we see the king of Judah spoken of in relationship with Israel. The 23rd year of the reign of Joash would have made the king of Judah 30 at the time. Jehoahaz would be king of Israel 17 years following the reign of his father, Jehu.



Verses 2-7: The record of the reign of Jehoahaz, the king of Israel, has literary and verbal similarities to the book of Judges:


  1. Jehoahaz did evil in the sight of the Lord (verse 2; judges 2:11-13; 3:7");
  2. The anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel and He delivered them over to their enemies (verse 3; compare Judges 2:14-15; 3:8);
  3. Jehoahaz cried out to the Lord who saw their oppression (verse 4 Judges 2:18; 3:9);
  4. The Lord raised up a deliverer for Israel who rescued them out of the hand of their enemies (verse 5; Judges 2:16, 18; 3:9);
  5. Israel continued in her evil ways with the result of further oppression (verses 6-7; Judges 2:19; 3:12-14).

2 Kings 13:2 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom."


"Jeroboam": For his sins (see notes on 1 Kings 12:25-32). This description of Jeroboam as one who "made Israel sin" occurs (in 13:6, 11; 1 Kings 14:16; 15:30; 16:31; 2 Kings 3:3; 10:29, 31; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:21-22).


The sins mentioned here, are probably speaking of the two golden calves. One of them was in Dan and the other in Bethel. They were used in the worship of Jehovah in some unusual way, but it was displeasing to the LORD. It appears their worship was mingled in with Pagan worship. I believe this to be the sin, because that was the sin of Jeroboam.


2 Kings 13:3 "And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, all [their] days."


For "Hazael" and the Aramean problem (see the notes on 10:32 and 12:17-18; also see the notes on 8:8-15).


"Ben-hadad": Either Ben-hadad II or, more likely, III (see note on 1 Kings 15:18). His reign as king of Syria began ca. 801 B.C. The length of his rule is unknown.


The LORD wanted them to worship Him in all purity. The first time the calf worship is mentioned connected to the Israelites, was on their journey to the Promised Land. He was so angry with that type of worship then, that He killed thousands of the worshippers. This is still golden calves they are worshipping. He is still angry, and gives them over into the hands of the Syrians. The Ben-hadad mentioned here, is actually the first one's grandson. It appears from this, that during the reign of Hazael and the reign of Ben-hadad the second, the Israelites warred with them; and the LORD helped Syria, instead of Israel. Many times, the Lord allows wars to punish His people for their sins.



Verses 4-6: Jehoahaz's repentance was apparently genuine but not total. Nevertheless, God sent a "savior' (or deliverer), probably Adad Nirari III of Assyria, who launched a series of campaigns against southern "Syria" that ultimately brought about the capture of Damascus in 802 B.C. This significantly reduced the Aramean pressure. Hazael himself died about this time, the throne being taken by his son Ben-hadad III (802 - ? B.C.), who was not at all his father's equal (compare verses 22-25).


2 Kings 13:4 "And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them."


He did not apply in his distress to the calves he worshipped, but to the Lord; who had a regard to his prayer, not for his sake, or any righteousness of his, or even his repentance and humiliation, which were only external. But for the sake of Israel, and because they were oppressed, who were his people, and He their God, though they had sadly departed from him.


"For he saw the oppression of Israel": Not only with his eye of omniscience, but with an eye of mercy and compassion.


"Because the king of Syria oppressed them": By his incursions upon them, and wars with them.


King Jehoahaz has done exactly what he should have done. He sought the LORD. This is saying, that he prayed to the LORD in earnest. It appears that Jehoahaz had no idea that the golden calves were offensive to the LORD. He prayed and repented, but not specifically about the calves. He did realize this oppression from Syria was a punishment, however. It appears also, that the LORD heard his prayer. God always listens to our earnest prayers. God did not entirely remove the oppression, but lightened it somewhat. He did not want them destroyed, just punished.


2 Kings 13:5 "(And the LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime."


"A savior": The savior was not specifically named. This savior was:


  1. The Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III (ca. 810-783 B.C.), whose attack on the Syrians or Arameans, enabled the Israelites to break Syria's control over Israelite territory (see verse 25, 14:25); or
  2. Elisha, who as the leader of Israel's military successes (see verse 14, compare 6:13; 16-23), commissioned Joash to defeat the Syrians (verses 15-19); or Jeroboam II (ca. 793-753 B.C.), who was able to extend Israel's boundaries back into Syrian territory (14:25-27).

It is not clear at this point, who this savior is. The danger of them all being killed was removed, and they were relatively calm for a while. They were not in open warfare in danger of their very lives, and they went back to their homes.


2 Kings 13:6 "Nevertheless 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.)"


"Sins ... of Jeroboam" (see note on verse 2).


"Grove": This idol representing Asherah, a Canaanite goddess and a consort of Baal, had been set up by Ahab (1 Kings 16:33) and had escaped destruction by Jehu when he purged Baal worship from Samaria (10:27-28). Along with the other idolatrous religion of Jeroboam II, there were still remnants of Baal worship in the northern kingdom.


This is just saying, that Israel went right on with their calf worship and their worship in the groves. Perhaps, they had done this so long, they had ceased to realize it was sin.


2 Kings 13:7 "Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz 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."


"Syria was able to dominate Israel militarily because the Lord had left Jehoahaz only a small army with very few chariots.


"Dust by threshing": The army of Israel was so inconsequential, particularly when compared to the armies of Syria and Assyria, that it was likened to the dust left over after grain had been winnowed at a threshing floor.


We can see from this verse that they had been reduced to very small numbers, before Jehoahaz cried out to God. This army, that had been into the hundreds of thousands, had been reduced to ten thousand. The reduction of the horsemen had been to fifty, and they had only ten chariots. This is not a very large army at all. We can see that Syria could have annihilated them, if the LORD had not intervened.


2 Kings 13:8 "Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"


Which he exerted against the Syrians, being a man of courage, though not successful, because the Lord was not with him, but against him.


"Are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?" Where their acts, and the events of their reigns, were recorded.


It appears, the entire reign of Jehoahaz was filled with the trouble with Syria. Again, the record book that was kept had the rest of his activity written in it.


2 Kings 13:9 "And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead."


Died, as they did.


"And they buried him in Samaria": Where Omri, and all the kings of Israel, that descended from him, were buried.


"And Joash his son reigned in his stead": Of whom a short account is given in the following verses.


This is not the same Joash that reigned in Judah. Both of them were called Joash part of the time, and Jehoash the rest of the time. Samaria was the capital of Israel, and would have been the logical place to bury this king.


2 Kings 13:10 "In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, [and reigned] sixteen years."


"Thirty and seventh year": Ca 798 B.C. Joash of Judah began his reign in 835 B.C. (see note on 12:1). There is a change here to the accession-year system of dating for the reign of Joash of Judah (see note on 13:1). This explains how Jehoahaz of Israel could reign 16 years with only a 15 year advance on Joash of Judah's reign of a king's years (verse 1).


"Joash": This king of Israel had the same name as his contemporary, the king of Judah (see note on 11:21).


"Sixteen years": 798-782 B.C.


Joash in Israel becomes king just three years before the Joash in Judah dies. The similar names are possibly, because of their close association. These were also probably, popular names of their day.


2 Kings 13:11 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: [but] he walked therein."


As his father did, and his character is described in the same words (see 2 Kings 13:2).


This is the same situation as with his father. They still have the golden calves, that Jeroboam had been guilty of setting up in Bethel and Dan. He perhaps was a good king in the same sense his father was, but in the sight of God, he was evil.


2 Kings 13:12 "And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, 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?"


"Fought against Amaziah" (see notes on 14:8-14).


2 Kings 13:13 "And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel."


Or died.


"And Jeroboam sat upon his throne": Who was his son. It is not said that he began to sit on it, or to reign, nor to reign in his father's stead. Hence it is concluded by Kimchi and others, that his father set him on his throne in his lifetime. And the Jewish chronology expressly asserts that he reigned with him one year.


"And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel" (see 2 Kings 13:9). The history of his life and actions does not cease here, but, after an account of the sickness and death of Elisha, it is reassumed, which was necessary to interpose to lead on to it.


This is an unusual place for this statement to be, since there is more in this chapter about Joash. Again, the rest of the story of the exploits of Joash is contained in the records they kept of the kings of Israel. It is difficult to believe that Joash would have named his son Jeroboam. You can tell from that, they had no idea he had done something wrong by setting up the calf worship.


2 Kings 13:14 "Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."


"Elisha": The last previous reference to Elisha the prophet was (in 9:1), when Jehu was anointed king of Israel. Since Jehu and Jehoahaz reigned from 841-798 B.C. (see notes on 10:36; 13:1), nothing was recorded for over 40 years of Elisha's life. Elisha began ministering with Elijah during the kingship of Ahab ca. 874-853 B.C. (1 Kings 19:19-21), and so must have been over 70 years of age when these final events of his life took place. Elisha still sought to do the Lord's work every day, in spite of his terminal "sickness".


"My Father": Jehoash humbly voiced his great respect for Elisha and his dependence upon his counsel (see note on 2:12).


"The chariot of Israel and the horsemen": Jehoash acknowledged through this metaphor that the Lord, through Elisha, was the real strength and power of Israel against all her adversaries (see note on 2:11).


Elisha had been a prophet in Israel for a great many years by this time. He was probably about 80 years of age when he fell sick. We would assume that this illness is of old age. It would be terribly unusual for the king of the land to come, and weep over a prophet. We see that Joash had great respect for Elisha, even to the extent of calling him father. Joash had some very good qualities that are shown by his concern here. Joash felt like the death of Elisha was the signal that the strength of Israel was gone. He felt that God's blessings on Israel would leave the earth with the death of Elisha. He undoubtedly had great respect for Elisha as a prophet of God.



Verses 15-19: If he had been spiritually astute, Joash would have recognized that Elisha was offering him a blessing. That is why Elisha became angry with him, Joash's less-than-enthusiastic participation in these symbolic acts demonstrated his lack of commitment to God's ways.


2 Kings 13:15 "And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows."


The usual instruments of war in those days.


"And he took unto him bow and arrows": Which though they might not be had in the house of the prophet, he could have some from his guards that attended him.


2 Kings 13:16 "And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand [upon it]: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands."


"Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands": This symbolic act indicated that Jehoash would exert power against the Syrians that came from the Lord through His prophet.


This was a sign that the blessings in battle would be in the hands of Joash to deliver his people. Elisha's strength flowed into Joash's hands. Of course, Elisha's power and strength came from God. As a prophet, he represented the LORD on the earth.


2 Kings 13:17 "And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened [it]. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed [them]."


"Window eastward": This window opened toward the east to the Transjordan region controlled by Syria (10: 32-33).


"The arrow of the LORD's deliverance": When Jehoash obeyed Elisha by shooting an arrow out the window, the prophet interpreted the meaning of the action. The shot symbolized the Lord's deliverance for Israel through the defeat of the Syrian army by Jehoash (verse 5).


"Aphek" (see note on 1 Kings 20:26).


This prophesy, spoken on Joash, said he would overcome Syria at Aphek. He would deliver his people from these Syrians. The Lord would be with him in this battle.


2 Kings 13:18 "And he said, Take the arrows. And he took [them]. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed."


The rest of them.


"And he said unto the king of Israel, smite upon the ground": The floor of the room in which the prophet lay.


"And he smote thrice, and stayed": Made a stop, ceased smiting. He might think this action trifling, and beneath him, only was willing to please the prophet, but did not do it with a good will, and therefore smote no more. Though this was an emblem of his smiting the Syrians, which he might not have understood.


It appears, that the striking of the arrows on the ground spoke of the battles against Syria. Joash did not realize that Elisha wanted him to strike the ground over and over, as in the fury of battle. He just hit the ground three times and quit.


2 Kings 13:19 "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]: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria [but] thrice."


"But thrice": Further, Elisha commanded Jehoash to shoot the remaining arrows into the ground (verse 18). Jehoash shot only 3 arrows into the ground instead of emptying the entire quiver. Because of his lack of faith, Jehoash would win only 3 victories over the Syrians instead of completely destroying them. The account of these victories is given in verse 25.


Despite his prowess as a fighter (verse 25; 14:8-15), Joash was a man of little faith.


Joash did not understand, that the striking of the ground symbolized striking the earthly people of Syria. He had no idea what this symbolized. He will indeed, come against Syria three times. Had he struck the ground over and over, he would have eventually destroyed Syria. Now he will beat them in three battles, but they will come back again and again.



Verses 20-21: God demonstration of power through "Elisha" continued even after he "died". This final miracle associated with the prophet pointed to what God could and would do with the spiritually dead in Israel: restore them to life (Ezek. 37:1-14). God's power does the same for those who are spiritually dead today when they turn to Him through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:1-10).


2 Kings 13:20 "And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year."


"Coming in of the year": The prophet, who was Israel's defense (verse 14), was dead and it was the season for war campaigns to begin after the rains of winter.


The place of burial for Elisha would be a place of honor. The nicest place to be buried in those days, was a tomb carved out of a rock in a side of the mountain. This would be the type of place where they would bury him. Elijah, you remember, was not buried, but carried to heaven in a whirlwind. Moab attacks Israel regularly, and the time would be at the beginning of the year.


2 Kings 13:21 "And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band [of men]; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."


"He revived": A dead man returned to life after touching Elisha's bones. This miracle was a sign that God's power continued to work in relationship to Elisha even after his death. What God had promised to Jehoash through Elisha when he was alive would surely come to pass after the prophet's death (verses 19, 25), in the defeat of the enemy, the recovery of the cities that had been taken, and their restoration to the kingdom of Israel (verse 22-25).


This miracle authenticated Elisha's last prophecy (verse 19). As Elisha's body had brought life to the dead, so would his prophecy attest God's provision of new life for Israel under Joash and Jeroboam II.


It appears that some Israelites were attempting to bury a man when something startled them, and they accidentally put the man into the tomb where Elisha had been lain. Elisha seemed to still be carrying out miracles for the LORD, even after his own death. When the supposedly dead man touched the bones of Elisha, the man was revived and lived. The request of Elisha had been to have a double portion of what Elijah had. We know that Elisha saw him, when he was taken and the Lord did give the double portion to Elisha. One of my dearest preacher friends believes the miracle in verse 21 happened to completely fulfill twice as many miracles done by Elisha as Elijah. Elisha would have been one short of double had this not happened.



Verses 22-25: In the midst of Israel's oppression, and despite the people's disobedience, God was faithful to "His covenant" (14:26-27; Exodus 34:6), and returned the "cities of Israel" to the nation (10:32-33).


2 Kings 13:22 "But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz."


That he reigned alone, at least, before he took his son Joash to reign with him.


(See note on 8:12).


Syria was a heathen nation, and the LORD used them to chastise the Israelites.


2 Kings 13:23 "And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet."


"His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob": During the wicked reign of Jehoahaz (verses 2-7), the Lord was very patient and did not bring the ultimate military defeat that would lead to exile for Israel. This was because of His agreement with the patriarchs to give their descendants the land (Gen. 15:18-21; 26:2-5; 28:13-15). It was God's promise, not the Israelites' goodness that motivated God to be merciful and compassionate toward Israel.


This is the only reason that the LORD did not let Israel be totally destroyed. The covenant God had with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been a covenant of mercy. God wanted to bless them if they would love Him and keep His commandments. It was their unfaithfulness that caused their chastisements.


2 Kings 13:24 "So Hazael king of Syria died; and Ben-hadad his son reigned in his stead."


This was Ben-hadad the third. The first of this name was of the Damascene kings; but though the kingdom was now in another family, yet this name, being respectable with the Syrians, was retained in it.


Earlier in this lesson, we discovered that this is speaking of Ben-hadad the second.


2 Kings 13:25 "And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel."


Which were in the countries of Gilead and Bashan, and belonged to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (2 Kings 10:33).


"Three times did Joash beat him": In so many pitched battles, but where is not said, no doubt one of them was in Aphek, at least (2 Kings 13:17). And perhaps the other two on the other side Jordan. This agrees with the three times he smote the ground, significant thereof (2 Kings 13:18).


"And recovered the cities of Israel": Those before mentioned. Otherwise, if those had not been recovered, not ten tribes but only seven and a half would have been carried captive by the king of Assyria. Whereas Josephus says expressly, the ten tribes were carried captive.


Jehoash is the same as Joash. This is an exact fulfillment of what Elisha had told him, when he had him to strike the arrows on the ground. These three victories by Joash brought the cities back to Israel. We know the rest of the prophecy said, if he had continued he would have totally defeated Syria, but he did not continue. In the reign of Jeroboam the second, we will see this change back.


2 Kings Chapter 13 Questions


1. How long would Jehoahaz reign?


2. Who was king in Judah, when he began to reign?


3. What kind of a king was he in the sight of the LORD?


4. What were the sins of Jeroboam?


5. Their worship of God was mixed with _______ worship.


6. Whose hands did the LORD deliver them into?


7. Which Ben-hadad is mentioned in verse 3?


8. Who sought the LORD for help?


9. The king of Israel repented somewhat, but what sin did they remain with?


10. What was the size of the army of Jehoahaz?


11. Who reigned in the place of Jehoahaz?


12. What was the capital of Israel?


13. What was another name for Joash?


14. When did the Joash in Israel begin to reign?


15. What kind of king was he?


16. About how old was Elisha, when he became sick?


17. Who came to see him?


18. What strange statement did Joash make to Elisha?


19. Why was he so bereaved about Elisha?


20. What did Elisha do, that showed his strength in battle would be in the hands of Joash?


21. What did Elisha tell him to do, that would show the Lord's deliverance.


22. How many times did Joash smite the ground with the arrows?


23. Why was Elisha wroth with Joash?


24. Where would they bury Elisha?


25. What happened to the dead man, who touched Elisha's bones?


26. Why was the LORD gracious unto Israel?


27. How was Elisha's prophecy to Joash fulfilled?





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2 Kings 14



2 Kings Chapter 14

Verses 14:1 - 15:38: This section quickly surveys the kings and selected events of the northern and southern kingdoms from 796 to 735 B.C. in contrast to the previous 19 chapters (1 Kings 17:1 - 2 Kings 13:25), which narrated 90 years of history (885-796 B.C.). With a concentration on the ministries of Elijah and Elisha during the final 65 years of that period (860-796 B.C.), 62 years are covered in these two chapters. The previous section concluded with a shadow of hope. Officially sanctioned Baal worship had been eradicated in both Israel (10:18-28), and Judah (11:17-18); the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem had been repaired (12:9-15); and the Syrian threat to Israel had been overcome (13:25). However, this section emphasizes that the fundamental problems remained. The false religion established by Jeroboam I continued in Israel even with the change of royal families (14:24-15:9, 18, 24, 28). And the high places were not removed in Judah even though there were only good kings there during those years (14:4; 15:4, 35).


2 Kings 14:1 "In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah."


"Second year": 796 B.C.


"Amaziah": (See notes on 2 Chron. 25:1-28).


In chapter 12 verse 21, we read of Amaziah reigning in Judah in the place of his father Joash, who had died. The Joash of Israel and the Joash of Judah reigned at the same time for a short period of time. "Amaziah" means strength of Jehovah.


2 Kings 14:2 "He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Jehoaddan of Jerusalem."


"Twenty and nine years": 796-767 B.C.


He reigned from the time he was 25 until he was 54 years old. His mother's name Jehoaddan and was also thought to be Joadim, or Jodade. "Jehoaddan" means Jehovah delights. She was the queen with Joash as king.



Verses 3-4: Amaziah was a spiritual improvement over his father Joash, but was far from exemplary in his faith (2 Chron. 25:2, 14-16).


2 Kings 14:3 "And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did."


"Not like David": David set a high standard of unswerving devotion to the Lord for the kings of Judah who were his descendants to follow (1 Kings 11:4, 6; 15:3). Amaziah did not follow the Lord completely as David had, because he, like his father Joash, did not remove the high places (verse 4). Where, in disregard for Mosaic law, the people worshiped the Lord (Deut. 12:2-7; 13-14). Further, according to (2 Chron. 25:14-16), Amaziah embraced the false gods of the Edomites.


He was descended from David, but Joash was his father. He was attempting to do that which was right in the sight of the LORD. Asa was the only descendent of David, up until this time, who had lived as good as David in the sight of the LORD. Amaziah was a good king, but he did not quite measure up to David. He was zealous for the LORD in the beginning, but he faltered in the latter part of his reign.


2 Kings 14:4 "Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places."


Though he first did that which was right before God; nor did his father take them away (see 2 Kings 12:3).


God wanted them to worship and burn incense in the temple in Jerusalem. Anything other than what He had established, would be sin.



Verses 5-6: Blood revenge was an accepted Israelite custom, but Amaziah followed the "Law of Moses" rather than killing further generations as Jehu had done (10:11, 14; Deut. 24:16).


When firmly in control of the kingdom, Amaziah took revenge on Jozachar and Jehozabad, the officials who assassinated his father Joash (12:20-21). However, he spared the lives of their sons, in obedience to the Mosaic law that children were not to die for their father's sins (Deut. 24:16; Ezek. 18:1-20).


2 Kings 14:5 "And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father."


That he was well settled on the throne, and had a share in the affection of the people, and the idolatry and murder his father had committed were worn off of the minds of the people. And the friends of the conspirators against him were become few or none.


"That he slew his servants that had slain the king his father": Charged them with the murder in a court of judicature, obtained a sentence against them, and had them executed.


We remember that Joash had been killed by some of his own men. Their treachery led to their own death here, when Amaziah killed them.


2 Kings 14:6 "But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin."


Which is an instance of his clemency and goodness, and of his strict regard to justice, and to the law of God. Though he might fear these, being spared, would one time or other revenge their fathers' deaths.


"According to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses" (see Deut. 24:16).


"Wherein the Lord commanded, saying, the fathers shall not be put to death for the children": To which command Amaziah was obedient.


"Nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin": wherein he showed some faith and courage, that he would obey this command of God, though it was very hazardous to himself, such persons being likely to seek revenge for their father's death.


The people of this land had been guilty of killing the children of the offenders, along with their fathers who were the offenders. Amaziah did not do that. He followed the LORD's teaching, which said each man should die for his own sin. The children should not be required to die for the sins of their fathers. At least in this action, Amaziah had shown great restraint.


2 Kings 14:7 "He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day."


"Edom" had successfully rebelled against Judah in the days of Jehoram (8:20-22). Amaziah's God given success is detailed more fully (in 2 Chronicles 25:5-16). Unfortunately, that victory aroused a foolish pride (verse 10), and caused spiritual compromise, for which Amaziah was rebuked by a prophet of the Lord (2 Chron. 15:14-16).


For an elaboration of Amaziah's war with Edom (see the notes on 2 Chron. 25:5-16). Edom had revolted in Joram's reign (see 8:20), so the king wanted them subjugated again.


'The Valley of Salt": Probably a marshy plain at the south end of the Dead Sea (see note on 2 Sam. 8:13).


"Selah ... Joktheel": Selah (meaning "rock" in Hebrew), is best identified as Petra (meaning "rock" in Greek), a city carved out of sheer mountain walls located about 50 miles south of the Dead Sea, though some prefer to place it in northern Edom near Bozrah on the King's Highway (Judges 1:36). Renaming a captured city, as Amaziah did with the name Joktheel, implied his control over it.


See (2 Chronicles 25:5-13), for more on this victory. This stunning accomplishment was only possible through God's empowerment, but Amaziah took the credit and became proud (2 Chron. 25:14-16).


Amaziah battled with Edom at the Dead Sea or the Salt Sea, and it appears he killed ten thousand of them. The valley of salt is right there by the Salt Sea. Selah here, is believed to be the same as Petra. "Joktheel" means subdued of God.



Verses 8-14: The point of Jehoash's fable was that the weaker king, "Amaziah" (the "thistle), who had defeated lowly Edom, should not challenge mighty "Jehoash (the "cedar") who had defeated more powerful Syria. He threatened that if his words went unheeded, Amaziah would be "trode" in battle by the army of Israel (a "wild beast" out of "Lebanon). Jehoash made good on his threat.


2 Kings 14:8 "Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face."


"Jehoash ... of Israel" (see notes on 13:10-23).


"Look one another in the face": Amaziah's challenge to Jehoash constituted a declaration of war. Amaziah, emboldened by his victory over Edom (verse 10), thought he could defeat the stronger army of Israel (13:25). He was probably also upset by the refusal of Jehoash to establish a marriage alliance with him (verse 9).


Amaziah of Judah sent word to Joash of Israel, that he would like to see him and talk to him face to face.


2 Kings 14:9 "And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that [was] in Lebanon sent to the cedar that [was] in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that [was] in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle."


"The thistle ... cedar": In this parable (Judges 9:8-15), the thorn bush (Amaziah), an irritating and worthless plant, sought to become the equal of the majestic cedar (Jehoash), but a wild animal crushed the bush. Jehoash counseled Amaziah that he was overestimating his power and prominence and should not go to war with Israel lest he be crushed (verse 10).


The provocation for Amaziah's challenge lay in the fact that when he had dismissed some Israelite mercenaries, which he had planned to use in the Edomite campaign, they had looted certain Judean cities on their way homeward (2 Chron. 25:6-10, 13). Proud "Amaziah" (verse 10), foolishly thought to test the battle-proven "Jehoash, king of Israel (13:25).


A thistle is nothing compared to a cedar. This seems to be speaking of someone held in low esteem, asking for the hand of the daughter of someone held in high esteem. When two people marry, it is as if they are on equal standing. The thistle is saying, he is equal with the cedar. It appears, the answer is to insult Amaziah. There is even a threat involved, with the wild beast mentioned.


2 Kings 14:10 "Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory [of this], and tarry at home: for why shouldest thou meddle to [thy] hurt, that thou shouldest fall, [even] thou, and Judah with thee?"


Swelled him with pride and vanity on account of the victory he had obtained over the Edomites. Which pride was at the bottom of his message to him, and that goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18).


"Glory of this, and tarry at home": Be content with the glory of it, and boast of it at home, but do not swagger abroad, and insult thy neighbors.


"For why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?" Suggesting to him, that he had better be quiet, since it would be to the harm, if not the ruin of him and his kingdom.


He thinks that Amaziah is overly proud of destroying Edom. He is also warning Amaziah that he might attack him and Judah. He thinks that his 3 victories of Syria make him equal or better, than Judah.


2 Kings 14:11 "But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Beth-shemesh, which [belongeth] to Judah."


"Beth-shemesh": A town about 15 miles west of Jerusalem, where the armies of Israel and Judah faced each other in battle.


Beth-shemesh was in Judah's land. It appears the two armies met at this point.



Verses 12-14: Amaziah's stubbornness will cost him his freedom (2 Chron. 25:23-25), and "Jerusalem" also paid a heavy price in Jehoash's invasion and looting of the city.


2 Kings 14:12 "And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents."


Could not face them; but as Josephus says, a sudden fear and consternation seized them, and before they joined battle with the Israelites, turned their backs.


"And they fled every man to their tents": To their cities, as the Targum, and left their king alone.


In this initial battle, Israel won. Judah fled from the front and went home.


2 Kings 14:13 "And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits."


"Jehoash ... took Amaziah": Winning the battle, Jehoash also captured Amaziah. Jehoash probably took Amaziah back to Samaria as a hostage (verse 14). The king of Judah was forced to stay in Samaria until the death of Jehoash (in 782 B.C.; verse 17).


Gate of Ephraim ... corner gate": The Corner Gate (Jer. 31:38; Zech. 14:10), was at the northwest corner of the wall around Jerusalem. The Ephraim Gate was in Jerusalem's northern wall facing Ephraim, 600 feet east of the Corner Gate. This northwestern section of the wall of Jerusalem, torn down by Jehoash, was the point where Jerusalem was most vulnerable.


Whether the troops of Amaziah ran, and left him to be captured by Jehoash or not, we do not know. We do know, that Amaziah was captured. He took the king with him to Jerusalem, and tore down 600 feet of the wall of the city. We are not told whether Amaziah's men did not fight back, because they did not want to get their leader killed, or whether they just ran in fear.


2 Kings 14:14 "And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria."


"He took": Jehoash plundered both the temple at Jerusalem and the palace of Amaziah. The value of the plundered articles was probably not great, because Jehoash of Judah had previously sent the temple and palace treasures to pay tribute to Hazael of Damascus (12:17-18). Jehoash probably took hostages from Jerusalem to Samaria to secure additional payments of tribute in view of the small war booty.


There could not have been very much silver and gold, because about 15 years earlier the silver and gold had all been given to Hazael to stop warring with them. Whatever had been accumulated in the meantime, was taken. They also took hostages. The first mention of taking hostages had to do with the Persians taking Lot hostage. This was not a custom of the Hebrews.


2 Kings 14:15 "Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"


His valiant and mighty acts which he did in his wars with the Syrians (2 Kings 13:25).


"And how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah": A short account of which is given in the preceding verses.


"Are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?" A book very often mentioned and referred to, as containing the history of the events and transactions of every reign.


2 Kings 14:16 "And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead."


Died as they died.


"And was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel": Where they were.


"And Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead": Which was Jeroboam the second.


This is that same record book that had been kept of the exploits of all the kings of Israel. That book is not part of the Bible, however. Jehoash or Joash, wound up being an evil king. He named his son after the evil Jeroboam, who brought in the golden calf to be worshipped.


Verses 17-19: "Amaziah" was still alive when "Jehoash" died (2 Chron. 25:25). Apparently, Jehoash's son, Jeroboam II, released him and he returned home to live another "fifteen years." Like his father before him, Amaziah was to die at the hands of assassins.


2 Kings 14:17 "And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years."


"Fifteen years": 782-767 B.C.


We see from this, that Amaziah was not killed in the battle with Joash of Israel. Joash stole the valuables, but undoubtedly let Amaziah go.


2 Kings 14:18 "And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"


"The acts of Amaziah" His apostasy (2 Chron. 25:27), his disastrous war with Israel, the ruinous condition of Jerusalem, the plunder of the temple and the loss of hostages lost him the respect of his people who rebelled and killed him.


As Israel had a record book of their kings, so did Judah. His exploits were kept in the book of Judah's records.


2 Kings 14:19 "Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there."


Against Amaziah; the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the principal men of it. Perhaps those whose sons the king of Israel had carried away as hostages, which they imputed to the ill conduct of Amaziah, as well as the breaking of the wall of Jerusalem. And the pillaging of the temple, and the king's palace.


"And he fled to Lachish": A fortified city in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:39), but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there; in a private manner, as Josephus relates.


"Lachish": A town about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem to which Amaziah fled seeking to escape death.


This is speaking of Amaziah. He was killed by his own people, to get a new leader in his place.


2 Kings 14:20 "And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David."


That is, in a chariot or hearse drawn by horses; though the Jews suppose he was carried on horses, and that because he worshipped the gods of the Edomites, who were themselves carried on horses. And he was not carried on the shoulders of men, because he neglected to serve the God of Israel, whose mysteries were carried on the shoulders of men.


"And he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David": And very probably in the sepulcher of the kings, though his father was not.


They did respect him enough to bring his body back to Jerusalem for burial.


2 Kings 14:21 "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which [was] sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah."


"Azariah" is also called Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:1; Isa. 1:1).


"Sixteen years old": Azariah, a.k.a. Uzziah (see note on 15:1). Had actually begun to reign at the age of 16 in 790 B.C. when his farther Amaziah was taken prisoner to Samaria (verse 13). When Amaziah returned to Judah, Azariah ruled with him as co-regent from 782-767 B.C. (verse 17). In 767 B.C. when Amaziah was killed (verse 19), Azariah began his sole rule (15:1; see notes on 2 Chron. 26:1-23).


Azariah is spoken of in other places as Uzziah. "Azariah" means whom God hath helped. "Uzziah" means might of Jehovah. This is undoubtedly not the conspirators, who set up Azariah as king of Judah.


This seems to be a people movement. The people feared the conspirators might try to put someone on the throne, who was not descended from King David.


2 Kings 14:22 "He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers."


"Elath" had been important to the Israelites in Solomon's day (1 Kings 9:26-28; 10:22), and in the era of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:36). Elath was located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Aqabah and was closely associated with Ezion-geber, a seaport of Solomon. Azariah's restoration of Elath to Judah marked the first significant act of his sole rule; his further successes are summarized (in 2 Chron. 26:6-15).


It seemed as though he was an efficient king, even though he started so young. Elath had been the headquarters for the fleet of Solomon. It was located on the northeast end of the Gulf of Aqabah.


It was a place that swapped back and forth between Judah and Edom. Perhaps, they had gotten it back in the last war with Edom.


2 Kings 14:23 "In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, [and reigned] forty and one years."


"Fifteenth year": Ca. 782 B.C. This marked the beginning of the sole reign of Jeroboam II. Since his son, Zechariah succeeded him in 753 B.C. (see 15:8), Jeroboam II must have had a co-regency with his father Jehoash for 11 years, making a total reign of 41 years (793-753 B.C.), longer than any other king in the northern kingdom.


"Jeroboam": This was Jeroboam II, who like the other kings of Israel, followed the false religion of Jeroboam I. During the reign of Jeroboam II, the prophets Hosea (Hosea 1:1), and Amos (Amos 1:1), ministered to the northern kingdom. These prophets showed that Jeroboam II's reign was a time of great prosperity and greater spiritual apostasy in Israel.


It appears that now Jeroboam the second is ruling Israel. He was an evil idolatrous king. He was very powerful though.


2 Kings 14:24 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."


Was guilty of idolatry.


"He departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin": The worship of the calves is especially meant. He was in all respects of the same cast with his ancestor of the same name, from whom he had it, in veneration of him.


Here again, we see that the worship of the golden calf was continuing.



Verses 25-28: This Jonah" is the same "prophet" whose story is told in the Book of Jonah. This "Jeroboam" is Jeroboam II, a man of war who "recovered ... which belonged to Judah", so that Israel's territory resembled that of King Solomon's reign.


The explanation for Jonah's prophecy is given here. The Lord Himself had personally witnessed the heavy, bitter affliction borne by all in Israel with no human help available (verse 26). Further, the Lord had not decreed Israel's final doom (verse 27). To "blot out their name from under heaven" meant to annihilate Israel totally, leaving no trace or memory of her (Deut. 9:14; 29:20). Thus, moved with compassion, the Lord Himself used Jeroboam II's reign to rescue His suffering people. However, as the books of Hosea and Amos show, Israel did not respond to God's grace with repentance.


2 Kings 14:25 "He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which [was] of Gath-hepher."


"Restored the coast of Israel": Jeroboam II's greatest accomplishment was the restoration of Israel's boundaries to approximately their extent in Solomon's time, excluding the territory belonging to Judah. The northern boundary was the entrance of Hamath, the same as Solomon's (1 Kings 8:65), and the southern boundary was the Sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea (Josh. 3:16; 12:3).


Jeroboam II reigned 41 years, including 15 years of co-regency with his father Jehoash. He inherited a strong kingdom and was able to reverse the military advantage that the Arameans had so long enjoyed. He pushed the frontier of the northern kingdom beyond "Hamath" and Damascus in Syria (verse 28). With Adad Nirari III of Assyria dead, and weaker kings on the Assyrian throne, Jeroboam had a free hand in Aramean affairs. Unfortunately, his military and administrative abilities were not matched by any spiritual sensitivity (verse 24). The prophets Hosea and Amos decry the spiritual bankruptcy of the northern kingdom in the early eighth century B.C.


"Jonah": The territorial extension of Jeroboam II was in accordance with the will of the Lord as revealed through the prophet Jonah. This was the same Jonah who traveled to Nineveh with God's message of repentance for the Assyrians (see introduction to Jonah.


"Gath-hepher": A town located in the tribal area of Zebulun, about 14 miles west of the Sea of Galilee (Josh. 19:13).


This king will lead Israel as a nation to greatness again, except that he did not lead them in their spiritual renewal. They still sinned against God, but on the other hand, we find him listening to the prophet Jonah. The entering in of Hamath was thought to be the northern border of the holy land. The sea of the plain is possibly speaking of the Dead Sea. It appears Jonah was a prophet at the time of Amos and Hosea. Gath-hepher is not far from Mount Tabor.


2 Kings 14:26 "For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, [that it was] very bitter: for [there was] not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel."


Being sorely oppressed by their enemies, especially the Syrians. And he was moved to have compassion upon them, and show mercy to them:


"For there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel": They were in the most forlorn and helpless condition (see Deut. 32:36).


The Israelites had suffered greatly at the hands of the Syrians. It is not because Jeroboam the second is a good man, but because of God's mercy on Israel, that they are blessed through Jeroboam the second.


2 Kings 14:27 "And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash."


Had not as yet declared it by any of his prophets, that he would do it, as he afterwards did by Hosea (Hosea 1:4). And was fulfilled in the reign of Hoshea king of Israel (2 Kings 17:1).


"But he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash": The instrument of their deliverance from the hands of their enemies, and of recovering their borders as afore time.


They do not deserve God's compassion, and neither does Jeroboam the second. God loves them, even while they are involved in their sins. He loved all of us, when we were yet in sin too. He will not blot their name out, even though they are still worshipping the golden calf.


2 Kings 14:28 "Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, [which belonged] to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"


Without devotion to the Lord, Jeroboam, by might and clever leadership, brought Israel more prosperity than the country had known since Solomon. The people rested in their prosperity rather than God's power. Material blessing was no sign of God's blessing, since they had no commitment to Him.


He was a warrior, who actually recovered much of the land Syria had taken away. He would have much written in the record books, of how he regained much of the land for Israel.


2 Kings 14:29 "And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, [even] with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead."


Died, and was buried with them.


"And Zachariah his son reigned in his stead": Who was of the fourth generation from Jehu, as was promised to him (2 Kings 10:30).


Jeroboam the second did much for the land of Israel. He was an evil idolatrous king however. In Zachariah, we see the fulfillment of the promise that the LORD made to Jehu. His descendants for 4 generations would sit on the throne of Israel. Zachariah would be another evil king. "Zachariah" means whom Jehovah remembers.


2 Kings Chapter 14 Questions


1. What does "Amaziah" mean?


2. How old was Amaziah, when he began to reign?


3. How old was he, when his reign ended?


4. Who was his mother?


5. What does "Jehoaddan" mean?


6. He did that which was ___________ in the sight of God.


7. He was not like David, but like his ___________.


8. What was one thing that remained, that displeased God?


9. Who did he kill, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hands?


10. Why did he not kill their children?


11. How many of Edom did he kill in the valley of salt?


12. Where is the valley of salt?


13. What message did Amaziah send to Jehoash?


14. What is verse 9 really speaking about?


15. What does Jehoash really think about Amaziah?


16. Where did they meet face to face?


17. What was the outcome?


18. What happened to Amaziah?


19. What did the king of Israel do in Jerusalem?


20. What places did he plunder?


21. Who took Jehoash's place in Israel?


22. Who is verse 19 speaking of?


23. Where was he killed?


24. How did they bring him back for burial?


25. Who did the people anoint king of Judah?


26. How old was he, when he was crowned king?


27. What was another name he was called?


28. Elath was famous for what?


29. How long did the second Jeroboam reign in Israel?


30. What kind of king was he?


31. Who was the prophet he listened to?


32. Why were the Israelites blessed of God?


33. What does "Zachariah" mean?





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2 Kings 15



2 Kings Chapter 15

2 Kings 15:1 "In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign."


"Twenty and seventh year": 767 B.C. This included the 11 years of Jeroboam II's co-regency with Jehoash (see note on 14:23). "Azariah": The name means "The Lord has helped" (14:21; 15:6-8, 17, 23, 27; 1 Chron. 3:12). He was also called Uzziah, meaning "The Lord is my strength" (15:13, 30, 32, 34; 2 Chron. 26:1-23; Isa. 1:1; 6:1; Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1; Zech. 14:5). Isaiah the prophet began his public ministry during Azariah's reign (Isa. 1:1).


We learned in the last lesson, that Azariah and Uzziah is the same person.


2 Kings 15:2 "Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Jecholiah of Jerusalem."


Azariah's "two and fifty years" include 10 years of reigning while his father Amaziah was imprisoned in the north, 15 years as a co-regent on Amaziah's release, and 27 years of fully independent rule. Azariah was 16 when he began his co-regency with his father Amaziah. Azariah's sole rule began (in 767 B.C.; see note on verse 8). He reigned in a time of great political success (2 Chron. 26:2; 6-15), peace, and prosperity (compare the note on 14:25). He showed an early interest in spiritual matters (verse 3; compare 2 Chronicles 26:4-5), so the Lord greatly blessed him (2 Chron. 26:8, 15). Unfortunately, he was not fully committed to the Lord (verse 4), so when great success came he fell into pride and attempted to take the place of the priest in offering incense in the temple (2 Chron. 26:16-19). For this he was smitten with leprosy (verse 5). At his death, he was excluded from the royal burial grounds (2 Chron. 26:23).


This young man of 16 reigned 52 years, until he was 68 years old. This is a reign that took the better part of his life. He was king of Judah, and did right in the sight of the LORD. "Jecholiah" means Jehovah is strong. She was the wife of Amaziah. In 2 Chronicles, her name is spelled Jecoliah.


2 Kings 15:3 "And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;"


At the beginning of his reign, and in an external way.


"According to all that his father Amaziah had done": Who did not do what he did as David, sincerely and cordially (2 Kings 14:3).


Azariah was a very good king. He sought the LORD during his reign. He wanted to please God and man. His judgments of the people were just.


2 Kings 15:4 "Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places."


That is, he did right, excepting in that instance, and which was the case of his father and other kings before him, and others afterwards, till Hezekiah came.


"The people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places (see 2 Kings 12:3; 14:4).


Azariah did not realize that sacrificing in the high places was a sin. He had not been taught better. His parents probably did not know better either.


2 Kings 15:5 "And the LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king's son [was] over the house, judging the people of the land."


"Leper": Azariah suffered from leprosy as punishment for usurping the priestly function of burning incense on the altar in the temple (see notes on 2 Chron. 26:16-20). The disease eventually killed him (see note on Isa. 6:1).


"Several house" Literally "in a house of freedom." Azariah was relieved of all royal responsibilities. His son Jotham served as co-regent, Jotham specifically supervised the palace and governed the nation.


During Azariah's leprosy, he lived in isolation from public activities. Therefore, he associated his "son Jotham" with him as co-regent. The eight-century prophets of the southern kingdom (Joel, Isaiah, and Michah), attest to the loss of spiritual vitality and genuine religion in Judah.


The story behind Azariah's leprosy is described (in 2 Chron. 26:16-21) where the name Uzziah is used. Knowing the nature of the leprosy would help determine whether the reference to an "several house" means Azariah dwelt in a separate building or had separate quarters in the palace. In any case, the text indicates he relinquished some of his duties to his son "Jotham."


This particular thing happened late in his reign. In the book of Chronicles, we read that God blessed him mightily in his early days as king. On one occasion, he defeated the Philistines with the blessing of the LORD. He defeated the Arabians, and caused the Ammonites to pay tribute to Judah. He had over 300,000 men in his army. They were well equipped and well trained. His great sin was when he invaded the temple and went into the priest's office, and burned incense at the golden altar in the Holy of Holies. The leprosy came after he had done this terrible thing. Lepers were thought of as unclean, and he had to live a separated life. Azariah was ultimate ruler, but his son Jotham represented him before the people.


2 Kings 15:6 "And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"


In the history of the reigns of those kings; some of them are recorded in the canonical book of the Chronicles (2 Chron. 26:1), and some were written by the prophet Isaiah (2 Chron. 26:22).


2 Kings 15:7 "So Azariah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead."


Or died, when he had reigned fifty two years.


"And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David": But not in the sepulchers of the kings, but in the field of the burial, or the burying ground which belonged to them, because he was a leper (2 Chron. 26:23). Benjamin of Tudela places his grave near the pillar of Absalom, and the fountain of Siloah, near the brook Kidron.


"And Jotham his son reigned in his stead": Who reigned sixteen years; a further account of him, and his reign, we have in the latter part of this chapter, after the reigns of several of the kings of Israel.


This book of chronicles is the record book that was kept. There is also a great deal about Azariah (in 2 Chronicles), in the Bible. He had an honorable burial in Jerusalem. "Jotham" means Jehovah is upright. Jotham was a good king who did right in the sight of the LORD. He was prosperous and re-built the temple gates.



Verses 8-12: Although "Zechariah" ("Yahweh Remembered"), reigned only briefly, his rule initiated the swift downward plunge of the northern kingdom. He was the last king descended from "Jehu," fulfilling the Lord's promise that Jehu's sons would "Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation".


2 Kings 15:8 "In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months."


"Thirty and eighth year": 753 B.C., making Azariah's co-reign with his father Amaziah (see notes on 14:21; 15:2), begin in 792-791 B.C. (accession year), or 790 B.C. (non-accession year).


"Zachariah": Zachariah was the fourth and final generation of the dynasty of Jehu (ca. 753-752 B.C.). His death fulfilled the prophecy given by the Lord (15:12; 10:30).


This has jumped back to Israel again. Zachariah is the son of Jeroboam the second really. His reign was short, because he was so evil and he was killed. "Zachariah" means whom Jehovah remembers.


2 Kings 15:9 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."


Even all his predecessors, from the time of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, from whose sin, in worshipping the calves, they departed not.


It was Jeroboam the first who set up the two golden calves, and that is what this is speaking of again. He is the last of the house of Jehu to reign. God had fulfilled his promise to Jehu that his sons would reign to the 4th generation.


2 Kings 15:10 "And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead."


Zachariah's assassination fulfilled Amos's prediction concerning the family of Jeroboam (Amos 7:9).


"Shallum": Shallum killed Zachariah and replaced him as king of Israel. Assyrian records call Shallum "the son of nobody," indicating that he was not from the royal family.


It appears that Shallum killed Zachariah in front of the people.


2 Kings 15:11 "And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they [are] written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel."


During his six months' reign, and what he might do before in the period when normal government is suspended during the changing of reigns.


"Behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel": For be they more or fewer, good or bad, they were all recorded there which were of any consequence.


2 Kings 15:12 "This [was] the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth [generation]. And so it came to pass."


Which was now fulfilled in the short reign of Zachariah.


"Saying, thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation": (see 2 Kings 10:30). And so it came to pass; as every word of the Lord does, not one fails. For after Jehu, then reigned Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam the second, and Zachariah, all descendants of Jehu.


The mention of this record book is for each king in succession. Even though this king lasted only 6 months, God had fulfilled his promise.



Verses 13-14: "Shallum" reigned for "a full month", the second shortest reign is Israel's history. Only Zimri served fewer days (1 Kings 16:15).


2 Kings 15:13 "Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria."


"Nine and thirtieth year": 752 B.C. Zachariah's reign spanned the last months of Azariah's 38 th years (verse 8), and the first months of the following year.


2 Kings 15:14 "For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead."


"Menahem": Menahem had probably been a military commander under Zachariah.


"Tirzah": The former capital of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 14:17; 15:21, 33), located about nine miles east of Samaria. Menahem was probably stationed with his troops at Tirzah.


This is a short lived reign. Live by the sword and you shall die by the sword, was certainly fulfilled here. He died almost as soon as he got into office. This alone, shows the evil that was rampant in Israel. At this point in time, it appeared the way to get the office of king, was to kill the king. Menahem was probably commander in chief of the army when he killed Shallum.


2 Kings 15:15 "And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they [are] written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel."


In which, no doubt, an account of the cause of the conspiracy, and of the persons assisting to him in it, was given, with other things done in his short reign.


There could not have been much to record on him, since he was in office just one month.



Verses 16-31: The atrocity "Menahem" committed toward the Israelite town of "Tiphsah" was unprecedented in the war between Judah and Israel. The decades-long reign of ungodly kings in Israel continued from "Menahem" to "Pekah."


2 Kings 15:16 "Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that [were] therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not [to him], therefore he smote [it; and] all the women therein that were with child he ripped up."


For this barbaric practice (see the note on 8:12).


"Tiphsah": Since Tiphsah was located on the Euphrates River about 325 miles north of Samaria (1 kings 4:24), a majority of interpreters translate this term "Tappuah," a town 14 miles southwest of Tirzah (Joshua 17:8).


"Ripped up": The ripping open of pregnant women was a barbarous practice and elsewhere associated only with foreign armies (8:12); Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13). Menahem probably did this as a visible reminder of the city's failure to "open" up, or surrender, to his demands.


"Tiphsah" means passage, or fordway. This could have been speaking of a particular passage-way that Menahem took. He was a very vicious king, as we see by his treatment of the pregnant women. It appears the army had fought bitterly against Menahem, and he felt justified in his cruelty, because of their resistance.


2 Kings 15:17 "In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, [and reigned] ten years in Samaria."


"Nine and thirtieth year": 752 B.C.


"Ten years": 752-742 B.C. With Menahem, the northern kingdom changed from the non-accession to the accession-year system of computing reigns.


Samaria was the capital city of Israel. His reign of ten years was a reign of cruelty and idolatry.


2 Kings 15:18 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."


The same character is given of him as of those before him (2 Kings 15:9).


Over and over, we see the mention of the terrible sin of worshipping the golden calf. It is always mentioned in association with Jeroboam, who had established this worship in Bethel and Dan. It seemed, that each king, from the time of Jeroboam, accepted the worship of the two golden calves. Menahem's sins extended much further than just the worship of the calves. He was evil in every aspect of his life.


Verses 19-20: "Pul" was the personal name of Tiglath-pileser III of "Assyria," who reigned from 745-727 B.C. Apparently, he allowed himself to be called by his personal name Pul in Babylon. After usurping the throne (in 745 B.C.), he immediately launched a campaign against the west that brought the northern kingdom into political vassalage. Thereafter the political situation in Israel would be heavily tied to the Assyrian throne. Tiglath-pileser III and his successors were vigorous kings who made Assyria the dominant power in the ancient Near East until late in the seventh century B.C.


Tiglath-pileser III invaded Israel (in 743 B.C.). Menahem paid tribute of 1,000 talents of silver (ca. 37 tons), raised from the wealthy men of Israel. Each of 60,000 men paid 20 ounces of silver to raise the required 37 tons of silver. For his tribute, Tiglath-pileser III supported Menahem's claim to the throne of Israel and withdrew his army. By this action, Menahem became a vassal of the Assyrian king.


2 Kings 15:19 "[And] Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand."


"Pul": Assyria kings frequently had two names, a throne name for Assyria and another for Babylon. Pul was the Babylonian throne name of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (1 Chron. 5:26), who reigned (ca. 745-727).


Pul was the king of Assyria. There is very little known of him. We do see in this Scripture that he led an army against Menahem in Israel, and Pul won. Menahem arranged for Israel to be redeemed from the conquest of Pul by giving him 125,000 pounds of silver. Pul received the money, and left Menahem as king of Israel.


2 Kings 15:20 "And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, [even] of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land."


Who were most able to pay it, by which means he eased the poor, and might thereby attach them to him.


"Of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria": That is, he required them to pay fifty shekels apiece to make up the above sum as a present to Pul. Though the words in the original text lie more naturally thus, "to give to the king of Assyria fifty shekels of silver for one man". That is, for every man in his army; which amounted to about six pounds a man.


"So the king of Assyria turned back": To his own country.


"And stayed not there in the land": in the land of Israel, neither to distress nor to help Menahem, for which he gave him the money.


We can see from this, that Menahem got this silver by taxing the men who had it. He taxed the wealthy. This means that each of these men gave the king 25 ounces of silver. This means that about 60,000 people each gave this amount of silver, to buy the freedom of Israel.


2 Kings 15:21 "And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"


We are referred to the same book of chronicles for them as for those of the rest of the kings, which seems to be a form the historian uses of them all.


2 Kings 15:22 "And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead."


Died a natural death, and in peace, though a usurper and a tyrant.


"And Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead": The kingdom he had usurped continued in his family.


In the ten years of his reign, there were probably many things that happened and were recorded. This record book was for the civil record. It appears that Pekahiah was no better than his evil father, and he will be killed by his own general.


2 Kings 15:23 "In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, [and reigned] two years."


"Fiftieth year": 742 B.C.


"Two years": 742-740 B.C.


2 Kings 15:24 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."


"Sins of Jeroboam" (see notes on 13:2; 1 Kings 12:25-32).


This was a very short reign. Each time a new king takes the throne, it seems that he gives his approval afresh to the worship of the golden calves of Jeroboam.



Verses 25-27: Harmonization of the various scriptural data makes it clear that "Pekah" actually ruled only about eighth years (740-732 B.C). Apparently Pekah had laid claim to the throne some 12 years previously and had achieved some local prominence. Because he was anti-Assyrian in sentiment, the Scriptures credit him with a full "twenty years" of reign.


2 Kings 15:25 "But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room."


"Pekah" (see note on 15:27). Pekah was one of Pekahiah's military officers, probably commanding Gilead, since 50 Gileadites accompanied him when he assassinated Pekahiah. Argob and Arieh were either Pekahiah's sons or loyal military officers. Pekah probably represented the anti-Assyrian faction in Israel (16:5).


2 Kings 15:26 "And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they [are] written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel."


The same form of expression is used as before (2 Kings 15:21), of all the kings.


We find that each of these evil kings seemed to come to a violent death at the hands of their own people. It seems that Remaliah, the father of Pekah, was better known than Pekah himself. One of the notable things that Pekah did was described by the following Scripture.


2 Chronicles 28:6 "For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah a hundred and twenty thousand in one day, [which were] all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers."


2 Kings 15:27 "In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, [and reigned] twenty years."


"Two and fiftieth year": 740 B.C.


"Twenty years": On the basis of Assyrian records, it can be determined that Tiglath-pileser III deposed Pekah as king of Israel (in 732 B.C.), evidently using Hoshea as his instrument. Therefore, Pekah reigned (ca. 752-732 B.C.), using the accession-year system of dating (that is, counting the first year as one). This included the years (752-740 B.C.), when Pekah ruled in gilead while Menahem (verses 17-22), and Pekahiah (verses 23-26), reigned in Samaria (the Jordan River being the boundary of the split kingdom).


(Verse 25), seems to indicate that Pekah had an alliance with Menahem and Pekahiah, ruling Gilead for them.


It seems, that every time Pekah is mentioned, that Remaliah is mentioned with him. It was toward the last of the reign of Azariah, that Pekah began to reign.


2 Kings 15:28 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."


Not only in committing the above crimes of usurpation and murder, but idolatry, and particularly the worshipping of the calves, hinted at in the text.


There was not one king in Israel that truly lived for the LORD. They each permitted the worship of the golden calves. This king was eviler than most of the kings. Isaiah shows that he made treaties with foreigners, to come against his Hebrew brothers in Judah. He actually had a great deal to do with the battles of his day against Judah.



Verses 29-30: "Pekah" and Rezin, an Aramean, king, had attempted to pressure Ahaz of Judah into an anti-Assyrian alliance (2 Chron. 28:5-15; Isa. chapter 7). Ahaz however refused and hired Tiglath-pileser against them (16:7), who launched a second western campaign into Syro-Palestine that resulted in the capture of Damascus (in 732 B.C.; 16:9-10), and the assassination of Pekah by pro-Assyrian forces in Israel. This latter deed is corroborated in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, who also lists Israel's heavy tribute at this time.


2 Kings 15:29 "In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria."


"Ijon ... Naphtali": The areas of Galilee and Gilead are described here. When Pekah and Rezin, the king of Syria, sought to have Judah join their anti-Assyrian alliance, another invasion by Assyria was provoked (16:5-9).


(In 733-732 B.C.), Tiglath-pileser III took Galilee and Gilead and converted them into 3 Assyrian provinces governed by royal appointees. He also was involved in replacing Pekah with Hoshea as king over the remaining area of Israel (see note on 15:27).


This attack by the Assyrians really affected the greater part of the territory of Israel east of the Jordan River. This is speaking of the land of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh. This Tiglath-pileser was the same one that was paid to retreat by Azariah. The land of Naphtali was included in the tribes east of the Jordan, where the people were carried captive back into Assyria.


2 Kings 15:30 "And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah."


Jotham of Judah began his reign (in 750 B.C.; see note on 15:32). His 20th year was 732 B.C., according to the non-accession-year system. Assyrian records confirm that Hoshea began to rule Israel (in 732 B.C.; see notes on verse 27; 2 Chron. 27:1-9).


2 Kings 15:31 "And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they [are] written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel."


Not recorded here, but were to be read in the book of chronicles of the kings so often referred to.


We must remember that Uzziah and Azariah is the same person. It helps us keep the events straight. We will find in all of this, we will run out of kings in Israel before we run out of kings in Judah, because Israel goes into Assyrian captivity long before Judah is taken captive by the Babylonians. Hoshea will be the last of the kings of Israel. Hoshea would be king, when Israel is completely overrun. Again, we see that more is found in the civil records of the kings.


2 Kings 15:32 "In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign."


"Second year": 750 B.C., the year of Pekah's second year of rule in Gilead, according to the accession-year system (see note on 15:27).


For part of their reign, Jotham of Judah and Pekah of Israel are contemporaries. Jotham was a good king. He did right in the sight of the LORD. During his reign, the temple gates were rebuilt.


2 Kings 15:33 "Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok."


"Sixteen years" 750-735 B.C. According to (verse 30), Jotham reigned until 731 B.C. Jotham was probably replaced as a functioning king of Judah by a pro-Assyrian faction who established Ahaz as ruler (see notes on 15:1-2), while leaving Jotham as a powerless co-regent. Isaiah (Isa. 1:1), and Micah (Mica 1:1), the prophets ministered to Judah during Jotham's reign.


He reigned from the age of 25 to the age of 41. Zadok was a popular name. The only claim to fame this Zadok had, was the fact that he was father of Jerusha. Jerusha was also the wife of Uzziah (Azariah). The capital of Judah was Jerusalem. Judah's life centered around the temple worship.


2 Kings 15:34 "And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done."


Jarchi, (in 2 Chronicles 27:2), observes, from a writer of theirs, that in all the kings of Judah before him, even in the best, some sins were found. But in Jotham there was nothing scandalous and reproachful and it is a high character Josephus gives of him, that there was no virtue wanting in him. He was pious towards God, just towards men, and careful of the public good. But the inspired historian chiefly respects matters of religious worship; he did not give into idolatry.


"He did according to all that his father Uzziah had done": That is, according to what was well done by him. He did not imitate him in going into the temple to burn incense, which is particularly excepted (2 Chron. 27:2).


2 Kings 15:35 "Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD."


"The higher gate" Probably the upper Benjamin Gate, which stood along the north side of the temple complex facing the territory of Benjamin (Jer. 20:2; Ezek. 9:2; Jer. 14:10). Other accomplishments of Jotham are noted (in 2 Chron. 27:3-6).


Jotham is given a good report by the author of Chronicles. He was noted for his building activities and his military abilities (2 Chron. 27:3-7).


It is very obvious that his desire was to please God. He was not totally aware that the high places were offending God. He possibly, realized the Assyrians were overwhelming Israel and he wanted the house of the LORD to be safe. He built a stronger and a taller gate to protect it.


2 Kings 15:36 "Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"


Of which mention is often made by the inspired historians; some of Jotham's other acts are recorded in the canonical book of Chronicles (2 Chron. 27:1).


Again, we see there was a civil record kept of the actions of the kings of Judah, as there was of the kings of Israel. The Hebrews were great record keepers.


2 Kings 15:37 "In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah."


At the end of the days of Jotham, or after his death, things might be in design, and preparations made before. But nothing of what follows came to pass in his life, but in the times of his son.


"The Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah": To make war with them as a scourge to Ahaz for his sins; of which is in the following chapter.


"Rezin ... Pekah" (see notes on 16:5-9).


Pekah thought it might help him, if he helped Rezin to come against Judah.


Isaiah 7:1 "And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, [that] Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it."


2 Kings 15:38 "And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead."


Died, and was buried with the kings of Judah in their sepulchers.


"And Ahaz his son reigned in his stead": An account of whose reign we have in the next chapter.


"Ahaz" means possessor, or possession. Ahaz is, also, known by Achaz. Ahaz will not be like his father, Jotham who did right. Ahaz is an evil king. We will find that Ahaz walks in the ways of the kings of Israel.


2 Kings Chapter 15 Questions


1. Who is the same person as Azariah?


2. How old was Azariah, when he began to reign?


3. What does "Jecholiah" mean?


4. What kind of king was he?


5. What was one thing the LORD had against him?


6. When did he become a leper?


7. What sin did he commit, that caused him to be leprous?


8. Who represented Azariah before the people in the last of his reign?


9. What does "Jotham" mean?


10. What outstanding thing did he do?


11. How long did Zachariah reign?


12. Who killed Zachariah, and reigned in his stead?


13. How long did Shallum reign?


14. What happened to him?


15. What does "Tiphsah" mean?


16. What terrible thing did Menahem do to the pregnant women?


17. The worship of the golden calves is always mentioned in connection with what king?


18. Pul was king of _____________.


19. Who do some believe Pul to be?


20. How much silver did Pul get from Menahem?


21. Where did Menahem get the silver?


22. How long did Pekahiah reign?


23. Who reigned after Pekahiah?


24. How many did Pekah kill in one day in Judah?


25. How long did Pekah reign?


26. Who did the Assyrians attack, in verse 29, affect?


27. Who would be the last king of Israel to reign?


28. Who was Jerusha's son?


29. Who built the higher gate at the house of the LORD?


30. Who came against Judah in those days?


31. What does "Ahaz" mean?





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2 Kings 16



2 Kings Chapter 16

Verses 16:1-17:41: At this point the narrative turns to the defeat and exile of Israel by Assyria. (In 17:7-23), the prophetic writer states the reasons why Israel was punished by the Lord. A major reason was the sinful religion established by Jeroboam I (17:21-23), which was followed by every king in Israel, Ominously, the section begins with the narrative concerning Ahaz of Judah who "walked in the way of the kings of Israel" (16:3). The kind of punishment that came upon Israel would come later upon Judah for the same reason (17:19-20).


2 Kings 16:1 "In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign."


"Seventeenth year": 735 B.C., since Pekah's reign began (in 752 B.C.; see note on 15:27). Although Jotham, the father of Ahaz, was still alive (see note on 15:30), Ahaz exercised the sovereign authority in Judah from 735 B.C. to Jothams's death in ca. 731 B.C. Isaiah (Isa. 1:1-7:1), and Micah (Micah 1:1), the prophets continued to minister to Judah during the reign of Ahaz (see notes on 2 Chron. 28:1-27).


In the last lesson, we learned that Jotham had been a king that pleased the LORD. We also noted that Ahaz did not follow in the footsteps of his father. He was very evil. We have mentioned before, that Israel had all evil kings after they broke away into the ten tribes. Judah had some good kings and some evil.



Verses 2-6: "Pass through the fire" refers to child sacrifice, one aspect of worship linked to the Canaanite god Molech (2 Chron. 28:3). For this and other sins of "Ahaz," God allowed Resin and Pekah to besiege Judah but He prevented complete exile (2 Chron. 28:5-15). Only "Elath" was captured.


2 Kings 16:2 "Twenty years old [was] Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father."


"Sixteen years" (731-715 B.C.). The principle of "dual dating" was followed here. In (16:1 and 17:1), Ahaz was recognized as king in the year he came to the throne as a co-regent, but the year of his official accession was determined as the year when he began to reign alone. Ahaz shared royal power with Azariah (to 739 B.C.), and Jotham from (744 to 735 B.C.; see note on 17:1). He exercised total authority as co-regent with Jotham from (735-713 B.C.; see note on 16:1). He was sole king from (731 to 729 B.C.), and was co-regent with his son Hezekiah from (729 to 715 B.C.; see note on 18:1).


Ahaz is descended from David, but he does not please God as David did. Ahaz picks up the idolatrous ways of Israel. He even goes further with his idolatry, than some of the kings of Israel.



Verses 3-4: Ahaz was an apostate. He not only allowed corrupting religious practices to flourish but personally participated in them. His spiritual debauchery include taking part in the heathen Molech sacrifices. This involved sending children "through" the sacrificial "fire" as an offering to the Canaanite god Baal (Lev. 20:1-5; 2 Kings 23-10; Jer. 7:30-33; 19:5-6; 32:35; see the note on 2 Chron. 28:3).


2 Kings 16:3 "But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel."


"Walked in the way of the kings of Israel": This does not necessarily mean that Ahaz participated in the calf worship introduced by Jeroboam I at Bethel and Dan, but that he increasingly brought pagan, idolatrous practices into the worship of the Lord in Jerusalem. These are specified (in verses 10-16), and parallel those of Jeroboam I in the northern kingdom. This included idols to Baal (2 Chron. 28:2).


"Made his son to pass through the fire": As a part of the ritual worship of Molech, the god of the Moabites, children were sacrificed by fire (3:27). This horrific practice was continually condemned in the Old Testament (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut. 18:10; Jer. 7:31; 19:5; 32:35).


"The abominations of the heathen" (see note on Deut. 18:9-12).


Speaking of the ways of Israel here, was speaking actually of the ways of Ahab and Jezebel. He worshipped Molech, because that false god involved having your children walk through the fire. The practice of human sacrifice came from the Ammonites and the Moabites. Jeremiah and Chronicles relate the walking through the fire with human sacrifice.


2 Kings 16:4 "And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree."


"The high places": Ahaz was the first king in the line of David since Solomon who was said to have personally worshiped at the high places. While all the other kings of Judah had tolerated the high places, Ahaz actively participated in the immoral Canaanite practices that were performed at the "high places" on hilltops under large trees (Hosea 4:13).


Some of the other kings had allowed the worship in high places. The difference here is, false gods were worshipped there during the reign of Ahaz.



Verses 5-10 (see the note on 15:29-30).


2 Kings 16:5 "Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome [him]."


"Rezin ... Pekah": The kings of Syria and Israel wanted to overthrow Ahaz in order to force Judah into their anti-Assyrian coalition. The two kings with their armies besieged Jerusalem, seeking to replace Ahaz with their own king (Isa. 7:1-6). The Lord delivered Judah and Ahaz from this threat because of His promise to David (Isa. 7:7-16).


We read in the previous lesson, how Israel and Syria had made a pact to come against Judah together. It appears at this point, the two countries had come against Ahaz at Jerusalem, after taking some of the outlying towns. They were turned back at Jerusalem. They could not overcome Ahaz at Jerusalem.


2 Kings 16:6 "At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day."


"Elath": The Syrians did displace Judah from Elath (see note on 14:22). Later this important port town of the Gulf of Aqabah was captured by the Edomites.


Elath was one of the little towns that Rezin did take. It appears, the Jews there fled and left it with the Syrians.


2 Kings 16:7 "So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I [am] thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me."


"Tiglath-pileser" (see notes on 15:19, 29).


"Thy servant and thy son": Ahaz willingly became a vassal of the Assyrian king in exchange for his military intervention. This was a pledge that Judah would serve Assyria from this point on. In support of his pledge, Ahaz sent Tiglath-pileser III silver and gold from the temple and from the palace treasuries (verse 8). Evidently the prosperous regions of Azariah and Jotham had replenished the treasures plundered by Jehoash of Israel 50 years earlier during Amaziah's reign (14:14).


It appears that Ahaz had become afraid that he would not be able to continue to fight off the Syrians and the Israelites, and he calls for help from the Assyrians. Tiglath-pileser was king of Assyria at the time. Ahaz even offers to be subordinate to the Assyrian king. That is what is meant, when he calls himself his son.


2 Kings 16:8 "And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent [it for] a present to the king of Assyria."


Which Uzziah and Jotham had put there. For all that was found there in the times of Amaziah was taken away by Jehoash king of Israel (2 Kings 14:14).


"And in the treasures of the king's house": Whatever gold and silver he had of his own.


"And sent it for a present to the king of Assyria": To obtain his help and assistance.


Ahaz had no respect for the house of the LORD. His only idea was to take the wealth of the temple, and buy them an ally. This had been done before, when it appeared Jerusalem and the temple might be destroyed. He even sent the silver and gold from the palace.


2 Kings 16:9 "And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried [the people of] it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin."


"The king of Assyria hearkened unto him": According to 'Assyrian records, (in 733 B.C.). Tiglath-pileser III's army marched against Damascus, the Syrian capital, laid siege for two years, and captured it. The victorious Assyrian king executed Rezin and deported his subjects to Kir, whose location is unknown.


The Assyrians seemed to be more interested in capturing the enemy and putting them into slavery, than killing them. Assyria attacked Syria immediately, and took Damascus. The king was the only one mentioned, who was killed.



Verses 10-16" The new "altar" represented Ahaz's allegiance to "Assyria' and his apostasy. His rejection of God eventually reached the point where he completely shut the temple doors and would not let anyone worship there (2 Chron. 28:24). Along with his other acts (in 16:17-18), he began to disassemble the temple.


2 Kings 16:10 "And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that [was] at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof."


"An altar": When Ahaz traveled to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser III, he saw a large altar (verse 15), which was most likely Assyrian. Ahaz sent a sketch of this altar to Urijah the High-Priest in Jerusalem and Urijah built an altar just like it. The serious iniquity in this was meddling with and changing, according to personal taste, the furnishings of the temple, the design for which had been given by God (Exodus 25:40; 26:30; 27:1-8; 1 Chron. 28:19). This was like building an idol in the temple, done to please the pagan Assyrian king, whom Ahaz served instead of God.


When king Ahaz of Judah went to meet with the Assyrian king in Damascus, he went as a subordinate to the Assyrian king. This altar that Ahaz saw was probably a portable altar that the Assyrian king had with him. Ahaz was probably trying to please the Assyrian king, when he sent instructions to Urijah the priest of the temple in Jerusalem to build one like it. Ahaz was already worshipping heathen gods at this time. This was just one more of many sins he committed.



Verses 11-16: Replacing the "brazen altar" with a pagan altar was only one of several religious changes made by "Ahaz (verse 17; 2 Chron. 28:22-25). He even went as far as to close the temple (2 Chron. 28:24).


2 Kings 16:11 "And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made [it] against king Ahaz came from Damascus."


Exactly according to the size, form, figure, and carved work of it. Though expressly contrary to the command of God; which fixed both the form and matter of the altar of God, with everything appertaining to it. Which he, being high priest, could not be ignorant of (Exodus 27:1). But he was a timeserver, and sought to curry favor with his prince.


"So Urijah the priest made it against King Ahaz came from Damascus": Both king and priest were in haste to have this altar made. Ahaz could not stay till he came home, but sent directions about it from Damascus. And the priest was so expeditious in observing his commands, that he got it done before he came thence to Jerusalem.


Urijah is probably the same as Uriah, and was high priest at the time this happened. It is difficult for me to believe a high priest would stoop so low as to build this heathen altar, even if the wicked king did require him to do it. He did build it however.



Verses 12-13: "Offered": As did Solomon and Jeroboam before him (1 Kings 8:63; 12:32), Ahaz dedicated the new altar by offering sacrifices.


2 Kings 16:12 "And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon."


Looked at it, and liked it, being exactly according to the pattern he had sent.


"And the king approached the altar, and offered thereon": Either by a priest, or it may be in his own person, having no regard to the laws and appointments of God. Especially as his sacrifices were not offered to him, but to the gods of Damascus and Syria (2 Chron. 28:23).


The offering of the king was probably done for him by the high priest. He brought the offering, and the high priest offered it, would probably be correct.


2 Kings 16:13 "And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar."


Which went together according to the law of God, and was imitated by the Heathens.


"And poured his drink offering": A libation of wine, as probably it was, like what they used according to the Levitical law.


"And sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings upon the altar": As used according to the same law; for all sorts of sacrifices were offered by idolaters, as by the people of God, in imitation of them.


This is just saying, the various kinds of offerings that were made on this heathen altar.



Verses 14-16: "Brasen altar": Feeling confident about his alterations in the temple, Ahaz moved the old bronze altar dedicated by Solomon (1 Kings 8:22, 54, 64), which stood in front of the temple between the new altar and the temple itself (verse 14). Ahaz had the bronze altar moved to a spot north of the new altar, thereby relegating it to a place of secondary importance. All offerings from then on were to be given on the altar dedicated by Ahaz, while Ahaz reserved the bronze altar for his personal use in seeking guidance (verse 15). The term "inquire" probably referred here to pagan divination through religious rituals. (Deut. 18:9-14), expressly forbade such divination in Israel.


2 Kings 16:14 "And he brought also the brasen altar, which [was] before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar."


That which Solomon made (2 Chron. 4:1), which stood in the court by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord (Lev. 1:5). From the forefront of the house; the front piece of the temple, which was at the eastern gate of it.


"From between the altar and the house of the Lord": For it seems Urijah had placed the new altar behind the old one, more out of sight": The brasen altar standing between that and the eastern gate, or entrance into the temple. Wherefore he removed the brasen altar, and put his new one in the room of it.


"And put it": That is, the brasen altar of Solomon.


"On the north side of the altar": Of the new altar, at the right hand as they went into the temple; where it was as in a corner, in greater obscurity, and the new altar more in view as they came into the temple.


The brazen altar of judgment was removed from the place of prominence, and put at a lesser location than this heathen altar. Each thing in the temple had a spiritual meaning for its location and the metal it was made with. This is all disregarded by Ahaz.


2 Kings 16:15 "And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to inquire by."


Who was not to be commanded by the king in matters of worship, but to attend to the laws and institutions of God.


"Saying, upon the great altar": Meaning the new one, which either was of a larger size than the altar of God, or was greater in the esteem of Ahaz.


"Burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering": The daily sacrifice, morning and evening.


"And the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings": Such as were offered up at any time on the account of the rulers of the land in particular, or of the whole congregation of Israel (see Lev. 4:1).


"And sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice": As it used to be sprinkled upon the altar of the Lord.


"And the brasen altar shall be for me to inquire by": To search, inquire, and consider what was to be done with it; for altars were never inquired by as oracles. The meaning is, that it was never to be made use of but by him, and when he pleased.


The great altar is speaking of the heathen altar. Urijah might have feared for his life, but he should never have allowed this. All of the offerings were to be made on the heathen altar. It would be determined later by Ahaz, what should be done with God's bronze altar.



Verses 16-17: Ahaz made further changes in the temple at Jerusalem. First, he removed the side panels ("borders") and "laver" from the portable stands (1 Kings 7:27-29, 38-39). Second, he removed the large ornate reservoir called "the sea" from atop the 12 bronze bulls to a new stone base (1 Kings 7:23-26). Third, he removed the "covered way," probably some sort of canopy used by the king on the Sabbath. Forth, he removed "the outer entry," probably a special entrance to the temple used by the king on Sabbaths and feast days (1 Kings 10:5).


2 Kings 16:16 "Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded."


Not only concerning the structure of the altar, but the sacrifices to be offered on it; like king like priest, both apostates and idolaters.


A high priest should not conform to the wishes of the king, when they are opposite to the LORD's wishes. This is an abomination of Ahaz, but also of Urijah.


2 Kings 16:17 "And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that [were] under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones."


In the temple there were ten lavers for the priests to wash in, which are here meant, the singular being put for the plural. And these had bases of brass, on which they were set. And about these bases were borders, which had on them figures of various creatures, lions, oxen, and cherubim. And these Ahaz cut off, either to deface them, in contempt of them, or to convert the brass to other uses, as he might also the bases themselves, since he removed the lavers from off them (see 1 Kings 7:27).


"And took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it": The molten sea Solomon made, which he set upon twelve oxen made of brass. This Ahaz took down from thence, either to abate its magnificence or render it despicable, or for the sake of the brass, of which the oxen were made (see 1 Kings 7:23).


"And put it upon a pavement of stones": Not upon the floor of the temple, for that was of wood, fir, or cedar, but on rows of stones, placed instead of bases for it to stand upon.


Ahaz's capitulation to the Assyrian king was total.


There had been five of these on either side of the entrance of the temple. They were held up by brazen oxen. These were for the numerous washings. It appears that Ahaz had them dismantled also. The sea of water will now just sit on pavement stones. Ahaz is destroying the temple worship little by little.


2 Kings 16:18 "And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king's entry without, turned he from the house of the LORD for the king of Assyria."


Used on the Sabbath day, either for the people to sit under to hear the law explained by the priests. Or for the course of the priests to be in, that went out that day, to give way to the course that entered, which yet did not depart from the temple till evening. Or rather for the king himself to sit under, while attending the temple service of that day, and might be the cover of the scaffold (2 Chron. 6:13), and be very rich cloth of gold. And therefore, he took it away for the king of Assyria, or to signify that he should not frequent the place any more: and hence it follows.


"And the king's entry without, turned he from the house of the Lord": The way which led from the king's palace to it, he turned it around about way, that it might not be discerned there was a way from the one to the other: and this he did.


"For the king of Assyria": To gratify him, that he might from hence conclude that he had wholly relinquished the worship of God in the temple, and should cleave to the gods of Damascus and Syria. Or for fear of him, that he might not see the way into the temple, and take away the vessels; or find him, should he be obliged to hide himself there, when in danger by him.


This is probably, a covered walkway that Solomon had built to get into the house of the Lord for worship. Ahaz tears it down and makes an entrance way for the king of Assyria.


2 Kings 16:19 "Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"


Some others are written in the canonical book of Chronicles (2 Chron. 28:1), and were, it is highly probable, in the annals of the kings of Judah, now lost.


2 Kings 16:20 "And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead."


"Hezekiah": For his reign (see 18:1-20:21).


Ahaz was so evil, he did not even seem to be of Judah. There are numerous battles that are mentioned in this record book. He is buried in Jerusalem with the kings. That really seems too good for him however.


2 Kings Chapter 16 Questions


1. How did Ahaz differ from his father Jotham?


2. How old was Ahaz, when he began to reign?


3. How long did he reign?


4. Who is Ahaz descended from, who was a king who pleased God?


5. He walked in the way of the kings of _________.


6. The ways of Israel was actually speaking of the ways of ______ and ____________.


7. What did he cause his children to do?


8. What heathen practice was this?


9. Where did he burn incense, instead of in the temple?


10. What two kings joined forces against Ahaz and Judah?


11. Were they able to overcome Ahaz?


12. What little place did Rezin take?


13. Who was king of Assyria at the time of Ahaz?


14. What did Ahaz ask him to do?


15. What did Ahaz bribe him with?


16. What city of Syria did the Assyrian king take?


17. What did Ahaz see, when he met with the Assyrian king?


18. Who was high priest at the temple at the time?


19. What did Ahaz have him to make?


20. What did they do with the brazen altar?


21. Ahaz made Urijah offer the offerings on which altar?


22. What did Ahaz do to the great sea at the temple?


23. What did he do with the covert for the Sabbath?





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2 Kings 17



2 Kings Chapter 17

Verses 1-6: "Ahaz" became king (in 732 B.C.), reigning for a time with his father. During his reign (722 B.C.), the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel were captured by Assyria, leaving only the southern kingdom, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and its temple and carried away the southern kingdom of Judah to Babylon (in 586 B.C.; 25:11).


2 Kings 17:1 "In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years."


"Twelfth year": 732 B.C. This date for the accession of Hoshea as king of Israel is well established according to biblical and extra biblical data (see note on 15:27). Therefore, Ahaz of Judah must have become co-regent with his father Jotham, who was himself co-regent with his father, Azariah, at that time (see notes on 15:30, 33; in 744 B.C.; see note on 16:2).


"Nine years": 732-722 B.C. according to the accession-year system. Hoshea was imprisoned (verse 4), during the siege of Samaria by Assyria (724-722 B.C.; verse 5).


"Samaria" was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. It was built about 880 B.C. by Omri, the sixth king of Israel (1 Kings 16:24). Samaria occupied a three hundred foot high hill about 42 miles north of Jerusalem and 25 miles east of the Mediterranean Sea. This hill was situated on the major north-south road through Palestine. It also commanded the east-west route to the Plain of Sharon and the Mediterranean Sea. It could easily be defended because it was on the hill; however, its great weakness was that the nearest spring was a mile away. Samaria repopulated by "men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim" (verse 24), all bringing their pagan idolatries with them. Intermarriage of native Jews with these foreigners led to the mixed race of Samaritans so despised by full-blooded Jews during the time of Jesus (John 4:1-10).


Hoshea will be the last king to reign over the ten tribes of Israel as a unit. His reign will be a short nine years, of which three years he will be under siege from the Assyrians. The Assyrians will defeat Israel, and take their people captive.


2 Kings 17:2 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him."


"He did that which was evil": Though Hoshea was characterized as a wicked king, it is not stated that he promoted the religious practices of Jeroboam I. In this way, he was some improvement on the kings of Israel who had gone before him. However, this slight improvement did not offset the centuries of sin by Israel's kings nor divert her inevitable doom.


He still allowed the calf worship, and he did not listen to the warnings from the prophets. These were his worst sins.


2 Kings 17:3 "Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents."


"Shalmaneser" succeeded his father Tiglath-pileser III as king of Assyria and reigned from 727-722 B.C. During the siege of Samaria, when the Assyrians began the destruction and captivity of the northern kingdom, Shalmaneser V died and was succeeded by Sargon II (see Isa. 20:1), who completed the siege, captured the city, destroyed the nation of Israel, and exiled the inhabitants (verse 6). Sargon II reigned as king from (722-705 B.C.; see note on Hosea 10:14).


Shalmaneser reigned for about five years in the place of Tiglath-pileser. Shalmaneser was an old prominent name for leaders of Assyria. It appears that Hoshea had been paying tribute before and had revolted when the king Tiglath-pileser died. It seems this role had been assumed here, and tribute must be paid to the new king.


2 Kings 17:4 "And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as [he had done] year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison."


Apparently "Hoshea" had thought that the death of Tiglath-pileser III must provide a good opportunity for freedom from Assyrian vassalage. "So" is the Hebrew name of the capital city of Egypt's Twenty fourth Dynasty where Tef Nekht was king.


"So king of Egypt": Instead of paying his yearly tribute owed as a vassal of Assyria, Hoshea tried to make a treaty with Osokon IV (ca. 722-716 B.C.), Pharaoh of Egypt. This was foolish because Assyria was powerful. It was also against God's will, which forbade such alliances with pagan rulers (Deut. 7:2). This rebellion led to Israel's destruction (verses 5-6).


Hoshea had stopped the tribute, and sent to the king of Egypt to help him. The king of Assyria finds out, arrests Hoshea, and puts him in prison in chains.


2 Kings 17:5 "Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years."


"Samaria ... besieged": In 724 B.C., Shalmaneser V invaded Israel and quickly conquered the land and captured Hoshea. However, the capital city of Samaria resisted the Assyrian invaders until 722 B.C. Like all major cites Samaria had an internal water supply and plenty of stored food that allowed her to endure the siege for 3 years.


It appears, the capital city is surrounded for three years. It seems they will not be as easily defeated as the small towns.


2 Kings 17:6 "In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor [by] the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."


"King of Assyria": Sargon II (see note on 17:3).


"Carried Israel away": The capture of Samaria marked the end of the northern kingdom. According to Assyrian records, the Assyrians deported 27,290 inhabitants of Israel to distant locations. The relocation of populations was characteristic of Assyrian policy during that era. The Israelites were resettled in the upper Tigris-Euphrates Valley and never returned to the Promised Land. "Halah" was a city northeast of Nineveh. The "Habor" River was a northern tributary of the Euphrates. The "cities of the Medes" were northeast of Nineveh. Samaria was resettled with foreigners (verse 24). God did what He said He would do (in Deut. 28). The Jews were carried as far east as Susa, where the book of Esther later took place.


We found earlier, that the Assyrians would rather take captives for slaves than kill the people. The last year of Hoshea's reign the city of Samaria fell, and the Assyrians took the people captive to Halah and Habor, which was by the river Gozan, and to the cities of the Medes.



Verses 7-12: God had commanded His people to fear (revere), Him for their good (Deut. 6: 2, 13, 24; Exodus 20:20). Instead, the Israelites "feared other gods" (a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments). This was their chief sin, the one that led to their fall and exile (Joshua 23:16; Hosea 13:16).


2 Kings 17:7 "For [so] it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,"


"Feared other gods": The primary cause of Israel's exile was the worship of other gods. The fear of the Lord led to listening to His Word and obeying His ordinances and statutes (Deut. 4:10; 5:29: 6:24) But the fear of the gods of Canaan led Israel to obey the laws of the Canaanite gods (verse 8). The result of this obedience to false gods is recorded (in verses 9:12, 16-17).


God had sent these Israelites a deliverer to bring them out of bondage in Egypt. Th