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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 13

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Second Kings Chapter 13

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."

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 of them, 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.

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."

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."

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.

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."

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 250 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 saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as before-time."

It is not clear, at this point, who this saviour 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.)"

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."

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?"

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."

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."

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."

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?"

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."

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 had been a prophet in Israel for a great many years at 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.

2 Kings 13:15 "And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows."

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."

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]."

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."

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."

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.

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."

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 sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."

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.

2 Kings 13:22 "But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz."

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."

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."

Earlier in this lesson, we discovered that this is speaking of Benhadad 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."

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 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 2 Kings 13:3?

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?

Verse 1

2Ki 13:1

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Kings 13". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-kings-13.html.
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