The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Kings

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2 Kings 8

2Ki 8:1

Vv 1-6: "It appears that 'a great woman' of Shechem had befriended the prophet, finding him and his servant, from time to time, as they passed by that place, food and lodging. In return for this he sends her a message: '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?' (2Ki 4:13) Now we should have gathered from previous passages in Elisha's history, that Jehoram, who was then king of Israel, was not one with whom he was upon such terms as this proposition to the Shunammite implies. Jehoram was the son of Ahab, his old master Elijah's enemy, and apparently no friend of his own; for when the three kings, the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom, in their distress for water, in their expedition against Moab, wished to inquire of the Lord through Elisha, his answer to the king of Israel was, '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' (2Ki 3:14). What, then, had occurred in the interval betwixt this avowal, and his proposal to the Shunammite to use his influence in her favour at court, which had changed his position with respect to the king of Israel? It may be supposed that it was the sudden supply of water, which he had furnished these kings with, by God's permission, thus saving the expedition; and the defeat of the enemy, to which it had been instrumental (2Ki 3:16,17). This would naturally make Elisha feel that the king of Israel was under obligations to him and that he could ask a slight favour of him without seeming to sanction the character of the man by doing so. And this solution of the case appears to be the more probable, from Elisha coupling the 'captain of the host' with the king; as though his interest was equally good with him too, which he might reasonably consider it to be, when he had done the army such signal service; and it is further confirmed by another incident related of this same Shunammite in a subsequent chapter. For having fled from the seven years' famine into another country, she lost her house and land in her own, on which she appealed to king Jehoram. Accordingly, 'the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things Elisha hath done' (2Ki 8:4). Elisha having now, no doubt, actually recommended her case to the king. And when Gehazi had named some of these miracles, 'the king appointed to her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers'; so that the event shows that Elisha on the former occasion had not miscalculated his powers, or the grounds on which he might challenge the king's favours" (USC).

A FAMINE IN THE LAND THAT WILL LAST SEVEN YEARS: Exactly twice the length of the drought in the days of Elijah (Jam 5:17). A review of the Scriptural record suggests that Elisha's ministry lasted twice the length of Elijah's, and that he performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. Is this a fulfilment of the request of Elisha (2Ki 2:9), where he asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit?

2Ki 8:2

AND STAYED IN THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES: The lowlands would not be so subject to a drought.

2Ki 8:3

TO BEG FOR HER HOUSE AND LAND: Possibly squatters had now moved in, and refused to leave.

2Ki 8:4

Vv 4-6: A direct example of how God works through circumstances for the benefit of those that love him (Rom 8:31). It is a direct example of the truth of the words: "When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him" (Pro 16:7).

2Ki 8:6

"A sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous" (Pro 13:22).

2Ki 8:7

Had Naaman's healing and conversion (2Ki 5) improved relations between the two countries?

2Ki 8:8

HE SAID TO HAZAEL: Having heard of Naaman (2Ki 5)?

HAZAEL: "El hath seen, or foreseen."

2Ki 8:10

YOU WILL CERTAINLY RECOVER: Left to its own course, the disease would not prove fatal.

2Ki 8:11

HE STARED AT HIM WITH A FIXED GAZE UNTIL HAZAEL FELT ASHAMED: Elisha read his mind -- he knew of the plotting, and Hazael shrank from his stares.

THEN THE MAN OF GOD BEGAN TO WEEP: Because he saw Hazael's terrible judgments upon Israel?

2Ki 8:12

RIP OPEN THEIR PREGNANT WOMEN: Cp 2Ki 2:23,24 and Lev 19:28, where God "prohibits the ritual slitting of the womb of expectant women to deliver them to the Syrian god at whose hand the victims were supposed to believe the land had been invaded. The abortion was a dedication to the invading god. This is referred to in 2Ki 8:12 (and Amos, etc), where the same Heb word is translated 'rip' " (AG, Tes 54:306).

2Ki 8:15

The fulfillment of this prophecy begins immediately, demonstrating the sort of man Hazael was: he went straight home and killed the king, starting his reign of terror. This is a terrible thing, but let us be sure not to stand on a pedestal and consider ourselves above such behavior. How many of us can truthfully say that at no point in our lives have we denied someone something in order to get what we want ourselves? However detached from our experience these stories are, there is always the potential for a humbling lesson.

2Ki 8:21

ZAIR: Mt Seir in Edom?

2Ki 9:1

TUCK YOUR CLOAK INTO YOUR BELT: 'Prepare yourself for a journey.'

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