The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Kings

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2 Kings 13

2Ki 13:1

2Ki 13: "In this ch the record returns to the history of Israel, taking it from the death of Jehu (1Ki 10:35) and briefly sketching the reign of Jehu's son Jehoahaz and that of his grandson, Jehoahaz, known also as Joash. The Syrian oppression was the great event of the reign of Jehoahaz. But amidst the evil and wickedness of Jehoahaz reign (v 2), Yahweh revealed Himself as tender and compassionate, in spite of the duplicity of the king. His divine character is seen when 'Jehoahaz besought Yahweh', an expression which literally means 'stroked the face of'. The same metaphor is used in Exo 32:11, 1Ki 13:6. It expresses the pleading of a man thoroughly humbled by the reverses of life. To such the Father responds, as does every true father similarly treated (cp Eph 3:15). Thus Yahweh provided a saviour (2Ki 13:5). Israel was saved through the victories of Joash and Jeroboam (v 25; 14:27), but the real source of salvation seems to have been Elisha. He must have been an influence for good in Israel, helping the king by his wise counsel. This explains the concern and despair of Joash on the impending death of Elisha (v 14)" (GEM).

2Ki 13:3

BEN-HADAD: A dynastic title of the Aramean, or Syrian kings. It is first seen in 1Ki 15:18 and the last reference, chronologically, is Jer 49:27.

2Ki 13:4

It is comforting that even in the midst of this apparently irretrievable immoral idolatry, God would listen to the pleas of one unrighteous man and allow him to be the saviour of the nation at that moment. How disappointing that even with this deliverance afforded them by God, none of them turned to Him (v 6).

2Ki 13:5

A DELIVERER: That is, Joash son of Jehoahaz.

2Ki 13:6

ASHERAH: See Lesson, Asherah.

2Ki 13:14

MY FATHER! MY FATHER!... THE CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN OF ISRAEL!: These are the same words uttered by Elisha himself about his predecessor, Elijah (2Ki 2:12). Even the wicked king Jehoash realizes that Elisha, as God's prophet, is more powerful than chariots and horses, and expresses here something of his awareness of the presence of the Almighty. It is true enough, that wherever the word of the prophet is found, there is the power of the LORD! And that power is infinitely greater than all the "chariots" and "horses" of all the armies that ever were.

What the younger Elisha had seen earlier in the old prophet Elijah, as he was being taken away from him, is finally seen by another in the now older Elisha, as he also is being taken away. Elisha may scarcely have realized how and when it was happening, but over time the "mantle" of Elijah had truly come to rest on his shoulders, spiritually as well as literally. He had grown up to the office, and now -- at the end -- it was as though Elijah was once more taking his leave of men. In a similar way, many a young man has wondered if he might ever attain to the wisdom, and experience, and authority, and strength of his father -- to find, one day years later, that he has indeed. It has happened even as Jesus' parable suggests: "Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how"... until finally "the grain is ripe" (Mar 4:27,29)!

2Ki 13:17

APHEK: An area immediately east of Israel; site of recent Syrian conflicts. Though Syria is basically north of Israel, this explains "east" of v 17a.

2Ki 13:18

STRIKE THE GROUND: "Smite" in AV, meaning 'shoot the arrows so they strike the ground.'

2Ki 13:19

We are given here no indication of whether Joash could possibly have known how many times he was expected to "strike", but the implication is that he acted in a half-hearted manner in carrying out Elisha's bidding, thus giving Elisha reason to be angry. Let us be sure not to respond half-heartedly to the things that are revealed to us.

2Ki 13:20

EVERY SPRING: Lit, "at the coming in of the year" (cp similar phrase, Exo 34:22): probably the fall, the time of Feast of Tabernacles.

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