2 Kings 13: Jehoahaz and Jehoash reign in Israel, and death of Elisha.
(We are skipping 2 Kings 11 & 12 as it deals with the Southern Kingdom)
Reign of Jehoahaz. (1-9):
V. 1… Jehoahaz … Jehoahaz was the 11th KOI, (2nd king of Jehu dynasty). He ruled between 814 – 798 BC.
Vs. 2 & 3… did evil… followed the sins of Jeroboam… Again we come across the same lamentation of God over the continuation of the sins of Jeroboam. …HE delivered them into the hand of Hazzel…and…Ben-Hadad. God used the Syrian king to oppress Israel for their sins.
V. 4… Jehoahaz pleaded with the LORD… There is a temporary repentant from the king. …the LORD Listened to him… God heard the repentant prayer and saw the oppression. This is in the pattern of the book of Judges.
V.5 … LORD gave Israel a deliverer…Who is this deliverer? It is not clear here because there was none to suggest until his son came to throne.
Political history during Bible time: During the Israel’s slavery in Egypt, Hittite kingdom was the powerful kingdom in the north around Canaan, Syria and so on. Later during Judges era, Hittite started falling giving way to Assyrian Empire. Syria was the closest powerful (which was part of Assyria) kingdom. Assyria as a nation began a rise to power in the 13th Century BC and contended with Egypt and Babylon for control of the area of Palestine. During this time, The Jewish people were in bondage in Egypt. Assyria enjoyed a kind of “Golden age” from 12th – 10 Centuries BC.
But, during the golden Age of Israel’s United Kingdom under David and Solomon, Assyrian Empire has weakened. That is why Israel had to deal with Syria and the activities were limited to Damascus, the bordering city of Syria. Starting from Jehu’s time Assyria started gaining momentum in 9th century BC. From 824 BC, Assyria started expanding it’s rule by conquering other nations. That is the reason we witness Nineveh to be the center of Biblical History during Johan around 755 BC. Assyrians have conquered Northern Kingdom in 721 BC. They have expanded up to Egypt. The only kingdom it could not conquer was Judah (see the Map). God kept Judah to fulfill His purpose. (*All years are approximate)
Vs. 7 & 8… dust at threshing… After the war with Syria, Israelites had only 50 horsemen, 10 Chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. The rest of the chariots were crust like a dust.
Jehoash, king of Israel, Elisha’s death. (10-19):
Jehoash was the 12th KOI, (3rd king of Jehu dynasty). He ruled between 798 – 782 BC.
Vs. 10 – 13: Summary or Jehoash’s throne and death.
Vs. 14 – 21: Jehoash and Elisha.
Jehoash, the king, came to Elisha, to receive his dying counsel and blessing. It may turn much to our spiritual advantage, to attend the sick-beds and death-beds of good men,… Elisha assured the king of his success; yet he must look up to God for direction and strength; must reckon his own hands not enough, but go on, in dependence upon Divine aid. – Mathew Henry Commentary.
V. 14… Elisha had become sick with illness… It is not a surprise to see a great giant of faith who has performed miracle die of sickness. …Chariots of Israel and horsemen… Jehoash, who was left with 10 Chariots and 50 horsemen recognizes Elisha as the chariots and horsemen.
Vs. 15 – 17… take a bow and some arrows… Even at sick bed, Elisha extended to King Jehoash to participate in an enacted prophecy that symbolizes his future victories over the Syrians.
Vs. 18 – 19… Take the arrows;…strike the ground… The king knowing that the enactment is about defeating powerful Syria, he struck the ground only three times. Is that the amount of zeal he has against the king of Syria? God has given us the spiritual power in Jesus Christ against our spiritual forces.
How harsh is our striving against sin and satan? Hebrews 12:4.
What is the level of our zeal for the Kingdom of God? Philippians 1:20.
Read Verses 22-25: Jehoash was successful against the Syrians, only to the number of times he had struck the ground with the arrows, then a stop was put to his victories. Yes, our advancement and victory, certainly, will be according to our hope and zeal.
Elisha’s death (20-21): Elisha died and later when a dead body came to life when it has come in contact with Elisha’s bones. This may have reference to Christ, by whose death and burial, the grave is made a safe and happy passage to life to all believers.