Scripture reading – 2 Kings 13; 2 Kings 14

We are in the midst of the era of the kings in Israel and Judah. I encourage you to avoid becoming frustrated by attempting to retain the names of all the kings. What is essential is to remember that History is “His Story” and a testament to the sovereignty and providence of the LORD.

2 Kings 13

The northern ten tribes known as Israel continued in sin. They followed in the “sins of Jeroboam,” the first king of a divided Israel who made two golden calves and “made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 13:2). The sins of the kings of Israel and their evil influence on the people were a continual provocation of God’s wrath (2 Kings 13:3).

Fulfilling Elisha’s prophecy, Hazael, king of Syria, and his son Benhadad continually continued to oppress Israel (2 Kings 13:4; 2 Kings 8:12). Yet, when the LORD delivered the nation from her enemies, the people turned back to idolatry and their sinful ways (2 Kings 13:5-6). After he succeeded his father Jehoahaz as king, Joash (also named Jehoash) followed in the sins of his father (2 Kings 13:8-13)

The Death of Elisha, God’s Prophet (2 Kings 13:14-21)

The Death of Elisha, God’s Prophet (2 Kings 13:14-21)

Elisha, God’s prophet in Israel and Elijah’s successor, was old and terminally ill (2 Kings 13:14). While he often opposed the kings of Israel, King Joash respected the elderly prophet and came to Elisha’s bedside. There, the king “wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof” (2 Kings 13:14). The king knew well the story of Elijah’s glorious departure and his words intimated he was aware Elisha was near death.

Elisha’s homegoing was not as dramatic as Elijah’s (for he had been taken to heaven in a fiery chariot). Nevertheless, he was honored by the king’s visit, and he offered Joash two symbolic prophetic blessings (2 Kings 13:15-19). First, Elisha asked Joash to shoot an arrow out the window to the east, and he prophesied the LORD would deliver Israel from Syria (2 Kings 13:16-17). In the second symbol, Elisha commanded the king to strike the floor with arrows, which Joash obeyed and struck the floor three times (13:18). The dying prophet became indignant with the king when he struck the floor only three times (2 Kings 13:18). He wished Joash had struck the floor many times for then he would have assured him that Syria would be destroyed (2 Kings 13:19).

A miracle that followed Elisha’s death and burial was recorded. When the body of another man was cast into his grave and touched the bones of the prophet, he was raised from the dead (2 Kings 13:20-21).

2 Kings 13 concluded with a reminder: Although Israel disobeyed the LORD and broke their covenant with Him, God never forgot His “covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet” (2 Kings 13:23).

2 Kings 14

2 Kings 14 recorded a succession of kings and their sons who ruled over Judah and Israel. Amaziah, the son of Joash, became king of Judah (14:1-2), 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” (2 Kings 14:3). (We remember that King David, though not a perfect man, was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Amaziah served the LORD much of his life, but he forsook the LORD, His law, and commandments in his last years. Soon after becoming king, Amaziah sought a covenant of peace with Jehoash, the king of Israel. However, that wicked king rose against Judah, attacked Jerusalem, and broke down a section of the city’s wall. He also took away “all the gold and silver, and all the vessels found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria” (2 Kings 14:14).

A second king named Jeroboam, probably named after the founding king of the northern ten tribes, became king of Israel in 2 Kings 14:23. He continued in the idolatry established by his namesake (2 Kings 14:24).

Our Scripture reading concludes by reminding us of the grave consequences Israel suffered for her sins as a nation. For example, 2 Kings 14:26, where we read: “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” (2 Kings 14:26). Yet the Lord was compassionate, and He remembered His promises. “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” (2 Kings 14.27).


Closing thoughts –

The time of Israel’s kings was drawing to a close. What is true of man would be Israel as a nation, for “pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

I close with a blessed truth for those who understand it is our nature to sin, but our God is forgiving. 

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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