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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

2 Kings 8

Verses 1-15


Miracles of warning to Israel (6:8-8:15)

The remaining stories of Elisha concentrate on his dealings with the rulers of Israel and Syria. God was going to use Syria to punish Israel for its sin during the period of the Omri dynasty, but first he had various lessons to teach the two nations.
On one occasion when Israel and Syria were fighting each other, Elisha repeatedly warned the Israelite king of Syrian ambushes (8-10). The Syrian king was furious when he learnt why his ambushes failed, and sent an army to capture Elisha. Instead Elisha took control of the Syrian soldiers and led them to the Israelite capital, Samaria (11-19).
Israel’s king thought this a perfect opportunity to slaughter the enemy, but Elisha directed him to feed them and release them. As a result peace was temporarily restored between Israel and Syria. The whole story was a lesson to both countries that God controlled their destinies (20-23).
Some time later the Syrians returned and besieged Samaria. With people dying of starvation and no help from God in sight, the king blamed Elisha for the trouble and tried to murder him (24-33). Elisha assured the king there would be plenty of food the next day (7:1-2), but when a report reached the king that it had arrived, he was slow to believe (3-12). The report was true, and at least one person was trampled to death as people rushed to buy (13-20).
In spite of the judgment that had begun to fall on Israel, God was still caring for those who were faithful to him. The woman whose son had been raised to life (see 4:8-37) was saved from poverty by being warned of a famine soon to hit Israel. She went and lived elsewhere during the famine, but by God’s control of events she received back all her property when she returned to Israel (8:1-6).

Meanwhile God was continuing to prepare Syria to be his instrument to punish Israel. The king Ben-hadad was seriously ill, but he would have recovered had not Hazael murdered him. Hazael then became king. Elisha wept when he saw the terrible suffering that Hazael would bring upon Israel (7-15; cf. 1 Kings 19:15).

Verses 16-29


8:16-12:21 REMOVAL OF JEZEBEL’S BAALISM

Jezebel’s Baalism spreads to Judah (8:16-9:10)

The writer now returns to his historical account of the kings of Judah and Israel. Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram, who was married to Athaliah the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, became king of Judah after his father’s death. Through Athaliah, Jezebel’s Baalism spread to Judah. Jehoram made sure that no one challenged his right to do as he pleased by killing all likely rivals. Because of this and his support for Jezebel’s Baalism, he was assured of a horrible death (16-19; 2 Chronicles 21:4,2 Chronicles 21:11-15,2 Chronicles 21:18-20).

For David’s sake God did not yet destroy Judah, though the nation certainly weakened. Edom to the south and Libnah on the Philistine border freed themselves from Judah’s rule, while the Arabs and the Philistines raided and plundered with great success (20-24; 2 Chronicles 21:16-17).

During one of these raids most of Judah’s royal family was killed. Jehoram’s sole surviving son, Ahaziah, became king after his father’s death (2 Chronicles 22:1), but in his short reign he proved to be no better than his father. He was dominated by his mother Athaliah, along with relatives of hers from the north whom she had brought into the Jerusalem palace (2 Chronicles 22:3-4). He joined his uncle Joram (or Jehoram) of Israel in war against Hazael of Syria. When Joram retreated to the summer palace at Jezreel to recover from wounds received in battle, Ahaziah went to visit him (25-29).

Elisha saw that the time had come for him to carry out his last major responsibility, which was to anoint Israel’s army commander Jehu as king. Jehu’s job was to rid Israel of the entire family of Ahab and Jezebel (9:1-10; cf. 1 Kings 19:16).


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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/2-kings-8.html. 2005.