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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 13

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.

Jehoahaz ... reigned seventeen years. Under his government, which pursued the policy of his predecessors, regarding the support of the calf-worship, Israel's apostasy from the true God became greater and more confirmed than in the time of his father Jehu. The national chastisement, when it came, was consequently the more severe; and the instruments employed by the Lord in scourging the revolted nation were Hazael, and his son and general, Ben-hadad, in resisting whose successive invasions the Israelite army was sadly reduced and weakened.

Verse 2

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-ha'dad the son of Hazael, all their days.

He delivered them into the hands of Hazael ... and ... Ben-hadad ... all their days - rather, 'all his days' (2 Kings 13:22-23). In the extremity of his distress Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and was heard, not on his own account (Psalms 66:18; Proverbs 1:28; Proverbs 15:8), but that of the ancient covenant with the patriarchs (2 Kings 13:23).

Verse 4

And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.

He saw the oppression of Israel - i:e., commiserated the fallen condition of His chosen people. The divine honour and the interests of true religion required that deliverance should be granted them to check the triumph of the idolatrous enemy, and put an end to their blasphemous taunts that God had forsaken Israel (Deuteronomy 32:27; Psalms 12:4).

Verse 5

(And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.

A saviour. This refers neither to some patriotic defender nor some signal victory, but to the deliverance obtained for Israel by the two successors of Jehoahaz-namely, Joash, who regained all the cities which the Syrians had taken from big father (2 Kings 13:25); and Jereboam II., who restored the former boundaries of Israel (2 Kings 14:25). [The Septuagint has: edooke kurios sooteerian too Israeel, the Lord gave deliverance to Israel.] This is probably the correct reading (see 2 Kings 13:17, "the Lord's deliverance"). Several critics are of opinion that 2 Kings 13:7 is out of its proper place, and suggest that it should come immediately after 2 Kings 13:4.

Verse 6

Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)

There remained the grove - Asherah, the idol set up by Ahab (1 Kings 16:33), and which ought to have been demolished (Deuteronomy 7:5).

Verse 7

Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.

Made then like the dust by threshing. Threshing in the East is performed in the open air, upon a level plot of ground daubed over with a covering, to prevent as much as possible the earth, sand, or gravel from rising. A great quantity of them all, notwithstanding this precaution, must unavoidably be taken up with the grain; at the same time, the straw is shattered to pieces. Hence, it is a most significant figure, frequently employed by Orientals to describe a state of national suffering little short of extermination (Isaiah 21:10; Micah 4:12; Jeremiah 51:33). The figure originated in a barbarous war-custom, which Hazael literally followed (Amos 1:3-4: cf. Amos 1:2 Sam. 8:31; Judges 8:7).

Verse 8

Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

His might. This is particularly noticed, in order to show that the grievous oppression from foreign enemies by which the Israelites were ground down, was not owing to the cowardice or imbecility of their king, but solely to the righteous and terrible judgment of God for their foul apostasy.

Verse 9

And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 10

In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.

In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash ... to reign over Israel. Jehoash was associated with his father in the government three years, otherwise his reign must have been described as commencing in the fortieth year of Joash, king of Judah.

Verse 11

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 12

And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

His might wherewith he fought against Amaziah - (see the notes at 2 Kings 14:8-14.) The usual summary of his life and reign occurs rather early, and is again repeated in the account given of the reign of the king of Judah (2 Kings 14:15).

Verse 13

And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 14

Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.

Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. Every man's death is occasioned by some disease, and so was Elisha's. But in intimating it there seems a contrast tacitly made between him and his prophetic predecessor, who did not die. Joash ... came ... and wept over his face - visited him where he was lying ill of this mortal sickness, and expressed deep sorrow, not from the personal respect he bore for the prophet, but for the incalculable loss his death would occasion to the kingdom.

My father, my father ... - (see the notes at 2 Kings 2:12.) These word seem to have been a complimentary phrase, applied to one who was thought an eminent guardian and deliverer of his country; and the particular application of them to Elisha, who by his counsels and prayers had obtained many glorious victories for Israel, show that the king possessed some measure of faith and trust, which, though weak, was accepted, and called forth the prophet's dying benediction.

Verse 15

And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

Take bow and arrows. Hostilities were usually proclaimed by a herald, sometimes by a king or general making a public and formal discharge of an arrow into the enemy's country. Elisha directed Joash to do this, as a symbolical act designed to intimate more fully and significantly the victories promised to the king of Israel over the Syrians. His laying his hands upon the king's hands was to represent the power imparted to the bow-shot as coming from the Lord through the medium of the prophet. His shooting the first arrow eastward-to that part of his kingdom which the Syrians had taken, and which were east of Samaria-was a declaration of war against them for the invasion. His shooting the other arrows into the ground was in token of the number of victories be was to gain; but his stopping at the third betrayed the weakness of his faith; for as the discharged arrow signified a victory over the Syrians, it is evident that the more arrows be shot, the more victories he would gain; and as he stopped so soon, his conquests would be incomplete.

Verses 16-19

And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 20

And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.

Elisha died. Enjoying a happier life than Elijah, as he possessed a milder character, and bore a less hard commission, his rough garment was honoured even at the court.

The bands of the Moabites invaded the land. The people of Moab and Ammon began at this time to cause constant annoyance to the Israelites: for centuries they made periodical inroads upon the country west of Jordan, devastating the land and driving off the cattle, as the wild Arab tribes do to the peaceful settlers in the present day. The time chosen for these predatory incursions was-

At the coming in of the year - i:e., the spring, the usual season of beginning campaigns in ancient times. Predatory band from Moab generally made incursions at that time on the lands of Israel, because the crops were ripe. The bearers of a corpse, alarmed by the appearance in the distance of one of these bands, hastily deposited, as they passed that way, their load in Elisha's sepulchre, which might be easily done by removing the stone at the mouth of the cave. According to the Jewish and Eastern custom, his body, as well as that of the man who was miraculously restored, was not laid in a coffin, but only swathed, so that the bodies could be brought into contact; and the object of the miracle was to stimulate the king and people of Israel's faith in the still unaccomplished predictions of Elisha respecting the war with the Syrians. Accordingly the historian forthwith records the historical fulfillment of the prediction (2 Kings 13:22-25) in the defeat of the enemy, in the recovery of the cities that had been taken, and their restoration to the kingdom of Israel.

Verses 21-22

And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 23

And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.

The Lord was gracious unto them ... neither cast he them from his presence as yet - from the land of Canaan, where the symbols of His presence and worship were exclusively manifested.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-kings-13.html. 1871-8.
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