The Second Book of Kings
Chapter Thirteen.

2-Kings. Chapter 13.
Kings Jehoahaz and Joash of Israel.



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2 Kings 13
Kings Jehoahaz and Joash of Israel

[2-Kings 13:1] In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.

In the last chapter we saw how Jehoash (Joash) King of Judah was assassinated and succeeded by his son, Amaziah.
The narrative now takes a little back in time and switches the scene northward to the Kingdom of Israel whence came the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.

The names "Jehoash" and "Jehoahaz" sound similar in English which can cause confusion.

Jehoahaz in Hebrew is pronounced something like "Yeho:achaz". The name could connote "Cling to God". as well as have additional meanings.
It is interesting to note that most names of the Israelite Monarchs contain the root "Yeho:" or "Ya:", or "Ye:" . This shows that despite their idolatry the Israelite still retained a basic loyalty to the God of Israel.

We read above Jehoahaz became king over Israel in the 23rd year of the reign of King Jehoash of Judah. Jehoash reigned for 40 years. Therefore Jehoash had 17 years left i.e.  Jehoash reigned for 40 years (2-Kings 12:2). Jehoahaz therefore became king  ca. 17 years before the death  of Jehoash. Jehoahaz reigned for 17 years. All the reign of Jehoahaz of Israel was therefore parallel to that of Jehoash in Judah.
It says below  [2-Kings 13:9:10] that Jehoash died and was succeeded by Joash, his son, who began his reign in the 37th year of the reign of Jehoash of Judah. According to our reckoning above it should have said that Joash became king of Israel in the 40th year of Jehoash of Judah. The answer  is that Joash began his reign coevally with the last three years of the reign of his father.

The names Joash and Jehoash are one and the same. They are interchangeable. We thus will have a King Joash (Jehoash) reigning over Judah alongside another King Joash (Jehoash) reigning over Israel!!

[2-Kings 13:2] And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. He did not depart from them.

[2-Kings 13:3]  Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He delivered them into the hand of
Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben:Hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.

[2-Kings 13:4] So
Jehoahaz pleaded with the LORD, and the LORD listened to him; for He saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.

We have seen above and we will see below that Jehoahaz and his Israelite subjects were idolatrous. They were sinners before their time of trouble and they remained sinners after it. Nevertheless at that particular moment they were in trouble. They prayed. God saved them. This can happen. I know that people in times of tribulation often want to pray but are loath to do so. They think they have been bad in the past and probably will not be much better in the future. They feel that praying may be hypocritical. Perhaps it is. Even so, the God of Israel commands us to pray to HIM in time of trouble. We should try to do so regardless of what the future holds.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. HE wants us to pray to HIM. Our prayers may be answered even if we do not deserve it. Nobody is cheating anyone.
Do what you can as you can.
[2-Kings 13:5] Then the LORD gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before.

The Deliverer was his son Joash (Jehoash) who began to reign alongside his father.
The saviourers of Israel come from themselves, often from the House of David. So too, in our private lives the way to get out of any particular crisis or tribulation is often found from within ourselves by the use of talents or resources we have previously not been aware of or had belittled.
Outside assistance is also not to be dismissed and at times arrives from what to our mind are the most improbable of places.

[2-Kings 13:6]  Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin, but walked in them; and the wooden image also remained in Samaria.

# wooden image # in Hebrew "Asherah". The term "Asherah" occurs frequently in Scripture. It refers to a holy tree or group of trees.
Asherah was also the Canaanite name for Astarte. The Venerable Bede tells us that the Anglo:Saxons worshipped a goddess named Eostra which is another form of Astarte. Easter is said to have been named in her honor. Asherah was been identified with the pagan "Queen of Heaven" in Jeremiah chs.7 and 44.
Some Biblical archaeologists have suggested that until the 6th century BC the Israelite peoples had household shrines, or at least figurines, of Asherah, which are strikingly common in the archaeological remains.

[2-Kings 13:7]  For He left of the army of Jehoahaz only fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand foot soldiers; for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing.

[2-Kings 13:8]  Now the rest of the acts of
Jehoahaz, all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

[2-Kings 13:9]  So
Jehoahaz rested with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria. Then Joash his son reigned in his place.

[2-Kings 13:10]  In the
thirty:seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.

[2-Kings 13:11]  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of
Nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them.

[2-Kings 13:12]  Now the rest of the acts of Joash, all that he did, and his might with which he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

[2-Kings 13:13]  So
Joash rested with his fathers. Then Jeroboam sat on his throne. And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

The narrative has not finished with King Joash. It just gave us an overview of his reign. Now it will go back a little and relate in more detail his conflict with Aram and how the Prophet Elisha directed him to gain victory.

Elisha and the Arrows of Vengeance.

[2-Kings 13:14]  Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, 'O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!'
# with the illness of which he would die # : The Sages said Elisha suffered from three major sicknesses and it was this one that killed him. The first two illnesses encompassed aspects of punishment and means of atonement for him having sent the bears to kill those who mocked him and for having cast Gehazi his servant aside and not given him the opportunity to repent and reform and perhaps be restored to his former station.  The third and final malady from which he died was the way of the world. His time had come.

The narrative after bringing us up to King Jeroboam-2 now returns to the reign of Joash.
Elisha the disciple of Elijah was at that time the chief prophet of Israel.
Elisha was present when Elijah was taken away in a chariot from  heaven. Elisha set two bears to kill 42 bad men who had been mocking him (2-Kings ch.2).
Elisha was the prophet who saved the widow and her two sons by miraculously enabling them to fill numerous jars with oil and sell it to pay their debts. Elisha revived from death the son of the Shunamit woman. Elisha made edible the bitter food supply of the Prophetical School. Elisha made the twenty loaves of barley bread miraculously suffice for a hundred men (2-Kings ch.4). Elisha cured Naaman the Syrian Chief-of-Staff of leprosy and placed a curse on Gehazi his cheating servant (2-Kings ch.4). Elisha retrieved the iron from under water; He showed his student the angels surrounding Samaria to protect it. Through Elisha the Almighty struck an invading  Syrian army with blindness. Elisha endured  the famine in Samaria and had the revelation that the King of Israel had sent soldiers to kill him and then messengers after them
retracting his murderous decree (2-Kings ch.5). Elisha spoke concerning  Ben-Hadad King of Syria (Aram) in Damascus and with his servant Hazael. He foresaw that Hazael would become king in place of Ben-Hadad and would bring much sorrow to Israel (2-Kings ch.5). Elisha sent one of his students (Sons of the Prophets) to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as King over Israel (2-Kings ch.9).
After Jehu reigned Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and then Jeroboam-2.

[2-Kings 13:15]  And Elisha said to him, 'Take a bow and some arrows.' So he took himself a bow and some arrows.

[2-Kings 13:16}  Then he said to the king of Israel, 'Put your hand on the bow.' So he put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king's hands.

[2-Kings 13:17]  And he said, 'Open the east window'; and he opened it. Then
Elisha said, 'Shoot'; and he shot. And he said, 'The arrow of the LORD's deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them.'

There is a town named Aphek in southwest Israel near Petak-Tikvah. Here however it is supposed that the intention is to another place of the same name in the region of Gilead east of the Jordan. There was also place named Aphek in the north, in the territory of Issachar. Ahab had defeated Aram (the Syrians) at Aphek wiping out 100,000 of their warriors and then chasing after and finishing off another 27,000 of those who were left (1-Kings 20:29-30). We did not have a record of King Joash defeating Aram at Aphek. Yehudah Kiel interprets the above verse as saying:

# you must strike the Syrians [in the same way King Ahab struck them at] at Aphek. #
It could be however that another great battle did take place at Aphek and that King Joash repeated the victory of King Ahab to the same magnititude, in the same place.

[2-Kings 13:18]  Then he said, 'Take the arrows'; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, 'Strike the ground'; so he struck three times, and stopped.

[2-Kings 13:19]  And the man of God was angry with him, and said, 'You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.'

# Man of God. # Elisha is angry. This is a human failing.  We would be liable to think that Elisha was in error in getting angry so Scripture emphasizes to us that he was a man of God.

The Commentary Me'am Loaz says that this event illustrates that even miracles need some kind of physical action to initiate them.
It also shows us that once one begins with something of this nature one must keep going and not stop.

[2-Kings 13:20]  Then Elisha died, and they buried him. And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year.

Israel was weak. Jehoash and after him Jeroboam-2 did something to restore the prestige and power of Israel but at this stage they were still vulnerable. The heathen are like wild animals. They smell weakness. They will attack, rob, and kill us when they feel they are able. 

[2-Kings 13:21]  So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

# put # In Hebrew "va-Yashlichu" i.e. threw down. In their panic they threw him down.
Yehudah Kiel ("Daat Mikra") points out that the term "ish" translated as "the man" is often used to connote someone of importance. Kiel also notes that Elisha had probably been laid in a burial cave. This was a cave in which corpses were laid and then a large stone placed at its entrance. It may alternately have been a kind of tomb dug into rock but on the same principle as a cave. It had been intended to place the man inside it and then seal it up again. Luckily for him the Moabites scared the burial people away and he was thrown into the tomb. The dead man came alive. I imagine he was quite surprised to wake up and find himself in such surroundings! It happens from time to time that dead people "return". It is statistically rare but many cases have been recorded where the clinically dead have returned to life.
In this case it was the spiritual presence  that still remained by the corpse of Elisha that jerked the cadaver back to the living.
Not all of us can be certain of getting a second chance.
Let us do as well as we can in the time we have, while we still can!

[2-Kings 13-22]  And Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.

[2-Kings 13-23]  But the LORD was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.

The Israelites were worshippers of idols at the time but God still had consideration for them.
This is referring to the northern Ten Tribes but the same applies all Israel and Judah. The Almighty will look after us and keep us. A remnant will always survive and when meriting thrive exceedingly. Even now we have done much that is bad and we have offended and still offend. Despite this the Almighty is still with us and is giving His Protection. Each and every one of us should try and do as much that is positive while we are still relatively free to do so.

# from His presence. #  The Divine Presence is with us. The Almighty is close to us if we turn to HIM!

Let us see what Josephus tells us about this period:

Antiquities of the Jews, Book 9, Chapter 8:
s6. Now after the death of Jehoahaz, his son Joash took the kingdom, in the thirty-seventh year of Jehoash, the king of the tribe of Judah. This Joash then took the kingdom of Israel in Samaria, for he had the same name with the king of Jerusalem, and he retained the kingdom sixteen years. He was a good man, (17) and in his disposition was not at all like his father. Now at this time it was that when Elisha the prophet, who was already very old, and was now fallen into a disease, the king of Israel came to visit him; and when he found him very near death, he began to weep in his sight, and lament, to call him his father, and his weapons, because it was by his means that he never made use of his weapons against his enemies, but that he overcame his own adversaries by his prophecies, without fighting; and that he was now departing this life, and leaving him to the Syrians, that were already armed, and to other enemies of his that were under their power; so he said it was not safe for him to live any longer, but that it would be well for him to hasten to his end, and depart out of this life with him. As the king was thus bemoaning himself, Elisha comforted him, and bid the king bend a bow that was brought him; and when the king had fitted the bow for shooting, Elisha took hold of his hands and bid him shoot; and when he had shot three arrows, and then left off, Elisha said, "If thou hadst shot more arrows, thou hadst cut the kingdom of Syria up by the roots; but since thou hast been satisfied with shooting three times only, thou shalt fight and beat the Syrians no more times than three, that thou mayst recover that country which they cut off from thy kingdom in the reign of thy father." So when the king had heard that, he departed; and a little while after the prophet died. He was a man celebrated for righteousness, and in eminent favor with God. He also performed wonderful and surprising works by prophecy, and such as were gloriously preserved in memory by the Hebrews. He also obtained a magnificent funeral, such a one indeed as it was fit a person so beloved of God should have. It also happened, that at that time certain robbers cast a man whom they had slain into Elisha's grave, and upon his dead body coming close to Elisha's body, it revived again. And thus far have we enlarged about the actions of Elisha the prophet, both such as he did while he was alive, and how he had a Divine power after his death also.

s7. Now, upon the death of
Hazael, the king of Syria, that kingdom came to Adad his son, with whom Joash, king of Israel, made war; and when he had beaten him in three battles, he took from him all that country, and all those cities and villages, which his father Hazael had taken from the kingdom of Israel, which came to pass, however, according to the prophecy of Elisha. But when Joash happened to die, he was buried in Samaria, and the government devolved on his son Jeroboam.

[2-Kings 13-24]  Now Hazael king of Syria died. Then Ben-Hadad his son reigned in his place.

This is Ben Hadad-3. Ben Hadad-2 preceded
Hazael and after him reigned Ben Hadad-3.

[2-Kings 13-25] And
Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz recaptured from the hand of Ben-Hadad, the son of Hazael, the cities which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times Joash defeated him and recaptured the cities of Israel.

Continued in Chapter 14!

After the Death of Solomon:
The Divided Kingdom

The Divided Kingdom
Source of Map:

2-Kings ch.12
2-Kings Contents
2-Kings ch.14