Melachim II Thirteen: Death of Elisha

“In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah the king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria seventeen years (Kings II 13:1).” Once again we have an evil king, and the people turn to sin yet again. God becomes angry with the Israelites, so He allows Hazael of Aram to conquer them. But when Jehoahaz prays to God, He listens to him, and remembers the plight of the Israelites. “And the Lord gave Israel a savior and they went free from under Aram’s hands, and the children of Israel dwelt in their dwelling places as yesterday and the day before (Kings II 13:5).” This sounds almost like a flashback to when Moses was appointed as the leader of Israel back in Exodus. But this time, the hero isn’t named. He’s simply a tool used to save the people in the latest iteration of an ongoing saga.

The people, of course, don’t appreciate this, and sin yet again. Jehoahaz dies, and his son Jehoash takes the throne. So now we have a Joash and a Jehoash at the same time. Nothing like unique names to keep things interesting. Jehoash is evil also, and Joash dies at the same time, leaving Jeroboam on his throne. As these kings live and die, Elisha has been the constant, but now he is ill too. “And Elisha died and they buried him, and Moabite bands would invade the land at the beginning of the year (Kings II 13:20).” Elisha’s death marks the end of yet another era, and seems much more consequential than most of the kings who we hear about for a few verses and then lose. Hazael of Aram also dies, and his son takes the throne. There are ongoing battles with the Israelites, and no real conclusions are reached at the end of this chapter.

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