2 KINGS 13
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[Melachim Bais 13 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]
1 In the 23rd year [shanah] of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah [Yoash Ben Achazyahu Melech Yehudah] Jehoahaz the son of Jehu [Yehoachaz Ben Yehu] began to reign over Israel in Samaria [melech over Yisroel in Shomron], and reigned 17 years [shanah].
In this chapter the record returns to the history of Israel, taking it from the death of Jehu (ch. 10:35) and briefly sketching the reign of Jehu's son Jehoahaz and that of his grandson, Jehoash, known also as Joash. *
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.
3 And the anger [af] of Yahweh was kindled against Israel [Yisroel], and He delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria [yad Chazael Melech Aram], and [He delivered them] into the hand of Ben-Hadad the son of Hazael [ Ben Chazael], all their days [ yamim].
The Syrian oppression was the great event of the reign of Jehoahaz. *
4 And Jehoahaz [Yehoachaz] besought Yahweh, and Yahweh hearkened [paid heed] unto him: for He saw the oppression [lakhatz] of Israel [Yisroel], because the king of Syria [Melech Aram] oppressed them.
Yahweh revealed Himself as tender and compassionate, in spite of the duplicity of the king. *
5 (And Yahweh gave Israel a saviour [Yisroel a moshia], so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians [yad Aram]: and the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] dwelt in their tents [ohalim], as beforetime.
His divine character is seen when "Jehoahaz besought Yahweh," an expression which literally means "stroked the face of." The same metaphor is used in Exo. 32:11; 1Kgs. 13:6. It expresses the pleading of a man thoroughly humbled by the reverses of life. To such the Father responds, as does every true father similarly treated (cp. Eph. 3:15).
Thus Yahweh provided a Saviour. Israel was saved through the victories of Joash and Jeroboam (v. 25; ch. 14:27), but the real source of salvation seems to have been Elisha. He must have been an influence for good in Israel, helping the king by his wise counsel. This explains the concern and despair of Joash on the impending death of Elisha (v. 14). - GEM *
17 And he said, Open the window eastward [east chalon]. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow [khetz ] of Yahweh's deliverance [teshuah ], and the arrow of deliverance from Syria [khetz of teshuah against Aram]: for thou shalt smite the Syrians [Aram] in Aphek, till thou have consumed them [complete destruction].
18 And he said, Take the arrows [khitzim]. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel [Melech Yisroel], Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice [struck shalosh pe'amim], and stayed.
19 And the man [Ish] of Elohim was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten 5 or 6 times [chamesh or shesh pe'amim]; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed [completely destroyed] it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice [defeat Aram but 3 pe'amim].
In the reign of Joash, there is a remarkable incident touching the ascendancy which Syria had obtained over the land of Israel. Though not directly in the channel of the ways of providence, it is collaterally related to the subject. It is connected with Elisha's last illness and the king's visit to the dying prophet. Joash wept at the prospect of Elisha's death: and no wonder, for the Syrians had prevailed, and in the death of Elisha, who had practically cooperated with Israel for many years, sending word where the Syrian camp was pitched (2 Kings 6: 9), it would seem to the king as if they were to be forsaken of God.
Elisha told the king to get bow and arrows. He then told him to open the window and hold the bow in shooting position, which he did. Elisha then placed his hands in juxtaposition with the king's hands and told the king to shoot, and the king shot. And the prophet said, "the arrow of Yahweh's deliverance from Syria." (2 Kings 13:17)
In this symbolic transaction, there was a prophecy that Israel should be delivered from the severity of the Syrian yoke by the hands of Joash. This performance was not altogether a performance of Elisha's volition. The Spirit of God, which had dwelt so abundantly with Elisha, was moulding the actions of men in miniature resemblance to coming events. This was shown by the next part of the incident. Elisha told the king to take the arrows and strike the ground with them, without telling him how often to do it. The king did what the prophet told, but struck the ground only three times.
Elisha was angry, saying he should have smitten the ground five or six times, in which case, he would have smitten the Syrians till they were brought under, whereas he would only beat them three times, and leave them still in the field.
In the prophet's anger we see the prophet's personal solicitude for Israel's welfare. In the king's arrested action and the prophet's commentary thereon, we see the guiding presence of the Spirit of God, protecting the purpose of God from the interference of the will of man. Elisha would have willed the total overthrow of the Syrians, but God willed otherwise.
Though He purposed that Israel should not be exterminated (2 Kings 14: 27), and though He willed a measure of relief from Syrian oppression, He also purposed the ultimate triumph of the enemy for a long time because of Israel's sins, a purpose with which the total consumption of Syria by Joash would have been inconsistent. Consequently he interfered with Elisha's personal wishes, as he did Isaac's in the blessing of Jacob, and with Joseph's in the blessing of Ephraim.
We may wonder what connection there could be between the actions of Joash in Elisha's death-chamber, and the issue of public events afterwards. What difference could it make the number of times he might strike the floor? When we come to be able (as we shall be able if we attain the great honour of divine acceptance and change) to penetrate the secret and invisible laws which govern the evolution of events, we may be able to see that the number of times the floor was struck was not a matter of indifference in a case where the Spirit of God was, so to speak, laying the foundation of future occurrences. At all events, however this may be, it could not be a matter of indifference what should occur in an enacted prophecy. As a matter of fact, afterwards,
"Three times did Joash beat Benhadad, and, recovered the cities of Israel"
This was what was coming, unknown to Elisha, who naturally desired a more thorough triumph. Therefore, though it angered him, it was necessary that Joash in the symbolic striking of the floor should be stopped at the third blow.
Ways of Providence Ch 20
Elisha's power extends beyond death
20 And Elishah died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites [raiding parties of Mo'av] invaded the land at the coming in of the year [would invade the land at the beginning of the shanah.] [make yearly incursions into the land at the start of the year. (CJB)].
Elisha's power extends beyond death
21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man [an ish], that, behold [hinei], they spied a band of men [spotted a raiding party]; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha [ ish into the kever of Elishah]: and when the man [ish] was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha [atzmot of Elishah], he revived, and stood up on his feet [alive on his raglayim].
Grammatically misleading as the English text suggests it was Elisha that was re-animated!
We follow Elisha to his grave for a last glimpse of the power that rested upon him in double measure during the days of his life as requested from Elijah, and which had not quite forsaken him in death. He had not been long in his last resting place when a funeral approached where he lay. Before the funeral was finished, an invasion of the land by the Moabites became visible from the spot. Seeing the marching bands, the people who had charge of the funeral got into a panic, and hastily threw the corpse into Elisha's sepulchre, and made off. The result was wonderful. The dead man on coming into contact with the bones of Elisha, revived and stood upon his feet.
No explanation is offered by the narrative of this remarkable incident. The fact simply is stated. But the variety of facts recorded in various places enable us to have a glimpse of the explanation. First, there is the fact just seen, that the power of God rested on Elisha in an intenser degree than even on Elijah. Second, there is the fact that this power is transmissible, and, therefore, storable, as shown by the luminosity of the face of Moses after a forty days' association with angelic glory; by Elisha's sending his staff to the dead child with the expectation that life would return; and as shown more particularly in the New Testament, where we read that virtue went out of Jesus, and healed them all (Luke 6: 19; Mark 5: 30); and that a woman was healed by but a touch of his garment (Luke 8: 46-47); that
"from the body of Paul were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them" (Acts 19: 12).
These facts suggest that the divine energy that brooded on Elisha during his prophetic ministry, so permeated his substance, that even his bones remained charged with it in death, in sufficient power to reanimate a dead body brought into contact with them.
The Spirit of God has passive relations, in which its effects are irrespective of divine volition, and spring from what it is in its own nature. From such a conception, conventional theology may recoil in horror: but blindness only can fail to see that such a conception is yielded by the Scripture illustrations referred to-a conception, at the same time, which in no way interfered with that higher phase of the subject in which the Spirit of God is seen as the agent or power by which the volitional Eternal Father in the heavens accomplishes the designs of His wisdom, directly, or by the hand of His angels, as the case may be.
Visible Hand of God Ch 30