King Joash defeats the new king of the Arameans (2 Kings 13:24-13:25)

“When King Hazael of Aram died, his son King Ben-hadad succeeded him. Then King Joash son of King Jehoahaz took again from King Ben-hadad son of King Hazael the towns that he had taken from his father King Jehoahaz in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the towns of Israel from his rule.”

After the death of King Hazael of the Arameans, his son King Ben-hadad III took over. As I mentioned earlier in this chapter since King Ben-hadad II was killed by King Hazael, why would his son have the same name as the king he killed? Perhaps they were friends when he was born. Anyway, King Joash was successful 3 times in defeating the new king of the Arameans, just as Elisha had predicted. However, he did not destroy him. In each case, they got back some of the Israelite towns, that were switching back and forth.

King Hazael and Israel (2 Kings 13:22-13:23)

“King Hazael of Aram oppressed Israel all the days of King Jehoahaz. But Yahweh was gracious to them. He had compassion on them. He turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He would not destroy them. Nor has he banished them from his presence until now.”

Actually Yahweh had Elisha anoint King Hazael of Arameans. His oppression of the Israelites was there punishment as outlined in 1 Kings, chapter 19 and confirmed here in 2 Kings, chapter 8. However, Yahweh had compassion on Israel despite their leaders and their sins. He would not let them be destroyed because of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The death and miracle of Elisha (2 Kings 13:20-13:21)

“So Elisha died. They buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. As a man was being buried, a marauding band was seen. This man was thrown into the grave of Elisha. As soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.”

Even in death Elisha the prophet remained powerful. When a dead man was thrown into his grave, by mistake, the very touching of his bones revived a dead man. The dead man came to life and stood on his feet. This almost sounds like the Irish story of the dead man who had whiskey poured over him and then stood up and got out of the casket.

The last request and prophecy of Elisha (2 Kings 13:14-13:19)

“Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, King Joash of Israel went down to him. He wept before him, crying. ‘My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ Elisha said to him. ‘Take a bow and arrows.’ So King Joash took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel. ‘Draw the bow.’ He drew it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. Then he said. ‘Open the window eastward.’ He opened it. Elisha said. ‘Shoot!’ He shot it. Then he said. ‘Yahweh’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram! For you shall fight the Arameans in Aphek until you have made an end of them.’ He continued. ‘Take the arrows.’ He took them. He said to the king of Israel. ‘Strike the ground with them.’ He struck it three times. Then he stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him. ‘You should have struck it five or six times. Then you would have struck down the Arameans until you had made an end of them. But now you will strike down Aram only three times.’”

Interesting enough, it is King Joash of Israel who is at his side. You should note that Elisha never did have much to say about the king of Judah. In typical fashion, Elisha seems to know that he is dying since the good death is part of most stories. King Joash is genuinely moved and cries for Elisha. Elisha the prophet has one more request and prophecy for the king. He wants him to shoot an arrow out the east window. This is somewhat reminiscent of the bow and arrow incident with Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel, chapter 20. This shoot was the arrow of victory as the Israelites would prevail at Aphek. Elisha told King Joash to strike the ground with his arrows. The king only strikes the arrows to the ground 3 times. It was not clear how he would know to strike it more times. Nevertheless, the irascible prophet Elisha remained irascible to the very end. He told King Joash that he should have struck the arrows 5 or 6 times. Now he will only be able to defeat the Arameans 3 times instead of total destruction.

The death of King Joash of Israel (2 Kings 13:12-13:13)

“Now the rest of the acts of King Joash, and all that he did, as well as the might with which he fought against King Amaziah of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? So King Joash slept with his ancestors. King Jeroboam sat upon his throne. King Joash was buried in Samaria with the other kings of Israel.”

Once again, you official reference is the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Apparently, he had some feuds with the King Amaziah of Judah. Once again, he died and was buried in Samaria, like the other Israelite kings before him.  He was succeeded by his son King Jeroboam II.

 

The reign of King Joash in Israel (798-783 BCE) (2 Kings 13:10-13:11)

“In the thirty-seventh year of King Joash of Judah, King Joash son of King Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria. He reigned sixteen years. He also did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He did not depart from all the sins of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he caused Israel to sin, but he walked in them.”

So like the 2 kings named Jehoram, for about 2 years there were 2 different kings named Joash in Judah and Israel. King Joash of Israel ruled for 16 years, while young King Joash of Judah had ruled for 40 years. This Israelite king walked in the ways of the evil King Jeroboam, causing Israel to sin.


The death of King Jehoahaz in Israel (2 Kings 13:8-13:9)

“Now the rest of the acts of King Jehoahaz and everything that he did, including his power, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? So King Jehoahaz slept with his ancestors. They buried him in Samaria. Then his son King Joash succeeded him.”

Once again, for further information check your lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Like his predecessors, he died and was buried in Samaria. There is no indication of what kind of death he endured. Guess what? Hi son was named Joash, the same name as King Joash of Judah who ruled until 796 BCE.

 

The problems with the Arameans (2 Kings 13:3-13:7)

“The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel. He gave them repeatedly into the hand of King Hazael of Aram, and then into the hand of King Ben-hadad son of King Hazael. But King Jehoahaz entreated Yahweh. Yahweh heeded him. Yahweh saw the oppression of Israel. He saw how the king of Aram oppressed them. Therefore Yahweh gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Arameans. The people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to sin, but walked in them. The sacred poles also remained in Samaria. Thus King Jehoahaz was left with an army of not more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots with ten thousand footmen. The king of Aram had destroyed them. He made them like the dust at threshing.”

If King David had problems with the Philistines along the west coast, these 9th century BCE Israelite kings always seem to be in battle with the Arameans, in the northeast. Yahweh was continually upset with the Israelite kings. This may be partly due to the bias of the biblical author. There is a little confusion here since King Hazael had killed King Ben-hadad to take over the Arameans, why would his son have the same name as the king he killed? The answer might be that they were friends when he was born. King Jehoahaz asked Yahweh to help him in his battle with the Arameans. Yahweh was kind to the Israelites since he saw how they were suffering. He was going to send a savior or liberator, and that would be King Jeroboam II. Even after saving them from the Arameans, the Israelites continued to worship the sacred poles in Samaria. Then King Jehoahaz was left with 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. That does not seem too bad. However, the Arameans destroyed them like the scattered dust.

The reign of King Jehoahaz in Israel (814-798 BCE) (2 Kings 13:1-13:2)

“In the twenty-third year of King Joash son of Ahaziah, of Judah, King Jehoahaz son of King Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria. He reigned seventeen years. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He followed the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he caused Israel to sin. He did not depart from them.”

Since King Joash in Judah ruled for 40 years, there will be a lot of changes in Israel. Notice that the kings in Israel almost have the same names. Just like the problem with the names Jehoram and Ahaziah. You can go back to chapter 10 to learn about King Jehu his father. King Jehoahaz ruled for 17 years, not that long, near the end of the reign of King Joash in Judah, so that they both die in the early 8th century BCE. We are now about 100 years removed from Solomon so that the split between Judah and Israel seems permanent. King Jehoahaz followed the evil ways of the Israelite founder King Jeroboam.

The death of King Joash of Judah (2 Kings 12:19-12:22)

“Now the rest of the acts of King Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? His servants arose, devised a conspiracy, and killed King Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. It was Jozacar son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. They buried him with his ancestors in the city of David. Then his son King Amaziah succeeded him.”

Once again, if you want more information about King Joash, the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah” would be helpful. King Joash met a tragic end. Without giving any details, his servants rose up against him, led by Jozacar, and killed him. This is a little strange. However, his son Amaziah became the king.  King Joash was killed at the Millo or fortress that goes to Silla. This is the only mention of Silla. The Millo was built by King Solomon. This is also the only mention in biblical literature of this Jozacar, who led the revolt. However, they buried him in Jerusalem with his ancestors. His son King Amaziah took over after him, so this was not a dynasty revolution, put a personal one. Apparently, he was more like his grandmother, Queen Athaliah, than his priestly mentor Jehoiada. Perhaps, they were mad that King Joash had not fought against King Hazael of Aram and gave away so many royal and temple treasures.