The dispute with King Baasha of Israel (2 Chr 16:1-16:6)

“In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa, King Baasha of Israel went up against Judah. He built Ramah to prevent anyone from going out or coming into the territory of King Asa of Judah. Then King Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Yahweh and the king’s house. He sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying. ‘Let there be an alliance between me and you, like between my father and your father. I am sending to you silver and gold. Go! Break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel that he may withdraw from me.’ King Ben-hadad listened to King Asa. He sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of Naphtali. When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease. Then King Asa brought all Judah together. They carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which King Baasha had been building. With them he built Geba and Mizpah.”

Once again, this is almost based word for word like 1 Kings, chapter 15. King Baasha (909-886 BCE) was the contemporary king of Israel. Instead of a continual war with Kings Asa and King Baasha, here the war begins in the 36th year of the rule of King Asa. King Baasha set up some kind of barricade in Ramah, which was about 6 miles north of Jerusalem that kept King Asa from coming and going into Jerusalem. King Asa of Judah had an idea to get the Aramean King Ben-hadad of Damascus on his side against King Baasha of Israel. He sent envoys to Damascus with gold and silver from the temple and palace treasuries. He wanted King Ben-hadad to break his alliance with King Baasha and invade the northern territories. King Ben-hadad took the gold and silver. Then he sent his armies to take over the northern area around Dan and Naphtali. Here there is no mention of Galilee. When this happened, King Baasha stopped his work at Ramah and went to defend his cities. There is no mention of Tirzah here. Meanwhile, King Asa sent all his people out from Jerusalem to Ramah to take all the stones and timbers. Then they rebuilt the cities of Geba, 6 miles northeast of Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory, and Mizpah, about 4 miles northwest of Jerusalem. These towns had existed before, but now they were refortified. Mizpah was a common name for many towns.

 

The prophet Elisha goes to Damascus (2 Kings 8:7-8:8)

“Elisha went to Damascus. King Ben-hadad of Aram was sick. When it was told him, ‘the man of God has come here,’ the king said to Hazael. ‘Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God. Inquire of Yahweh through him, whether I shall recover from this sickness?’”

Elisha seems to have good personal relationships with the king of the Arameans, probably King Ben-hadad II. Hazael was one of the top people under King Ben-hadad II.   Actually, you may recall that Elijah had the command to anoint Hazael the king of the Arameans, in 1 Kings, chapter 19, so that he would then inflict punishment on Israel and Judah. Elisha and not Elijah will fulfill this prophecy. Hazael ruled as king of the Arameans from 886-840 BCE.   King Ben-hadad II sent him with a present for Elisha. He wanted to know from Elisha if he was going to recover from his sickness.