In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.
Verse 1. - In the three and twentieth year of Joash; rather, as in Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 5), in the one and twentieth year. This is a correction required by ver. 10 and also by 2 Kings 12:1. The proof is given at somewhat tedious length by Keil ('Biblical Commentary,' pp. 373, 374) and Bahr ('Books of the Kings,' pp. 139, 140). It seems unnecessary to enter into a lengthy discussion of the point, since all the synchronisms of the later kings of Israel and Judah are in confusion, and appear to be the work of a later hand. The son of Ahaziah (comp. 2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11) King of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel; literally, reigned over Israel. The "later hand," which inserted the synchronism, neglected to bring the two portions of the verse into agreement. Our translators have sought to cover up his omission by translating malak "began to reign," and then supplying "and reigned" in the next clause. And reigned seventeen years (so also Josephus, l.s.c.).
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.
Verse 2. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. There is no reason to believe that Jehoahaz re-introduced the Baal-worship, or sinned in any other flagrant way than by maintaining the calf-worship at Dan and Bethel. Jehu had done the same (2 Kings 10:29), as had all previous kings of Israel from the time of Jeroboam. The honor of God, however, required that idolatry of whatever kind should be punished, and the Samaritan kingdom could not otherwise be saved from destruction than by, "casting away all the works of darkness" and returning to the pure worship of Jehovah. Hence Jehu himself, notwithstanding the good service that he had done in crushing the Baal-worship, was chastised by God (2 Kings 10:32, 33) on account of his continuance in the "sin of Jeroboam;" and now Jehoahaz was even more signally punished. As Keil remarks, "The longer and the more obstinately the sin was continued, the more severe did the punishment become." And followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat (comp. 2 Kings 10:29, where the exegetical clause is added, "To wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan") which made Israel to sin (comp. 1 Kings 15:26; 1 Kings 16:19, 26; 1 Kings 22:52, etc.); he departed not therefrom. This is emphatic. Jehoahaz kept up the worship to the full, and in no way suffered it to decline.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days.
Verse 3. - And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. We know so much less of the nature of the calf-worship and of the rites which accompanied it, that we cannot to the same extent justify the Divine severity in connection with it as in connection with the Baal and Astarte cult. Still, we must remember the coarse, lewd dancing which accompanied the first calf-worship (Exodus 32:19), for which death was not thought too heavy a penalty (Exodus 32:27), and the almost universal combination of unchastity with idolatrous ceremonies, which raises a suspicion that those who frequented the shrines at Dan and Bethel were not wholly innocent of impurity. And he delivered them into the hand of Hazel King of Syria. The national sins of Israel were mostly punished in this way, by the sword of some foreign foe. Hazael had been already made an instrument for the chastisement of Jehu (2 Kings 10:32, 33). Now he was to chastise Jehoahaz still more severely. And into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days; literally, all the days. Not certainly all the days of the two kings Hazael and Benhadad, for Benhadad was entirely worsted in his war with Joash (vers. 24, 25), but either all the days of Jehoahaz, or all the days that God had appointed for the duration of the calamity. It is perhaps against the former interpretation that Hazael appears to have outlived Jehoahaz (vers. 22-24); but Ben-hadad may have warred against him as his father's general (ver. 25) during his father's lifetime.
And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.
Verse 4. - And Jehoahaz besought the Lord; literally, besought the face of the Lord (comp. 1 Kings 13:6, and the comment ad loc.). Jehoahaz, as Josephus says, "betook him-serf to prayer and supplication of God, entreating that he would deliver him out of the hands of Hazael, and not suffer him to continue subject" ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 5). He did not turn from his sin of idolatry, perhaps did not suspect that it was this sin which had provoked God's anger; but in a general way he repented, humbled himself, and besought God's mercy and assistance. And the Lord hearkened unto him. God accepted his repentance, all imperfect as it was, so far as to save the people from the entire destruction with which it was threatened by the severe measures of Hazael (ver. 7), to continue the national existence (ver. 23), and ultimately to restore the national prosperity (ver. 25 and 2 Kings 14:25-27). But he did not remove the oppression, as Josephus imagines, in Jehoahaz's time. Ver. 22 makes this fact absolutely certain. For he saw the oppression of Israel, because the King of Syria oppressed them. Oppression is always hateful to God, even when he is using it as his instrument for chastising or punishing a guilty people. He "sees" it, notes it, lays it up in his remembrance for future retribution (camp. Exodus 3:7; Isaiah 10:5-12, etc.). (On the nature and extent of the oppression of this period, see ver. 7, and the comment ad loc.)
(And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.
Verse 5. - And the Lord gave Israel a savior, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians. A "savior'" means a deliverer from the hand of the Syrians (comp. Judges 3:9, 15; Nehemiah 9:27, where in the Hebrew the word used is the same). The special "deliverer" was probably in the mind of the writer, Jeroboam II., by whom he says, in ch. 14:27, that God "saved" Israel; but Joash, who began the deliverance (ver. 25), may also be glanced at, And the children of Israel dwelt in their tents. Here, as so often elsewhere (1 Kings 8:66; 1 Kings 12:16; 2 Kings 14:12; Zechariah 12:7), the word "tents" is a mere archaism for "abodes, houses." Israel had dwelt in tents until the going down into Egypt, and again from the time of quitting Egypt to the entrance into Canaan; and thus the word ohel had acquired a secondary meaning of "abode," "dwelling-place." In the time which followed on the deliverance from the Syrian yoke, the Israelites of the ten tribes were no longer engaged in marches and countermarches, in battles, skirmishes, or sieges, but quietly abode in their several houses. As beforetime; i.e. as in the peaceful time before the attacks of Hazael began.
Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)
Verse 6. - Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin. "The house of Jeroboam" is an unusual expression in this connection, and is scarcely appropriate, since every "house" had acted in the same way, Some manuscripts omit the word, and it is wanting in the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic versions. Thenius would cancel it. But walked therein; literally, he walked. But here again a corruption may be suspected. Instead of הָלָך we should read חָלְכוּ, which lost its final letter in consequence of the vau that immediately followed it. And there remained the grove also in Samaria. "The grove in Samaria" was that idolatrous emblem which Ahab had set up at Jezebel's suggestion (1 Kings 16:33), the nature of which has been much disputed. Some think that it was "an image of Astarte" (see 'Homiletic Commentary' on 1 Kings, p. 374); but more probably it was a mere emblem, analogous to the Assyrian "sacred tree." Its material may sometimes have been wood, but was perhaps more usually metal. The mistranslation "grove" originated with the Septuagint translators, who uniformly rendered אֲשֵׂרָה by ἄλσος. It is surprising that Jehu did not destroy the asherah together with the other idolatrous erections of Ahab in Samaria (2 Kings 10:26-28); but, for some reason or other, it seems to have been spared, and to have been still standing. So long as it stood, even if it did not attract the religious regards of any, it would be a standing dishonor to God, and would so increase the sin of the nation. Hence its mention in this passage.
Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.
Verse 7. - Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen. This verse seems to be an exegetical note on ver. 4, which perhaps it once followed immediately, the parenthetic section (vers. 5 and 6) having been added later, as an afterthought, either by the original writer, or perhaps by a later hand. The meaning seems to be that Hazael limited the standing army of Jehoahaz to fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen, not that he slew the entire military population except this small remnant. The policy of limiting the forces to be maintained by a subject-king was one known to the Romans, and has often been adopted in the East. It is still a part of our own policy in the government of India. The limitation left the country at the mercy of all its neighbors (see ver. 20). For the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing. Possibly this means no more than an utter destruction - a trampling in the dust, as we phrase it (see Jeremiah 51:33; Micah 4:12, 13; and perhaps Isaiah 21:10). But it may be an allusion to that destruction of prisoners by means of a threshing instrument, which was certainly sometimes practiced (2 Samuel 12:31; Proverbs 20:26), and which is made a special charge against Damascus (Amos 1:3. See Pusey's 'Minor Prophets,' p. 158).
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
Verse 8. - Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might; rather, his prowess, or his valor. Though defeated and reduced to subjection by the Syrians, yet Jehoahaz had distinguished himself, and shown his own personal courage, in the course of the war. Are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? (comp. 2 Kings 1:18). The regular use of the phrase is one of the indications that the two Books of the Kings are by one author, and form one book.
And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.
Verse 9. - And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria (comp. 1 Kings 16:28; 2 Kings 10:35; 2 Kings 13:13, etc.). The kings of Israel from the time of Omri were buried in the capital, Samaria, as those of Judah were in Jerusalem. It is uncertain whether they had one common mausoleum, like the kings of Judah (2 Chronicles 28:27), but it is most probable that they had. To rest with their fathers in the same royal sepulcher was to be duly honored at their death; to be excluded from it was a disgrace. And Joash his son reigned in his stead.
In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.
Verses 10-25. - THE REIGN OF JOASH. The writer passes from the reign of Jehoahaz, Jehu's son, to that of Joash, Jehu's grandson, which he seems to have intended at first to dispatch in the short space of four verses (vers. 10-13). He afterwards, however, saw reason to add to his narrative, first, an account of an interview between Joash and Elisha, shortly Before the death of the latter (vers. 14-19); secondly, an account of a miracle wrought soon afterwards by means of Elisha's corpse (vers. 20, 21); and thirdly, a brief notice of Joash's Syrian war (vers. 22-25). Verse 10. - In the thirty and seventh year of Joash King of Judah. Three years before his death, since he reigned forty years (2 Kings 12:1). The two Joashes were thus contemporary monarchs for the space of three years. Began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign ever Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years. The construction is the same as that of ver. 1, and is equally ungrammatical. Our translators again amend the faulty phrase by introducing the words "and reigned" The "sixteen years" of the reign of Joash are confirmed by Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 6), but still present some difficulty (see the comment on 2 Kings 14:23).
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.
Verse 11. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin; but he walked therein. Josephus says that Joash was a good king, and quite unlike his father in disposition ('Ant. Jud.,' l.s.c.); but he is not likely to have had any independent data for judging of his character. Our author seems to include both son and father in the same category (comp. ver. 2). The narrative contained in ver. 14 is probably the foundation of the historian's favorable judgment.
And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
Verse 12. - And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah King of Judah (see 2 Kings 14:11-14), are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? Either this and the next verses have been displaced from their rightful position by some accident, or the author at one time intended to terminate his account of Joash at this point. The formula used is one, which regularly closes the reign of each king. The proper place for it would have been after ver. 25.
And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.
Verse 13. - And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne. That Joash should call his eldest son Jeroboam, after the founder of the kingdom, indicated a thorough approval of that founder's policy and conduct, and perhaps a hope that he would be to the apparently decaying kingdom a sort of second founder. The name means, "he whose people is many," and was thus anticipative of that great enlargement of the Israelite kingdom, which took place under him (see 2 Kings 14:25-28). And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel (see the comment on ver. 9).
Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
Verse 14. - Now Elisha, was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. Elisha, who was grown to manhood before the death of Ahab (1 Kings 19:19), must have been at least eighty years old at the accession of Joash: His illness was therefore probably the result of mere natural decay. And Joash the King of Israel came down unto him. The visit of a king to a prophet, in the way of sympathy and compliment, would be a very unusual occurrence at any period of the world's history. In the East, and at the period of which the historian is treating, it was probably unprecedented. Prophets waited upon kings, not kings upon prophets: If a king came to a prophet's house, it was likely to be on an errand of vengeance (2 Kings 6:32), not on one of kindness and sympathy. The act of Joash certainly implies a degree of tenderness and consideration on tits part very uncommon at the time, and is a fact to which much weight should be attached in any estimate that we form of his character. He was, at any rate, a prince of an amiable disposition. And wept over his face - i.e., leant over the sick man as he lay on his bed, and shed tears, some of which fell on him - and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. As Elisha had addressed Elijah, when he was quitting the earth (2 Kings 2:12), so Joash now addressed the dying Elisha, using exactly the same words, not (certainly) by a mere coincidence. Joash must have known the circumstances of Elijah's departure, which had probably been entered before this in the 'Book of the Kings,' and intended pointedly to allude to them. "O my father, my father," he meant to say, "when Elijah was taken from the earth, thou didst exclaim that the defense of Israel was gone" (see the comment on 2 Kings 2:12): "how much more must it be true that it is gone now, when thou art on the point of departure! He left thee as his successor; thou leavest no one!"
And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
Verse 15. - And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. The prophet was moved, no doubt, by a sudden inspiration he was bidden to assure the weeping king of victory - speedy victory-over Syria. The defense of Israel would not fail because he - a mere weak instrument by whom God had been pleased to work - was taken from the earth. God would bless the king's own efforts. "Take bow and arrows," he exclaims under the prophetic afflatus. "Take them at once into thine hands, and do my bidding." Words would not have been enough; greater assurance and conviction was produced when prophecy took the shape of a symbolical action (comp. 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Kings 11:30; Isaiah 20:3; Jeremiah 13:1-11; Jeremiah 18:3, 4, etc.). So the Spirit of the Lord moved the prophet to the performance of a symbolical act, or set of acts, which the historian now proceeds to describe. And he took unto him how and arrows. Joash would take these from the hands of his attendants, who might be carrying his own special weapons after him, as was the practice in Persia ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 4. p. 161), or who would at any rate have arms of their own, since they would wait upon him not merely as attendants, but as guards.
And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.
Verse 16. - And he said to the King of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow - literally, let thine hand ride upon the bow; i.e. "Take it into active use - place thine hands as thou dost commonly for shooting - and he put his hand upon it - he did as Elisha commanded - and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands. Elisha, it would seem, rose from his bed, and took the attitude of an archer, covering the king's two hands with his own hands, and making as if he too was pulling the bow, so that the shooting should be, or at least appear to be, the joint act of himself and the king. The intention was, no doubt, as Keil says, "to show that the power which was to be given to the bow-shot" was not the king's own power, but "came from the Lord through the mediation of his prophet."
And he said, Open the window eastward. 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 thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
Verse 17. - And he said, Open the window. Though glass was unknown, or at any rate not applied to windows, yet the windows of sitting-rooms, and still more of bedrooms, had latticed shutters, which partially excluded the light and the air, and could be opened and closed at pleasure (see the comment on 2 Kings 1:2). The prophet ordered the shutter to be opened, that the king might shoot from the window. He addressed, not the king, whose hands were both engaged, but his own servant, or one of the royal attendants. Eastward. Not so much in the direction of Syria, which was north-east of the Israelite territory, as in the direction of Gilead and Bashan, which had been the scene of Hazael's victories (2 Kings 10:33), and was now to be the scene of his reverses. Aphek lay almost duo east of Shunem, where it is probable that Elisha was. And he opened it; or, and one opened it, or they opened it. The Hebrew idiom allows of this indefinite use of the third person singular. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he - i.e. Elisha - said, The arrow of the Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; rather, an arrow. "This is," the prophet meant to say, "an arrow symbolical of deliverance about to come from Jehovah, of deliverance from the cruel oppression of the Syrians" - and not merely of deliverance, but of victory. For thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek. The Aphek intended is probably that which lay east of the Sea of Galilee, at the distance of about three miles, in lat. 32° 49' nearly. This place was on the direct route between Samaria and Damascus, and had already been the scene of one great victory gained by Israel over Syria (1 Kings 20:26-30). The site is marked by the modern village of Fik. Till thou have consumed them; literally, till consuming - i.e., till the army which thou shalt defeat at that place is destroyed utterly. We have no account of the fulfillment of this prophecy, but may regard the defeat as one of those touched on in ver. 25.
And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.
Verse 18. - And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. Elisha bade the king take into his band the remainder of the arrows which the quiver contained. This the king did, and held them in a bunch, as archers do when they have no quiver. And he said unto the King of Israel, Smite upon the ground. It is disputed what this means The LXX. translate Πάταξον εἰς τὴν γῆν "Strike upon the ground;" and so Ewald, De Wette, and Thenius, who regard the order as one to strike with the arrows against the ground (i.e. the floor) or in the direction of the ground. Keil and Bahr, on the contrary, think that the order was to shoot the arrows down from the window and hit the earth with them. But some contrast seems to be intended between the "shoot" (יְרַה) of ver. 19 and the "strike" (חַך) of the present passage. Ewald's explanation is thus to be preferred. And he smote thrice, and stayed. Joash struck with the arrows against the floor three times, and then paused, thinking he had done enough. He did not enter into the spirit of the symbolical act, which represented the smiting and slaying of enemies. Perhaps he had not much faith in the virtue of the symbolism, which he may even, with the arrogance of a proud and worldly minded man, have thought childish.
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
Verse 19. - And the man of God (comp. 2 Kings 4:7, 25; 2 Kings 6:6, 9; 2 Kings 8:4, etc.) was wroth with him. Elisha was angered at the lukewarmness of Joash, and his lack of faith and zeal. He himself, from his higher standpoint, saw the greatness of the opportunity, the abundance of favor which God was ready to grant, and the way in which God's favor was stinted and narrowed by Joash's want of receptiveness. Had the king been equal to the occasion, a full end might at once have been made of Syria, and Israel might have been enabled to brace herself for the still more perilous struggle with Assyria, in which she ultimately succumbed. And said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it. It has been suggested that Joash associated the number throe with the notion of completeness, and "thought that what was done thrice was done perfectly" (Bahr); but in this case the prophet would scarcely have been angered. It is far more consonant with the entire narrative to suppose that he stopped from mere weariness, and want of strong faith and zeal. If he had been earnestly desirous of victory, and had had faith in the symbolical action as divinely directed, he would have kept on smiting till the prophet told him it was enough, or at any rate would have smitten the ground five or six times instead of three. The idea that he abstained from modesty or from prudence, "lest too extravagant demands might deprive him of all" (Von Gerlach), finds no support in the text of the narrative. He abstained (as Keil says) because "he was wanting in the proper zeal for obtaining the full promises of God." Had it been otherwise, the complete success obtained by Jeroboam II. (2 Kings 4:25-28) might have been anticipated by the space of fifteen or twenty years. Whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice (comp. ver. 25, which declares that this prophecy was exactly accomplished).
And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
Verse 20. - And Elisha died, and they buried him. There had been no burial of Elijah, who" went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11). All the more anxious, therefore, would the Israelites be to bury their second great prophet with due honor. They prepared him, no doubt, one of those excavated sepulchers which were usual at the time and in the country - a squared or vaulted chamber cut in the native rock. St. Jerome says that the place of his sepulture was near Samaria ('Epitaph. Paulae'), and this is sufficiently probable; but in the Middle Ages his grave was shown at Ruma, in Galilee (Ewald, 'Hist. of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 122, note 3). According to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 6), his funeral was magnificent. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. It seems to be implied that this was a usual occurrence. Just as the Syrians in the days of Naaman made marauding raids into the land from time to time (2 Kings 5:2), so now the Moabites each spring made an incursion. The weakness of Israel is strongly marked by this fact, and still more by the penetration of the Moabites so deep into their country. Amos 2:1 perhaps glances at these incursions of Moab.
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
Verse 21. - And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that. "They" is used indefinitely of some unnamed Israelites, like the French on. Certain persons, it does not matter who, were burying a man, i.e. about to bury him, and were carrying the corpse to the grave, when an interruption occurred. Behold, they spied a band of men - rather, the band, i.e. the band of that year - and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha. There was no time for ceremony. Hastily, and somewhat roughly, it may be, the bearers of the body thrust it into Elisha's tomb, which happened to be at hand, and from the mouth of which they were able to remove the closing stone. They did not "throw" the body in, but pushed it in. And when the man was let down. The man was not "let down." Our translators seem to have been unacquainted with the Jewish mode of burial. They imagine that Elisha's tomb is a pit dug in the ground from the surface downwards, like a modern grave, and the man has therefore to be "let down," or to "go down" (marginal translation) into it. The Revised Version avoids the mistranslation, but weakens the force of the original. Translate, and when the man came, etc. And touched the bones of Elisha, he revived. The violent push given to the corpse imparted to it a movement which brought it in contact with the bones, i.e. the body (1 Kings 13:31) of Elisha, as it lay, wound in its grave-clothes, but uncoffined, on the floor of the sepulchral chamber. At the moment of contact the dead man came to life - "revived." And stood up on his feet. In many Jewish tombs the sepulchral chamber would allow of this.
But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.
Verse 22. - But Hazael King of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz; rather, now Hazael King of Syria had oppressed Israel, etc. The author, having parenthetically related the extraordinary miracle wrought by the instrumentality of Elisha's corpse, returns to the subject of the Syrian oppression. He had, in vers. 14-19, dwelt upon the promises of victory given by the prophet to Joash. He is now bent on relating their fulfillment. But before doing so he recapitulates. Ver. 22 refers back to ver. 3, and ver. 23 to vers. 4 and 5.
And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.
Verse 23. - And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them. Even in his wrath God, thinketh upon mercy." While he was still punishing Israel by the sword of Hazael, he was yet careful not to make a full end, not to allow the affliction to proceed too far. He still preserved the nation, and kept it in being. And had respect unto them - i.e. "considered them - kept them in his mind - did not permit them to slip out of his recollection" - because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was a covenant of mercy. By it he had pledged himself to multiply their seed, to be their God, and the God of their seed after them, and to give to their seed the whole land of Canaan for an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:4-8, etc.). This covenant bound him to extend his protection over the people of Israel so long as they had not utterly and entirely cast off their allegiance (comp. 2 Kings 17:7-18). And would not destroy them. They were "persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:9). The national life might seem to hang by a thread, but the thread had not snapped. Neither east he them from his presence as yet. The writer has it in his mind that ultimately they were cast away, rejected, removed out of God's sight (2 Kings 17:18, 20, 23); but it was not "as yet" - there was still an interval of a century, or a little more, before the blow fell, and the nation of the ten tribes ceased to exist.
So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead.
Verse 24. - So Hazael King of Syria died; rather, and Hazael... died. His death is a new fact, not involved in anything that has been previously stated. It appears by ver. 22 that he outlived Jehoahaz. And Benhadad his son reigned in his stead. Hazael, the usurper, gave his eldest son the name of the monarch whom he had murdered. It was an old royal name in Syria (1 Kings 15:18), having been borne by at least two of Hazael's predecessors. The meaning which has been assigned to it ("Son of the sun") is doubtful.
And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.
Verse 25. - And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. The capture of these cities by Ben-hadad had not been previously mentioned. It appears by the present passage, compared with ver. 22, that, during the lifetime of his father, Benhadad had led expeditions into the land of Israel, acting as his father's representative and general, and had made himself master of several Israelite towns. These were now recovered by Jehoash. They lay probably in the Cis-Jordanic territory. Three times did Joash beat him; and recovered the cities of Israel (comp. ver. 19). Thrice defeated, Hazael was forced to abandon his conquests in Western Samaria. He retained, however, the trans-Jordanic territory, which was not recovered by the Israelites till the reign of Jeroboam II. (see 2 Kings 14:25).