2 Kings 13:22-25
But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.…
We have in the closing verses a record of the fulfillment of the promise given through Elisha. Notice -
I. THE GROUND OF THESE VICTORIES. While God had respect to the prayer of Jehoahaz, there was a deeper ground for his interposition to save Israel. He was gracious to them, and had compassion on them, and had respect to them, we are told, because of his covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. More specifically, we have as grounds:
1. Love to the fathers. God remembered Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and would not hastily cast off their posterity (cf. Deuteronomy 4:37; Romans 11:28). Many of the blessings which sinners enjoy, the forbearance God shows them, etc., are due to the prayers of godly ancestors.
2. Regard for his own promise. God had made a covenant with the patriarchs, and had promised to be a God to them, and to their seed after them. That covenant was the main fact in the history of Israel. It underlies and governs all God's dealings with them, past, present, and prospective. It was the remembrance of this covenant which led to the deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 2:24, 25); to the settlement in Canaan (Deuteronomy 9:3); and to God's patient dealings with the nation amidst their various rebellious, and under their constant provocations. God saved them, not for their righteousness' sake, but for his own Name's sake. He is the God of unchanging faithfulness.
3. Unwillingness to destroy the people. God casts off none hastily, for he has "no pleasure in the death of him that dieth" (Ezekiel 18:32). He bears long with men, if haply they will repent. Wherefore it is said, "He would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet." There is a limit, however, to Divine forbearance. The time came when, still remaining impenitent, they were cast away, though even then not forever.
II. THE EXTENT OF THESE VICTORIES. They amounted, as Elisha had predicted, only to three. Three times Joash beat the King of Syria, and recovered the cities of Israel from his hand. This was a great gain, but it might so easily have been greater, had Joash only fulfilled aright the conditions of success. How much blessing we often deprive ourselves of by our own unfaithfulness and shortcoming! It is reason for rejoicing that God does so much for us; but the joy must eternally be shaded by regret when we reflect that it is by our own doings that far more is not done. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.