Spiritual Archery
2 Kings 13:15-19
And Elisha said to him, Take bow and arrows. And he took to him bow and arrows.…

There are two acts in this wonderful event. The first concerns the shooting of the arrow of deliverance, a symbolic and prophetic act; the second concerns the smiting on the ground with arrows, also symbolical, but providing as well a test of the character, of the zeal, and of the faith of the King of Israel. Now concerning these two acts and the several scenes in them let us speak as God may guide us.


1. A call to action. "Take bow and arrows," said the dying prophet. There is a deal of meaning wrapped up in this apparently simple suggestion. Elisha had come to a full end, and like a shock of corn that was fully ripe he was now bending towards the sharpened sickle. The king, who was not remarkable all the years of his life for his devotion to God or to His prophets, is now found trembling and weeping by the side of the sick servant of Jehovah. Then it is that the dying prophet, with more faith and hope and vigour in him even at the last article than the sinful king in his prime and power, exclaims as it were, "Weep not, tremble not, faint not, fear not; I am going, but God is with you. God buries His workmen, but He carries on His work. I die, but God will surely visit you. Do not let this sad event unduly depress you. I must die, for my time has come; but so long as you live, live to purpose, take bow and arrows, let not your hands hang down. Go forth to the battle yet again, and believe in the God to whom I have so long, though vainly, pointed you; for He is the Lord God of Hosts, the God of battles still. Dry up your tears; forsake your grief; take bow and arrows; arm yourself; go forth into the fight, and the Lord my God shall be with you."

2. I notice next that Elisha gives to the king several strict injunctions; indeed, the detail to which he condescends is most remarkable. All through these verses we find a long list of instructions and commands. "Take bow and arrows." "Put thine hand upon the bow." "Open the window eastward." "Shoot." "Take the arrows." "Smite upon the ground." The dying prophet instructs the king in all the minutiae of his immediate duty. The wisest of us need to be divinely directed.

3. Then followed on the king's part implicit obedience. "Take," said the prophet; "and he took." So it is throughout. "Put thine hand upon the bow;" "and he put his hand upon it." "Open the window;" "and he opened it." "Shoot;" "and he shot." "Smite;" "and he smote." All through there is a corresponding obedience on the king's part to the arrangement and suggestion of the prophet. So should it ever be with us and God. Let His imperative be answered by obedient indicative on our part.

4. There follows a hint as to the necessity for personal interest and effort. Read the 16th verse.

5. There was Divine co-operation, for we read "Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands:"

6. Notice next that the window had to be opened. He said, "Open the window eastward. And he opened it." In other words, every obstruction and possible hindrance has to be got rid of. You see the importance of this.

7. Then at last they come to the decisive action. All the rest has been preliminary and preparatory.

II. THE SECOND ACT, THE SMITING WITH THE OTHER ARROWS. This was a symbolical act, as was the first. The flight of the single arrow through the open lattice must have. been readily understood by the king, for it was the custom there and then, as in other lands and times, to throw down the gage of battle, or to hurl a dart, the signal of the war. God has shot out of every window of this Tabernacle arrows of deliverance, if I may so speak; but with this purpose, that we ourselves shall follow up those tokens, and hope and believe that they were prophecies and promises with meaning which must meet with further fulfilment. It remains for us to shoot the other arrows, for we have a quiver full of them. The command was to smite with them on the ground. You see the meaning of that. It is as though Elisha said, "The arrow of God's deliverance has gone forth; it has already found its mark and done its work. You have now, if you will but believe it, these Syrians crouching at your very feet. God has already humbled them, and they are now at your mercy. Smite upon the ground. They are already at your feet. God has delivered them into your hands. Smite! Smite!" The king obeys, but with too little zeal.

(T. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

WEB: Elisha said to him, "Take bow and arrows;" and he took to him bow and arrows.

Poverty of Faith Ensures But Partial Success
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