April 24 Reading: II Kings 12-14 Commentary
“Then Elisha died, and they buried him. And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year. So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.” (II Kings 13:20-21)
II Kings 12 – Joash Repairs the Temple
Joash reigned 40 years in Judah. He “did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (v. 1). However, after he died, he strayed from the Lord and relied on counsel by other means (see II Chron. 24:17-19).
During his reign though, there was renewed interest in spiritual things. Nations respond that way when their leader is focused on the things of the Lord. But Joash took his personal relationship public by focusing his efforts on repairing the temple (vv. 6-8).
He even took a personal interest in the project when the work was not being completed fast enough for his liking. To highlight the need for giving to the project, he placed a chest with a hole in its lid beside the altar so that people could put money in it when they came to worship. The people responding generously so that the work was completed (see II Chron. 24:10-13).
There is a great verse at the end of the section that highlights the spiritual character of the men overseeing the project. Verse 15 says that Joash “did not require an account from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to be paid to workmen, for they dealt faithfully.” It makes one wonder what our world would look like if men and women showed that level of honesty and integrity.
Joash’s Life Ends
The details of the end of Joash’s life are summarized, starting with the invasion of Jerusalem by Israel’s nemesis, Hazael king of Syria (v. 17). At this point Joash’s godly counselor Jehoiada had died and Joash lapsed into apostasy (II Chron. 24:17-19, 23-24). The invasion came as judgment from God on his wickedness.
In the invasion, Josiah was wounded. The only way he was able to survive was to send Hazael all the sacred items and all the gold found in the temple treasuries. When Hazael received those things, he left Jerusalem (v. 18).
Soon thereafter though, Joash fell victim to an assassination (vv. 20-21).
II Kings 13 – Jehoahaz: King of Israel
“In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. He did not depart from them” (vv. 1-2)]
Because of Jehoahaz wickedness, God brought judgment on Israel. He delivered the nation into the hands of Hazael king of Syria and his son Ben-Haded (v. 3).
At some point the wicked king Jehoahaz pleaded with the Lord to relieve them from oppression. Despite his sin, God did so by sending them a deliverer, perhaps another foreign power (at this point Assyria was gaining prominence in the region)(v. 5). However, even with this blessing from the Lord, the king and Israel did not depart from their sin.
Jehoash: King of Israel
“In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them” (vv. 10-11).
Not much appears here about the reign of Jehoash. However, three events are included in upcoming verses that occurred during his reign:
1. The death of Elisha (vv. 14-21).
2. His battles with and victories over Hazael king of Syria (vv. 24-25).
3. A conflict with Joash king of Judah (v. 12, 14:8-14).
Elisha had been a powerful force for God as he provided spiritual guidance to the nation’s of Israel and Judah. Unlike his predecessor Elijah who was transitioned to the afterlife in a miraculous way (see II Kings 2), Elisha’s death was very common. He died of natural causes, having contracted some form of illness.
News of Elisha’s illness and coming death touched the heart of Joash. He came to weep over Elisha saying, “O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!” (v. 14). Those words echoed what Elisha had said when he saw his mentor Elijah leave for heaven in the chariot of fire in II Kings 2.
Even though his death was common, what happened after his death was very uncommon – the miracles he performed didn’t stop after his death. After he was buried, it happened that another man died and was being prepared for burial in the same tomb as Elisha. II Kings 13:21 tells us that as the man was being lowered down into the tomb, his body came in contact with Elisha’s body.
Immediately, the dead man being buried revived and stood on his feet. Now to be clear, there was no magic or power in Elisha’s bones. This was just another demonstration of God’s power working through his servant. That’s how God works through us. It is only through his power that we are able to accomplish anything in this life.
And, from a certain perspective, it speaks to one’s legacy. We can leave a mark on this world even after we are gone.
II Kings 14 – Amaziah: King of Judah
“In the second year of Joash…king of Israel, Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, became king. He was twenty-five years old…and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem…And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord…” (vv. 1-3).
Amaziah was one of the few kings of Judah who followed the Lord. But even here, his accomplishments are a mixed bag of right and wrong. For example:
1. He killed all those who conspired and assassinated his father Joash (v. 5).
2. However, he did not kill the children of those murderers, obeying the Mosaic Law which said, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (v. 6)(see Deut. 24:16).
3. God gave him an amazing victory over the Edomites in the Valley of Salt and took a formidable city at Sela (v. 7)(see II Chron. 25:5-13).
4. After the victory though, Amaziah was filled with pride. He picked an unnecessary fight with Jehoash king of Israel (v. 9). Jehoash tried to expose Amaziah’s growing pride over his victory in Edom and told him not to “meddle with trouble so that you fall – you and Judah with you” (vv. 9-10)
Amaziah didn’t listen, so Jehoash attacked and defeated Judah. He captured Amaziah and broke down a section of the wall at Jerusalem. Jehoash took all the gold and silver in the house of the Lord (vv. 11-14).
At some point, it appears Amaziah was released and lived another 15 years after the death of Jehoash (v. 17). He met his fate because a conspiracy rose against him. He had to flee Jerusalem but was tracked down and killed (vv. 18-20).
Jeroboam II: King of Israel
“In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin” (vv. 23-24).
One of the notable events from Jeroboam II’s reign is that it was a time of prosperity in the region for Israel. We are told that Jeroboam II restored some of their territory that had been taken previously (v. 25).
Additionally, though we notice that the word of the Lord came to Jeroboam II through the prophet Jonah (v. 25). This provides some timeline context for when the famous prophet ministered.
Questions to Consider:
We can do nothing on our own. No individual power that we possess compares to the power of God working through us. It is through him alone that we can accomplish anything in this life. So always rely on His strength instead of your own. Only then will you accomplish all he has for you to do before he calls you home.
We are imperfect people full of inadequacies. But every person God used in the Bible had the same issues we do. God used imperfect men and women to accomplish his plan and impact people. In one case (Elisha – II Kings 13:21), that influence continued even after he had died. Do you doubt God’s power to use you?
What other points would you want to know about in our II Kings 12-14 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.