2Ki 13: "In this ch the record returns to the history of
Israel, taking it from the death of Jehu (1Ki 10:35) and briefly sketching the
reign of Jehu's son Jehoahaz and that of his grandson, Jehoahaz, known also as
Joash. The Syrian oppression was the great event of the reign of Jehoahaz. But
amidst the evil and wickedness of Jehoahaz reign (v 2), Yahweh revealed Himself
as tender and compassionate, in spite of the duplicity of the king. His divine
character is seen when 'Jehoahaz besought Yahweh', an expression which literally
means 'stroked the face of'. The same metaphor is used in Exo 32:11, 1Ki 13:6.
It expresses the pleading of a man thoroughly humbled by the reverses of life.
To such the Father responds, as does every true father similarly treated (cp Eph
3:15). Thus Yahweh provided a saviour (2Ki 13:5). Israel was saved through the
victories of Joash and Jeroboam (v 25; 14:27), but the real source of salvation
seems to have been Elisha. He must have been an influence for good in Israel,
helping the king by his wise counsel. This explains the concern and despair of
Joash on the impending death of Elisha (v 14)" (GEM).
BEN-HADAD: A dynastic title of the Aramean, or Syrian
kings. It is first seen in 1Ki 15:18 and the last reference, chronologically, is
It is comforting that even in the midst of this apparently
irretrievable immoral idolatry, God would listen to the pleas of one unrighteous
man and allow him to be the saviour of the nation at that moment. How
disappointing that even with this deliverance afforded them by God, none of them
turned to Him (v 6).
MY FATHER! MY FATHER!... THE CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN OF
ISRAEL!: These are the same words uttered by Elisha himself about his
predecessor, Elijah (2Ki 2:12). Even the wicked king Jehoash realizes that
Elisha, as God's prophet, is more powerful than chariots and horses, and
expresses here something of his awareness of the presence of the Almighty. It is
true enough, that wherever the word of the prophet is found, there is the power
of the LORD! And that power is infinitely greater than all the "chariots" and
"horses" of all the armies that ever were.
What the younger Elisha had seen earlier in the old prophet
Elijah, as he was being taken away from him, is finally seen by another in the
now older Elisha, as he also is being taken away. Elisha may scarcely have
realized how and when it was happening, but over time the "mantle" of Elijah had
truly come to rest on his shoulders, spiritually as well as literally. He had
grown up to the office, and now -- at the end -- it was as though Elijah was
once more taking his leave of men. In a similar way, many a young man has
wondered if he might ever attain to the wisdom, and experience, and authority,
and strength of his father -- to find, one day years later, that he has indeed.
It has happened even as Jesus' parable suggests: "Night and day, whether he
sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how"...
until finally "the grain is ripe" (Mar 4:27,29)!
APHEK: An area immediately east of Israel; site of
recent Syrian conflicts. Though Syria is basically north of Israel, this
explains "east" of v 17a.
STRIKE THE GROUND: "Smite" in AV, meaning 'shoot the
arrows so they strike the ground.'
We are given here no indication of whether Joash could
possibly have known how many times he was expected to "strike", but the
implication is that he acted in a half-hearted manner in carrying out Elisha's
bidding, thus giving Elisha reason to be angry. Let us be sure not to respond
half-heartedly to the things that are revealed to us.
EVERY SPRING: Lit, "at the coming in of the year" (cp
similar phrase, Exo 34:22): probably the fall, the time of Feast of