Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Kings Chapter 13

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-25)
Theme: A Divided Kingdom (c 1-17)
Message: Jehoahaz Rules Israel (v 1-25)

2 Kings 13 Commentary 

(13:1-4) The Lord Hears Jehoahaz's Prayer - The Lord heard Jehoahaz's prayer for help. God delayed his judgment on Israel when the people turned to him, but they did not sustain their dependence on God for long. Although the Israelites had seasons of repentance from their idol worship, they rarely showed genuine faith. It is not enough to say no to sin, we must also say yes to a life of commitment to God. An occasional call for help is not a substitute for a daily life of trust

(13:5) A Weakening Focus - Syria, which lay to the north of Israel, was always Israel's enemy. This was partly because Israel blocked most of Syria's trade from the south, and Syria cut off most of Israel's from the north. If one nation could conquer the other, all its trade routes would be open and its economy would flourish. Israel and Syria were so busy fighting each other that they didn't notice the rapidly growing strength of the Assyrians to the far north. Soon both nations would be surprised (16:9: 17:6)

(13:6) A Continuing Pattern of Sin - Why did the people of Israel continue to sin? They had God's laws passed down from Moses, continuous warnings from God's prophets, and a long history of God's faithfulness to them--yet they were prone to follow and worship other gods. What was the attraction? (1) The false gods were worshiped with tangible idols of metal, wood, or stone. The true God is invisible and transcendent. (2) The false gods were closely tied to weather and cycles of life. Rain, better crops or livestock, fertility, and success in war seemed to be tangible benefits of either sacrificing to the gods or making requests of them. (3) False gods could supposedly be appeased by money, food or sacrifices. They had few moral requirements and no call for love or heartfelt devotion. Right living was not required. (4) The gods offered sexual benefits, power, and success. They had no restraints on sinful human nature, calls for justice, or generosity.

After many years these idolatrous practices became a way of life for the people and were passed down to children and future generations. Thus idol worship became the new tradition.

(13:9-10) Rulers with The Same Name - Jehoash (also called Joash) assumed the throne of Israel in 798 BC. At that time, the king of Judah, also named Joash, was nearing the end of his reign. In Hebrew, Jehoash and Joash are two forms of the same name. Thus, two kings named with the same name, one in the south and one in the north, reigned at approximately the same time. While Joash of Judah began as a good king, Jehoash/Joash of Israel was evil throughout his reign.

(13:11-14) Joash Pays Tribute to Elisha - Elisha was highly regarded for his prophetic powers and miracles on Israel's behalf. When Joash said "the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof," he was paying tribute to Elisha by comparing him to Elijah. Those were the very words that Elisha had said when Elijah was taken up to heaven (2:12). Joash feared Elisha's death because he ascribed the nation's well-being to Elisha rather than to God. Joash's fear reveals his lack of spiritual understanding. At least 43 years had passed since Elisha was last mentioned in Scripture (9:1), when he anointed Jehu king (841 BC). Joash's reign began in 798 BC.

(13:5-19) A Failure to Completely Obey - When Joash was told to strike the ground with the arrows, he did it only halfheartedly. As a result, Elisha told the king that his victory over Syria would be incomplete. Receiving the full benefits of God's plan for our lives requires us to receive and obey his commands fully. If we don't follow God's complete instructions, we should not be surprised that we don't receive his full benefits and blessings.

(13:20-21) God's Power on Display - Elisha was dead, but his powerful influence remained, even causing miracles. This demonstrated that Elisha was indeed a prophet of God. It also attested to God's power--no pagan idol had ever raised anyone from the dead. This miracle served as one more reminder to the people of Israel that they had gone the wrong way when they had rejected God's word as given through Elisha.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Simple Obedience


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue the book of 2 Kings with Chapter 13.  In our text, we see Jehoahaz rules Israel, and when he passes, we see Joash taking the throne of Israel. What catches my eye is how Joash halfhearted followed the instruction to strike the floors with arrows as Elisha commanded. In making an application, we see that we, too, need to follow the teaching of the Lord. A half-hearted obedience to the Word of God will not deliver the full benefits of obedience, as Israel learned in its conflict with Syria. Some have the issue of knowing all of God's plans before they obey. God tells us to obey His Word and leave the consequences to Him. How about you? Do you obey the Lord 100% and leave the results to Him? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Joash to remember that the Lord instructs us to obey Him while leaving the consequences to Him.


2 Kings 13

2 Kings 13

 1In 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.

 2And 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.

 3And 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.

 4And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.

 5(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.

 6Nevertheless 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.)

 7Neither 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.

 8Now 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?

 9And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.

 10In 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.

 11And 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.

 12And 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?

 13And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

 14Now 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.

 15And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

 16And 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.

 17And 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.

 18And 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.

 19And 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.

 20And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.

 21And 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.

 22But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.

 23And 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.

 24So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead.

 25And 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.