Study Notes

2Kings 13:1-25


Chapters 11 and 12 of the book of 2Kings focused on the southern kingdom of Judah. Now, as we begin chapter 13, we once again travel up to see what is happening in the northern kingdom of Israel.

13:1-2 Jehoahaz Becomes King Over Israel

After Yo-AWSH, the son of Akh-az-YAW had been king in Judah for 23 years, Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ became king up in Israel. Like the kings of that kingdom before him, he was not righteous before the Lord. He followed the sins of Jeroboam, son of Neb-AWT. You will recall that Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom after civil war split the nation.

Jeroboam was the one who had feared that the people would return to the land of David. Because Jerusalem and the new temple were both in the southern kingdom, he was afraid that the frequent trips to make sacrifices would draw their hearts back towards the house of David.

1Kgs. 12:28-29 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

We see that not only did he corrupt those in his kingdom in this way, but that also he personally worshiped there as well (1Kings 13:1). So the sins of Jeroboam included both personal idolatry as well as causing God's people to fall into it.

The new king of Israel, Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ, was guilty of the same sins.

13:3 Judgment For Sin

With the nation and its king in continual, unrepentant sin, the Lord judged them by allowing them to be attacked by Khaz-aw-ALE, the king of Aram, and later his son Ben-hadad.

This is the pattern that God faithfully followed all through the history of Israel, and in our own individual lives as well. When there is sin, God shows mercy, but when it is continual and unrepentant, He brings punishment. He is merciful to give us time to repent. But eventually, it would be unrighteous not to judge, so He must. The Scriptures tell us,

Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet,

Jer. 2:35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.' Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.'

All unrepentant sin is eventually punished if not repented of. It is an inevitable truth.

13:4-5 Mercy

When he saw that the enemy was continually victorious, King Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ turned to the Lord.

The Lord listened, and raised up a deliverer. Just as it is part of God's nature to judge sin, it is just as much a part of Him to forgive the repentant sinner. Peter wrote that He...

2Pet. 3:9 patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Never underestimate God's willingness to forgive you. He yearns for the day that you will turn back to Him.

King Ahab was responsible for the murder of hundreds of the prophets of God, yet when he humbled himself before God, God withheld judgment against him.

Saul of Tarsus went around arresting Christians and seeing them killed, yet when he turned to Christ, God forgave all of his sins.

The Ninevites were brutal warriors, murderers, and immoral idolaters. Yet when they cried out to the Lord in repentance, he spared them.

How bad are your sins? Have you been living a life of substance abuse? Sexual immorality? Hatred in your heart? Bitterness and anger? Your sins are producing negative things in your life. The fruit of them is a hardened heart, and isolation from God. You're missing out on blessings, and storing up judgment against you. But God can forgive you - He wants to forgive you. He loves you more than you can understand, and it breaks His heart that you're so far away.

He has raised up a deliverer for you - Jesus Christ. The Bible says that it is...

1Ths. 1:10 ...Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

It is up to us to receive God's deliverer to save us from the wrath that comes upon us for our sins and rebellion against Him. That's why Jesus said,

John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

He is willing, He has provided. The ball is now in our court.

13:6-7 Incomplete Reform

Even though their king had cried out to the Lord and the nation received the deliverance of God, they did not turn from the idolatry. They had turned to God, but not away from their sin.

When the nation of Israel had done this before, Elijah had rebuked them for their lukewarmness,

1Kgs. 18:21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long {will} you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.

Jesus said that this middle ground is offensive and sickening to Him. He told the church of Laodicea,

Rev. 3:16 ...because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

It is essential that we not try to stay in the gray area, to be in the middle ground. Jesus said,

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other..."

The believer who has one foot in the kingdom of God and the other in this world will become the most miserable person around. Decide what you're going to do and do it.

13:8-10 Jehoahaz Dies, Joash Becomes King

When King Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ died after 17 years of rule, his son Yo-AWSH (or Yeh-ho-AWSH) became king over Israel at Samaria. Now we've got a situation where the current king of Israel and the king of Judah are both named Yo-AWSH.

13:11-13 Jehoash's Sin

Yeh-ho-AWSH was like his father, and so many of the kings before him - he did not follow the Lord, but walked in idolatry. When Am-ats-YAW replaced his father as the king of Judah, Yeh-ho-AWSH went to war with him. What had once been one nation, then two being occasional allies, now becomes two countries at war with one another.

After a 16-year rule, Yeh-ho-AWSH also died. But before we forget about him, the writer is going to give us one interesting account of his kingdom.

13:14 Elisha Dying

Elisha the prophet was dying. He had been around for many years, and been used by God to preach powerfully and manifest mighty miracles. Now, he is bedridden, terminally ill. It seems to me that the word of faith teachers would have a big problem trying to explain this away. They teach that it is never God's will for a believer to be sick. That anyone with enough faith is always healed. You would be hard-pressed to find a man of greater faith than Elisha.

I think that this false teaching stems from the fact that most Christians still perceive death as being entirely negative. On the contrary, I am looking forward to my death someday! Paul the apostle said,

Phil. 1:21 ... to die is gain.

He explained that he had...

Phil. 1:23 ...the desire to depart and be with Christ, for {that} is very much better;

The psalmist wrote,

Ps. 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.

Death, whether it comes by sickness, accident, or old age, is the vehicle that God will use to bring you into His eternal presence. Elisha had spent his life walking with God, and he is about to enter into eternity with his God. Don't feel sorry for him, or any other believer who dies, for that matter.

The Chariots Of Israel

When Yo-AWSH walked in and saw Elisha on his deathbed, he cried and said,

2Kgs. 13:14 ..."My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!"

The chariots and horsemen of a nation were its strength. But It was often recognized that having a prophet who heard from God was more valuable to a country than having a huge army. In fact, Elisha had cried out these very words when the prophet Elijah was taken up into heaven (2Kings 2:12).

Do we understand this today? Half of the nation has been rejoicing that George W. Bush was finally proclaimed the winner of the United States presidential election. "Surely he will save our country!" The other half is lamenting the fact, believing that this is the beginning of the end. But do you realize that it is not the president, but the prophets who are our "chariots and horsemen?" It is those who proclaim the Word of God and the heart of God to the people that are the United States' only hope. It is not defense spending, but diligent servants that will save our nation.

13:15-17 Prophecy Of Victory

Elisha prophesies to his last king, telling him to shoot an arrow out the window towards the east. This was how he demonstrated that the Lord would give Israel victory over Aram at Af-EEK.

13:18-19 A Lack Of Enthusiasm

After shooting the arrow out the window, Yo-AWSH was told by Elisha to strike the arrows on the ground. But he just did it three times. Elisha was angry over this, and rebuked him for his lack of enthusiasm. The striking of Aram would not be complete.

I wondered a lot this week if this was really fair. "Come on, Lord, he did what he was told. Was it his fault that he only did it three times?" And the answer is, "Absolutely." You see, we are called to put 110% effort into everything we do. The book of Romans says,

Rom. 12:11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

If you're going to do it, do it enthusiastically. As Solomon said (albeit fatalistically),

Eccl. 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might...

13:20-21 The Bones Of Elisha

So Elisha, the great man of God, died and was buried.

Interestingly, his ministry didn't quite end there. You see, some Israelites were burying someone else when they saw a marauding band of Moabites headed their way. To save themselves, they quickly just tossed the dead guy's body into Elijah's grave. But when the man touched the bones of Elisha, he was resurrected!

Based on this Bible story, Televangelist Benny Hinn reports that he visits the graves of faith healers Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson to experience the anointing that emanates from their bones. That is a good lesson in how not to get personal application from Bible stories!

But I do believe that the Lord desires to speak to our hearts through this event.

I wonder how many of us will be able to give life long after we ourselves are physically dead. I think that we need to consider what is the legacy we are leaving when we die. How might we give life when we have passed into death?

I thought of that this week for myself, and realized that one of the things I am really blessed by is our tape ministry. Tapes of the Bible studies go out all over the place, and people are being taught long after I've moved on to other Bible books, and even forgotten what I spoke about. And I know that after I die, should the Lord tarry, that people will continue to be educated by the tapes, even coming to new life in Christ after listening to the message of the gospel. All after I'm dead and gone!

What kind of life-giving legacy are you leaving for the generations that will come after you're gone? Have you instilled a love for God in your children that your grandchildren may one day be given life? How about financially? What have you done to insure that your money will continue to build the kingdom of God after you're gone? When you pass into death, what will be the legacy of your reputation? Will you have...

Matt. 5:16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven

13:22-23 God's Graciousness

Although the Arameans had been allowed to attack the Israelites, God did not permit their utter destruction. He was gracious and compassionate to them. Even today, the nation of Israel continues to exist. The Lord made a covenant with them that will never be broken. God is He who keeps His promises. Paul wrote that this is a trustworthy statement,

2Tim. 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

If you are His child this evening, He has promised you as well,


13:24-25 The Sure Word Of Prophecy

Finally, as the chapter draws to a close, we see that Yo-AWSH did have three victories over the Arameans, just as God had spoken through Elisha. If I have discovered nothing else during this lifetime, I do know this: God's Word is always reliable, dependable, sure, and trustworthy. God keeps His Word, you can rest assured that what He says will be done.

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