2 Kings 8 – “Elisha’s Predictions; The Reigns of Joram and Ahaziah”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Elisha predicts seven years of famine, the death of Ben-hadad, and the cruel reign of Hazael king of Aram. The reigns of Joram and Ahaziah, both kings of Judah, are described.

II. Photo
Ben-hadad sends lavish gifts to Elisha: “Hazael went to meet him, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the bounty of Damascus.” (v. 9)

III. Important Verses
1-2: Elisha had said to the woman whose son he revived, “Leave immediately with your family and go sojourn somewhere else; for the LORD has decreed a seven-year famine upon the land, and it has already begun.” The woman had done as the man of God had spoken; she left with her family and sojourned in the land of the Philistines for seven years.
4: Now the king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and he said, “Tell me all the wonderful things that Elisha has done.”
7-9: Elisha arrived in Damascus at a time when King Ben-hadad of Aram was ill. The king was told, “The man of God is on his way here,” and he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go meet the man of God, and through him inquire of the LORD: Will I recover from this illness?” Hazael went to meet him, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the bounty of Damascus. He came and stood before him and said, “Your son, King Ben-hadad of Aram, has sent me to you to ask: Will I recover from this illness?”
11-12: The man of God kept his face expressionless for a long time; and then he wept.  “Why does my lord weep?” asked Hazael. “Because I know,” he replied, “what harm you will do to the Israelite people: you will set their fortresses on fire, put their young men to the sword, dash their little ones in pieces, and rip open their pregnant women.”
15: The next day, [Hazael] took a piece of netting, dipped it in water, and spread it over his face. So [Ben-hadad] died, and Hazael succeeded him as king.
18-19: [Joram] followed the practices of the kings of Israel — whatever the House of Ahab did, for he had married a daughter of Ahab — and he did what was displeasing to the LORD. However, the LORD refrained from destroying Judah, for the sake of His servant David, in accordance with His promise to maintain a lamp for his descendants for all time.
21-22: Joram crossed over to Zair with all his chariotry. He arose by night and attacked the Edomites, who were surrounding him and the chariot commanders; but his troops fled to their homes. Thus Edom fell away from Judah, as is still the case. Libnah likewise fell away at that time.

IV. Outline

1-6. Elisha helps his supporter
    1. Elisha warns his supporter of an impending famine
    2. She and her family flee to Philistia
    3-6. The king, who was being told her story, helps her reclaim her farm
7-15. Elisha meets with Hazael, future king of Aram
    7-8. Ben-hadad is ill and is told that Elisha is in Damascus
    9-10. Elisha tells Hazael what to tell Ben-hadad
    11-13. Elisha tells Hazael that he will depredate the Israelites
    14-16. Hazael returns to Ben-hadad and succeeds him as the next king
16-24. Joram king of Judah
    16-17. Introductory statement
    18. Joram marries Ahab’s daughter and angers God
    19. God shows mercy for David’s sake
    20. The Edomites secede
    21-22. The Edomites are victorious and become independent
    23-24. Summary statement
25-29. Ahaziah king of Judah
    25-26. Introductory statement
    27. Ahaziah’s sins
    28-29. Ahaziah and Joram are defeated by Hazael

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Photo taken from http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/files/images/feb09camel.jpg