Joash; Elisha’s Last Days

2 Kings 11-13 and Psalm 66

Chapter 11 begins with the story of Jehosheba, the sister of Ahaziah (Judah) hiding Joash (his son must have been really young) for 6 years while the queen mother (my term) Athaliah ruled Judah. She’s not the least bit righteous! Her ascension to the throne we the result of killing off the rest of the royal family, so no one was left.

The priest Jehoiada revealed Joash in the 7th year by having round-the-clock guards protecting him…he knew Athaliah would not be pleased!

When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the Lord. She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, “Treason! Treason!” 2 Kings 11:13-14

Johoiada takes charge to defend the king, but insists she is not to be put to death in the temple of the Lord.

So they seized here as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death. 2 Kings 11:16

Joash was just 7 years old when he was installed as the King of Judah. Imagine that! Under the watchful and wise eyes of Jehoiada he rules Judah for 40 years.

Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. 2 Kings 12:2-3

Chapter 12 provides some interesting insight into the temple repair project. Joash, probably under the direction of Jehoiada, tells the priest to collect money for repairing the temple. After 22 years, the project is obviously stalled–nothing was done. At this point, Joash is nearly 30 years old and he gets it–the priests are hoarding the money or at least completely ineffective at repairing the temple, so he has a new plan. The repairs are made by skilled workers, but obviously not everyone was happy with the arrangements.

His officials conspired against him and assassinated him at Beth Millo, on the road down to Silla. 2 Kings 12:20

Amaziah, Joash’s son, succeeded him as king of Judah.

Chapter 13 switches back to Israel, the northern kingdom, where Jehu’s son Jehoahaz is king. No surprise, “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord by following the sins of Jeroboam (2 Kings 13:2), so the Lord allowed the Arameans to oppress them.

Jehoahaz begged for relief and the Lord “listened to him” by providing a deliverer for Israel (eventually).

But they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; the continued in them. 2 Kings 13:6

The Arameans reduced the army of Israel to 50 horsemen, 10 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers. Jehoahaz died and was succeeded by Jehoash.

Jehoash “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (surprise!), did some stuff, then died. That’s about it!

Jehoash and Elisha

Jehoash heard about Elisha’s illness that will eventually take his life. Jehoash can see that this is bad and declares, “My father! My father!…The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” (2 Kings 13:14). Elisha prophesies about the Lord’s victory over the king of Aram, “you will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek” (2 Kings 13:17). Elisha then told Jehoash to take the arrows and strike the ground. Apparently Jehoash’s half-hearted striking of the ground was offensive:

The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeated it only three times.” 2 Kings 13:19

Those were the last words of Elisha, but not the last comment.

Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. 2 Kings 13:21

The legacy of Elisha lived on, but we don’t get a lot of insight into the things he did.

Jeroboam (obviously not the original) followed Jehoash as King of Israel.


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