“Some time later…” we pick up the story where the Arameans continue their annoying military coop attempts. The siege in Samara (i.e., against Joram, king of Israel) has reached the point where people are starving. Joram is convinced this is all at the Lord’s calling, but shows little sign of repentance:
The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” 2 Kings 6:33
Elisha’s response is calm an deliberate, for he knows the siege is about to break. The officer there with the king scoffs at Elisha’s reply–not a good plan. The following day, just as Elisha foretold, the Arameans bolt for the hills because the Lord caused them to hear a huge advancing army, so their camp was left empty. Four lepers made the discover, then went back and reported to the king. Of course the king didn’t believe them, but when his scouts discovered the truth, the people trounced on the camp and looted the place. In the ensuing stampede the officer that mocked Elisha was trampled to death.
The Shunammite’s Land Restored
Chapter 8 begins with a side-story, a continuation of the Shunammite’s story in chapter 4. Elisha told her there was going to be famine and they should leave for a while. When she returns (seven years later), she goes to the king to get her home and possessions back. He “happens” to be listening to Gehazi, Elisha’s former right-hand man, and hears the story of how Elisha (the Lord) revived the boy, so he grants her appeal with a bonus, “including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now” (2 Kings 8:6).
Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad
Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, gets sick and feels like he’s about to die, so he sends Hazael to ask Elisha if he will recover. (Apparently, Hazael is more than a mere messenger.) He asks Elisha and he tells him Ben-Hadad would recover, but will die nonetheless. He doesn’t say how he will die, but begins to weep as he looks into Hazael’s eyes. Elisha sees the future of Hazael, how many will be killed at his hand. Hazael returns to Ben-Hadad and tells him he will recover,
But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king. 2 Kings 8:15
Back in Judah
Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, becomes king of Judah next, but he chooses to follow the path of the kings of Israel, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 8:18). Not many details in this chapter, just eight years of bad leadership.
Ahaziah, son of Jehoram, took over next. “He followed the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 8:27).