2 Kings 13:25
And 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) The cities, which he had takeni.e., which Hazael had taken. The cities referred to must have been cities on the west of Jordan (comp, 2Kings 13:3; 2Kings 13:7), for the trans-Jordan had been subdued by Hazael in the time of Jehu (2Kings 10:32, seq.). Jeroboam II, the son of Joash, restored the ancient boundaries of Israel (2Kings 14:25).

By war.—Or, in the war.

Beat him.—Rather, smite him (2Kings 13:19).

2 Kings 13:25. And Jehoash took again the cities, &c. — This was a great kindness to the cities themselves, which were hereby rescued from the yoke of oppression, and to the whole kingdom, which was much strengthened by the reduction of those cities. Three times did Joash beat him — Just as oft as he had struck the ground with the arrows, and then a full stop was put to the course of his victories. Many have repented, when it was too late, of their unbelief, distrust, and the straitness of their desires. 13:20-25 God has many ways to chastise a provoking people. Trouble comes sometimes from that point whence we least feared it. The mention of this invasion on the death of Elisha, shows that the removal of God's faithful prophets is a presage of coming judgments. His dead body was a means of giving life to another dead body. This miracle was a confirmation of his prophecies. And it may have reference to Christ, by whose death and burial, the grave is made a safe and happy passage to life to all believers. Jehoash was successful against the Syrians, just as often as he had struck the ground with the arrows, then a stop was put to his victories. Many have repented, when too late, of distrusts and the straitness of their desires.The cities which ... - Probably cities west of the Jordan, since the tract east of that river was conquered, mainly if not wholly, in the reign of Jehu 2 Kings 10:33. 20, 21. Elisha died—He had enjoyed a happier life than Elijah, as he possessed a milder character, and bore a less hard commission. His rough garment was honored even at the court.

coming in of the year—that is, the spring, the usual season of beginning campaigns in ancient times. Predatory bands from Moab generally made incursions at that time on the lands of Israel. The bearers of a corpse, alarmed by the appearance of one of these bands, hastily deposited, as they passed that way, their load in Elisha's sepulchre, which might be easily done by removing the stone at the mouth of the cave. According to the Jewish and Eastern custom, his body, as well as that of the man who was miraculously restored, was not laid in a coffin, but only swathed; so that the bodies could be brought into contact, and the object of the miracle was to stimulate the king's and people of Israel's faith in the still unaccomplished predictions of Elisha respecting the war with the Syrians. Accordingly the historian forthwith records the historical fulfilment of the prediction (2Ki 13:22-25), in the defeat of the enemy, in the recovery of the cities that had been taken, and their restoration to the kingdom of Israel.

According to the prediction above, 2 Kings 13:19. And 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,.... Which were in the countries of Gilead and Bashan, and belonged to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, 2 Kings 10:33,

three times did Joash beat him: in so many pitched battles, but where is not said, no doubt one of them was in Aphek, at least, 2 Kings 13:17, and perhaps the other two on the other side Jordan; this agrees with the three times he smote the ground, significant thereof, 2 Kings 13:18.

and recovered the cities of Israel; those before mentioned; otherwise, if those had not been recovered, not ten tribes, only seven and a half, would have been carried captive by the king of Assyria; whereas Josephus (y) says expressly, the ten tribes were carried captive.

(y) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 14. sect. 1.

And 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. And Jehoash … took again … the cities] Ben-hadad must have been a very different monarch from his father. The fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen (verse 7) must have been allowed to increase very rapidly to effect so complete a change in the relations between Syria and Israel as is here represented. We are forced to think again of Assyrian help to Israel before we can realize the altered state of things.

Three times did Joash beat [R.V. smite] him] The history is introduced that the prophecy of Elisha may be pointed out as fulfilled. By these three victories Syria must have been driven from the west side of the Jordan, the land which had been conquered by Hazael in the reign of Jehoahaz. The eastern side of Jordan was already in the hand of Syria before Jehoahaz came to the throne. It had been conquered by Hazael in the days of Jehu (2 Kings 10:32-33).Verse 25. - And 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. The capture of these cities by Ben-hadad had not been previously mentioned. It appears by the present passage, compared with ver. 22, that, during the lifetime of his father, Benhadad had led expeditions into the land of Israel, acting as his father's representative and general, and had made himself master of several Israelite towns. These were now recovered by Jehoash. They lay probably in the Cis-Jordanic territory. Three times did Joash beat him; and recovered the cities of Israel (comp. ver. 19). Thrice defeated, Hazael was forced to abandon his conquests in Western Samaria. He retained, however, the trans-Jordanic territory, which was not recovered by the Israelites till the reign of Jeroboam II. (see 2 Kings 14:25).



Elisha was angry at this, and said: "Thou shouldst shoot five or six times, thou wouldst then have smitten the Syrians to destruction; but now thou wilt smite them three times." להכּות: it was to shoot, i.e., thou shouldst shoot; compare Ewald, 237, c.; and for הכּית אז, then hadst thou smitten, vid., Ewald, 358, a. As the king was told that the arrow shot off signified a victory over the Syrians, he ought to have shot off all the arrows, to secure a complete victory over them. When, therefore, he left off after shooting only three times, this was a sign that he was wanting in the proper zeal for obtaining the divine promise, i.e., in true faith in the omnipotence of God to fulfil His promise.

(Note: "When the king reflected upon the power of the kings of Syria, since he had not implicit faith in Elisha, he thought that it was enough if he struck the earth three times, fearing that the prophecy might not be fulfilled if he should strike more blows upon the ground." - Clericus.)

Elisha was angry at this weakness of the king's faith, and told him that by leaving off so soon he had deprived himself of a perfect victory over the Syrians.

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