2 Kings 13:4
And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Besought.—Literally, stroked the face of; a metaphor which occurs in Exodus 32:11; 1Kings 13:6).

And the Lord hearkened unto him.—Not, however, immediately. (See 2Kings 13:7.) The Syrian invasions, which began under Jehu, were renewed again and again throughout the reign of Jehoahaz (2Kings 13:22), until the tide of conquest began to turn in the time of Joash (2Kings 13:15), whose incomplete victories (2Kings 13:17; 2Kings 13:19; 2Kings 13:25) were followed up by the permanent successes of his son Jeroboam II. (2Kings 14:25-28).

The parenthesis marked in 2Kings 13:5 really begins, therefore, with the words, “And the Lord hearkened.” The historian added it by way of pointing out that although the prayer of Jehoahaz did not meet with immediate response, it was not ultimately ineffectual.

For he saw the oppression.—Comp. Exodus 3:7; Deuteronomy 26:7.

The king of Syria.—Intentionally general, so as to include both Hazael and Ben-hadad III., his son (2Kings 13:24).

2 Kings 13:4. The Lord hearkened unto him — Not for his sake, for God regards not the prayers of the wicked and impenitent, but for other reasons, expressed 2 Kings 13:23. For he saw the oppression of Israel — His chosen and once beloved people. He now helps them because of his former and ancient kindness to them. Because the king of Syria oppressed them — To wit, very grievously, as it is expressed 2 Kings 13:7. So that God helped them, not because they were worthy of his help, but because of the rage of their enemies, and the blasphemies which doubtless accompanied it. See Deuteronomy 32:27.

13:1-9 It was the ancient honour of Israel that they were a praying people. Jehoahaz, their king, in his distress, besought the Lord; applied himself for help, but not to the calves; what help could they give him? He sought the Lord. See how swift God is to show mercy; how ready to hear prayer; how willing to find a reason to be gracious; else he would not look so far back as the ancient covenant Israel had so often broken, and forfeited. Let this invite and engage us for ever to him; and encourage even those who have forsaken him, to return and repent; for there is forgiveness with him, that he may be feared. And if the Lord answer the mere cry of distress for temporal relief, much more will he regard the prayer of faith for spiritual blessings.All their days - literally, "all the days." Not "all the days" of the two Syrian kings, for Ben-hadad lost to Joash all the cities which he had gained from Jehoahaz 2 Kings 13:25; but either "all the days of Jehoahaz" 2 Kings 13:22, or "all the days of Hazael" - both while he led his own armies, and while they were led by his son. 4. he saw the oppression of Israel—that is, commiserated the fallen condition of His chosen people. The divine honor and the interests of true religion required that deliverance should be granted them to check the triumph of the idolatrous enemy and put an end to their blasphemous taunts that God had forsaken Israel (De 32:27; Ps 12:4). The Lord hearkened unto him; not for his sake, for God regards not the prayers of the wicked and impenitent, Psalm 66:18 Proverbs 1:28 15:8; but for other reasons, expressed below, 2 Kings 13:23.

He saw, i.e. he observed it with care and compassion.

The oppression of Israel; his chosen and once beloved people. He now helps them, because of his former and ancient kindness to them.

The king of Syria oppressed them, to wit, very grievously, as it is expressed, 2 Kings 13:7. So that he helped them not for their own sakes, but because of the rage of their enemies, and their blasphemies, which doubtless accompanied it. See Deu 32:27 Psalm 12:4.

And Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him,.... He did not apply in his distress to the calves he worshipped, but to the Lord; who had a regard to his prayer, not for his sake, or any righteousness of his, or even his repentance and humiliation, which were only external; but for the sake of Israel, and because they were oppressed, who were his people, and he their God, though they had sadly departed from him:

for he saw the oppression of Israel; not only with his eye of omniscience, but with an eye of mercy and compassion:

because the king of Syria oppressed them; by his incursions upon them, and wars with them.

And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him] Just as in the case of punishment God does not always visit at once, even though an Ahab have sold himself to work wickedness, so in the case of mercy, the intervention of Jehovah is postponed to another generation. The Syrians are allowed to oppress Israel all the days of Jehoahaz, though we are told that his prayer had been heard. In the days of Jehoash, the next successor, some alleviation was afforded by the victories of that king over Benhadad (2 Kings 13:25), but it was not, as it seems, till the following generation that the full answer to the prayer came.

Verse 4. - And Jehoahaz besought the Lord; literally, besought the face of the Lord (comp. 1 Kings 13:6, and the comment ad loc.). Jehoahaz, as Josephus says, "betook him-serf to prayer and supplication of God, entreating that he would deliver him out of the hands of Hazael, and not suffer him to continue subject" ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 5). He did not turn from his sin of idolatry, perhaps did not suspect that it was this sin which had provoked God's anger; but in a general way he repented, humbled himself, and besought God's mercy and assistance. And the Lord hearkened unto him. God accepted his repentance, all imperfect as it was, so far as to save the people from the entire destruction with which it was threatened by the severe measures of Hazael (ver. 7), to continue the national existence (ver. 23), and ultimately to restore the national prosperity (ver. 25 and 2 Kings 14:25-27). But he did not remove the oppression, as Josephus imagines, in Jehoahaz's time. Ver. 22 makes this fact absolutely certain. For he saw the oppression of Israel, because the King of Syria oppressed them. Oppression is always hateful to God, even when he is using it as his instrument for chastising or punishing a guilty people. He "sees" it, notes it, lays it up in his remembrance for future retribution (camp. Exodus 3:7; Isaiah 10:5-12, etc.). (On the nature and extent of the oppression of this period, see ver. 7, and the comment ad loc.) 2 Kings 13:4In this oppression Jehoahaz prayed to the Lord (יי פּני חלּה as in 1 Kings 13:6); and the Lord heard this prayer, because He saw their oppression at the hands of the Syrians, and gave Israel a saviour, so that they came out from the power of the Syrians and dwelt in their booths again, as before, i.e., were able to live peaceably again in their houses, without being driven off and led away by the foe. The saviour, מושׁיע, was neither an angel, nor the prophet Elisha, nor quidam e ducibus Joasi, as some of the earlier commentators supposed, nor a victory obtained by Jehoahaz over the Syrians, nor merely Jeroboam (Thenius); but the Lord gave them the saviour in the two successors of Jehoahaz, in the kings Jehoash and Jeroboam, the former of whom wrested from the Syrians all the cities that had been conquered by them under his father (2 Kings 13:25), while the latter restored the ancient boundaries of Israel (2 Kings 14:25). According to 2 Kings 13:22-25, the oppression by the Syrians lasted as long as Jehoahaz lived; but after his death the Lord had compassion upon Israel, and after the death of Hazael, when his son Benhadad had become king, Jehoash recovered from Benhadad all the Israelitish cities that had been taken by the Syrians. It is obvious from this, that the oppression which Benhadad the son of Hazael inflicted upon Israel, according to 2 Kings 13:3, falls within the period of his father's reign, so that it was not as king, but as commander-in-chief under his father, that he oppressed Israel, and therefore he is not even called king in 2 Kings 13:3.
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