Matthew Poole's Commentary
In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.Jehoahaz king of Israel followeth the sin of Jeroboam; is oppressed by Hazael; and relieved by prayer, 2 Kings 13:1-9. Joash his son suceedeth him in the kingdom, and in his idolatry, 2 Kings 13:10-13. Elisha prophesieth to Joash three victories over the Syrians, and dieth: Joash’s lamentation, 2 Kings 13:14-19. A year after the Moabites invading the land, a dead man being cast into Elisha’s sepulchre, is restored to life, 2 Kings 13:20,21. Hazael dieth, and Joash recovereth the cities which had been taken from his father, 2 Kings 13:22-25.
Began to reign, Heb. reigned; which is put for began to reign, 2 Kings 3:1 8:16,25 12:1.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days.Or rather, all his days, as it is explained, 2 Kings 13:22.
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.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 the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.A saviour; either Elisha, below, 2 Kings 13:14; or rather, Jehoash, the son of this Jehoahaz, below, 2 Kings 13:25, and Jeroboam his son, 2 Kings 14:25.
In their tents, as beforetime; in peace and security, not only in their strong cities, but even in their tents in the fields.
Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)Which Ahab had planted for the worship of Baal, 1 Kings 16:32, and which should have been destroyed, Deu 7:5.
Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.Neither did he, i.e. the king of Syria, 2 Kings 13:4, with which this verse is to be joined; 2 Kings 13:5,6 being put within a parenthesis, as it is in our translation. But this verse may be translated otherwise, Although he (either the king of Syria, 2 Kings 13:4, or the Lord, 2 Kings 13:5, to whom judgments are oft ascribed, even when wicked men are the instruments of executing it) had not left, &c. And so it may be joined with the next foregoing verse, as a great aggravation of their impenitency, and obstinate continuance in their idolatry, notwithstanding such terrible judgments, which in all reason should have driven them from it. Leave of the people, i.e. of his army, or men of war, as the following words evince.
Had made them like the dust by threshing, i.e. had broken and ground them to dust, or powder, as the corn is many times broken by threshing.
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?His might; for though his success was not good, he showed much personal valour and courage; which is noted to intimate that the Israelites were not conquered, because of the baseness and cowardice of their king, but merely from the righteous and dreadful judgment of God, who was now resolved to reckon with them for their filthy apostacy.
And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.No text from Poole on this verse.
In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.By which, compared with 2 Kings 13:1, it may be gathered that Jehoahaz had two or three years before his death made his son Jehoash king with him; which is very probable, because he was perpetually in the state of war, and consequently in danger of an untimely death, and because he was a man of valour, as is implied here, 2 Kings 13:12, and declared 2Ch 25.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?No text from Poole on this verse.
And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.No text from Poole on this verse.
Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.Wept over his face; not for any true love and respect to him, for then he would have followed his counsel, in forsaking the calves, and returning to the Lord; but for his own and the kingdom’s inestimable loss in him.
The chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof: see 2 Kings 2:12.
And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.Eastward; either towards Syria, which lay north-eastward from the land of Israel; or towards the Israelites’ land beyond Jordan, which lay eastward from Canaan, and which was now possessed by the Syrians. Either way this arrow is shot against the Syrians, as a token what God intended to do against them.
In Aphek; not in the city, but in the territory of it, where it seems there was a great battle to be fought between the Israelites and Syrians. Of Aphek, see 1 Samuel 4:1 29:1 1 Kings 20:30, though it is possible there might be several cities of that name. Or, as in Aphek, i.e. thou shalt smite them as they were smitten in the city and territory of Aphek, i.e. utterly destroy them; see 1 Kings 20:26,29,30; the particle as being oft understood, as hath been formerly and frequently proved.
Till thou have consumed them, i.e. the Syrians; not all that people, but their armies, or at least that which was to be at Aphek, where a dreadful battle was to be fought. Or if this be meant of all the Syrian armies, this is to be understood conditionally, if he did not hinder it by his unbelief or neglect, signified in the following verses.
And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.Smite upon the ground: the former sign portended victory, and this was to declare the number of the victories.
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.Quest. Wherein was Jehoash’s fault, or why was the prophet angry with him?
Answ. The prophet himself did not yet know how many victories Jehoash should obtain against the Syrians, but God had signified to him that he should learn that by the number of the king’s strokes. And he was angry with him, not simply because he smote only thrice, but because by his unbelief and idolatry he provoked God so to overrule his heart and hand that he should smite but thrice, which was a token that God would assist him no further; although his smiting but thrice might proceed either from his unbelief or negligence. For by the former sign, and the prophet’s comment upon it, he might clearly perceive that this also was intended as a sign of his success against the Syrians, and therefore he ought to have done it frequently and vehemently.
And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.They buried him, in or near Samaria.
At the coming in of the year; in the spring, when the fruits of the earth grew ripe.
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.As they were burying, or, were about to bury, as that particle is oft used in the Hebrew tongue.
They spied a band of men coming towards them, but at some distance.
They cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha; not daring to carry the dead corpse further to the place appointed for his burial, they made use of the next burying-place, where Elisha was buried, and there they removed some stone, or opened some door, and hastily flung down their dead corpse there.
The man, i.e. the man’s dead body, or the coffin in which he was put.
Touched the bones of Elisha; which might easily be, the coffin and linen in which Elisha’s body was put, and the flesh of his body, being now consumed; for this was some considerable time after his death.
He revived, and stood up on his feet; which miracle God wrought there, partly, to do honour to that great prophet, and that by this seal he might confirm his doctrine, and thereby confute the false doctrine and worship of the Israelites; partly, to strengthen the faith of Joash, and of the Israelites, in his promise of their success against the Syrians; and partly, in the midst of all their calamities, to comfort such Israelites as were Elisha’s followers with the hopes of that eternal life whereof this was a manifest pledge, and to awaken the rest of that people to a due care and preparation for it.
But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.From his presence, i.e. from the land of Canaan, to which the presence and public and solemn worship of God was confined.
So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.According to the prediction above, 2 Kings 13:19.