Bible: What Does 2 Kings 7-8 Teach Us About Hazael, Jehu, and Jezebel?
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2 Kings 7
The man of God prophesies that the people of Samaria will soon buy flour and barley at a bargain price (v. 1).
When the king's trusted officer expresses doubt about the likelihood of this event, Elisha pronounces his death sentence-- in so many words (v. 2; cf. 7:17).
As the sun sets on that day, four lepers at the city gate decide together to surrender to the Syrians, considering that option preferable to dying of starvation (vv. 3-4).
On the outskirts of the camp they discover, to their amazement, that the entire army had evacuated the premises and left behind all their belongings (vv. 5, 7).
The writer tells us why they took off: God had caused the Syrians to hear the noise of another army, a greater one, which they believed Israel had hired to fight against them (v. 6).
Overjoyed by their good fortune, the lepers first sit down to an "all-you-can-eat" buffet, and then squirrel away enough booty to make themselves comfortably wealthy for the foreseeable future (vv. 7-8).
Suddenly, the men have a collective attack of conscience, and decide to tell the king's household before the next day breaks what had happened (v. 9).
They relay the message to the city gatekeeper, who then tells the royal family (vv. 10-11).
When the king hears the word, he considers it a clever Syrian ploy to get into the city (v. 12).
However, one of his servants advises, in essence, "Why do not we send a few riders in, anyway?
If it's just a trick, at least they will die in battle.
If we do nothing, they will all just starve to death here in the city like the rest of us" (v. 13).
Acceding to this suggestion, the king sends two charioteers ahead (v. 14) where they find discarded Syrian garments and weapons along the way (v. 15).
The happy people of Samaria plunder the enemy camp and, lo and behold, Elisha's prophecy about the flour and barley comes to pass (v. 16).
As the prophet had also predicted, the king's right hand man dies a horrible death under the feet of the famished multitude (v. 17; see verse 2 above).
The author then reiterates Elisha's entire prophecy to emphasize the truthfulness of God's word and the authenticity of the messenger (vv. 18-20).
Gehazi, Elisha's Servant
2 Kings 8
Knowing that Yahweh had called for a seven-year famine to strike Israel, Elisha instructs the Shunammite woman to leave the land and live wherever she can (vv. 1-2).
After the famine runs its course, she returns from Philistia and endeavors to reclaim her property from the king of Israel (v. 3).
Just as she enters his court, the king is coincidentally questioning Gehazi about Elisha's miraculous works.
The servant begins to tell him about the Shunammite and her son, the latter of which the prophet had restored to life (vv. 4-5).
Seeing the woman standing there, Gehazi identifies her to the king, who subsequently returns her land and its profit to her (v. 6).
[God's timing is impeccable, and His care of the faithful is heart-warming].
Hazael, King of Syria
Later, while visiting Syria, Elisha hears from the LORD that Ben-Hadad is on his deathbed (vv. 7, 10).
As he meets with Hazael, Ben-Hadad's ambassador of good will to the man of God, Elisha informs him about the revelation that the king will die; nevertheless, Elisha advises him to cheer up the king with news of his recovery (vv. 8-9)!
[Why the deception? It gave Hazael a reason to visit Ben-Hadad so that he could kill him].
Pondering those words, he becomes ashamed and weeps (v. 11).
When Hazael inquires why his "lord" weeps, Elisha cites all of the wickedness that the former will perform against Israel (v. 12).
Though he, a self-proclaimed dog, appears stunned, Hazael probably felt unmasked when Elisha tells him that God had revealed everything to him (v. 13).
After relaying the prophet's “good news” to Ben-Hadad, Hazael smothers the king the very next day (vv. 14-15).
The author returns to chronicling the reigns of kings of Judah (vv. 16-29), picking up the sequence with Jehoram [Joram] (vv. 16-24) and concluding with Ahaziah (vv. 25-29).
Joram reigns in his father Jehoshaphat's place (v. 16).
The familiar formulaic pattern follows: his age and length of reign (v. 17), his character and reason for it (v. 18), and God's faithfulness to David in spite of Joram's unfaithfulness (v. 19; cf. 1 Kings 15:4).
Joram also experiences military failures, seeing both Edom and Libnah successfully revolt against his authority (vv. 20-22).
Again, the historian pens the rest of the pattern: more data appear in the Chronicles (his death, burial, and successor) [vv. 23-24].
Ahaziah, Jehoram's son, also leads a disobedient life and reigns only briefly under the tutelage of Athaliah, his wicked mother (vv. 25-27).
He joins Joram king of Israel in battle against Hazael at Ramoth Gilead (v. 28).
When Syria wounds Joram, Ahaziah visits him in Jezreel (v. 29).
Jehu the Terminator
2 Kings 9
God determines that the time had come to cleanse both houses: Israel and Judah. Elisha dispatches one of his servants (a son of a prophet) to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu king of Israel (vv. 1-3).
When he arrives at his destination, the young preacher enters a meeting of military brass and orders Jehu to another room, where he pronounces God's word to him while anointing him king (vv. 4-6).
[Note again the authority of the prophet over secular affairs!]
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The contents of that divine message?
Destroy Ahab's house, especially all the males, as vengeance for all of Jezebel's murders.
And, of course, Jezebel herself will become a literal meal for dogs (vv. 7-10).
Jehu reappears before his captains and, under their close examination, reveals what word the "madman" delivered to him.
In response, they all quickly pledge him their allegiance (vv. 11-13).
After instructing his fellow conspirators to prevent any leak from reaching Jezreel, which would uncover their plans to depose the wounded Joram, Jehu rides like the wind to secure the throne (vv. 14-16).
As Jehu approaches the city, a watchman announces the coming of a company of men (v. 17).
Joram sends two horsemen to inquire about their message, hoping that it is a peaceful one (vv. 17b-19).
Both men, however, do not return, and the wild rider Jehu draws ever near (v. 20).
Both Joram and Ahaziah go out to meet Jehu on the property of Naboth the Jezreelite (v. 21).
When they discover that his intention is anything but peaceful, they turn tail and flee the scene (vv. 22-23).
But before Joram gallops too far away, one of Jehu's arrows pierces his heart.
The executioner then orders his captain to throw Joram's corpse into Naboth's field in order to fulfill prophecy (vv. 24-26).
Ahaziah also meets his end at this encounter, having been shot at the ascent of Gur but finally dying at Megiddo (v. 27).
His servants bury him in Jerusalem with his fathers (vv. 28-29).
At last Jehu reaches Jezreel, and encounters the defiant, harlot-like Jezebel, who calls him Zimri –an earlier servant-commander who killed another king (Elah) and later committed suicide (see 1 Kings 16:9ff) [vv. 30-31].
A few eunuchs respond to Jehu's cry for assistance, and throw Jezebel out of her window (vv. 32-33).
Trampling her corpse, Israel's new king rides into Jezreel, enjoys a meal, and then orders his servants to bury Jezebel. (She is, after all, a king's daughter!) [v. 34].
By the time they go out, however, nothing but bones remains of her body (v. 35).
Jehu recognizes this event as a fulfillment of one of Elijah's prophecies (vv. 36-37; cf. 1 Kings 21:23).
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