King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Kings 13

Reign of Jehoahaz. (1-9) Jehoash, king of Israel, Elisha dying. (10-19) Elisha’s death, The victories of Jehoash. (20-25)

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Reign of Jehoahaz

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

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.

5 (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.

6 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.)

7 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.

8 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?

9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.

Jehoash, king of Israel, Elisha dying

10 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.

11 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.

12 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?

13 And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

14 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.

15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

16 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.

17 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.

18 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.

19 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.

Elisha’s death, The victories of Jehoash

20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.

21 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.

22 But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.

23 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.

24 So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead.

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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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Years. Two with his son Joas, (Usher) or three. Capell. D. See v. 10.

Ver. 3. Days, while Joachaz lived, v. 22. M. — Yet Benadad only molested his son. C. — Hazael proved a dreadful scourge in the hand of God, to punish his people, C. viii. 12. H.

Ver. 5. Saviour, in the person of Joas, (v. 23. Tostat.) after the death of Joachaz, whose repentance preserved him, at least, in this world. H.

Ver. 6. A grove, dedicated to the worship of idols. Ch. — Heb. “and the Ascera (grove of Astarte) was standing even in Samaria.” That impure worship had gained ground again, after Jehu was dead.

Ver. 7. Floor. Amos (i. 3.) informs us, that Hazael had crushed the inhabitants of Galaad to death with iron chariots.

Ver. 8. Valour, or personal courage, (C.) though he gained no complete victory. The most valiant are not always successful. T. — Fortiter ille facit qui miser esse potest. Mart. H. — Joachaz did not quite sink under his troubles. T.

Ver. 10. Seven. To complete the number seventeen, (v. 1.) it ought to be “nine” ending. Houbigant, p. 109. See C. xiv. 23. — Years. If Jeroboam reigned in the 15th year of Amasias, and his father in the 37th of Joas, and not in the 39th almost complete, this king would have held dominion eighteen years. Ibid.

Ver. 12. Juda, who was the aggressor. See 2 Par. xxv. 23.

Ver. 13. Throne, for ten years, along with his father. From this period the reign of Azarias must be dated. C. xv. 1. Usher. C.

Ver. 14. The illness. Heb. Sept. and Chal. “of his sickness whereof he also died;” insinuating that he had been before afflicted with this infirmity. — To him, probably in the same city of Samaria. — Wept. See how he loved him! He was concerned for the welfare of his kingdom. M. — Thereof. Eliseus had addressed Elias in the same terms. C. ii. 12. C.

Ver. 17. East, looking towards Galgaad, (H.) which the Syrians occupied. M. — These actions were all significative and prophetical. The throwing of a dart was formerly the mode of declaring war. Virg. Æneid ix. Justin (ii.) says, “Alexander first threw a javelin, as against a hostile country.” Thus also the ancients took possession. Varro. V. Max. iii. &c. The people of Andros and Chalicis, sent each a deputy to seize Acanthos, when it had been abandoned by its inhabitants. The man from Andros, perceiving the other before him, threw his dart at the gate, and it was decided that he had thus lawfully obtained possession. Plutarch, q. Græc. Selden, Mare. Claus. iv. — The action of Joas may be considered in both lights. — Them. We do not read the particulars of this battle: but it must have been very bloody. One of the three victories (v. 25.) of Joas was probably obtained at Aphec, (C.) a place memorable for the victory of Achab, over the same Syrians. 3 K. xx. 26. M.

Ver. 18. Still. This shewed a degree of remission. H. — It was natural for the king to conclude, that the more he struck the earth, the greater would be his success; (C.) and the prophet had, perhaps, insinuated as much. M.

Ver. 19. Angry. Sept. “grieved.” H. — Or seven is omitted in Heb. and Sept. This text proves that God knows what would take place conditionally. T. — If, &c. By this it appears, that God had revealed to the prophet that the king should overcome the Syrians, as many times as he should then strike on the ground; but, as he had not, at the same time, revealed to him how often the king would strike, the prophet was concerned to see that he struck but thrice. Ch. — Joas was assured that he should consume the Syrians. But this was to be understood, provided he performed this part, (M. T.) and that destruction was not said to be entire. H.

Ver. 20. Buried him, near Samaria. M. — He had been chosen by Elias sixty-eight years before, and had lived eleven with him. His perfect character is given, Eccli. xlviii. 13. His double spirit represents the plentitude of grace in Jesus Christ; as his raising the child to life, in such a wonderful manner, denotes his incarnation. The waters of Jericho made sweet, and the healing of Naaman, set before us the virtue of baptism: as the widow’s oil shews the great graces which are bestowed by Christ upon his Church. The children devoured, and the Syrians struck blind, remind us of the perversity and blindness of infidels, who will not acknowledge the truth. Matt. xiii. 14. We must now see how the bones of Eliseus prophesied: 1. By raising the dead to life, as a confirmation of all his former predictions; 2. as proof of a future resurrection, of the virtue of relics, and of the influence of the saints in heaven, whose souls were formerly united to their bodies, and were filled with the Holy Spirit; (S. Cyr. of Jer. cat. xviii. Illum.) 3. in as much as this miracle was a figure of Christ’s resurrection, who raised himself to life, and those who believe in him: (C.) while Eliseus, in the like state of death, had only raised another. H. S. Max. hom. i. de pasc. — Same. Sept. Heb. and Syr. “at the coming in of the year;” (H.) or, “the next year.” Pagnin.

Ver. 21. Eliseus. His tomb was not in the city, but in a spacious cave, the entrance of which was secured with a stone, according to custom. This was removed in the hurry, and the corpse thrown into the same recess, which had been prepared for the remains of the prophet. Josephus (ix. 8.) relates the history in a different manner, and pretends that robbers having slain a person, threw his corpse accidentally into the tomb of Eliseus. The Rabbins tell us his name was Sellum, and that he died again immediately, because he was a wicked man, which would render the miracle, in a manner, useless. C. — By it God honoured his servant, and convinced the Israelites that what he had so lately foretold, respecting the Syrians, would undoubtedly take place. M.

Ver. 23. Time. Long before the captivity of Babylon, the Israelites had been led captives, to return no more in a body. Some stragglers mixed with the Jews, and inhabited the country under that appellation. It would seem that this was written before the overturning of the kingdom of Israel. H.

Ver. 25. Israel, on the east side of the Jordan; (C. x. 33. C.) at least (H.) those which had been taken from his father. Jeroboam retook what had been lost by Jehu. M. — Hence both these kings are styled saviours, v. 5. C. xiv. 27. Salien.