2 Kings 11-13
(Elisha's Final Acts)
April 19th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2015

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

The prophet Elisha fell ill with a fatal disease, and as he lay dying King Jehoash of Israel went to visit him. “My father, my father!” he exclaimed as he wept. “You have been the mighty defender of Israel!”

- 2 Kings 13:14 (GNB)

Summary of Chapters

These three chapters continue with the accounts of the prophets and kings of Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). Chapter 11 picks up the story of the royal line of succession in Judah. We had read yesterday that Jehu had killed the kings from both kingdoms in his crusade against evil and idolatry. Jehu had replaced Joram as the king of Israel but there was no successor for Ahaziah of Judah. Therefore, Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah decided to fill the gap and kill off any contenders.

Jehoiada the priest stepped into this chaos to bring order. He anointed the remaining son of Ahaziah, Joash, as king, even though he was only seven years old. Joash had been rescued by his father's sister, Jehosheba (who was the wife of Jehoida) during the rampage of Athaliah. Jehoida then ordered the death of Athaliah and anyone who followed her. Jehoiada also made a new covenant with the LORD on behalf of the people of Judah, who destroyed the temple of Baal in their land (Jehu had destroyed the one in the north, but not the one in Judah).

Joash was a wise choice as a leader to get Judah back on track, as evidenced by his determination to repair and clean up the temple. Chapter 12 describes his management of this project, including a change in strategy that ensured the donations were invested directly into the project. He cut off the flow of money to his corrupt priests and re-directed the funds to the temple, which was a foreshadowing of the day that Jesus would cleanse the temple of the moneychangers. The end of the chapter records the assassination of Joash and the succession of him by his son, Amaziah.

Chapter 13 looks north to see what happened there while Joash was ruling in Judah. Jehoahaz had replaced Jehu, as we learned at the end of chapter 10. He asked for and received blessings for safety, but did not lead the people to worship the true God. He was replaced by his son Jehoash who continued to lead the people in sin. He was wise enough to consult with Elisha just before Elisha died, but did not fully follow the prophet’s instructions; therefore the blessings issued for him were limited. This was not Elisha's final act, as the power expressed through him by God persisted even after his death:

    Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

    - 2 Kings 13:21 (NIV)

Reflection and Application

It's hard to keep all of these kings straight in one’s mind without some type of roadmap. The pace of the story results in a rate of about one or two new kings per chapter, many of whom have similar sounding names, and all of which seem to begin with the letter "J" or the letter "A." To help out with this stream of information we have provided a short list of the rulers mentioned in recent chapters:

Rulers of Judah

    King Ahaziah: Son of Jehoram and Athaliah, killed by Jehu (chapter 9)

    Queen Mother Athaliah: Wife of Jehoram, grabbed the throne and killed the heirs when her son died (chapter 11)

    Joash Son of Ahaziah, was rescued by his aunt, Jehosheba, anointed at age 7, began clean-up of temple (chapters 11-12)

    Amaziah: Son of Joash (chapter 12)

Rulers of Israel

    Joram: Son of Ahab and Jezebel, killed by Jehu (chapter 9)

    Jehu: Son of Jehoshaphat, cleaned up the leadership positions in both kingdoms (chapter 9-10)

    Jehoahaz: Son of Jehu, was at war with Amaziah (chapter 13)

    Jehohash: Son of Jehoahaz, last king to consult Elisha (chapter 13)

Jehosheba is only mentioned twice in the Bible: Once in chapter 9 of 2 Kings and then again in 2 Chronicles 22 when this story is re-told. In each case she is only mentioned with respect to her role in saving Joash and her relationship to Jehoiada the priest. But this one act was significant in saving the one true heir who attempted to reverse the tide of evil leadership in Judah and who continued the line of kings from David. This act of bravery also ensured a degree of immortality for Jehosheba as people continue to read her story 3,000 years later.

It must have taken a strong dose of courage for Jehosheba to conduct this rescue operation, knowing that her own life was at risk. Others may have been trying to run away from the danger, but she ran right into the middle of it. She resisted the urge to take the safe path and was prepared to sacrifice her own life for her nephew and the nation because she knew that was the right thing to do. There are many people like Jehosheba in our world today: People in the military, firefighters, and police officers who risk their lives every day to protect us - as well as ordinary citizens who step in to help someone in an emergency. In fact, there may be many opportunities for the rest of us to be courageous in sticking up for what is right in order to protect those who cannot yet defend themselves.

The life of Elisha on earth came to an end after an honorable career of serving his people and performing miracles. He also showed courage in always speaking the truth, even when it was inconvenient, and was not hesitant to extend God's grace to foreigners and sinners. God desires for us to show the same courage and fortitude as Jehosheba and Elisha by standing up to speak for what is right and true.

You may have noticed a frequently used phrase in 2 Kings and other books in the Old Testament that usually reads like this, "As for the other events of the reign of (fill in king's name here), and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah (or Israel)?"

These annals may have been referenced by the author of 2 Kings, but there is no known copy that has survived. What has survived is the text in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture), such as the chapters we read today. There has been a lot of effort expended by our forefathers to record, preserve, translate, and distribute this information. Let us do our job by taking the time to learn it and then share with others.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Do you have a relative other than your parents that you remember who helped to care for you? What do you remember about that person?
    2. Who are the people without a voice that may need us to speak for them or protect them today?
    3. What is the truth that God wants you to share today?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we acknowledge you as the King of Kings, eternal ruler. Everyone else is temporary. Help us to serve you and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Public Defenders

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 2 Kings 14-17 (Eliminate the Idols, or Else...)

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