Second Kings 13 Commentary
Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and Jeroboam the second; that is the order of their reigns from father to son. This period is marked by increased difficulties for God’s people. According to the scriptures, Israel’s idolatry, particularly the sin of Jeroboam, is the reason why Israel finds herself in this position. It has been expected.
The reformations of King Jehu, albeit external, did temporarily stay the execution order. Under Jehoahaz, the LORD let go and Aram so oppressed Israel that the LORD looked back with pity.
With just about every bad king, which goes for every king in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the name of Jeroboam, son of Nebat features quite prominently. What is it that Jeroboam did which makes his sin the point of reference for everyone else?
We would guess for reasons of political expedience, Jeroboam wanted to keep the people away from the Temple in Jerusalem. Now that the nation had divided, there was simply no way worshippers from the Northern Kingdom would still go the rival, though sister kingdom of Judah. So, as we read, after consultations, Jeroboam made two golden calves as Israel’s new gods. This was in direct violation of the first and most important commandment.
Therefore Jeroboam’s sin, the sin that every other king in Israel promoted, was the sin of breaking the first commandment. The Bible had laid down consequences for abandoning the LORD in this way. What Israel is experiencing is sad but very much expected. What is unexpected however is the compassion shown to the errant nation in this chapter. The LORD come to Israel’s rescue at the point when nothing but the punishment was deserved. It is this nature of the LORD that is fully expanded by Calvary.
Elisha should be a very old man by this time. His presence in Israel is like the presence of the LORD. In the absence of the priesthood in the northern Kingdom, the LORD spoke through the institution of the prophets. Elisha was at the head. Even this dry connection with the God of Jacob was good enough to bring King Jehoash some relief from Aram’s oppression.
Similarly, the dead man rises back to life upon touching the bones of the dead Elisha. This is an acted parable. The nation of Israel would still find life if they went back to the God that Elisha represented. Elisha’s physical journey had ended but he still lived on by his prophetic message to the nation.
Hazael, king of Aram also dies. He had been a real terror to Israel. But in truth, Israel had manufactured her own problems by breaking Commandment One. I guess that is the world’s problem. Countless world conferences, countless smart brains have written volumes, countless debates; the aim is to discuss world problems ranging from human rights through to freedoms and basic human needs. But who wants to get back to look at the consequences of breaking commandment number one?
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