It may seem pointless to include what goes on between chapters without Elisha stories. But I want to keep you up to date on what is going on historically and politically speaking. That way, when we come back to Elisha in a chapter or so, you won’t be confused who is who and what has happened in the last few chapters. That being said, this next chapter requires some background on the first character of the chapter Athaliah.
Who was Athaliah?
She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. She became the wife of Jehoram, King of Judah, and introduced, like her mother, worship of Baal. Rather than being in the Northern Kingdom, she was in the Southern Kingdom introducing it. In an effort to secure her position, she destroyed all the royal heirs except Joash (the story we are about to read). She was later killed by the sword.
Joash, the Last Royal Heir
When Jezebel was on the rampage killing all the royal heirs, Athaliah’s sister, Jehosheba, takes Joash (Jehoash as he is called) and hides him in the temple (house of the Lord as it is called.).
He remains there for seven years. After that amount of time, the priest, Jehoiada, brings the guards of the king into the temple under a covenant. He shows them Joash and tells them he is to be king. He tells them to gather the people into the courtyards of the temple and keep watch to make sure there is no mischief. He gives one of the captains David’s spear and shield that had been in the temple. Cross reference 2 Chronicles 23. Same story.
They bring out Joash once the people have been gathered and the situation is safe. Joash is anointed king in front of everyone at age seven. Queen Athaliah hears about it and crashes the party screaming treason! Jehoida tells the guards to lay hold of her and slay her, but not in the temple courtyards. They take her outside where the horses stay and slay her there.
The people rejoice that Joash is king and they mob the house of Baal and tear it down, slay the priest, and burn the graven images. After the whole ordeal, the city is quiet and happy.
The Temple is Repaired
Chapter 12. Joash commands the priest, Jehoiada, to collect donations so that the gaps and holes in the temple can be repaired. By the 23rd year of Joash’s reign, they still had not done it. I’m not sure when he commanded it. Joash tells them to do it again in the 23rd year. They hire masons and carpenters and finally the house of the Lord is repaired.
Syria Invades Israel
Hazael, King of Syria, takes Gath and threatens Jerusalem. Joash takes all the nice things left over from the old kings and sends it to Hazael so he won’t attack. He doesn’t. Check that. Cross reference 2 Chronicles 24. Same story, more detail. It sounds like Hazael came and roughed him up a bit, leaving King Joash diseased. The reason that Syria came to Israel in the first place was because Joash forgot the things that Jehoiada had taught him about God (Jehoiada was already dead) and began worshipping idols. Then, when a prophet named Zachariah and a son of Jehoiada called him to repentance, he stoned them to death. God became mad and delivered the kingdom into the hands of Syria.
When Syria leaves Jerusalem desolate, King Joash is sick. While he is in bed, his servants conspire against him and kill him in his bed. His son Amaziah, reigns in his stead.
The Death of Elisha
Chapter 13! Last chapter with Elisha. The past two chapters have taken place in Judah. Now we are going back to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This chapter takes place during the reign of Joash. We are going back in time a bit, if only for the sake of reading what is going on in the Northern Kingdom while we already know what has transpired in the southern portion.
Elisha (verse 14) had fallen sick of being sick (I get sick of being sick as well! I don’t think that is what is meant, though). Elisha dies (appears dead?) King Joash (the grandson of Jehu. No relation to King Joash of Judah) comes to the bedside of Elisha and weeps for him.
Maybe Elisha came back to life or with his dying breath, tells Joash to get a bow and some arrows. He does. The prophet is dying here people! Of course, you are going to do what he says. Who knows what will happen because of it. You remember when Elijah “died” don’t you?
Joash Shoots the Arrows
Joash grabs a bow and some arrows. Elisha tells him to put it in his hands (Joash’s). He does. Then Elisha touches Joash’s hands and tells him to shoot an arrow out the eastern window. He does. Elisha tells him that was the arrow of deliverance from Syria. Israel shall smite the Syrians in Aphek till they (the Israelites) have consumed them.
I have no idea where Aphek is.
Elisha then instructs him to take the arrows and strike the ground. He does. Only three times, though. Elisha gets mad at him and asked him why he only smote the ground three times?! He ought to have done it five or six times! Then he would have smitten Syria till they were consumed.
If it was me I would have said,”Well, if you had told me that before I would have smacked the ground like 20 times!” But it was too late. Elisha dies after that. I wonder if King Joash tried smacking the ground after he was told that by Elisha. Guess that Joash is going to have to be content with only smiting Syria three times. Better make those three times count. Smack em’ down as much as you can.
Elisha Raises a Man From the Dead
Elisha is buried. The Moabites invaded the land the coming year. Well, they were burying a man that had died in during the conflict in the same sepulcher as Elisha. It wasn’t supposed to happen but a band of men was spotted (Syrians?) and so they quickly tossed their man in the sepulcher. The man lands/touches the bones of Elisha and is immediately brought back to life.
Elisha has the power, power, power. His body still has the healing powers just like his staff did. How cool is that?! Your bones bring people back to life. If I was one of the guys who tossed him in there, I would have thought, “I’m bringing all my dead friends here!” I just want to know what the guy who woke up was thinking. He was probably wrapped up. Then he wakes up wondering where in the world he was and why he was around the bones of a dead guy. I think it would be hard to come back to life. Your family has already mourned you, you have wrapped up all personal affairs. And then to come back to life. It would take some time to get back on your feet (literally and figuratively). It definitely would not be the same place you left behind.
That’s it for the story of Elijah and Elisha! I hope you enjoyed it. Next up, I’ll be writing about D&C 76.