Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 13: The reign of Yehoachaz, Yoash and death of Elisha

Chapter 13: The reign of Yehoachaz, Yoash and death of Elisha

  1. Chazael oppresses the Jewish people, and God saves them from his hands:
  • The reign of King Yehoachaz, king of Israel: Yehoachaz, the son of Yeihu reigned over the kingdom of Israel in the Shomron for a total of seventeen years. He began his reign in the twenty-third year of reign of Yoash the son of Achaziah, the king of Yehudah.
  • The evil actions of King Yehoachaz: Yehoachaz performed evil in the eyes of Hashem and followed in the sinful ways of Yeravam the son of Nevat, who caused the Jewish people to stumble in sin.
  • The Jewish people were handed over to the Arameans: Hashem became angry with the Jewish people, and He delivered them into the hand of Chazael the king of Aram and Ben-Hadad the son of Chazael throughout all of the days [of reign of Yehoachaz[1]].
  • Yehoachaz prays to God and God has mercy: Yehoachaz [repented and] prayed to Hashem to save them from the hands of Chazael, and Hashem listened to his prayer, as He saw the oppression of the Jewish people in the hands of the king of Aram.
  • God saves the Jewish people: Hashem gave the Jewish people a military leader who became their savior [i.e. Yoash the son of Yehoachaz[2]] and thus the Jewish people were freed from under the hands of Aram and were able to dwell peacefully in their tents as before.
  • The Jewish people still hold onto their sinful ways: Despite all the above that God did for the Jewish people, they did not turn away from the sins of Yeravam and they also sinned by not destroying the Ashierah tree in Shomron.
  • The remainder of the army of Yehoachaz: After the battle of the king of Aram with Yehoachaz, his army was only left with fifty riders and ten chariots, as the king of Aram had destroyed all of them and made them like dust to trample.
  1. The legacy of Yehoachaz:
  • The remaining events of Yehoachaz and all that he did and accomplished are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
  • Yehoachaz passes away: Yehoachaz died and was buried with his ancestors in the city of Shomron.
  • His successor: Yoash, the son of Yehoachaz, reigned in his stead.
  1. The reign of Yoash, the son of Yehoachaz:
  • The years of reign of Yoash: Yoash, the son of Yehoachaz, reigned over the kingdom of Israel in the city of Shomron in the thirty-seventh year of Yoash the king of Yehudah. He reigned over Israel for a total of sixteen years.
  • His deeds: Yoash performed that which was evil in the eyes of Hashem, as he followed in the ways of sin of Yeravam the son of Nevat.
  • His legacy: The remaining events of Yoash and all that he accomplished and did is written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Israel. The battles that he fought with Amatziah the king of Yehudah are also written there.
  • His death and burial: Yoash passed away and was buried together with his ancestors in the city of Shomron, together with all the other kings of Israel.
  • His successor: Yeravam [the son of Yoash[3]] sat on his throne after him [and became the successor of the monarchy].
  1. The passing of Elisha the prophet:
  • Elisha become sick: Elisha the prophet became ill with the illness from which he would eventually pass away.
  • Yoash, king of Israel, goes down to visit Elisha: Yoash, the king of Israel, went down to visit Elisha. The king wept on his face, and said, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its riders.”
  • Elisha gives the king a sign that he will be successful against Aram: Elisha instructed Yoash to grab a bow and arrow. After the king brought a bow and arrow Elisha told him to place his hand on the bow and then Elisha placed his hands on the king’s hands. Elisha then instructed the king to open the window to the east [opposite the nation of Aram[4]], and he opened it. Elisha then told him to shoot the arrow and he shot it. Elisha saw that the shot was successful, and proceeded to tell the king that this is a sign from God that he will give them salvation and victory over the nation of Aram, and that he will successfully strike the Arameans in the city of Afek until they are completely annihilated.
  • A further omen is given to the king although he fails to properly utilize it: Elisha then told the king to once again take the arrows and to use them to strike at the ground. The king thus took the arrows and struck three times on the ground and then stopped. Elisha the prophet became angered with the king telling him that he should have struck the ground 5 to 6 times, then he would’ve been successful in striking Aram until they were completely annihilated. However, now that he only struck the ground three times, he will only be successful in striking the Arameans three times, and will not completely annihilate them.
  • Elisha passes away and is buried: Elisha passed away and they buried him.
  • Moav steals produce from the land of Israel: [After the death of Elisha] Moavite bandits invaded the land of Israel at the beginning of the year [to steal produce and animal fodder from the land[5]].
  • Elisha resurrects a man who was accidentally thrown in his burial spot: It happened during one of the times that Moav came to invade the land that they were in the midst of burying a man, and when they saw the bandits of Moav they panicked and threw the man’s corpse into Elisha’s grave. The corpse landed near the bones of Elisha and touched them. Elisha [who was not happy with his new neighbor in the grave] resurrected the man, and he came back to life and stood up on his feet [and left the cave, and ended up living many more years having children[6]]. [This individual was Shalom the son of Tikvah who was a great Jewish leader and was a very kindhearted man who provided water for all the passerby’s, and in this merit he was resurrected.[7]]
  1. Hashem saves the Jewish people from Chazael:
  • Chazael, the king of Aram, oppressed the Jewish people throughout all of the days of Yehoachaz. However, Hashem was gracious and merciful to the Jewish people, and he saved them from annihilation due to the covenant that he made with Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and He did not want to destroy them.
  • The death of Chazael and his successor: Chazael died, and his son Ben-Hadad reigned in his stead.
  • Yehoash recaptures the cities of Israel from Aram: Yehoash, the son of Yehoachaz, returned and took back all of the cities from Ben-Hadad the son of Chazael, which he had taken from the hand of His father Yehoachaz in battle. Yoash beat him three times and recovered the cities of Israel.

[1] Metzudos Dovid 13:3

[2] Rashi 13:5

[3] Rashi 13:13

[4] Rashi 13:17

[5] See Rashi and Metzudos Dovid 13:20

[6] Radak 13:21

[7] Radak 13:21

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