2 Kings 13 Commentary


After the anti-Baal revolution (13:1-14:22)

Jehu’s son Jehoahaz followed the sins of earlier Israelite kings, and so did his people. The Syrian attacks foreseen by Elisha were so severe that, had God not mercifully intervened, the whole population would have been left homeless and the entire army destroyed (13:1-9).

The next king, Jehoash, learnt from Elisha that he would win three battles against Syria. He would have won more, had he not lacked faith in God (10-19). During Jehoash’s reign Elisha died, but dramatic events at Elisha’s tomb showed that the God who had worked through him was still alive and powerful (20-21). Jehoash won three battles as Elisha had foretold, and thereby regained some of Israel’s lost territory (22-25).

After the murder of his father Joash, Amaziah came to the throne of Judah. Once firmly in control, he executed his father’s murderers (14:1-6). He planned to attack Edom, but when a census of his army revealed that he had not enough soldiers, he hired trained men from Israel. A prophet told him to send the Israelites back, for God would not give Judah’s army victory while it contained men from the ungodly northern kingdom. Angry at missing out on the chance to raid the Edomites, the northerners raided the cities of Judah instead. Amaziah, meanwhile, attacked and defeated Edom (7; 2 Chron 25:5-13).


Foolishly, Amaziah brought back to his palace some idols of the defeated Edomites. His military victory gave him such self-assurance that he thought he could act independently of God and ignore the warnings of God’s prophet (2 Chron 25:14-16). Confident in his increased military experience, he decided to attack Israel. The Israelite king warned him that Judah would be defeated, but Amaziah persisted. Judah was defeated, Amaziah was taken captive and Jerusalem was plundered (8-16; cf. 13:12). Later he was allowed to return to his throne, but apparently he was unpopular and, like his father, was assassinated (17-22).

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