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Hazael Bribed by Jehoash.
(17) Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. (18) And Jehoash king 1 Heb., went up. of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the 2 Or, Beth-millo. LORD, and in the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.
(19) And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written
II. KINGS, XIII.
CHAPTER XIII. — (1) In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel
3 Heb., the tiren-"
It was the priests'.-Literally, to the priests they (these moneys) used to fall, or continued to accrue. The general sense is that the priests were not deprived of their lawful revenues by the new arrangement. They received their ancient dues from the trespass and sin offerings. The change initiated by Jehoash consisted in this, that henceforth gifts intended for the sanctuary itself were kept apart from the gifts intended for the priesthood.
(17-21) Conclusion of the epitome of the reign, broken off at verse 4.
(17) Then. At that time, viz., after the events just related. Hazael's invasion of the south followed upon his successes against Jehoahaz, who became king of the northern kingdom in the very year when Jehoash took in hand the restoration of the Temple. (Comp. verse 6 with chap. xiii. 1, 3.) It appears from 2 Chron. xxiv. 23 that the high priest Jehoiada was dead, and Jehoash had already swerved from his counsels.
Death of Jehoash.
in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? (20) And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla. (21) For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
Fought against Gath.-Which, therefore, at the time either belonged to, or was in league with, Judah. Rehoboam had included this town in his system of national defences (2 Chron. xi. 8); and it was perhaps at this time the only important outpost of the capital on the western side. Ewald assumes that the petty Philistine states had invited the intervention of Hazael between themselves and their suzerain, the king of Judah. Gaza, Ashdod, Ascalon, and Ekron, but not Gath, appear as Philistine kingdoms in the annals of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, a century later. This agrees with what is stated in 2 Chron. xxvi. 6 as to Uzziah having destroyed the walls of Gath. (Comp. Amos vi. 2.)
Set his face.-Comp. Luke ix. 51.
(18) The hallowed things that . . . Jehoram, and Ahaziah . . . had dedicated.-Although these kings had sought to naturalise the Baal-worship, they had not ventured to abolish that of Jehovah. On the contrary, as appears from this passage, they even tried to conciliate the powerful priesthood and numerous adherents of the national religion, by dedicating gifts to the sanctuary. The fact that there was so much treasure disposable is not to be wondered at, even after the narrative of the way in which funds were raised for repairing the Temple; because the treasure in question, especially that of the Temple, appears to have been regarded as a reserve, only to be touched in case of grave national emergency like the present.
And he went away from Jerusalem-i.e., withdrew his forces. Thenius asserts that the present expedition of Hazael is distinct from that recorded in 2 Chron. xxiv. 23, seq., which he admits to be historical. But it is not said here that Hazael went in person against Jerusalem. (Comp. verse 17, "set his face to go up," i.e., prepared to march thither.) The serious defeat of the army of Jehoash, related in Chronicles, accounts very satisfactorily for the sacrifice of his treasures here specified; while the withdrawal of the Syrians after their victory, as told in Chronicles, is explained by the bribe which Jehoash is here said to have paid them. The two narratives thus supplement each other.
(20) His servants. - His immediate attendants. (Comp. chap. viii. 15.)
Arose-i.e., against him.
In the house of Millo.-Or, at Beth-Millo. The precise locality cannot be determined. Thenius supposes that the sorely wounded (?) king had retired for greater safety into "the castle palace." Ewald says the king was murdered while engaged in the fortress. For "the Millo," see 2 Sam. v. 9; 1 Kings ix. 15. The chronicler relates that Jehoash was murdered in his bed.
Which goeth down to Silla. - These words convey no meaning to us, the name Silla being otherwise unknown. The text is probably corrupt, for Silla is almost exactly like Millo in Hebrew writing. (The Vatican LXX. omits "which goeth down.")
(21) For Jozachar . . . smote him.-Rather, And Jozachar. . . it was that smote him. The names are different in Chronicles. (See the Note on 2 Chron. xxiv. 26.) Thenius notices the curious coincidence of the names as given here with the last words of the murdered Zechariah, "Jehovah see, and avenge! The prophet was avenged by Jozachar ("Jehovah remembers"), the son of Shimeath ("hearing"), and Jehozabad ("Jehovah bestows"), the son of Shomer ("watcher").
With his fathers-i.e., in the city of David; but "not in the sepulchres of the kings" (2 Chron. xxiv. 25).
(1) In the three and twentieth year of Joash. Josephus makes it the twenty-first year of Joash, but wrongly. According to chap. xii. 1, Joash succeeded in the seventh year of Jehu, and Jehu reigned twentyeight years (chap. x. 36).
II. KINGS, XIII.
in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years. (2) And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. (3) And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days. (4) And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. (5) (And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the
2 Hob, as yester
day, and third,
3 Heb., he walked.
B.C. cir. 842.
Seventeen years.-This agrees with chap. xiv. 1. (2) And he did.-See Notes on chap. iii. 3. (3) He delivered them into the hand of Hazael.-Comp. chap. x. 32, seq. The meaning is that Jehovah allowed Israel to be defeated in successive encounters with the Syrian forces, and to suffer loss of territory, but not total subjugation. According to the Assyrian data, Shalmaneser warred with Hazael in 812 B.C., and again in 839 B.C. (See Notes on chap. viii. 15, ix. 2.)
All their days.-Rather, all the days, i.e., continually (not all the days of Jehoahaz, nor of Hazael and Ben-hadad). The phrase is an indefinite designation of a long period of disaster.
(4) Besought. - Literally, stroked the face of; a metaphor which occurs in Exod. xxxii. 11; 1 Kings xiii. 6.
And the Lord hearkened unto him.- Not, however, immediately. (See verse 7.) The Syrian invasions, which began under Jehu, were renewed again and again throughout the reign of Jehoahaz (verse 22), until the tide of conquest began to turn in the time of Joash (verse 15), whose incomplete victories (verses 17, 19, 25) were followed up by the permanent successes of his son Jeroboam II. (chap. xiv. 25—28).
The parenthesis marked in verse 5 really begins, therefore, with the words, " And the Lord hearkened." The historian added it by way of pointing out that although the prayer of Jehoahaz did not meet with immediate response, it was not ultimately ineffectual.
For he saw the oppression.-Comp. Exod. iii. 7; Deut. xxvi. 7.
The king of Syria. - Intentionally general, so as to include both Hazael and Ben-hadad III., his son (verse 24).
(5) A saviour.-Jeroboam II., the grandson of Jehoahaz, a vigorous and successful sovereign, of whom it is said that Jehovah "saved" Israel by his hand (chap. xiv. 27).
They went out from under the hand.Referring to the oppressive supremacy of Syria. From these words, and from those of verse 22, it would appear that Israel was tributary to Syria during some part of this period.
hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime. (6) Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein and there remained the grove also in Samaria.) (7) Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.
Dwelt in their tents-i.e., in the open country. In time of war they were obliged to take refuge in strongholds and fortified cities.
As before time.-See Note on 1 Chron. xi. 2; Gen. xxxi. 2.
(8) Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
(6) Nevertheless they departed not.- The restoration of Divine favour did not issue in the abolition of the irregular worship introduced by Jeroboam I. as the state religion of the northern kingdom. This is written, of course, from the point of view of the Judæan editor of Kings, who lived long after the events of which he is writing in the period of the exile. It does
not appear from the history of Elijah and Elisha, incorporated in his work, that either of those great prophets ever protested against the worship established at Bethel and Dan.
The house of Jeroboam-Some MSS., the Syriac, Targum, and Arabic omit "house." But the specification of the dynasty is here very appropriate.
But walked therein. Rather, therein they walked; the reading of the LXX. (Alex.), Vulg., and Targum being probably correct. It is the conduct of the nation that is being described.
And there remained the grove also in Samaria. Rather, and moreover the Asherah stood (i.e., was set up) in Samaria. The Asheral was the sacred tree, so often depicted in Assyrian art. It symbolised the productive principle of nature, and was sacred to Ashtoreth. With the return of peace, and the renewal of prosperity, luxury also soon reappeared, and the idolatry that specially countenanced it lifted up its head again. (See the Note on chap. xvii. 16.)
(7) Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz.-Rather, For he had not left to Jehoahaz y) people (ie., war folk; 1 Kings xvi. 15). The subject appears to be Jehovah. The narrative returns, after the long parenthesis, to the statement of verse 4, "and Jehoahaz besought Jehovah (for he had not left, &c.)." Or we might render, "one had not left," i.e., "there was not left."
Jehoash Reigns over Israel.
Elisha's Last Prophecy.
(9) And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers;
sickness whereof he died. And Joash
hand to ride.
(10) In the thirty and seventh year of
(17) And he said, Open the window east-
II. KINGS, XIII.
(9) Slept with his fathers.—Or, lay down (i.e., to sleep) like his fathers, i.e., as his fathers had done before him. The same phrase is used even of Amaziah, who came to a violent end (chap. xiv. 22).
(10-25) THE REIGN OF JOASH, OR JEHOASH.
(10) In the thirty and seventh year.
does not agree with verse 1. The Ald. LXX. reads,
'thirty-ninth," which is right.
Began to reign, and reigned sixteen years. The Hebrew is briefer, reigned sixteen years. (11) But he walked therein. - Heb., in it he walked. The pronoun is collective in force.
(12) And the rest. This is repeated, chap. xiv. 15, 16.
Wherewith he fought.-Or, how he fought. In chap. xiv. 15 and is prefixed, and should be restored here.
Against Amaziah. See the account of chap. xiv. 8, seq.
(13) Jeroboam sat upon his throne.-The variation from the stereotyped phrase," and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead," is remarkable. (See chap. xiv. 16.) The Talmud (Seder Olam) and Kimchi fancy that it is implied that Joash associated Jeroboam with himself on the throne, for fear of a revolt (!).
Buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. -So that there were "tombs of the kings" there, as at Jerusalem.
(14-21) The visit of Joash to the dying Elisha.
This section is obviously derived from another documentary source than the preceding. What a fresh and life-like picture it presents in contrast with the colour less abstract which it follows!
his best counsellor and helper. The prophet, by his
(15) Take bow and arrows.-From one of the
(16) Put thine hand upon the bow.-Rather, as margin. In drawing a bow, the left hand "rides" upon it, or closes round it, while the right grasps arrow and string.
(14) He died.-Rather, he was to die.
Came down to him-i.e., to his house. Comp. the Note on chap. v. 24, vi. 33.
Wept over his face. As he lay on the bed.
O my father, my father.-Comp. the Note on chap. ii. 12. Joash laments the approaching loss of
Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands. -So as to invest the act of shooting with a prophetic character; and, further perhaps, to signify the consecration of the king to the task that the shooting symbolised. It is not implied that Elisha's hands were on the king's hands when he shot.
(17) The window.-Or, lattice. Probably a lattice opening outwards.
Eastward.-In the direction of Gilead, which was occupied by the Syrians (chap. x. 33).
Shoot. The old illustration of declaring war by shooting an arrow into the enemy's country (En. ix. 57) is not without bearing on this case, though it obviously does not exhaust the meaning of the act.
(17) And he said-i.e., Elisha said.
Death of Elisha
II. KINGS, XIII.
and of Hazael.
touched the bones of Elisha, "he revived, and stood up on his feet.
And he smote thrice, and stayed. (19) And 1 Heb., went down when the man 1was let down, and the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
(22) But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. (23) And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet. (24) So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead. (25) And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz
(20) And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. (21) And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and
a Ecclus. 48. 14.
2 Heb., face.
(19) The man of God was wroth with him.Because his present want of zeal augured a like deficiency in prosecuting the war hereafter. The natural irritability of the sick man may also have had something to do with it. Thenius well remarks on the manifestly historical character of the entire scene. It may be added that, to appreciate it fully, we must remember that Beλouavrela, or soothsaying by means of arrows, was a practice of unknown antiquity in the Semitic world. Shooting an arrow, and observing where and how it fell, was one method of trying to fathom the secrets of that Power which overrules events and foreknows the future. The proceedings of David and Jonathan, recorded in 1 Sam. xx. 35, seq., appear to have been an instance of this sort of divination, which in principle is quite analogous to casting lots, a practice so familiar to readers of the Bible. The second process-that described in verse 18-seems equally to have depended upon chance, according to modern ideas. The prophet left it to the spontaneous impulse of the king to determine the number of strokes; because he believed that the result, whatever it was, would betoken the purpose of Jehovah. 66 The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord" (Prov. xvi. 33). Elisha's anger was the natural anger of the man and the patriot, disappointed at the result of a divination from which he had hoped greater things. In conclusion, it cannot be too often or too forcibly urged upon students of the true religion that the essential differences which isolate it from all imperfect or retrograde systems are to be found not so much in matters of outward organisation, form, and ritual, such as priesthoods and sacrifices, prophets and modes of divination, which were pretty much the same everywhere in Semitic antiquity; but in the inward spirit and substance of its teaching, in the vital truths which it handed on through successive ages, and, above all, in its steady progress from lower to higher conceptions of the Divine character and purposes, and of the right relations of man to God and his fellow-creatures.
(20) And the bands of the Moabites invaded. -Rather, And troops of Moabites used to invade. They took advantage of the weakened condition of Israel to revenge the devastation of their country described in chap. iii. 25.
At the coming in of the year. So the Targum and the LXX. The Syriac, Vulg., and Arabic understand, “in that (or, 'the same') year." The preposition bě has probably fallen out of the Hebrew text: read, běbổ’ shānāh, "when the year came in "-i.e., in the spring. (Comp. 2 Sam. xi. 1.)
B. C. cir. 839.
(21) As they were burying. They-i.e., a party of Israelites. The story is told with vivid definiteness.
A band. Rather, the troop. The particular troop of Moabites which happened to be making an inroad at the time.
They cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha.-Comp. Mark xvi. 3, 4. In this case, we must suppose that the tomb was more easily opened, as the action was obviously done in haste.
And when the man was let down, and touched the bones.-Rather, and they departed. And the man touched the bones. The order of words in the original, as well as the sense, supports old Houbigant's conjecture. If the meaning were, and the man went and touched," the subject in the Hebrew would have followed the first verb, not the second. Moreover, the verb would hardly have been halak.
He revived.-Literally, and he lived. Thenius thinks that the sacred writer regarded this miracle as a pledge of the fulfilment of Elisha's promise to Joash. Bähr says: "Elisha died and was buried, like all other men, but even in death and in the grave he is avouched to be the prophet and servant of God." Dante's warning may not be out of place here :—
"O voi che avete gl'intelletti sani,
(22) But Hazael . . . oppressed.-Rather, Now Hazael... had oppressed. The narrative returns to verse 3.
(23) And the Lord was gracious.-The verse is a remark of the compiler's, as is evident from the style, the reference to the Covenant, and the expression "as yet," or rather, until now-i.e., the day when he was writing, and when the northern kingdom had finally perished.
(24) Ben-hadad-III., not mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions. His reign synchronises with that of Samas-Rimmon in Assyria, who made no expeditions to the West (B.C. 825-812). The name Ben-hadad does not, of course, signify any connection with the dynasty overthrown by Hazael. It was a Divine title. (Comp. Note on chap. vi. 24.)
Benhadad was probably a feebler sovereign than Hazael. The rule," Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis," is perhaps as often contradicted as corroborated by actual experience.
(25) The cities, which he had taken-i.e., which Hazael had taken. The cities referred to must have
Ahaziah Reigns, and
II. KINGS, XIV.
Slays his Father's Murderers. 1took again out of the hand of Ben-He returned and burnt incense on the high places. hadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.
(5) And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father. (6) But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own, sin. (7) He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took 2 Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.
(8) Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face. (9) And
CHAPTER XIV.-) In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel, reigned "Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah. (2) He was twenty ch 12 20. and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. (3) And he did that which was right in Deut, 24. 16; the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did. (4) Howbeit the high places were not taken away as yet the people did sacrifice 2 or, The rock.
Ezek. 18. 20.
2 Chron. 25. 1.
been cities on the west of Jordan (comp. verses 3 and 7), for the trans-Jordan had been subdued by Hazael in the time of Jehu (chap. x. 32, seq.). Jeroboam II., the son of Joash, restored the ancient boundaries of Israel (chap. xiv. 25).
By war. Or, in the war.
Beat him.-Rather, smite him (verse 19).
THE REIGN OF AMAZIAH IN JUDAH, AND OF
BC. cir. 826.
(2) Jehoaddan.-The Hebrew text, which is supported by the LXX., has Jehoaddin (perhaps," Jehovah is delight;" comp. Isa. xlvii. 8, and the Divine name Naaman).
(3) Yet not like David his father.-The chronicler paraphrases this reference to the ideal king of Israel: "yet not with a perfect heart."
(4) Howbeit.-The same word was rendered "yet" in the last verse. "Only," or "save that" would be better.
(5) As soon as the kingdom was confirmed— i.e., as soon as he was firmly established on the throne; as soon as he felt his power secure. (Comp. 1 Kings ii. 46.)
Slew . .-slain.- Literally, smote . . . smitten. (6) The murderers.-Literally, the smiters. According unto that which is written. law of Moses.-A quotation of Deut. xxiv. 16. This reference is from the pen of the Judæan editor.
Shall be put to death.-So the original passage and the Hebrew margin. Hebrew text, "shall die.'
This humane provision of the Jewish law contrasts favourably with the practice of other nations, ancient and modern. Readers of the classics will recollect the hideous story of the treatment of the young daughter of Sejanus (Tac. Ann. v. 9).
(7) He slew.-Rather, he it was that smote. The valley of salt.-Comp. 2 Sam. viii. 13. ElGhor, the salt plain of the Dead Sea, which Amaziah would traverse in marching against Edom.
Ten thousand.-The number slain in one conflict. Selah.-Heb., the Sèlac, i.e., the crag. The Hebrew name of the famous rock-hewn town of Petra.
By war.-Or, in the battle. After the decisive en. gagement, Amaziah's troops forced their way through the narrow defile leading to the Edomite capital, probably meeting no great resistance.
Joktheel. A town of Judah bore this name (Josh. xv. 38). The name probably means God's ward, referring to the wonderful strength of the natural position of the town. Others explain, subjugated of God.
Unto this day-i.e., unto the time when the original document was written, from which the writer derived this notice.
The reduction of the capital implies that of the country. The defeat of Jehoram (chap. viii. 20, seq.) was thus avenged. Chronicles gives a more detailed account of the re-conquest of Edom, and its consequences (2 Chron. xxv. 5-16). It is there related that Amaziah hired a large force of mercenaries from the northern kingdom, but sent them home again at the bidding of a prophet. On their way back they attacked and plundered certain of the cities of Judah. The fall of Selah was followed by a massacre of captives. The gods of Edom, which Amaziah carried off, proved a snare to him. (See the Notes on the passage.)
(8) Then. After the reduction of Edom. The more extended narrative which follows is plainly taken from a different source than that of the brief extract preceding it.
Come, let us look one another in the face. -A challenge to battle, the ground of which might be found in the outrages committed by the Israelite mercenaries on their homeward march. It appears likely, however, that Amaziah, intoxicated by his recent success, aimed at nothing less than the recovery of the Ten Tribes for the house of David. So Josephus (Antt. ix. 9, § 2), who gives what purport to be the letters which passed between the two kings on this
(9) The thistle.-Or bramble or briar. (Comp. Job xxxi. 41; Cant. ii. 2.) The LXX. and Vulg. render "thistle;" the Syriac, "blackthorn "(Prunus silvestris).