Today: [2 Kings Chapter Thirteen] The Amazing Bones of Elisha. In this chapter Elisha is on his death bed and prophesies to the king about a great victory. He instructs the king as a prophetic act to fire several arrows out of the window. The king is half hearted in his response and as a result his destiny becomes incomplete. After Elisha’s death a dead body is buried on top of his bones and the man comes miraculously to life! Thus after his decease Elisha fulfills the double portion of Elijah. As amazing as this is you and I are indwelt by a greater than Elisha and have not just on us but IN US the miracle working power of Christ.
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[2Ki 13:1-25 KJV] 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 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.
This chapter contains the narrative of the son of Jehu who succeeds his father as king of the northern tribes with his capital in Samaria. When Jehu deposed Ahab and executed Jezebel God promised him that his sons would sit on the throne in Samaria to the fourth generation. Jehoahaz is his first heir to the throne however he continued in the policies of his father Jehu in that he promoted worship of the golden calf at Bethel and Dan as an alternative to allowing the people to worship in Jerusalem as God commanded. As a result God allowed Hazael king of Syria to conquer the northern tribes and hold them under his domination. You will remember that Hazael was prophesied to by Elisha that he would become king. Hazael was originally a servant of the king of Syria that Elisha predicted would assassinate his master and take the throne which he promptly did.
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 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. 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? 9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.
Jeoahaz repented under the brutal occupation of the Syrians and God sent them an unnamed military savior who threw back the Syrians for a time. However when peace was restored Jehoahaz still persisted in worshipping the golden calf at Bethel and also allowing idolatry to flourish once again in Samaria. Therefore God reduced their military to a mere token force and once again the Syrians came and put them under tribute. Jehoahaz dies and his son Joash now rules in his stead.
10 In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, [and reigned] sixteen years. 11 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: [but] he walked therein. 12 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 13 And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.
Joash the son of Jehoahaz was likewise an evil king who reigned under the brutality of the Syrians for sixteen years. Now the narrative shifts because Elisha still living has fallen ill and calls for the king. King Joash whose reign is drawing to a close goes to see Elisha – grieved that the old prophet is obviously coming to the end of his life.
14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
It is interesting that Joash is mournful of Elisha – even referring to him as a father. Joash was a complicated individual. He is not a godly king. He refuses to remove the altar at Bethel originally set up by the first king in Samaria. He refuses to allow the northern tribes to worship in Jerusalem. He permits and participates in idolatry and re-establishes groves for idol worship within the walls of Samaria. Yet when Elisha is dying he weeps for him and makes reference to the ascension of Elijah which Elisha witnessed in his own youth. Elisha is apparently moved by this show of affection and emotion and speaks on more word of deliverance over Joash and his faltering reign.
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. 16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand [upon it]: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. 17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened [it]. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed [them]. 18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took [them]. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. 19 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.
Elisha instructs the king as a prophetic act to fire arrows out of the window symbolizing the defeat of the Syrians. Joash is an idolater. He is half-hearted in his response and because of this Elisha pronounces that full victory will not be his. When you are involved with the prophets you will at some time or another be called upon to participate in prophetic acts. They are often not powerful or practical in themselves but they are a portent of symbolic victory. God continually speaks through the prophets in similitude and metaphor. Our part is to know the moment of our visitation and cooperate with the act. Elisha was attempting to engage not just the kings mind and emotions but his action. The kingdom doesn’t come with observation. We tend to wait on God to do something before we make a full commitment. This always ends in disaster and disappointment. The king was half hearted as we often are ourselves and as a result his promised victory will not be complete.
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 when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. 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 took again out of the hand of Benhadad 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.
When Elisha received the mantle of Elijah the promise was that he would have the double portion. At the time of Elisha’s death he was one miracle short of doing twice the great acts of Elijah. Two men are burying a body and in their haste borrow Elisha’s tomb as a convenient gravesite. When the dead man comes in contact with Elisha’s bones he is instantly resurrected. The anointing in Elisha’s life had a residual and lingering power yet resident. Interesting it is that Elisha died of an illness yet the anointing and power of God in his bones raised the dead. You and I have a greater anointing in us than Elisha or Elijah ever had on them. We may find in heaven that we lived far short of the miracle working power of God available to us from the indwelling Christ.
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