2Kings 1-3

Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 21, 2002

Introduction

We’ve been studying the history of the northern kingdom of Israel, especially the time of the prophet Elijah and the wicked king Ahab.

Wicked King Ahab has now died, and his son, Ahaziah, as wicked as his father, comes to the throne in the northern kingdom.

Of Ahaziah, we get a description of his character with:

1Kings 22:52-53 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: 53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

He had three bad role models (father, mother, Jeroboam), and what’s more, he decided to go with the flow and follow the examples set before him.

2Kings 1

:1-8 Ahaziah’s inquiring mind

:1 Moab rebelled

Moab had been brought in subjection to Israel under David (2Sam. 8:2)

Apparently, sometime later they rebelled against Israel.

Then, under the reign of Ahab’s dad, Omri, the Moabites were again brought under subjection.

We know this from archaeology, which has found this fact recorded on the “Moabite Stone”.

When Moab, under the reign of King Mesha (2Kings 3:4), saw how the Syrians had defeated Israel, and that their strong king Ahab was now dead, they took their chance and declared their independence.

:2 Ahaziah fell down through a lattice …

Back at the main palace in Samaria, Ahaziah somehow falls through a lattice, possibly something like a skylight, and injures himself.

sick - to be weak, be sick

Samaria – the northern kingdom’s capital; see map

:2 inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron

Ekron - one of the chief Philistine cities, located about 40 miles southwest of Samaria. It’s a low lying inland city, about 14 miles from the Mediterranean. see map

Baal-zebub = “lord of the fly”

One of the many local male fertility gods which bore some form of the name Baal (meaning “lord”).

The original spelling in Philistia may have been Baal-Zebul, which means “Exalted lord”

This god was credited with having healing powers.

Gill: some think was a large metallic fly; made under a planet that rules over flies.

The idea was that in those days, especially in a warm, moist aired city like Ekron, there would be a problem with flies, and so they needed a god to help them drive out the flies.

By Jesus’ day, it was known that Baalzebub was no other than Satan.

(Mat 12:22-28 KJV) Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. {23} And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? {24} But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. {25} And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: {26} And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? {27} And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. {28} But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Lesson

Be careful where you go for answers

Ahaziah wasn’t asking to be healed. He just wanted to know what was going to happen.
(Deu 18:10-14 KJV) There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, {11} Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. {12} For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. {13} Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. {14} For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
Things like astrology, witchcraft, tarot cards, Ouija boards, séances, etc. are very, very dangerous.

They are an abomination to the Lord, they are totally gross to Him.

It’s kind of like going to the enemy to ask advice.

It can start out as a harmless diversion, but it intrigues you and sucks you in.
There seems to be something real there, and there is. There is an open door to demonic spirits.
When people say, “Gee I wonder what my horoscope says today”, just say no!
(Isa 8:19-20 KJV) And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? {20} To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

A Christian has no place in seeking the occult for answers.

:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite

This is Jesus (see verse 15)

:5 Why are ye now turned back?

Ekron is an 80 mile round trip. How did you guys get back so fast?

:8 an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins

We get a little bit of a description of Elijah. It could be that he was one of those guys with hair growing everywhere on his body. It could be that his garments were made out of goat or camel’s hair.

:8 It is Elijah the Tishbite

Ahaziah had seen this guy before, in his dad’s days.

:9-15 Elijah and the fifties

:10 let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty

Elijah doesn’t trust this captain and his men.

:11 Come down quickly

The order from the king is more urgent. The word “quickly” is added to the order.

:12 fire came down from heaven

This becomes one of Elijah’s trademarks, calling fire down from heaven.

It started at the showdown on Mount Carmel.

Elijah prayed, and God answered by fire.

It now shows up here, as a way of protecting Elijah.

Apparently, this practice will show up again soon, in the near future:

There will be the “two witnesses” that will show up some time during the Great Tribulation period. They have several unique characteristics, including this “fire-thing”

(Rev 11:5 KJV) And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
This is one reason why we believe that Elijah will probably be one of the two witnesses. It’s his “trademark” miracle.

Lesson

Don’t try this at home!

(Luke 9:51-56 KJV) And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, {52} And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. {53} And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. {54} And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? {55} But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. {56} For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
This was Elijah’s ministry, not yours!
Note: Elijah was using this “gift” to protect himself.
James and John wanted to use it to get even with people.
If we’re going to copy somebody, it ought to be Jesus, not Elijah.
It’s better to be more concerned about saving people than destroying them.

:13 came and fell on his knees

You get the idea that this guy has heard about the two captains before him!

I wonder if there was some kind of crowd gathered to watch Elijah get arrested?

Somehow, somebody had witnessed the two previous attempts, and had gotten word to this man!

This is a guy who is not ashamed to get on his knees!

:15 the angel of the LORD

This is Jesus. He has already appeared to: Hagar (Gen.16); Abraham (Gen.22); Moses (Ex.3); Balaam (Numbers 22); Gideon (Judges 6); Samson’s parents (Jud.13). He’s already appeared to Elijah once already, when he was fleeing from Jezebel (1Ki 19:7).

Ps 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

I get the idea that Elijah had been clued in to some concern about the various groups of men coming after him. But this guy gets the okay from the Lord.

:16-18 Elijah and Ahaziah

:16 God in Israel to enquire of his word?

Lesson

Go to God for your answers!

There is a place for asking advice of other people.
(Prov 11:14 KJV) Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
But we need to be careful that we’re not going to other people just to avoid going to God!
Are we afraid that we might not hear what we want to hear from the Lord?
Ahaziah got a pretty harsh word from the Lord.

But he was in total rebellion against the Lord.

You will find God’s answers in His Word.
(2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
(Psa 119:105 KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

:17 Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat

There are now going to be two Jehorams. The one that will take Ahaziah’s place is Ahaziah’s brother, another son of Ahab and Jezebel.

2Kings 2

:1-8 Elijah takes a walk

It seems that starting some time around the time of the prophet Samuel, an institution called the “school of the prophets” was started. It has been suggested that these were started by Samuel to train men in being prophets, in speaking for God. In Elijah’s day, Elijah seems to have become the head of these “schools”. Later, Elisha will be recognized as the leader of the prophets.

:1 when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven …

As we see things happen, there is a sense in which Elijah’s time left on earth is short. This is the context.

Gilgal – There are four “Gilgals” in Israel. I found a commentary to support each one. I’m not sure which one this is. We do know that there was a school of the prophets at Gilgal. see map

Elijah … Elisha – Elijah is the great prophet. Elisha is Elijah’s servant, who will take Elijah’s place.

:2 the LORD hath sent me to Bethel.

Bethel – This is about 13 miles west of Gilgal, up in the hills. This was the city had had one of Jeroboam’s two golden calves. see map

Apparently there is a “prophet school” located there. I wonder if Elijah isn’t making the rounds to say goodbye to people.

:3 the sons of the prophets …said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?

sons of the prophets – prophets in training. It seems that at some point, a “school” for prophets had been started. There are several of these groups.

These prophets are somehow aware of what will be happening on this day. It could be that Elijah has told them. It could be that the Lord has told them. Whatever the case, Elisha is aware of this himself.

:3 hold ye your peace

Meaning, “shut up!” or, “be quiet!”. Perhaps he doesn’t want to be reminded that Elijah will soon be gone.

:4 the LORD hath sent me to Jericho.

Jericho – back down the hill toward the Jordan River, near Gilgal. see map There seems to be another prophet school here as well.

:6 Tarry, I pray thee ...

Three times now, Elijah has given Elisha the chance to go take a break.

You could almost get the idea that he doesn’t want Elisha to be around.

But I think it’s more like a test.

Elisha doesn’t want to miss out on the blessing.

It was not uncommon for a dying person to pronounce a blessing on those around him. Jacob blessed his sons (Gen. 49). Moses blessed Israel at the time of his death (Deut. 33). Elisha doesn’t want to miss out.

Lesson

The shortcut isn’t always better.

Caution: I don’t want to cultivate a church of work-a-holics, or worse yet, burned out Christians.
But sometimes we can feel like we’re at our limit and we need a break, and though the Lord may allow us to have a break, we may also be missing out on something really special.
In our lives, there may be times when you face the choice of taking the easy way out and just getting something over with, or taking the long way.
Shorter isn’t always better.
Warren Wiersbe:
Had Elisha taken the easy route and stayed behind, he would have missed all the blessing of vv. 9–15. It pays to be faithful to your calling.[1]

:6 the LORD hath sent me to Jordan

Jordan – the river. About 5 miles east of Jericho. see map

:7 to view afar off

These fifty men want to kind of watch what’s going on.

Perhaps these are men that have joined this procession from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho and now to the Jordan River.

They’ll be in the story a little later.

Lesson

How close are you going to get?

These guys are going to see some pretty spectacular things, but only from a distance.
I’d rather be in Elisha’s sandals, getting to see the action from up close.
But you only get there is you stick around and persevere!
It’s much better being down on the playing field, than just sit up in the stands.
Worship - are you observing, or participating?
Ministering to others?

:8 Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters

mantle‘addereth – glory, cloak; glory, splendour, magnificence (of a vine, shepherds); mantle, cloak made of fur or fine material

Some have suggested this might have been different from his “hairy garment”, while others think it might have been a goat skin.

The prophet’s mantle, or “cloak” was a symbol of his authority or power with which God clothed him.

(1 Ki 19:19 KJV) So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

:8 they were divided

The Jordan is once again parted (first time by Joshua, Josh. 3), and the two prophets walk across on the ground.

I wonder how close they were to Joshua’s crossing, and if they found the stones in the middle of the river?

:9-10 Elisha’s request

:9 a double portion of thy spirit be upon me

thy spirit – If you’re not careful, you might get the idea that the “spirit” was Elijah’s spirit, but it’s not, it’s the Holy Spirit.

And it’s not up to Elijah to give it, but to pray for it.

double portion

Some of the Jewish Rabbis taught that this was referring to the right of the firstborn son, who would receive twice as much inheritance as the other sons (Deut. 21:17).

As we look at the record, we can see what it resulted in.

Elisha doesn’t seem to have done twice as many miracles as Elijah, though he did do more. Elijah had eight miracles recorded, Elisha had eleven.
But perhaps Elisha did go through twice as many troubles – Elijah went through 3 ½ years of drought. Elisha will go through 7 years of drought.

Elijah

1.     Drought caused. 1Ki 17:1; Jas 5:17.

2.     Meal and oil multiplied. 1Ki 17:14-16.

3.     A child restored to life. 1Ki 17:22,23.

4.     Sacrifice consumed by fire. 1Ki 18:36,38.

5.     Men destroyed by fire. 2Ki 1:10-12.

6.     Rain brought. 1Ki 18:41-45; Jas 5:18.

7.     Waters of Jordan divided. 2Ki 2:8.

8.     Taken to heaven. 2Ki 2:11.

Elisha

1.     Waters of Jordan divided. 2Ki 2:14.

2.     Waters healed. 2Ki 2:21,22.

3.     Children torn by bears. 2Ki 2:24.

4.     Oil multiplied. 2Ki 4:1-7.

5.     Child restored to life. 2Ki 4:32-35.

6.     Naaman healed. 2Ki 5:10,14.

7.     Gehazi struck with leprosy. 2Ki 5:27.

8.     Iron caused to swim. 2Ki 6:6.

9.     Syrians smitten with blindness. 2Ki 6:20.

10. Syrians restored to sight. 2Ki 6:20.

11. A man restored to life. 2Ki 13:21.

:10 asked a hard thing

It’s not up to Elijah to grant this request. This is God’s job.

:10 if thou see me when I am taken ...

In other words, if Elisha will just hang around, he’ll get the blessing.

We’ve already seen that taking the short way isn’t already better, here’s the flip side ...

Lesson

Persevere to the blessing!

It seems that there are times when the Lord gives us a chance to take a break.
But I like Elisha’s attitude. He’s not leaving Elijah until he gets his blessing.
It’s kind of like when Jacob was faced with going back to face his angry brother, and he had all his family and flocks to worry about:
Jacob figured out a plan to try and bribe his brother with gifts, and after he got the plan all ready, he went off to be by himself for the night before he was to see his brother Esau. He found a stranger (I think it was Jesus) who wrestled with Jacob all night long.

Genesis 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Note that the suggestion came to “let go”.

Jacob wouldn’t let go until he got his blessing.

Persevere for the short-term blessings.
I think there are times when our walk seems dry and powerless.
We need to learn to press in and hold on to the Lord until He blesses us.
Persevere for the long-term blessing:
(Phil 3:13-14 KJV) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, {14} I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

:11-12 Elijah’s departure

:11 a chariot of fire …Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

of fire – This could be angels coming to pick up Elijah for the ride home:

Ps 104:4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Ps 68:17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

whirlwindca‘ar – tempest, storm, whirlwind

It seems that Elijah is not taken up in the chariot, but in the whirlwind.

:12 My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof

This is a difficult phrase. It sounds at first as if Elisha is talking about the chariot of fire.

But some have suggested that he’s talking about Elijah. The idea is that Elijah was better for Israel than any number of chariots or horsemen because of his prayers for Israel.

I think this is probably the correct idea.

Pay attention to this phrase, as little as we understand it, because it will come up again.
(2 Ki 13:14 KJV) 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.

Joash didn’t see any chariots of fire. But he had another amazing prophet before him.

:12 he saw him no more

Elijah was one of the few people who have escaped physical death, at least for now.

He apparently went straight to heaven.

He appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mat. 17).

He will be coming again.

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

We believe this will be as one of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.

:13-15 Elisha’s anointing

:14 Where is the LORD God of Elijah?

He isn’t expecting the “magic mantle” to do all the work by itself.

Elisha knows where the real power is, it’s simply the Lord at work.

Paul wrote,

(Gal 2:8 KJV) (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

Lesson

The real power is God.

It’s not you.
It’s not some magic incantation.
It’s not some magic force called “faith” that does the work.
It’s the Lord.
He wants to work through you the same as He has worked through others.
Warren Wiersbe:
It was one thing to cross Jordan with Elijah, but quite another to step out by faith by himself. But when you trust “the Lord God of Elijah,” you do not need Elijah too.[2]

Lesson

The problem is us

Where is the God of Elijah?
Why don’t we see the same miracles today?
God has not changed. God has not gone on a vacation.
(Heb 13:8 KJV) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
I’ve heard Pastor Chuck comment on this, and his suggestion is that the church in America is caught up too much in materialism.
(Isa 59:1-2 NLT) Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. {2} But there is a problem—your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
(Mat 13:22 NLT) The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.

I wonder if that isn’t so.

Remember, God hasn’t changed.

And we do see miracles. Not too many, but we see them. I have this feeling that Nancy Sims’ healing is a miracle.

:15 The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha

How did they know? They saw the waters part before Elisha.

:16-18 Search for Elijah

:16 Ye shall not send

It’s really quite a ridiculous idea. Elisha knows where Elijah is, he’s in heaven.

:17 till he was ashamed

(2 Ki 2:17 NLT) But they kept urging him until he was embarrassed

Rather than appearing heartless, he finally allows them to go.

:18 Did I not say unto you, Go not?

Lesson

Some people have to be allowed to fail.

They just don’t want to hear it from you.
They have to find out for themselves that they’re wrong.
I hope I can learn to be an Elisha and size up the situation accurately, and not have to be told and told, and then fail before I understand.

:19-22 Healing the waters

:19 the situation of this city is pleasant ... but the water is naught (bad)

They’re in the city of Jericho.

Jericho is a pleasant place, nice climate.

But apparently one of the main water supplies had gone bad.

:20 Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein

cruse[email protected] – jar, bowl

:21 I have healed these waters

It was the Lord that healed the waters, not the salt.

I think this is intended to be a lesson to teach us something.

I think it can be a beautiful picture for us to learn from.

Lesson

Healing the waters

God has placed us in places that have lots of needs, and lots of putrid things going on.
God requires a new vessel.
God likes to break the mold every once in a while. The Pharisees had a problem with why Jesus seemed to be shaking things up so much with His teachings. Jesus said,

(Mat 9:17 NLT) And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. That way both the wine and the wineskins are preserved.”

Sometimes God wants to do things differently. A new way of going about things.

(Isa 43:19 KJV) Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

God requires salt
That’s us.

(Mat 5:13 NLT) “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

Maybe all God needs is to have a new vessel filled with salt, and throw the salt into the polluted spring.

Maybe there’s other ways this can be applied, perhaps to your neighborhood or work.

:22 So the waters were healed unto this day

From Pastor Chuck: “Today, right across the street from the Tel of Jericho, you can go to Elisha’s spring. Still a very healthy spring. Good flow of water comes out, and I’ve drunk the water, and it is good, even till this day. That spring was healed, the water is not brackish, it’s very palatable, and of course the area below where the water flows, is just verdant garden area. Beautiful! And so, during the time of Elisha, that spring was healed, and it remains so to the present day.”

:23-25 Baldy, boys, and bears

:23 unto Bethel … came forth little children

Bethel – Keep in mind that Bethel is one of the centers of Jeroboam’s idolatrous golden calves. The city does have a school of the prophets, but it also is a place of idolatry.

littleqatan - young, small, insignificant, unimportant

childrenna‘ar - a boy, lad, servant, youth, retainer; Gill: the word for “children” is used of persons of thirty or forty years of age. Don’t think of little kindergartners.

NAS: young lads

NIV: some youths

:23 Go up, thou bald head

Apparently, it’s not that they’re taunting him to go up to Bethel, but they’re mocking him because of what they heard about Elijah going up to heaven, and are daring him to do the same.

Also apparently, Elisha was devoid of hair.

:24 cursed them in the name of the LORD

There must have been a decent reason for this curse to come in God’s sight.

Proverbs 26:2 As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

:24 two she bears ... tare forty and two

Illustration

Two hunters were in the forest when they came across a huge grizzly bear. One of the hunters raised his rifle and shot, but instead of killing the bear, he only wounded it, making the bear really mad. The bear began to charge the hunters. One of the hunters stopped, took off his boots and began to put on a pair of tennis shoes. The other hunter said, “What are you doing, do you think you’re going to out run that bear?” “No”, replied the hunter, “I only have to out run you!”

These were pretty fearsome bears. Two bears against forty-two young men. None of them ran fast enough. Note: It doesn’t say that forty-two were killed, but that the bears “tare”, or, “mauled” them.

Lesson

1. Watch what you say to bald people.

Be nice to Pastor Chuck and Greg Laurie J

2. Teach your children to respect others.

(Lev 19:32 KJV) Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
(Lev 19:32 International Children’s Bible) “’Show respect to old people. Stand up when they come into the room. Show respect also to your God. I am the Lord.
Parents, I believe this starts by making sure that your kids respect you.
I believe that when I hear my children speak disrespectfully to my wife or myself, it is worthy of a paddle if need be.

Not in anger, but in discipline.

Note to single parents: It’s not wrong to expect respect for yourself.
You may have problems respecting yourself, but if you allow you children to do the same, it’s not only hurting you, but even worse, you are teaching your children to disrespect authority.

:25 Carmel ... to Samaria

Quite a trip - up north to Mount Carmel, then back down to the capital city, Samaria.

Jericho to Carmel is about 63 miles. Carmel to Samaria is another 32 miles. see map

Carmel was where Elijah had the great showdown with the prophets of Baal (1Ki. 18).
Samaria is the capital of the northern kingdom, where the king lives.

2Kings 3

:1-3 Jehoram rules over Israel

:1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel

When Ahab died, his son Ahaziah originally had taken the throne. Ahaziah died due to an accident (2Ki. 1), and since Ahaziah didn’t have a son to become king, the kingdom is put in the hands of Jehoram, another son of Ahab.

:1 the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat

His brother Ahaziah started his reign in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat and reigned two years.

Apparently the way the northern kingdom measured their chronology, being king in part of a year counted for a whole year.

If he began to reign at the end of Jehoshaphat’s 17th year, and just started into the 18th year when he died, it was counted as 2 years, though it wasn’t a full two years, since his brother took over in the 18th year.

This is why things don’t fit perfectly when you try and chart out the chronology of the kings.

:2 but not like his father ... and ... mother

This guy was bad, but at least he wasn’t as bad as his dad.

Jehoram at least didn’t worship the Baals as his parents and brother did.

:3 the sins of Jeroboam

Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom, as it broke away from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.

His great sin was to set up two golden calves, one in the north in Dan, and the other in the south in Bethel.

He did this to give the people something to worship, and a place to worship, so they wouldn’t go south to Jerusalem to worship, and possibly defect to the southern kingdom.

The “sins of Jeroboam” were repeated by every single king of the northern kingdom.

:4-5 Moab rebels against Israel

:4 Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster…hundred thousand lambs

sheepmasternoqed - sheep-raiser, sheep-dealer, sheep-tender

As a tributary to Israel, this was what Moab paid the king of Israel each year.

This is going to be the reason for the war, economics.

:5 when Ahab was dead ... Moab rebelled

Ahab was a strong leader, and strong militarily.

When the strength is gone, it’s not uncommon for people to take advantage of the situation.

The rebellion actually came while Ahaziah was still king (2Ki.1:1). Jehoram now inherits the problem from his brother.

:6-20 Three Kings unite to fight Moab

:6 numbered all Israel

This word is used often to speak of drafting an army.

When the people “are numbered”, it means that the generals go through the land and draft the men into the military (1Sa 11:8 15:4)

:7 Jehoshaphat ... I am as thou art ...

Last time Jehoshaphat entered into a battle like this, with Jehoram’s dad Ahab, it was disastrous.

And God clearly rebuked him:

(2 Chr 19:2-3 KJV) And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. {3} Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

I have a hard time understanding why Jehoshaphat is agreeing so quickly to this.

:8 The way through the wilderness of Edom.

On the east side of the Jordan River, Ammon is in the north, Moab is in the middle, and Edom is in the south, south of the Dead Sea.

Apparently they were going to join the king of Edom, and the three nations would attack Moab from the south. see map

:9 fetched a compass of seven days’ journey ... there was no water

They went out into the wilderness of Edom for seven days, and didn’t find any water. Apparently there is a small stream that usually has water in it, but it must have been dry this time.

:10 the LORD hath called ... to deliver them into the hand of Moab

It’s only been a year or so since the disastrous battle between Israel and the Ammonites, where Micaiah the prophet declared that Yahweh had allowed a deceiving spirit to go and deceive the kings and let them be defeated because God had declared that it was time for Ahab to die.

I wonder if this is in Jehoram’s mind as they start hitting hard times.

Lesson

Don’t guess what’s going on, ask.

Sometimes things aren’t what they seem.
Illustration

The Stove

An engineer, a psychologist, and a theologian were hunting in the wilderness of northern Canada. Suddenly, the temperature dropped and a furious snowstorm was upon them. They came across an isolated cabin, far removed from any town. The hunters had heard that the locals in the area were quite hospitable, so they knocked on the door to ask permission to rest. No one answered their knocks, but they discovered the cabin was unlocked and they entered. It was a simple place ... 2 rooms with a minimum of furniture and household equipment. Nothing was unusual about the cabin except the stove. It was large, pot-bellied, and made of cast-iron. What was strange about it was its location ... it was suspended in midair by wires attached to the ceiling beams. “Fascinating,” said the psychologist. “It is obvious that this lonely trapper, isolated from humanity, has elevated this stove so that he can curl up under it and vicariously experience a return to the womb.” “Nonsense!” replied the engineer. “The man is practicing the laws of thermodynamics. By elevating his stove, he has discovered a way to distribute heat more evenly throughout the cabin.” “With all due respect,” interrupted the theologian, “I’m sure that hanging his stove from the ceiling has religious meaning. Fire LIFTED UP has been a religious symbol for centuries.” The three debated the point for several hours without resolving the issue. When the trapper finally returned, they immediately asked him why he had hung his heavy pot-bellied stove from the ceiling. His answer was succinct. “Had plenty of wire, not much stove pipe.”

It seems to me that we can get some pretty silly ideas about God when we look at our circumstances.
Have we ever thought of going to God and asking Him what He has in mind?

Psalm 91:14-15 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

:11 is there not here a prophet of the LORD

Good old Jehoshaphat.

He’s got the right idea.

Lesson

Point people to the Lord!

When you come across a Pessimistic Pete, try suggesting prayer!
It’s amazing what kind of transformations can take place before the throne of God.
And don’t just tell them to pray, pray with them!
If they’re an unbeliever, it’s not going to do them any good to pray until thy know Jesus and have had their sins paid for.
But you can pray with them.
You can play the role of the priest, taking them to their petitions before the throne.
Many times, all it takes is prayer to alleviate a person’s fears:
Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.

Lesson

Ask God before you take action

I wonder why Jehoshaphat seems to ask God for advice a little too late?
He did this last time (1Ki. 22)

First he promised Ahab that he’d go to battle with him, then he asked for God’s advice.

:11 which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

Elisha had been Elijah’s servant.

:12 the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

Apparently Elisha went along with the armies and was somewhere in the camp (vs.11 - “is there not here ...”)

They went down from their chariots and went into Elisha’s tent.

:15 when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.

Apparently this was nothing new with Elisha.

When Saul first met Samuel the prophet,

Lesson

Music and ministry

There seems to be a way in which music is able to soothe a person’s soul, and open up the way for the Spirit of God to work.
We caught a glimpse of this in Saul’s life. He was told that he would meet a group of musical prophets, and it was then that he would be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
(1 Sam 10:5-6 KJV) After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: {6} And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
David’s music also had an effect on Saul’s life.
(1 Sam 16:23 KJV) And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
When we are filled with the Spirit, one of the results will be music in our hearts.
(Eph 5:18-20 KJV) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; {19} Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; {20} Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

The command is to be “filled” with the Spirit. But the grammar suggests that the things that follow (speaking, singing, etc.) are results of being filled with the Spirit.

I think music is a good tool that the Lord can use to draw us closer to Him.

:16 Make this valley full of ditches.

To collect the water that is coming.

:17 not see wind ... rain ... yet ... water

This is actually a common occurrence in this particular valley. This is one of the lowest spots on the earth, 1200 feet below sea level. You can be down in this valley on a bright, sunny day, and not have a clue that anything is about to happen. Meanwhile, it might be raining up in Jerusalem or Hebron, and the water then begins to flow into the dry wadies and suddenly there is a flash flood that can was cars and busses off the road.

:18 this is but a light thing

He’s not only going to supply water, but God is going to give victory too.

:19 ye shall smite every fence city ...

They are commanded to wage destruction upon Moab.

:20 when the meat offering was offered

This refers to the sacrifices taking place back in the temple in Jerusalem. This is simply a reference to time. This would be the very break of day, no sacrifice was to take place until sunrise (see Gill on Ex.29:39)

:20 the country was filled with water.

Lesson

Surviving the dry times

Dig ditches.
Keep digging into the Word. Keep working at seeking the Lord.
Charles Spurgeon told his young preachers that when you are looking for a Bible text to preach from, you keep digging and digging until you find a gem.
Expect that God will fill you again with His Spirit.
The ditches were for holding the water that was about to come rushing through the canyon.

:21-25 Moab is beaten

:22 the sun shone upon the water

As the water had already filled the ditches that the Israelites had dug, the sun shone on it, and with a reddish tint.

The Moabites thought it was blood, and that they had all killed each other.

:23 this is blood

What other explanation could there be?

It hadn’t rained. There weren’t any storms in sight. There wasn’t any natural water in the area for miles. And it looked red in the morning sun.

:23 to the spoil

Keep in mind, when an army thinks the battle is over, and all they have to do is go in and collect the goodies, their guard is going to be down. They might have even taken off their armor so they can carry more spoil.

:25 only in Kirharaseth

This was apparently the capital at the time, a fairly well defended city. see map

:26-27 Moab’s human sacrifice

:27 his eldest son ... a burnt offering

It was thought in the minds of these people that defeat at the hands of the enemy was a sign that their god was angry at them.

So Mesha sacrifices his eldest son to their god Chemosh.

:27 great indignation against Israel

There is a remarkable archeological discovery, called the Moabite Stone, which contains Mesha’s own record of these events.

On this stone, Mesha claimed to have been delivered from the Israelites by his god Chemosh on this day.

He may have had his life spared, but he was still defeated, the rest of the nation was wiped out.

indignation – It doesn’t say that it was God’s indignation against Israel, just indignation.

It is most likely that the armies of Israel and Judah were so disgusted with this human sacrifice, that they decided to leave, figuring that it wasn’t worth staying around and watching what Mesha might do to get out of his siege.

Yet God had still given Israel and Judah a great victory over Moab, just as God said would happen.

Map



[1]Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament (2 Ki 1:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2]Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament (2 Ki 1:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.