2 Kings part 1

 

Tonight we are getting back to our OT study as we enter into 2 Kings. Once again I want to point out that 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book and I have already given a detailed introduction to this book. So, there is no need for me to it again. 2 Kings picks up where 1 Kings leaves off. When we came to the end of 1 Kings we found out that King Jehoshaphat had died and his son Jehoram reigns in place over the southern kingdom Judah. We also learned that Ahaziah was reigning as King of Israel and had tried to make a alliance with Jehoshaphat before he died, but it wasnít meant to be because Ahaziah was another wicked King as all the kings are of the Northern kingdom were.. We will learn more about him as we get into 2 Kings.

 

The only thing I want to point out about 2 Kings is that it will show us the downfall of the Northern kingdom as it is taken into Assyrian captivity and then later on the same thing happens to the southern kingdom except they are taken into Babylonian captivity. Of course these events are also recorded for us in latter part of 2 Chronicles. One last I thing I want to remind you of is that sometimes you will see some variances in numbers and that is because the numbers were so easy miscopy in the Hebrew. You will also see that sometimes a kings reign will vary and this is because some of writers count their kingship from the time they were co-reigning with their father or another king. Other record their reign based on when they were the only king. With that in mind let us begin in,

 

2 Kings 1:1 Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.2 Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria, and was injured; so he sent messengers and said to them, "Go, inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury." †††

 

Now earlier during Davidís reign, he wiped out about 2/3 of Moabites army in (2 Sam. 8:2) and they became a part of Solomonís empire. Later on at the division of Israel according to an external source, the Moabite Stone, the Moabites regained independence for a short while and lost it again under King Omri of the Northern Kingdom. Now Moab was rebelling once again at the death of Ahab. We will look more at their rebellion when get into chapter 3.

 

Ahaziah falls and hurts himself and instead of seeking God almighty he wants his answer to come from the false God and this does not set well with God as we read in,

 

2 Kings 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?'4 "Now therefore, thus says the LORD: 'You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.' " So Elijah departed.5 And when the messengers returned to him, he said to them, "Why have you come back?"6 So they said to him, "A man came up to meet us, and said to us, 'Go, return to the king who sent you, and say to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.' " ' "

 

If you recall my lesson on the angel of the Lord I believe this is referring to Jesus before He became flesh. The angle of the Lord comes to Elijah and has him meet Ahaziahís messenger and give him a message from God. Elijah does exactly as he is instructed and the messenger returns back to the King and gives him the bad news that he is going to die right where he lays. Now I have no doubt that if this king had not ignored that was a God and he had turned to Him and sought His counsel God would have healed him. But now there is no hope for his life. Notice the kingís response.

 

2 Kings 1:7 Then he said to them, "What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words?"8 So they answered him, "A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist." And he said, "It is Elijah the Tishbite."

 

It is pretty obvious that the King wants to know who told him this news so that he could have him killed. As soon as the messenger described him, he knew right away that it was Elijah the man of God.

 

2 Kings 1:9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: "Man of God, the king has said, 'Come down!' "10 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: "Man of God, thus has the king said, 'Come down quickly!' "12 So Elijah answered and said to them, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.13 Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: "Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight.14 "Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight."15 And the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, "Go down with him; do not be afraid of him." So he arose and went down with him to the king.

 

The king didnít send the men for a friendly visit because He wanted Elijah dealt with. He thought the sending 50 men would be enough, but it wouldnít matter how many he sent because God was on Elijahís side. The first 2 sets of 50 soldiers are burned alive from the fire of heaven. Some have actually said that this was an unfair act because these men were just following orders. Therefore they were innocent. But, this is not the case. It is true that they were following orders but they had a choice to follow or not to follow those orders. These men knew who Elijah was and you can see this by the captain calling him a man of God. Calling these men innocent because they simply followed orders would be the same thing as calling Hitlerís soldiers innocent for killing thousands of Jews because they were just following orders.Besides this we know that God doesnít punish people who do not deserve it.

 

Now the 3rd set of soldiers plead with Elijah and because of this God shows mercy on them and the Angel of the Lord tells Elijah to go to the king.

 

2 Kings 1:16 Then he said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.' "17 So Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. Because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place, in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

 

As you can see the king didnít get much satisfaction because Elijah was still breathing and now he is in his face telling him the same message he herd before and it happened just as Elijah said. Ahaziah reigned for 2 short years and then Jehoram also known as Joram, one of the of sons of Ahab, becomes the new king over Israel and at the same time there is also king called Jehoram over the kingdom of Judah. So, it can become very confusing at times of who is who if you donít pay close attention.

 

Now as we enter into chapter 2 we will see our story shift from Elijah to Elisha.

 

2 Kings 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.2 Then Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!" So they went down to Bethel.3 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?" And he said, "Yes, I know; keep silent!"

 

Besides Enoch, Elijah is the only other person mentioned in the Bible that did not have to taste death before being taken up into heaven. All these people mentioned here knew it was time for Elijah to be taken up. We do not know for sure who these sons of the prophet were, but they always seem to be around while this is going on. Now Elijah apparently didnít want any witnesses of his ascension so he tries to Get Elisha to stay behind, but he will not do it and Elisha doesnít want to hear what the sonís of prophets have to say either.

 

2 Kings 2:4 Then Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Jericho." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!" So they came to Jericho.5 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?" So he answered, "Yes, I know; keep silent!"6 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!" So the two of them went on.7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.

 

Two more times Elijah tries to get Elisha to stay behind, but he will not. We also learn that there are 50 of these sons of the prophets and now they are by the Jordan river.

 

2 Kings 2:8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

 

This is the second time in history that the Jordan has been divided like this. The first time was when Joshua and the children of Israel crossed it with the Ark of the Covenant and now by the power of God working through the mantel it is divided once again. A mantel is a cloak or an outer garment.

 

2 Kings 2:9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me."10 So he said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so."

 

I do not believe that Elisha is asking for twice the power of Elijah, but instead he asking for double portion in the same sense that oldest son receives a double portion or 2/3 of his fatherís inheritance. Elijah says this is hard because this was not his right to grant such a promise because the power that Elijah had came from God and could only be granted by God. So, that why he tells him if he sees him taken up then he will have it, but if he does not then he will not have it.

 

2 Kings 2:11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.

 

What an amazing site this must have been. Here these two were talking and all of sudden along comes a chariot of fire out of no where and separates them and takes Elijah up via a whirlwind out his site. Now whenever Elisha cries out, ďMy father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" most likely was not a direct reference the chariots of fire that had just picked him up because the same expression is said at the death of Elisha in 2 Kings 13:14. Many believe the meaning of the expression can be understood better by how the Chaldee translate this phrase, `My master, my master!Thy intercession was of more use to Israel than horses and chariots.'

 

In other words Elisha is stating that Elijahís spiritual role in Israel was more important than horses and chariots ever could be.. As part of Elisha grieving he tears his clothes in half.

 

2 Kings 2:13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.

 

When Elisha picks up the mantel he is taking on the responsibilities that Elijah had. He strikes the water as Elijah did and for a third time the Jordan is divided. It seems that Elisha doubts for a minute that the spirit of Elijah is on him as he asks the question, ďWhere in the Lord God of ElijahĒ? This will be the only time we see him doubt this. When he crosses the water these 50 sons of the prophets can tell that the spirit of Elijah is on him and so they bow down to him our respect and as his new servants.

 

2 Kings 2:16 Then they said to him, "Look now, there are fifty strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley." And he said, "You shall not send anyone."17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, "Send them!" Therefore they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days but did not find him.18 And when they came back to him, for he had stayed in Jericho, he said to them, "Did I not say to you, 'Do not go'?"

 

These same 50 men knew the Elijah would be taken from them and they could see that Elisha had his spirit, yet they still want to go see if they can find Elijah. After all, they didnít get to see Elijah ascend into heaven on the fiery chariot. Elisha tells them not to look, but the would stop pressing him so he final says, ďGo ahead.Ē They look for 3 days and come up empty handed and Elisha basically tells them, ď I told you so.Ē So, now they are in Jericho.

 

2 Kings 2:19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, "Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren."20 And he said, "Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him.21 Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, "Thus says the LORD: 'I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.' "22 So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.

 

Here we learn that the city has a problem with their water and now Elijah will work his second miracle. He put salt in the source of the river and proclaims that it will be healed and will fix the barrenness problem as well. Some have tried to say that the salt fixed the problem, but how long is a bowl full of salt going to last in water? Not very long, yet we are told that water remained healed for a long time afterward which shows that this was a miracle and not just the salt.

 

2 Kings 2:23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!"24 So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.25 Then he went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

 

Some translations give the impression that these were young boys, but the word is translated as young men many times. In fact, Joshua was somewhere in his twenties when he is called this in Exodus 33:11. These young men were mocking Elisha saying Go up baldhead. They were being very disrespectful and they basically wanted Elisha to go up like Elijah did because these young men didnít want to have anything to do with the righteousness that Elisha represented.

 

Then Elisha pronounces a curse on them. This is exactly what Deut. 27:14-26 said to do on those who were being disobedient. Because of their mockery and disobedience God causes 2 female bears to kill 42 of these young men. This is another story that some donít like because they think these were young boys who didnít deserve to die because of their teasing. Obviously these were not young boys and they were not just teasing. Otherwise, God would not have allowed them to be killed and Elisha would not have cursed them. This is another area where we must realize that God knows the hearts of men and we have to trust in his judgment.

 

Then our chapter ends with Elisha in Samaria.