Jehoahaz and Joash, Kings of Israel

William Dyce, Sign of the Arrow, Joash Shoots the Arrow, Free Christian Images, Archery in Art

2 Kgs 13:1-25

While Joash was reigning in Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu reigned over Israel. He also did what was evil in God‘s sight by following the ways of Jeroboam. So God delivered Israel unto Hazael, the king of Syria, and his son, Ben-hadad. However, when Jehoahaz sought God, the Lord had mercy because of the oppression of his people, and they went out from under the Syrians, dwelling in their own lands. The people though did not depart from the sin of Jeroboam.

After Jehoahaz died, his son Jehoash, (aslo called Joash) reigned in his stead. He also followed the way of Jeroboam as his fathers did, Jeroboam indeed set up a snare for all the kings after him. Despite his paganism, we learnt that Joash visited Elisha when the prophet was sick and about dying, even calling him his father – what an irony. Elisha then commanded him to shoot his arrows eastwards as a sign that he would consume the Syrians. However when he told Joash to smite the arrow on the ground, he only did so three times, and the prophet made him know that his hesitation in striking numerous times would cost him total victory over the Syrians.

We then learnt of the death of Elisha, the great man of God who succeeded Elijah. Elisha however still recorded one more miracle even in his death. As a group was burying a dead man close to Elisha, when they learnt a band of the Moabites were coming, the dumped the man on Elisha’s grave, and the dead man came back to life and stood on his feet.

After Hazael, king of Syria, had oppressed Israel all the life of Jehoahaz, he died and his son, Ben-hadad, reigned in his stead. Joash as prophesied by Elisha was able reclaim the lands Hazael took from Jehoahaz, his father, from Ben-hadad. He deafeated him three times and recovered the cities of  Israel.

God continued to show mercy to Israel and the kings just because of the promises he made to the fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He remained faithful and still preserved his people, not allowing them to be utterly destroyed despite their sins. The mercies of God are however no excuse for us to continue in sinful ways, could we continue in sin and ask grace to continue to abound?

Some verses to remember

vs 22-23: But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 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.

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