2 Kings 3: Revolt is in the air

Synopsis:

Jehoram, another son of Ahab takes the thrown. But Mesha of Moab, who is a sheepmaster revolts as he doesn’t want to keep sending sheep and wool to Israel. So Jehoram asks  Jehoshaphat of Juda  to help him quell the rebellion. So the three kings of Israel, Judah and Edom march for 7 days without food or water.  They get desperate and call Elisha to help them out. Elisha tells them to dig ditches and water flowed into them from Edom. The kings of Moab came to fight and in the morning, the sun on the water made it look like rivers of blood. The Moabites figured that the 3 kings had started fighting each other and went out to the camp of Israel to search the spoils only to find the Israelites fine and ready to fight. When the king of Moab saw the battle was lost for him, he took his eldest son and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. Israelites are disgusted and go home.

In other words:

Now that Ahab is dead, the Moabites revolt and fail.

Favorite bit:

2 Kings 3:23: And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another,: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. (oops)

2nd favorite bit:

2 Kings 3:15 – But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. (Apparently Elisha needs music to be able to prophesize.)

Least favorite bit:

2 Kings 3:26,27 – And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not. Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel and they departed from him, and returned to their own land. (So he doesn’t immolate himself to turn public opinion. He immolates his son. Ugh)


Moral Lesson Learned:

Just because you want something to be true, doesn’t mean it is true. (2 Kings 3)

2 Kings 4: The miracles of Elisha

Synopsis:

Miracle 1: A woman whose husband has died is worried her sons will be taken as bondsmen to pay off her late husband’s death. So Elisha has her gather all the empty vessels she could find. She poured the little oil she had into the vessels until they were all full, then she sold all the oil and was able to pay off the debt.

Miracle 2: A woman puts out bread and provides shelter for Elisha every time he passes through her town of Shunam. He asks what he can do. She wants a son. She got pregnant, had the son, but when he was grown, he got sick. She put him on Elisha’s bed and went to go find Elisha. He sent his servant Gehazi to put his staff on the child. But the child did not wake up. So Elisha went. He put his mouth upon the child’s mouth his eyes upon his yes and his hands upon his hands and stretched himself up on the child. He got up, walked about and did it again. The child sneezes 7 times and opened his eyes.

Miracle 3: Elisha makes porrage for the people of Gilgal, but they are afraid it is poisonous. So they add meal to it and everyone ate and no one died.

Miracle 4:  A man brought first fruits, 20 loaves of barley and corn. Elisha said give it to the people. The man didn’t think it was enough, but everyone was able to eat and there was some left over.

In other words:

Elisha performs a series of miracles.

Favorite bit:

Miracle 2: 2 Kings 4:8-37  I love that he did mouth to mouth and used his body to warm up the “dead” kid.

Least favorite bit:

Miracle 3: 2 Kings 4:38-41 – The problem was a guy they didn’t know had put vines and goards into the pottage and it tasted funny when they went to eat it, so they added meal to make it taste better. There is no guarantee this was a miracle.

Moral Lesson Learned:

You never know what you can accomplish if you try. 2 Kings 4)

2 Kings 1: The son of Ahab dies

Synopsis:

After Ahab’s death the Moabites rebel. Ahaziah fell through a lattice in his chamber and was sick, so he sent messengers to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron to see if he would recover. The messengers met the prophet Elijah on the road and he told them to turn back. He told them God was made that Ahaziah had enquired to Baal-zebub and not Him, so Ahaziah will die of his injuries. Ahaziah isn’t happy about this so he sends 3 units of 50 men to try and bring Elijah to him, but Elijah has God kills all 100 of them with fire from heaven. The third unit is spared because the captain of that group asked for mercy. Elijah went with this guard to the king and told him he was going to die, which he did. Jehoram of Judah took over because Ahaziah had no son.

In other words:

The king of Israel has an accident and dies from his injuries, leaving no heir.

Favorite bit:

2 Kings 1:8 (a description of the prophet Elijah) He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

2nd favorite bit:

2 Kings 1:9-14 – The killing of the king’s men in spectacular fashion.  The king sent a captain of 50 with his 50. And he went to Elijah and told him to come down. Elijah answer, “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy 50.” And there came down fire from heave, and consumed him and his 50. This happens twice. The third captain was smart enough to plead for mercy.

3rd favorite bit:

Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron.

Moral Lesson Learned:

If you are injured, don’t waste your time on prayers, get a doctor! (2 Kings 1)

2 Kings 2: Elijah is taken to heaven

Synopsis:

It was time for Elijah to be taken to heaven. He told Elisha to stay as he was going to Beth-el. But Elisha insisted on going with him. They went to Beth-el together and the son’s of prophets told Elisha that the Lord was going to take away Elijah that day. Elijah then told Elisha to stay in Beth-el as he was going on to Jericho. Again Elisha insisted on coming. And again, the sons of the prophets at Jericho told Elisha that Elijah was going to be taken. Elijah then told Elisha to stay as he was going to Jordan. Again Elisha refused to stay and went with Elijah to Jordan.  Elijah took his mantle and parted the waters of the Jordan so he and Elisha could walk across it on dry ground.  Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before he was taken away. And Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit. They walked on and a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeard and Elijah went up in a whirlwind into heaven.  Elisha witnessed this and tore his clothes in two and took up the mantle of Elijah and used it to part the waters again so he could cross the Jordan. He met up with the sons of the prophets. They convinced him to send men to look for Elijah in case the lord had taken him up and cast him upon some mountain but they didn’t find Elijah’s body.  They then asked Elisha to use his new powers to fix the water situation as they were in drought. This Elisha did.  On his way to Beth-el – several children came and teased him so he set two she bears upon the kids to tear them apart. He continued on to Mount Carmel and returned to Samaria.

In other words:

Prophet Elijah is taken to heaven in a whirlwind of fire and Elisha is given his powers.

Favorite bit:

2 Kings 2:11 – And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (I like this because whatever magic Elijah had – all had to do with fire. The sacrifice, the killing of the guards and now this – it’s an apt way for him to disappear).


Least favorite bit:

2 Kings 2:23,24 – Some kid tease Elisha calling him baldy so he has them torn apart by bears!  42 of them.  They are kids. Seems like overkill to me. Literally.


What got me thinking:

Wondering what the trick was. On the other hand, no one witnessed Elijah’s ascension except Elisha so it may not have happened at all. And clearly all the other prophets, including those who warned Elisha that Elijah was leaving, still wondered whether it really happened or had his body be thrown somewhere.  Regardless, the idea that he was taken up in a fiery whirlwind is pretty spectacular and would have been an awesome sight to see. Can’t help wondering how modern magicians might pull something like that off. Or, Elisha knew that Elijah just wanted to leave and wouldn’t let him so Elijah – who had planned to just walk away, had to stage something spectacular to get Elisha to stop following him.

Moral Lesson Learned:


  • Don’t mock people (2 Kings 2)
  • Don’t overreact to being mocked (2 Kings 2)