Verses 1-7 – Having many wives and children were seen as one of the prerogatives of power. Ahab’s sons and grandsons were apparently distributed among the noble families to relieve the royal treasury and to provide loyal sets of eyes and ears in the homes where they lived. This fulfilled Elijah’s prophecy that not one of Ahab’s male descendants would survive (1 Kings 21:17-24).
Verse 11 – In his zeal, Jehu went far beyond the Lords command with this bloodbath. It sounds like he liked killing. The prophet Hosea later announced punishment upon Jehu’s dynasty for his senseless slaughter (Hosea 1:4, 5). Many times down through history, so-called “religious people” go beyond what God has called them to do, with personal ambition and cruelty. They take judgment of others upon themselves to execute. They have neither God’s consent nor blessing.
Verses 13, 14 – These verses report even more unnecessary slaughter of the southern royal family.
Verses 15, 16 – Jehu aligned himself with a man who separated himself and his family from materialistic, idol-worshiping culture. Jehonadab founded a group called the Racabites, who strove to keep their lives pure by living apart from society’s pressures and temptations. Jeremiah 35 gives us an example of their dedication to God. Because of their dedication, God promised that they would always have descendants who would worship him.
Verses 18, 19 – Jehu used deception to lure the priests of Baal to their deaths.
Verses 20-22 – Then Jehu told them to bring out all the consecrated garments for the priests of Baal.
Verse 24 – Israel was supposed to be intolerant of any religion that did not worship the true God. Israel had been chosen to be an example to the other nations of what was right, but had not done so.
Verses 25-27 – Jehu killed the priests of Baal and polluted their holy site with their corpses. Then the temple of Baal was torn down. The final and deepest insult to the Baalist holy place was to turn it into a latrine.
Verses 28-31 – Jehu eliminated the worship of Baal but not the golden calves in Bethel and Dan. If Jehu had destroyed the golden calves, his people would have traveled to the temple in Jerusalem, in the rival southern kingdom, and worshiped there. Jehu did most of what the Lord told him, but he did not obey Him with all his heart. He had become God’s instrument for carrying out justice, but he had not become God’s servant. He gave only lip service to God while permitting the worship of the golden calves. Sometimes we can be very active in our work for God and still not give the heartfelt obedience he desires for us to have towards Him.
32, 33 – Because of sin in both kingdoms, God used Hazael, king of Aram, not only to take away imperial holdings, but also to seize all Hebrew territories east of the Jordan River.
From a human perspective, Jehu had the basic qualities that could have made him a great success. His family ruled the northern kingdom longer than any other did. He was used by God to punish Ahab’s evil dynasty, and he fiercely attacked Baal worship. He eliminated one form of idolatry, Baal worship, only to uphold another by continuing to worship golden calves Jeroboam had set up.
As He did with Jehu, God gives each person strengths and abilities that will find their greatest usefulness only under His guidance. Outside that control, however, they don’t accomplish what they could and often become tools for evil.
Verse 3 – Elijah had prophesied that many people would be killed when Jehu became king (1 Kings 19:16, 17). Thus, Elisha advised the young prophet to get out of the area as soon as he delivered his message, before the slaughter began.
Verses 14-17 – Elisha sent a prophet to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu as Israel’s new king. Jehu immediately rode to Jezreel to find and kill king Joram of Israel and king Ahaziah of Judah. Jehu killed Joram; Ahaziah fled toward Beth Hagan where he was wounded. He later died at Megiddo. Back in Jezreel, Jehu had Jezebel killed.
Verses 18, 19 – Jehu knew these men represented a wicked and disobedient king. Lasting peace can only come from knowing God who gives it to us.
Verse 21 – Joram behaved like a man of bravery and character in going to face the danger himself.
Verse 22 – Taken in its literal meaning the prostitution mentioned by Jehu probably referred to the temple prostitutes of Baalism. Witchcraft was also a routine part of pagan cults.
Verses 24-26 – These events happened near the second royal palace, the summer place, the place where Naboth and his sons were murdered. Joram was wicked like his father and mother, Ahab and Jezebel; therefore, his body was thrown into the field that his parents had unlawfully taken. Jezebel had arranged the murder of Naboth, the previous owner, because he would not sell his vineyard-which Ahab wanted for a garden (1 Kings 21:1-24). Little did Ahab know that it would become a burial plat for his evil son.
Verse 31 – Why did Jezebel refer to Zimri? Zimri was an army commander who, some 40 years earlier, had killed Elah and then had declared himself king of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10). Jezebel was accusing Jehu of trying the same treachery.
Verse 35 – Jezebel’s skull, feet, and hands were all that remained of her evil life—no power, no money, no prestige, no royal finery, no family, no spiritual heritage. In the end, all these things she had while alive amounted to nothing. Death strips everything away unless God is in your life and you leave a legacy for the Kingdom.
Verses 1-6 – This event had to have taken place before Gehazi was struck with leprosy because the king’s court was full of people. It perhaps happened around chapter 5. Though obviously related to the earlier incident of the healing of the Shunammite woman’s son (4:32-37), this material may have been placed here because it also dealt with issues of government and beneficial rule. Elisha had warned this woman to take her family and go to where there was no famine, but now she was back and wanted her property back.
Verses 7, 8 – Once again the prophet was presented as an international celebrity. God’s mighty deeds gained influence even among foreigners though these deeds did not always lead to faith.
Verses 8-13 – Elisha’s meaning of his message was partially true. The illness was not terminal. However, Hazael committed murder and started a revolution by placing a wet cloth over the king’s face. When Elisha said that to Hazael he would sin greatly, Hazael protested he would never do that sort of thing. Ultimately, this very statement is what gets a lot of people in trouble. Instead of praying and asking for the strength to resist evil, we assume it could never happen to us.
Verses 12-15 – Elisha’s words about Hazael’s treatment of Israel were partially fulfilled in 10:32, 33. Apparently Hazael had known he would be king because Elijah had anointed him (1 Kings 19:15). Instead of waiting on God’s timing, he took matters into his own hands by killing Ben-Hadad.
Verse 18 – King Jehoshaphat (southern kingdom) arranged the marriage between Jehoram, his son, and Athaliah, the daughter of the wicked Ahab and Jezebel. Athaliah brought in the worship of Baal, which started the southern kingdom of Judah’s decline. When Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah became king. Then when Ahaziah was killed in battle, Athaliah murdered all her grandsons except Joash and made herself queen (11:1-3).
Verses 20-22 – Although Judah and Edom shared a common border and a common ancestor (Isaac), the two nations fought continually. Here Edom rebelled against Jehoram (Judah) and declared independence. Immediately, Jehoram marched out to attack Edom, but failed. Jehoram lost some of his borderlands as punishment for his failure to honor God.
Verses 26, 27 – The evil of Ahab and Jezebel were spread to Judah through Athaliah, their daughter.
Verses 28, 29 – Israel and Judah had become an ally. The big step in the decline of Israel’s political power would come with Jehu’s widespread massacres. There is no notice for the end of Ahaziah’s reign since his death is recorded later as part of Jehu’s massacres.
Verses 1, 2 – The kings officer had said it couldn’t happen when Elisha prophesied it would. The officers faith and hope were gone, but God’s words came true anyway (7:14-16). Sometimes we feel like it’s too hard to keep believing and hoping in what we’ve believed God has said to us. When we keep our eyes on only the problem, we just might miss the perfect opportunity that God has placed in front of us to use. Nothing is impossible for God.
Verse 3 – According to Leviticus 13:45, 46; Numbers 5:1-4, lepers had to stay outside of any city gate. There was a major famine taking place inside the city gates, so they were dead either way. These men knew that there was plenty of supply in the Arameans camp. They were to the point of not caring what happened any more.
Verses 5-7 – God had already caused the Aramean army into a supernatural panic and caused them to abandon all their provisions. (The Lord goes before you.) When people receive a miracle from God, it will be in a way far above anything we could have done or thought of on our own.
Verses 8-10 – At first the lepers kept the good news to themselves. Then they realized this was not right while their fellow citizens were starving to death. We as Christians can’t forget about those who are dying without Christ. That’s why we share our faith. Our “good news,” is like what the lepers figured out. We have the ability through Jesus Christ to save lives.
Verses 12, 13 – The king was still reacting to God’s miracles with hopeless despair. However, his servants persuaded him to examine the situation.
Verses 16-20 – Now all of Elisha’s prophecy was fulfilled. It is God, and only the All Mighty, who provides our daily provisions! We can’t ever become skeptical that God will deliver us. When our resources are low and doubts strong, remember God can open the floodgates of heaven!
Verses 1-7 – Elisha lived among and worked with the prophets. The communities of the prophets were fairly mobile and could relocate whenever their homes or neighborhood became crowded. This story shows us that God is interested in insignificant events of everyday life. This iron ax head was very expensive and belonged to someone else. The man couldn’t just go out and buy another one.
Verses 8-15 – This section, almost two chapters long, shows the man of God intervening in politics. Though God’s people had rejected Him, He didn’t abandon them. During this time, Elisha could live safely in Samaria, though suffering occasional personal threats (6:32). Elisha helped Israel in two ways; by sharing supernatural knowledge of the enemy; and by serving as prophetic encouragement for Samaria. The Arameans knew about Elisha’s supernatural military intelligence. The king of Damascus had an attitude similar to Ahab’s’—defiant.
Verses 16, 17 – Elisha’s servant was no longer afraid when he saw God’s mighty heavenly army. Faith reveals that God is doing more for His people than we can ever realize through sight alone. When face impossible situations, we need to remember that spiritual resources are there even if we can’t see them.
Verses 18-20 – God miraculously delivered the Aramean army into the hands of the Hebrews without bloodshed.
Verses 21, 22 – The Miraculous capture and release of the Aramean army did produce a brief period of peace between the Israelites and Arameans. Elisha told the king not to kill the Arameans and to feed them. The king was not to take credit for what God alone had done. In setting food and water before them, he was heaping “burning coals” on their heads (Proverbs 25:21, 22).
Verses 23, 24 – How long the Arameans stayed away from Israel is not known but a number of years probably passed before the invasion recorded in verse 24.
Verse 25 – When a city like Samaria faced famine, it was no small matter. This famine was so severe that mothers resorted to eating their children (6:26-30). Deuteronomy 28:49-57 predicted that this would happen when the people of Israel rejected God’s leadership.
Verses 31-33 – For years there was conflict between the kings of Israel and the prophets of God. The prophets often predicted doom because of the kings’ evil, so the kings saw Elisha as a troublemaker and blamed God for this situation. Perhaps the king thought Elisha could do any miracle he wanted and was angry that he had not come to Israel’s rescue.
Verse 1 – Much like Aids today, leprosy could be contagious and in many cases incurable. In its worst forms, leprosy led to death. Many lepers were forced out of the cities into quarantined camps. Naaman still held his post in the military so his case may have been mild or was in the early stages.
Verse 2 – Naaman’s servant girl was an Israelite, kidnapped from her home and family. Ironically, Naaman’s only hope of being cured came from Israel.
Verses 3, 4 – We don’t know the little girl’s name or much about her, but her brief word to her mistress brought healing and faith in God to a powerful Aramean captain. God had placed her there for a purpose and she was faithful. No matter how humble or small your position, God can use you to spread His Word.
Verse 7 – The reaction of the king of Israel, particularly his fear that Damascus was seeking a pretext for war, showed that this was a time of weakness for Israel.
Verses 9-15 – Naaman, a great hero was used to getting respect, and he was outraged when Elisha treated him like an ordinary person. He was a proud man and expected royal treatment. He couldn’t believe that Elisha told him to go wash in the Jordan, which was small and dirty. To wash in the Jordan, Naaman thought, was beneath a man of his position.
Obedience to God begins with true humility. We have to recognize that God’s way is better than ours is. God can use anything and anyone to accomplish His purposes.
Verse 12 – Naaman was in a rage because he felt in order to cure his disease, this was too simple. Full of pride and self-will, he could not accept the simple cure of faith. Sometimes people react to God’s offer of forgiveness in the same way. What Naaman had to do to have his leprosy washed away is similar to what we must do to have our sin wash away—humbly accept God’s mercy of forgiveness.
Verse 16 – Elisha refused Naaman’s money to show that God’s favor could not be purchased. Our money like Naaman’s is useless when facing death. It is our faith in Jesus Christ that saves us, not our bank accounts.
Verses 18, 19 – Also known as Hadad, Rimmon, the god of Damascus, was believed to be a god of rain and thunder. Naaman, unlike most of his contemporaries, showed a keen awareness of God’s power. Instead of adding God to his nation’s collection of idols, he acknowledged that there was only one true God.
Verses 20-27 – Gehazi saw a perfect opportunity to get rich by selfishly asking for the reward Elisha had refused. Gehazi lied and tried to cover up his motives for accepting the money. Personal gain had become more important than serving God. This scripture is not telling us that money is evil or that ministries shouldn’t get paid; instead, it is warning against greed and deceit. True service is motivated by love and devotion. We need to always check our motives.