Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2 Kings 6-10

Man, the authors of the OT are just getting lazy.

Some guy loses his axe head and Elisha uses God to retrieve it.
Then we get to 6:8-6:10 "Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp."
and "the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice."

Then, Elisha blinds and spares the soldiers that are ordered to bring him to the king of Syria.  Why does he spare these men when just a few chapters ago, he killed over one hundred men with holy fire because they came to talk to him?

We then get a little story about women eating their kids!  This is straight out of Monty Python and a story worthy of Axe Cop!!!

The book then gives us another one of those condensed histories, with famine and the killing of a king.

Elisha then delivers one of my favorite quotes so far in the OT.
At 9:3 we get  "Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not."
Tell Jehu that he's the king and then run like hell!!!  Sounds more like a prank from a hidden camera show then the Bible.

The catch is, Jehu has to kill the Family of Ahab.  Jezebel is thrown out a window, trampled by horses and eaten by dogs.  She got off easy if you ask me.

As per God's orders, Jehu kills all seventy (?!?!) of Ahab's sons for the sins of the former king.  That sounds fair.
His bloodlust still in full force, Jehu kills Ahaziah's forty two brothers.

God is very happy with Jehu's slaughter.

Once again I'll point out that these chapters seem to be more a chronicle of politics and war and using "God" as an excuse for murdering your rivals.

What do you think?


  1. @Bruce

    Why does he spare these men when just a few chapters ago, he killed over one hundred men with holy fire because they came to talk to him?
    Your mixing up your people. In 1:9-18 is about Elijah not Elisha. :-D Yet i will include this, i use it from MHC because you can look it up and read it yourself, however i agree with the opinion of Matthew Henry and thought the same before i read what he wrote. He just explains it allot better than i would. :-D
    The king issues out a warrant for the apprehending of Elijah. If the God of Ekron had told him he should die, it is probable he would have taken it quietly; but now that a prophet of the Lord tells him so, reproving him for his sin and reminding him of the God of Israel, he cannot bear it. So far is he from making any good improvement of the warning given him that he is enraged against the prophet; neither his sickness, nor the thoughts of death, made any good impressions upon him, nor possessed him with any fear of God. No external alarms will startle and soften secure sinners, but rather exasperate them. Did the king think Elijah a prophet, a true prophet? Why then durst he persecute him? Did he think him a common person? What occasion was there to send such a force, in order to seize him? Thus a band of men must take our Lord Jesus.

    II. The captain that was sent with his fifty soldiers found Elijah on the top of a hill (some think Carmel), and commanded him, in the king's name, to surrender himself, 9. Elijah was now so far from absconding, as formerly, into the close recesses of a cave, that he makes a bold appearance on the top of a hill; experience of God's protection makes him more bold. The captain calls him a man of God, not that he believed him to be so, or reverenced him a such a one, but because he was commonly called so. Had he really looked upon him as a prophet, he would not have attempted to make him his prisoner; and, had he thought him entrusted with the word of God, he would not have pretended to command him with the word of a king.
    III. Elijah calls for fire from heaven, to consume this haughty daring sinner, not to secure himself (he could have done that some other way), nor to avenge himself (for it was not his own cause that he appeared and acted in), but to prove his mission, and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. This captain had, in scorn, called him a man of God: "If I be so," says Elijah, "thou shalt pay dearly for making a jest of it." He valued himself upon his commission (the king has said, Come down), but Elijah will let him know that the God of Israel is superior to the king of Israel and has a greater power to enforce his commands. It was not long since Elijah had fetched fire from heaven, to consume the sacrifice (1 Kings 18:38), in token of God's acceptance of that sacrifice as an atonement for the sins of the people; but, they having slighted that, now the fire falls, not on the sacrifice, but on the sinners themselves, 10. See here, 1. What an interest the prophets had in heaven; what the Spirit of God in them demanded the power of God effected. Elijah did but speak, and it was done. He that formerly had fetched water from heaven now fetches fire. O the power of prayer! Concerning the work of my hands, command you me, Isa. 14:11. 2. What an interest heaven had in the prophets! God was always ready to plead their cause, and avenge the injuries done to them; kings shall still be rebuked for their sakes, and charged to do his prophets no harm; one Elijah is more to God than 10,000 captains and their fifties.

  2. Doubtless Elijah did this by a divine impulse, and yet our Saviour would not allow the disciples to draw it into a precedent, Luke 9:54. They were now not far from the place where Elias did this act of justice upon provoking Israelites, and would needs, in like manner, call for fire upon those provoking Samaritans. "No," says Christ, "by no means, you know not what manner of spirit you are of," that is, (1.) "You do not consider what manner of spirit, as disciples, you are called to, and how different from that of the Old-Testament dispensation; it was agreeable enough to that dispensation of terror, and of the letter, for Elias to call for fire, but the dispensation of the Spirit and of grace will by no means allow it." (2.) "You are not aware what manner of spirit you are, upon this occasion, actuated by, and how different from that of Elias: he did it in holy zeal, you in passion; he was concerned for God's glory, you for your own reputation only." God judges men's practices by their principles, and his judgment is according to truth.

    IV. This is repeated a second time; would one think it? 1. Ahaziah sends, a second time, to apprehend Elijah ( 11), as if he were resolved not to be baffled by omnipotence itself. Obstinate sinners must be convinced and conquered, at last, by the fire of hell, for fire from heaven, it seems, will not subdue them. 2. Another captain is ready with his fifty, who, in his blind rage against the prophet, and his blind obedience to the king, dares engage in that service which had been fatal to the last undertakers. This is as impudent and imperious as the last, and more in haste; not only, "Come down quietly, and do not struggle," but without taking any notice of what had been done, he says, "Come down quickly, and do not trifle, the king's business requires haste; come down, or I will fetch thee down." 3. Elijah relents not, but calls for another flash of lightning, which instantly lays this captain and his fifty dead upon the spot. Those that will sin like others must expect to suffer like them; God is inflexibly just.

    V. The third captain humbled himself and cast himself upon the mercy of God and Elijah. It does not appear that Ahaziah ordered him to do so (his stubborn heart is as hard as ever; so regardless is he of the terrors of the Lord, so little affected with the manifestations of his wrath, and withal so prodigal of the lives of his subjects, that he sends a third with the same provoking message to Elijah), but he took warning by the fate of his predecessors, who, perhaps, lay dead before his eyes; and, instead of summoning the prophet down, fell down before him, and begged for his life and the lives of his soldiers, acknowledging their own evil deserts and the prophet's power ( 13, 14): Let my life be precious in thy sight. Note, There is nothing to be got by contending with God: if we would prevail with him, it must be by supplication; if we would not fall before God, we must bow before him; and those are wise for themselves who learn submission from the fatal consequences of the obstinacy of others.

  3. VI. Elijah does more than grant the request of this third captain. God is not so severe with those that stand it out against him but he is as ready to show mercy to those that repent and submit to him; never any found it in vain to cast themselves upon the mercy of God. This captain, not only has his life spared, but is permitted to carry his point: Elijah, being so commanded by the angel, goes down with him to the king, 15. Thus he shows that he before refused to come, not because he feared the king or court, but because he would not be imperiously compelled, which would lessen the honour of his master; he magnifies his office. He comes boldly to the king, and tells him to his face (let him take it as he may) what he had before sent to him ( 16), that he shall surely and shortly die; he mitigates not the sentence, either for fear of the king's displeasure or in pity to his misery. The God of Israel has condemned him, let him send to see whether the god of Ekron can deliver him. So thunder-struck is Ahaziah with this message, when it comes from the prophet's own mouth, that neither he nor any of those about him durst offer him any violence, nor so much as give him an affront; but out of that den of lions he comes unhurt, like Daniel. Who can harm those whom God will shelter?
    i might as well add in the last part. :-D

    Lastly, The prediction is accomplished in a few days. Ahaziah died ( 17), and, dying childless, left his kingdom to his brother Jehoram. His father reigned wickedly twenty-two years, he not two. Sometimes the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power; but those who therefore promise themselves prosperity in impiety may perhaps find themselves deceived; for (as bishop Hall observes here), "Some sinners live long, to aggravate their judgment, others die soon, to hasten it;" but it is certain that evil pursues sinners, and, sooner or later, it will overtake them; nor will any thing fill the measure sooner than that complicated iniquity of Ahaziah--honouring the devil's oracles and hating God's oracles.

  4. The catch is, Jehu has to kill the Family of Ahab. Jezebel is thrown out a window, trampled by horses and eaten by dogs. She got off easy if you ask me.

    That wicked old woman is confined to Hell. You think that is getting off easy? :-D Granted she won't have to worry about God any more. HAA!HAA!

    Once again I'll point out that these chapters seem to be more a chronicle of politics and war and using "God" as an excuse for murdering your rivals.

    Nope don't think it's an excuse. Jehu didn't kill the seventy sons did he? No they were killed by the great men of the city because they feared for their own lives than that of the old kings sons. For the others to me it's they go to the city they will learn what has happened and blame me, then turn again and fight against me. Take'em out now. No problems later.

  5. Man Edward! It's gonna take me a week to read all this!

    God may not be an "excuse" per say but he was definitely used as a reason for the actions of those in power. Just like today's politics.

  6. Edward, that explanation for the killing of over a hundred people is a lot of words with little to back it up.

    He killed all those soldiers because of the tone of voice the commander used? First, how did he pick up on the tone of voice from the passage? If anyone questions whether he's a man of God, it's Elijah doing it. Second, what's the difference between the soldier standing behind the first two commanders and a soldier standing behind the third one? Can we infer from the "tone" that the soldiers were able to choose their regiment based on how much respect the commanders would show to a prophet?

    Who was killed and who was spared in this story makes it laughable that someone could say it proves "God is inflexibly just".

  7. @VT Teacher,

    I can really tell you have no experience with people that don't believe in God or anyone that has been/is in the miltary. :-D HA!HA! So really think about it. Your that captain of 50 men. Your leader was just told he's going to die by an old man, of a God that you don't serve. Your leader orders you to go get that old kook. What, really, do you think you as a captain of 50 men are going to ride in there with a chariot and the red carpet, roll it out and request Elijah in a polite manner that the king requests an audience with him? Your not that naive now, are you?

    You, as that captain, are going to have some attitude. You probably kill 4 men half this dudes age before breakfast every day. So now seeing that this old timer isn't hiding from you in fear, he's boldly sitting on a hill where everyone around can see him. What! you really don't think that posture would be an affront to your pride? Please. Be real here. Elijah is outnumbered 50 to 1. I believe anyone else would think i got this old man.

    I also think they would have been psyching themselves up on their march to get Elijah. Either vocally as a group or mentally as an individual. Now the second group even more so to avenge the death of their fallen brothers. The third group knew if they didn't tread lightly they were going to be toast. :-D (I just thought of the green mile. "Dead man walking! Dead man walking here!")

    He killed all those soldiers because of the tone of voice the commander used? First, how did he pick up on the tone of voice from the passage?

    Ok i think i know what you mean, however just to keep it lively i will say this. This recorded exchange was not scripted. Elijah didn't have a scroll he was reading from. :-D Matthew Henry picked up the tone because it makes sense to someone studying this in context. In that the captain had attitude. I even picked it up before i read what MH had to say. It's what i would expect from a soldier. It's the way they are trained.

    If anyone questions whether he's a man of God, it's Elijah doing it.

    Come on now! Really!? This is not Elijah questioning his position. This is a response to the captain and his disbelief and mockery. What really you think he would question it twice? Well he might have wanted to keep it scientific. You know, one would need to reproduce any test. :-D

    Second, what's the difference between the soldier standing behind the first two commanders and a soldier standing behind the third one?

    Simple, you know how some people suffer because of the decisions of their leaders? And they don't say a thing about their actions?

    The thing that i find laughable is your comment. I read it and thought you must be a speed reader. It reads as tho you skip several words and miss the point entirely. Do you even read along? Or just pop in on the ones you have personal issues with? It's possible that one of his subordinates could have talked to him about his dealing with the prophet. For one did such a thing just in the last chapter in the previous reading, did you even read it? 2 Kings 5:13,14 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

    So it's possible that someone could have spoken up. Your silence will account as agreement with what he just said. Again who do you fear most God or man? Matthew 10:28
    That's all i have to say about that... for now. :-D