Day 170 (June 19): Jehoahaz and Jehoash rulers of Israel, Jehoash weak on Elisha’s command, Elisha died, King Hazael died

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 13:1-11

2 Kings 12:17-21

2 Chronicles 24:23-27

2 Kings 13:14-25

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 13:1): Jehu was mostly good.  I wonder why his son turned evil?

A. There’s no way to tell, and that’s not really the focus of the story anyway.  It is not why you do evil (though that matters to God, just not to this author!), but what evil you do that matters.

Q. (12:18): I would call Joash a wimp!  I wonder why he didn’t ask God for help with enemies like the other kings before him.

A. That would have seemed to be a wise thing to do, but Joash appears to not be in relationship with God at this point.  A similar move by King Asa (back in 1 Kings 15) secured their survival, and it appears that this is what Joash is doing here.

Q. (2 Chronicles 24:23-24): Was the only purpose of God being with the Aramean army to conquer Judah?  The people weren’t following God, he just helped them fight, right?

A. God’s purpose in using other nations, to this point, is to get the attention of the either Israel or Judah.  Israel is further gone at this point, but it appears in this case that Judah needs some reminding as well.  So, no, the Arameans are not following God, He is using them as a “rod” to discipline His people for going astray.

Q. (24:25): Why would Joash’s officials seek revenge for Joash killing Zechariah, the son of Johoiada the priest when the leaders plotted to kill him (2 Chronicles 24:21).  Aren’t officials and leaders one in the same?

A. We are not told.  But it appears that even though they were his officials, they did not agree with the decision he made to have Zechariah murdered, and they looked for a time to avenge this murder.  The assassination can also be seen as divine judgment on Joash, which is what Zechariah asked for as he was dying (24:22)

Q. (24:25): Some kings were buried in the City of David and some weren’t, some in the royal cemetery and some not.  I don’t see a rhyme or reason to who was buried where.  The really bad ones were left for the dogs, but some who were kind of bad were still buried in the royal cemetery and some weren’t.

A. I’m not sure what the selection criterion is either, but it looks like the “royal cemetery” is the hall of fame, if you will: its where the best of the best are buried.  Others in David’s line (the major reason they are buried there at all) are buried in his city, Bethlehem, but not given the ceremonial burial.  So basically, it appears you got the royal burial for being fairly close in popularity and righteous action to the great ancestor, David himself.

Q. (24:26): I have noticed that mothers of kings and here, assassins are sometimes listed.  Why?  Is it because of royal bloodlines?

A. In some cases.  I suspect part of the reason has to do with this being an archive of sorts, so if a family member is known (or worth nothing!) they are listed.

Q. (2 Kings 13:14): 2 Kings 13:11 says that Jehoash did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.  So, it surprises me that he visited Elisha and wept because he was dying.

A. I suspect many of these men had moments of character show, and this appears to be one of those moments for these two men.  Even evil people — which on some level, we all are — are capable of great good and mercy.

Q. (13:19): There are so many riddles.  And if you don’t do them just right, you don’t get the full prize.  Why?  He obviously had more arrows and when Elisha told him to pick up his “other arrows,” he meant all of them?

A. Jehoash’s response to the challenge was half-hearted: instead of using ALL of his arrows, he only uses three.  This timid, unenthusiastic response is probably what upset Elisha.  Jehoash could not even muster a strong response when challenged.

Q. (13:23): I wonder if it weren’t for His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, if God would have given up on the Israelites.  I would say “no” because Jesus is prophesied to come from there.

A. Let’s hold on to that one for a few chapters, ok?

Q. (13:24): Hazael kills Ben-Hadad, but then names his son the same thing?  Maybe Ben-Hadad means like strong warrior or something?  That brings up another question.  There are so many kings whose name starts with a “J”.  Do the names have a meaning?  Like mine means “meadow” or something glorious like that.  I just wonder how people in Bible times decided on names for their children.

A. Ok, let’s see.  At least three people in our story have the name Ben-Hadad.  This is because, like the Egyptian “Pharaoh,” it is a title, not a name.  It means Son (ben) of Hadad — the god of the Arameans, also called Syrians in some translations.  So different people who rule as king of this nation carry this title — names like Hazael, who as king was also technically ben-hadad, probably help the readers keep up with who’s who.  So that’s why the name keeps popping up.

You’ve clearly noticed some pattern in the naming of Jewish men and to a lesser extent women.  One pattern we see is that many Jewish names are based upon the name of God in the OT — The Hebrew YHWH (which is given to us in English as Yahweh or Jehovah).  Note that those first three letters in “Jehovah” are the same ones showing up in most of the names (such as Jehoash, which means God (YHWH) has bestowed).  Many of the names that we have seen or will see come from that pattern.

The catch, if you will, is that since all of these names are translated into English from Hebrew, there have to be some editing choices.  So once you have settled on the name of God (Yahweh or Jehovah), then you have the “template” for all the other names based upon the name of God.  Feel free to ask about any names you see in the future.  I can usually find their translation from Hebrew.

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