2 Kings 13:14-25

Death of Elisha

14 When Elisha [f]became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the king of Israel came down to him and wept over [g]him and said, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he [h]took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow.” And he put his hand on it, then Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 17 He said, “Open the window toward the east,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot!” And he shot. And he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Aram; for you will [i]defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have [j]destroyed them.” 18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground,” and he struck it three times and [k]stopped. 19 So the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have [l]destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times.”

20 Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man [m]touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet.

22 Now Hazael king of Aram had oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now.

24 When Hazael king of Aram died, Ben-hadad his son became king in his place. 25 Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities which he had taken in war from the hand of Jehoahaz his father. Three times Joash [n]defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel.

We see now the one good thing Joash (kind of Israel) did. Though it’s possible he did others good deeds, this is the only one recorded here, and it is because he went to see Elisha before he died. We see very little of Elisha during the days of Jehu’s reign, or even during the reign of Jehoahaz, a period of 45 years!

The last “big” thing was when Elisha anointed Jehu, and 45 years later he’s here on his deathbed being visited by Jehu’s grandson Joash. At any rate, back to Joash’s visit to Elisha… Elisha promises him that God will give him victory over Aram, and then Elisha tells him to hit the ground with the arrows. But the mediocrity of Jehu’s sons shines through once more. There’s nothing worse than mediocrity, and “settling in”. In Jehu’s youth, it doesn’t seem that he served God much, but he was fearsome, and known for his wildness.

In his later years, that seemed to have waned, and then Israel was cursed with 2 more generations of mediocrity. Had Joash departed from that mindset, he might have conquered the Arameans once and for all. Instead, he would know the bitter taste of a partial victory.

In whatever you set your hand to, do it with all your heart, mind, and strength. Don’t do it halfway, and don’t relent until you’ve done what you set out to do.

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