Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 P.M.


A Study of the Bible


A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF KINGS


The Ministry of the Prophet Elijah to Israel 1 Kings 21:1–2 Kings 2:15


Notes


Introduction


Ahab’s wickedness was never the result of lack of warning from God. He had suffered the awful effects of a drought and he had attended the meeting at Mt. Carmel when God answered the prayer of Elijah by fire. He knew that God, prayer and the prophet of God were the only means of life for him and his kingdom. Yet, he determined to again and again disobey God. Always willing and ready to listen to his wicked wife Jezebel, he became involved in one of the most senseless crimes recorded in Biblical history.


I. Ahab and Jezebel’s Wicked Deed (1 Kings 21:1-29)


A. Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-4)


Ahab’s capital was at Samaria, but he had a favorite residence in the beautiful city of Jezreel. He desired to improve his domain with a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. When the king offered to buy or trade other, or better property for the vineyard, Naboth refused, exercising his rights as a true son of Israel. Ahab’s reaction to this refusal was like that of a spoiled child; he took to his bed, pouted, and refused to eat.


B. Jezebel’s Wicked Deed (1 Kings 21:5-16)


Jezebel devised a plan to rouse the king from his despondency. She proclaimed a fast in the name of religion and loyalty to the king. She then had the elders of the city find two culprits to give false witness against Naboth. On the basis of this false evidence, Naboth was dragged out of the city and stoned as a blasphemer against God and the king. After Naboth’s burial, Jezebel summoned Ahab to take possession of the vineyard he had coveted.


C. Elijah Pronounces Judgment (1 Kings 21:17-29)


God sent Elijah to meet Ahab. The king’s conscience betrayed him when he cried, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” The prophet answered, “I have found you.” Elijah used the scene of this crime as an occasion to pronounce God’s judgment upon Ahab and all his family for their sins: “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” Jezebel’s fate was to be even worse, for the dogs would eat her flesh under the walls of Jezreel. The whole house of Ahab would be exterminated and their flesh devoured by dogs and vultures (1 Kings 21:24). Ahab repented and humbled himself with fasting and sackcloth. Because of his repentance and humbling of himself, God postponed the full execution of the sentence upon his family until after Ahab’s death. This was Elijah’s last mission to Ahab. The next we read of Elijah occurs when Ahaziah, Ahab’s wicked son, is king of Israel.


II. Wars of Ahab with Syria (1 Kings 20:1-43)


A. Siege of Samaria (1 Kings 20:1-21)


The last years of Ahab were spent in two great wars with Syria. Ben-hadad had been treating Ahab as a servant and the king of Israel had complied with his demands until he finally realized Ben-hadad’s demands were leading to war. Ben-hadad came to take Samaria with thirty-two confederate kings and seemed so sure of the victory that he mixed pleasure with duty. Ahab’s small army encountered them at a noontime banquet. The panic-stricken Syrians were pursued and slaughtered. Ben-hadad barely escaped with his life. God had told Ahab, through a message of a prophet, that he would win the battle.


B. Victory at Aphek (1 Kings 20:22-34)


The same prophet, which had assured Ahab he would defeat Ben-hadad, now warned Ahab that there would be another attack in the following year. There was a battle at the walled city of Aphek and Israel once again was victorious. Ben-hadad threw himself on the mercy of Ahab. Instead of seizing the opportunity to regain the frontier of Solomon on the northeast and to restore the kingdom of Israel in the fear of God, Ahab was content with Ben-hadad’s promise to give back the towns taken from Omri by Ben-hadad and to have men stationed at Damascus. Ahab’s impulsive act of generosity proved fatal.


C. The Prophet’s Message to Ahab (1 Kings 20:35-43)


For the fourth time in this war, a prophet was sent to Ahab. Through symbolical action and story of a hypothetical soldier derelict in his duty to guard a prisoner, the prophet obtained the king’s judgment against himself. He told the king that God would take his life in place of the life of Ben-hadad. Ahab returned to Samaria a troubled king.


III. The Death of Ahab (1 Kings 22:1-40)


A. Jehoshaphat and Ahab (1 Kings 22:1-122 Chronicles 2-6)


The peace with Syria lasted for three years. Ben-hadad, however, did not keep his promise to restore the cities that had been taken. Ahab took advantage of a visit from Jehoshaphat, who had become his ally through the marriage of his daughter to Jehoshaphat’s son, to propose a joint expedition for the recovery of Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat responded, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” Even after Jehoshaphat’s affirmative response, he required confirmation of their war plans through the counsel of a prophet of God. Ahab tried to satisfy him by summoning his 400 prophets, who with one voice promised the king the victory in the name of Jehovah. Jehoshaphat, not satisfied with the answer of the 400 prophets, asked “Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?”


B. The Prophet Micaiah (1 Kings 22:13-282 Chronicles 18:7-27)


Ahab reluctantly admitted that there was one more. There was a certain prophet named Micaiah, whom he despised because he never had anything good to say about him. When Micaiah was summoned, he was instructed by the messenger to make sure his answer lined up with that of the king’s 400 prophets. And he did. Ahab, sensing mockery, commanded Micaiah to tell the truth. The truth was a prophecy of king Ahab’s death and a denunciation of the other prophets as having a lying spirit sent by God to deceive Ahab. The king had Micaiah returned to his city and imprisoned until he returned from the battle.


C. The Battle and Ahab’s Death (1 Kings 22:29-402 Chronicles 18:28-34)


Ahab decided to disguise himself when he went into battle at Ramoth Gilead because of Micaiah’s words. Jehoshaphat acted as decoy by wearing his royal robes. This action by Jehoshaphat, in opposition to God’s pronounced judgment against Ahab, almost cost him his life. Ahab’s disguise also failed to protect him from the prophesied end, as he was mortally wounded by a ‘chance’ shot from a bow. His body was returned to Samaria and there buried, but not until the words spoken by Elijah, at Naboth’s vineyard, were fulfilled. As his chariot was washed at the pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up the blood. Ahab was succeeded by his son, Ahaziah.


IV. Jehoshaphat Reproved (2 Chronicles 19:1-11)


Jehoshaphat, although unharmed, was probably quite shaken from his experience. As he was returning to Jerusalem, the prophet Jehu, son of Hanani, met Jehoshaphat and said to him, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” His recent folly and the prophet’s words could leave no doubt in Jehoshaphat’s mind that it was wrong for him to have an alliance with those who hated God. Motivated by this awareness, the king returned home with new zeal to work for even greater reforms in his kingdom. He went through his kingdom, from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim, calling the people back to the God of their fathers. He appointed judges in all the fortified cities and in Jerusalem he established a court of priests and Levites and heads of houses for the final decisions of all cases relating to the law of Jehovah. He made Amariah high priest for all the matters in religion and Zebadiah, son of Ishmael, was made prince of Judah over matters relating to the king. He reminded the judges throughout the land to “take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” They were to judge, not for man, but for God and in the fear of Jehovah. The supreme court was admonished to “Behave courageously, and the Lord will be with the good.”


V. Judah Invaded: Jehoshaphat’s Prayer and Deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:1–21:3)


A. War with Moab and Ammon (2 Chronicles 20:1-13)


The defeat at Ramoth Gilead encouraged old enemies on the eastern frontier. The Moabites, the Ammonites with the people of Mount Seir, and the tribes of the neighboring desert decided to throw off the yoke which they had endured since the time of David. When word was brought that the enemy was at En Gedi on the west side of the Dead Sea, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout Judah and held a great prayer meeting before the temple. He appealed to God not to let the heathen, whom he had driven out before His people, cast them out of his possession. Answer to prayer was given in a most unusual way.


B. Jehovah’s Answer to Jehoshaphat’s Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:14-28)


In the congregation, the Spirit of God fell upon Jahaziel, a Levite, and he cried out that the king and people should go forth; God would give them victory over their enemies without battle. He told them “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” In the morning, with songs of praise, they marched toward the battle scene. When the men of Judah arrived, the nations had fought among themselves and, from the watchtower, they could see the earth covered with dead bodies. The battle was over. With the spoil, they went back to Jerusalem singing again the songs of praise.


C. The Remaining Time of Jehoshaphat’s Reign (1 Kings 22:48-502 Kings 32 Chronicles 20:29-21:3)


This great deliverance caused terror in all the surrounding nations and Judah had peace for the rest of Jehoshaphat’s reign. Jehoshaphat went against Moab with Ahab’s son, King Jehoram, as an ally. Victory was given by God again in an unusual manner. However, when Jehoshaphat unnecessarily involved himself with Ahaziah in an attempt to renew the maritime enterprises of Solomon by way of the Red Sea, God allowed the fleet to be wrecked at Ezion Geber as a punishment. Jehoshaphat died, leaving his kingdom to an unworthy son, Jehoram.


VI. Elijah’s Final Ministry (2 Kings 1:1-18)


A. Moab’s Rebellion (2 Kings 1:1)


The rebellion of Moab is mentioned briefly here. Both Omri and Ahab had oppressed Moab. The complete report of this rebellion is found in the third chapter of 2 Kings. An ancient monument known as the Moabite stone has the interesting record of this revolt, “Omri King of Israel oppressed Moab many days for Chemosh (Moab’s idol-god) was angry with his land. His son (Ahab) followed him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab.” This is part of the inscription contained on this stone. The Biblical account of this incident confirms the inscription to be a record of actual events.


B. Ahaziah, Eighth King of Israel (1 Kings 22:51-532 Kings 1:2)


Ahaziah began to reign in Israel in the seventeenth year of the reign of Jehoshaphat of Judah. He reigned in Samaria for two years. He was the son of Ahab and Jezebel. His character is described by the words, “He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; for he served Baal and worshiped him, and provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done.” When he was very ill from a fall through a lattice of his palace, he sent a messenger to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron. This brought Elijah on the scene once again.


C. Elijah’s Message and Fate of the King’s Messengers (2 Kings 1:3-18)


Elijah was told by God to go and meet the king’s messengers and to instruct them to inform the king that he would surely die because he had inquired of an idol as if there were not a God in Israel. When the king asked who it was that had given them this message of death, they could only give a description, because the prophet was not known to the messengers. With their description of “a hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.” Ahaziah immediately recognized the man to be Elijah, the Tishbite. Elijah had been the terror of his father’s court. King Ahaziah sent a band of soldiers to seize the prophet. They found him sitting on “the top of an hill” (probably Carmel) and the captain, likely in a mocking tone, called to him, “Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!’” “If I am a man of God,” Elijah responded, “then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And it was done. The same thing happened to the second fifty sent by the king. The third group of fifty, knowing the fate of the two units previously sent, asked mercy of Elijah. This time God commanded Elijah to go with them. Elijah personally gave the message which God had given him for the king. This was Elijah’s last visit to the house of Ahab. Ahaziah never rose from his bed, but died leaving his kingdom to his brother, Jehoram.


VII. Elijah’s Translation (2 Kings 2:1-15)


A. From Gilgal to Jordan (2 Kings 2:1-8)


When the time came that God had appointed to “take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind,” the prophet was with Elisha at Gilgal. It seems that Elijah wanted the end of his life to be spent as he had spent the greater part of it, in solitude with God. His devoted servant, Elisha, insisted on following him to Bethel. The sons of the prophets met Elisha with the words, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” Elisha answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!” The same scene was repeated at Jericho. Elijah asked Elisha to stay behind, but he refused. Coming to Jordan, fifty sons of the prophets came out to watch them cross the plain. Arriving at the river’s edge, Elijah rolled up his mantle and struck the water with it; immediately the waters parted. The two walked through Jordan on dry ground.


B. Elisha’s Request (2 Kings 2:9-15)


Elijah asked Elisha what he desired as a parting gift. Elisha expressed his desire for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to rest upon him. He wanted to succeed to the prophetic office to be made heir of the power to work miracles and turn the hearts of Israel to God. Elijah said he had asked a bold thing, however, the request would be granted should Elisha see him taken into heaven. Elisha found himself suddenly separated from Elijah by a chariot and horses of fire. He saw Elijah vanish into heaven and cried, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” He realized the meaning of the chariots sent to take Elijah, who, in actuality, had been the true strength of Israel against her own kings. Elisha took up the mantle which Elijah had let fall. He divided the waters of Jordan on his return to Jericho and the prophets who had been watching welcomed him as the successor of Elijah.


 


 


 


Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 P.M.


A Study of the Bible


A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF KINGS


The Ministry of the Prophet Elijah to Israel 1 Kings 21:1–2 Kings 2:15

Daily Bible Study Questions


Note: Read notes and Scripture references before answering the questions. Try to answer all questions, but don’t be discouraged if some seem a little hard. Unless otherwise instructed, use Bible only in answering questions.


 


1. From the notes, what was most meaningful to you about this lesson?


 


 


2. Give the name of the first king of Judah who, according to the Scripture, did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.


 


 


3. Give the name of the king who gave Judah its highest religious and political standards, up to this time, in the history of the kingdoms.


 


 


4. Make a list of as many miracles as you can find in this lesson on the life of Elijah (1 Kings 17-19).


 


Read 1 Kings 19:19-1 Kings 21.


 


5. From what two things did Elisha separate himself to indicate that he took seriously his call by Elijah?


 


 


6. How would you describe King Ahab in 1 Kings 20? Give a verse to substantiate your evaluation.


 


 


7. In the incident of Naboth the Jezreelite, give the verse which would indicate Ahab acted like a spoiled child because he couldn’t have what he wanted.


 


 


8. What wicked plot did Jezebel devise to end Ahab’s hunger strike? What added to the subtlety of it?


 


 


9. What were the results of Jezebel and Ahab’s wickedness?


 


 


10. What is interesting about the question with which Ahab addressed Elijah in 1 Kings 21:20?


 


 


11. (a) If, as some scholars believe, the two wars with Syria took place after the incident of Ahab and Naboth, placing 1 Kings 20 following 1 Kings 21, do you feel this would explain God’s goodness to Ahab in time of war—because he had humbled himself before the Lord?


 


 


(b) Where were the two battles fought?


 


 


Read 1 Kings 222 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 2:1-2.


 


12. What do you find particularly interesting about 1 Kings 22:15-16 in the context of the whole incident of the false prophets and the true prophet?


 


 


13. What choice did Micaiah, the true prophet, make rather than to be false?


 


 


14. (a) What verse in 1 Kings 22 shows Micaiah’s confidence in what God had revealed to him?


 


 


(b) What importance does this incident place on our having discernment concerning false and true teachers?


 


 


15. In 1 Kings 22, what did King Ahab do to circumvent Micaiah’s prophecy as they went to battle against Ramoth Gilead and what was the result?


 


 


16. What prophecy was fulfilled at Ahab’s death that was given by Elijah in the previous chapter? Give verse.


 


 


17. Jehoshaphat, after returning to Jerusalem from the battle at Ramoth Gilead, joined in another alliance with Ahab’s son, Ahaziah. According to 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, how did God show His displeasure again with Jehoshaphat?


 


 


18. How would you evaluate the reign of Jehoshaphat?


 


Read 2 Kings, chapters 1 and 2.


To better understand this section of scripture, you may wish to refer to the attached map.


See map, Life of Elisha.


 


19. (a) What first encounter do we have with King Ahaziah that would indicate he did not worship God?


 


 


(b) What means did God use to witness to Israel again that He is God?


 


 


20. What two miracles did Elisha perform that would substantiate to the prophets that he was Elijah’s successor? Give verses.


 


 


21. What judgment fell on the gang of youth as a result of their malicious intent toward the prophet Elisha?


 


 


 


Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 P.M.


A Study of the Bible


A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF SAMUEL


Elisha Succeeds Elijah as Prophet to Israel 2 Kings 2:9–13:21

Notes


I. The Prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-25)


A. Elisha’s Call (1 Kings 19:19-21)


Elisha’s home was in Abel Meholah, a place in the valley of the Jordan on the border of the plain of Jezreel (Judges 7:221 Kings 4:12). Elijah, en route to Damascus, met Elisha in a field plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, a proof of the wealth he abandoned to “put his hand to the plow” of Jehovah. Without saying a word, Elijah cast his prophet’s mantle upon Elisha, as if claiming a son. Elisha, whose heart had been prepared by God, only requested that he might say goodbye to his parents. Elijah’s response to the request showed a keen feeling on his part for Elisha’s separation from the ties of home. This was a beautiful incident of courage and love on the part of Elisha. Upon returning to Elijah, he took his yoke of oxen and sacrificed them. Burning the wood of the yoke and the plow, he made a feast for his friends in the village. He then followed Elijah and became his “servant.” This was the term used to describe the relationship between a prophet and one nearest to him. Gehazi later was referred to as the servant of Elisha. It was an honor to be known as “Elisha, the son of Shaphat, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.”


B. Elisha’s First Miracles (2 Kings 2:9-25)


Elisha’s request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to rest upon him was granted as he watched Elijah ascend into the heavens in a chariot of fire. He desired that through miracles of God the hearts of the people of Israel, who had forsaken Him, would return. Elisha took up the mantle which Elijah had let fall and at once performed a miracle by again dividing the waters of Jordan on his return to Jericho. His stay there was marked by the miracle of purifying the water by putting a cruse of salt into it. Elisha then returned to Bethel traveling the same route he and Elijah had taken earlier. Bethel was the seat of Jeroboam’s calf-worship, and it was here that Elisha was taunted and threatened by a large gang of youth as he tried to enter the city. At this, Elisha assumed the sternness of his master. “So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord.” The Scriptures tell us two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the youth. The severity of the punishment would indicate that Elisha’s very life had been in danger.


From Bethel, Elisha went to Carmel and then to Samaria. He was now fully recognized as the new prophet and lived the rest of his life in Samaria.


II. Jehoram (Joram), Ninth King of Israel (2 Kings 3:1-27)


A. Jehoram, King of Israel (2 Kings 3:1-3)


The ninth king of Israel was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, and was the successor of his brother, whose short reign had lasted just two years. Jehoram reigned twelve years at Samaria. He kept close alliance with Judah, and perhaps by the influence of Jehoshaphat was better than his father and brother. He removed Ahab’s image of Baal, but he still practiced the idolatries of Jeroboam.


 B. Moab’s Rebellion (2 Kings 3:4-27)


The defeat of Ahab at Ramoth and the dominion of the Syrians in the country east of Jordan had encouraged Mesha, the king of Moab, to revolt from Israel and to refuse his annual tribute of lambs and rams. Ahaziah’s illness had kept him from taking the field, but Jehoram asked help from Jehoshaphat. In order to reach Moab, it was necessary to march through Judah’s territory by way of the wilderness of Edom. Edom joined with Judah for this expedition. After seven days of marching through the desert, the armies were without water. It was discovered at this time that Elisha was in the camp. After contemptuously telling Jehoram to seek advice from the prophets of his father and mother, Elisha consented to respond in their time of need for the sake of Jehoshaphat. A minstrel was called, and when the minstrel played, the Spirit of God came upon Elisha. He told them to dig trenches all over the plain. He told them that God would not only give them water, but complete victory over Moab as well. The trenches were dug, and in the morning the water came from the hills. The whole plain looked like a lake. The Moabites went out to meet the enemy. The red rays of the rising sun reflecting on the water made it look like a lake of blood. Thinking that the allied armies had been destroyed, they raised the cry, “Now, therefore, Moab, to the spoil.” Rushing in disorder upon the camp, they were met by the army and were pursued into their own country with a terrible slaughter. The victory was followed by an exterminating war. The cities of Moab were razed, stones thrown into the corn fields, wells filled up and fruit trees cut down. Seeing his terrible dilemma, the king of Moab resorted to his repulsive heathen superstition. He offered his eldest son and heir as a burnt-offering to Moloch upon the wall and in the sight of all. This act brought about great indignation against Israel. They departed and returned to their own land.


In this war with Moab, Elisha’s miracle probably accounts for the peace in which the prophet lived during most of Jehoram’s reign. The miracles of Elisha fill the greater part of the Biblical history of Israel under Jehoram.


III. Additional Miracles of Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-6:7)


These miracles characterize Elisha’s ministry and God’s provision of grace to broken humanity: the thirsty were refreshed, the poor and needy were provided for, the childless became the joyful mother of children, the dead were raised to life, the brokenhearted bound up, the sick healed and the hungry fed. How often human wisdom overlooks the true source of blessing which reaches down in power and love to meet the needs of those who will obey and trust God.


A. God Heals Naaman of Leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27)


1. Naaman Seeks Help in Israel (2 Kings 5:1-14)


The readiness of the Israelite maid in Naaman’s house to share her faith, not only in the prophet Elisha but also in the God of Elisha, was a significant factor in Naaman’s healing and conversion. This incident is often used to illustrate the gospel message because of the similarities often found in one indignant with God’s plan of salvation. The hopeless position of Naaman, the simplicity of the remedy, his obedience to the Word of God required, and his healing—all speak to us about the fact that if we would experience the blessings of God, we too must know what He requires and in humble obedience act upon it. How many there are who seek more attractive alternatives to avoid the humbling demands of the Word of God.


2. Naaman’s Conversion (2 Kings 5:15-19)


Naaman declared, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” He resolved to worship the true and living God. In 2 Kings 5:11, Naaman had said, “Indeed, I said to myself.” How beautiful it is to be able to say, “Indeed, now I know.” There can be no doubt when we obey the Word of God because obedience to His Word effects changes in our lives.


B. Gehazi Afflicted because of Covetousness (2 Kings 5:20-27)


Gehazi became a leper because he sinned. He not only lied for personal gain, but his selfish interest in money lessened the effectiveness of Elisha’s ministry for God. This should be a warning to all servants of God who would put personal gain ahead of the cause of God.


C. Summary of Miracles


It is interesting to note that three miracles of Elisha foreshadowed those of Christ:


1. Raising the dead to life


2. Multiplying food


3. Healing the leper Elijah had performed two of these also, but the last one only Elisha had done.


These chapters have focused on many of Elisha’s miracles: the multiplying the oil of a prophet’s widow, to save her two sons from being taken as bondsmen by her creditors; the hospitality Elisha received from a great lady of Shunem and to whom a son was granted at the prophet’s prayer; the boy being brought back to life again at the prophet’s prayer; the healing of poisoned food for the sons of the prophet at Gilgal; the multiplication of the twenty barley loaves and ears of corn for starving people; the healing of Naaman; Gehazi’s illness as punishment for his covetousness; Elisha causing the iron ax head that had fallen into the Jordan to swim to the surface. With the relating of the miracle of the floating ax head, we return in the text to the history of Israel concerning its state of affairs.


V. Elisha and the Syrians (2 Kings 6:8–8:6)


A. Syria’s Plan to Capture Elisha and the Results (2 Kings 6:8-23)


At this time, Israel was being harassed by destructive invasions from Damascus, perpetrated by the king of Syria. During these invasions, Jehoram was more than once saved from being taken prisoner by the Syrian army through the warnings of Elisha. Since Elisha was a threat to the success of the Syrians, King Ben hadad sent men to seize him at Dothan. During the night, the Syrian chariots moved in to seize Elisha. When the terrified servant came to inform Elisha that they were surrounded, Elisha prayed that the young man’s eyes be opened. At once, the servant saw the whole mountain filled with chariots of fire and horses of fire guarding his master. Psalm 34:7 tells us, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” As the Syrians drew near, they were struck with blindness. Elisha led them to Samaria, where he restored their sight. He instructed the king of Israel to feed his enemies and send them back to Syria. For a time, this put a stop to the invasions from Syria.


B. Samaria Besieged: The King’s Wrath against Elisha (2 Kings 6:24-8:6)


To this point in the reign of Jehoram, we have seen him as one who put down the worship of Baal and was victorious against his enemies by the power of God, through the prophet Elisha. However, a great change took place, which ultimately caused a relapse into the idolatry we find at the close of his reign. Yet he was not forsaken by God.


His great enemy, Syria, pressed him harder than ever: Samaria suffered a siege unequaled in horror until the final catastrophe of Jerusalem. The king threw his rage upon Elisha, who had probably foretold the destruction. The cruel purpose of “this son of a murderer,” as the prophet called him, was rebuked by a new prophecy given by Elisha of the plenty that was to visit the famished city. This prophecy was fulfilled by the panic flight of the Syrians during the night. A more picturesque incident in Biblical history is not to be found than the despairing visit of the four lepers to the deserted camp. “If we sit still here we die! If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.”


This siege was probably in the fifth year of Jehoram’s reign and, as prophesied by Elisha, there was a famine during the last seven years of his reign as a result of his apostasy.


VI. Extinction of the House of Ahab (2 Kings 8:7–12:21)


A. Events Leading to the Extinction of the House of Ahab (2 Kings 8:7-15)


1. Elisha’s Visit to Damascus (2 Kings 8:7-8)


The threatened judgment upon the house of Ahab was now fast approaching. Elisha left the land of Israel and went to the land of Damascus, for he had been directed by the Lord to visit the sick king of Syria, Ben-hadad. You will remember in a past lesson from 1 Kings 19:15 that God had given the commission to Elijah to anoint Hazael king over Syria. Elijah never did this, nor in his lifetime did he anoint Jehu king of Israel. Both these men were instruments of judgment: Hazael against Israel and Jehu to bring about the prophesied judgment upon the house of Ahab.


2. Elisha Meets Hazael (2 Kings 8:9-15)


Hazael came with costly gifts to meet Elisha as a messenger of the sick King Ben-hadad. The king’s question was, “Shall I recover from this disease?” The prophet answered what the Lord had revealed to him. The king’s sickness was not fatal, yet the king would surely die. He would die by other means. The reply was certainly not to suggest, but to unmask the treacherous thoughts of Hazael. Then with a burst of grief, the prophet foretold the cruelties Hazael would inflict on God’s people. Hazael responded in these words, “But what is your servant—a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” History records that he did indeed do them. Many examples in the history of man have shown us that ambition plunges men into crime under the pretext of destiny. Although Hazael gave Ben-hadad the assurance that he would recover, the next day he suffocated him with a cloth dipped in water and took the throne.


B. Brief Record of the Kings of Judah and Israel (2 Kings 8:16-29)


(NOTE: We will be studying the kings of Judah in greater detail at the conclusion of our study of the northern kingdom of Israel.)


We will take just a brief paragraph here to show the fast approach of Israel toward the long threatened judgment. After the death of Jehoshaphat, his son Jehoram (Joram) became ruler over Judah. His reign was wicked and the Bible records the reason, “for the daughter of Ahab was his wife.” Ahaziah reigned after Jehoram. He made an alliance with the son of Ahab, whose name was also Joram (Jehoram) and who was king of Israel. As a result of the unholy marriage of Jehoshaphat’s son with Ahab’s wicked daughter Athaliah, we see a dreadful harvest, as both kingdoms were involved in God’s judgment on the house of Ahab.


C. The Anointing of Jehu as King over Israel (2 Kings 9:1-10)


The last few verses of 2 Kings 8 presents the background against the proceedings of the ninth chapter. Probably in the confusion of the change of dynasty, Jehoram, king of Israel, with Ahaziah as his ally, took possession of Ramoth Gilead, the scene of Ahab’s death. Jehoram was wounded in battle with the Syrians and returned to Jezreel to recover. It was at this time that Ahaziah went to visit him. 


The absence of both kings from their armies gave opportunity for Jehu to be anointed king. According to the word of the Lord to Elisha, he sent one of the sons of the prophets to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, to be king of Israel. Jehu, at the time of his anointing, was one of the captains of the army. Calling Jehu out of the court where the captains were gathered, the prophet discharged his duty and then fled. Upon his return, Jehu related to his associates what had happened. This was a time for revolt, and placing Jehu before the army, they blew trumpets and shouted, “Jehu is king.” 


D. Jehu Executes Judgment on the House of Ahab (2 Kings 9:11-10:17)


No mention is made of Jehu serving the Lord, but he was an instrument to carry out judgment on the house of Ahab and to avenge the blood of the prophets and the Lord’s servants at the hand of Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab was to perish like that of Jeroboam and that of Baasha (1 Kings 14:10 and 1 Kings 16:3). “The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.” Fifteen years had passed since Elijah gave this prophecy, and now the time had come. Jehu went from the anointing at Ramoth to the vineyard of Naboth, then to Gur and on to Jezreel, then to the shearing house and on to Samaria. The path was marked by blood, as judgment was executed against the wickedness of those who chose to be against God. They had turned aside from righteousness and practiced ungodliness by choice. Remember that God had put the prophets before king and people to warn of pending judgment. May God ever keep us sensitive to His revealed Word. The day will surely come when the Lord will judge this world, and our choices today determine what that day will mean to each of us. The promises of that day can be great and wonderful to those who obey His will and Word, and yet can bring great sadness for those who choose to reject God’s Word. 


Joram and Ahaziah fell under the judgment executed by Jehu; then came Jezebel. In Jezreel, he slew all that remained of the house of Ahab, including the seventy princes and sons of the brethren of Ahaziah. 


E. Jehu Destroys Baal-Worship (2 Kings 10:18-36)


In great subtlety, Jehu destroyed the worshipers of Baal. He had the worshipers of Baal all gather in one great assembly and had them proceed with their sacrifices and service. Then, making sure no one who served Jehovah was present, he gave the signal for destruction. All the worshipers of Baal were killed. The images and statues were destroyed. The worship of Baal was never openly restored in Israel. 


F. Athaliah, the Daughter of Ahab, and Joash (2 Kings 11:1-12:21)


One member of the house of Ahab was still left, his daughter Athaliah, the queen mother of Judah. Hearing of her sons’ death, she slew all the royal seed of Judah except Joash, the youngest of Ahaziah’s sons. He was hidden by his aunt Jehosheba, the daughter of Jehoram and wife of the high priest Jehoiada. After six years, the high priest Jehoiada led the revolt against the rule of Athaliah. Although Joash was but a child, he was crowned king of Judah to replace the queen mother. As word of the ceremony reached her, she came forward to cry, “Treason!” The captains were ordered to carry her out of the temple, and she was slain by the royal palace. Following the extinction of the last of the house of Ahab, Jehoiada renewed the covenant of David and established true worship in Judah. Joash reigned in Judah and sat upon the throne of Solomon.


VII. The Death of Elisha (2 Kings 13:1-21)


During the reign of Jehoash, the twelfth king of Israel, Elisha died and a last miracle was wrought by his body. Some men were burying a man, when they were alarmed by the approach of a plundering band of Moabites. In their fear to escape, they threw the body into the first opened tomb in the face of the rock. It was the tomb of Elisha and, touching the body, the dead man came to life. 


VIII. Summary of the Life of Elisha


Elisha was a prophet as well as a great statesman. It seemed he held Israel in the hollow of his hand. Kings revered him and feared him, or hated him and feared him. He filled his place in Biblical history as a man of God and a mighty personality. He had been faithful to his office as prophet of God in Israel for over sixty years.

 


Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 P.M.


A Study of the Bible


A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF SAMUEL


Elisha Succeeds Elijah as Prophet to Israel 2 Kings 2:9–13:21

Daily Bible Study Questions


 


Note: Read notes and Scripture references before answering the questions. Try to answer all questions, but don’t be discouraged if some seem a little hard. Unless otherwise instructed, use Bible only in answering questions.


 


1. As you read your notes, underline the prophetic utterances by prophets that were literally fulfilled.


 


 


2. If you were asked to give a lesson on courage and truthfulness, what illustrations could you use in developing this topic from notes on lesson 15?


 


 


3. Do you feel that you have personally lacked courage to speak out against things you know to be contrary to the Word of God for fear of being classified as a negative individual?


 


 


Read 2 Kings, chapters 3 and 4.


 


4. (a) We read over and over again the phrase “the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin.” Just how would you define the sins of Jeroboam? (See 1 Kings 12-132 Kings 3:3.)


 


 


(b) Are the basic principles still in existence?


 


 


5.   Jehoram, king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, with the king of Edom united to go against Moab because of their rebellion to Israel. After traveling seven days they ran short of having enough water for their fighting men.


(a) Who did they find with them in the camp and how did he help them?


 


 


(b) What makes 2 Kings 3:14 so interesting?


 


 


6. (a) List the miracles in 2 Kings 4. Give references.


 


 


(b) Give some spiritual counterparts of expecting miracles in our daily needs.


 


 


Read 2 Kings 5.


 


7. Although Naaman was a great and mighty man and knew victory in war, in what area of his life did he discover he had no power?


 


 


8. How can the story of Naaman illustrate the Gospel message?


 


 


9. Naaman knew his need and was led to the source of help and blessing, but what was his hang-up (which so often stands in the way of our receiving what God has for us)?


 


 


10. (a) What illustration do we have of covetousness in 2 Kings 5?


 


 


(b) What are its results?


 


 


Read 2 Kings, chapters 6 through 8.


 


11. The “school” of the prophets needed new quarters. What conditions made the work successful?


 


 


12. Give as many evidences as you can from 2 Kings, chapters 6 through 8 of God’s mercy and love for Israel, even though they were in blindness and sin.


 


 


13. Give verses which tell of the prophet of God weeping for Israel. State why he wept.


 


 


Read 2 Kings, chapters 9 and 10.


 


14. What two things, which were given in a commission to Elijah, do we read as being confirmed by his successor, Elisha? (2 Kings 8-91 Kings 19:15-16)


 


 


15. What two prophecies concerning the house of Ahab for his wickedness were fulfilled in these chapters and by whom? Can you find the references where these prophecies are given?


 


 


16. Besides the purging of the house of Ahab, what other purge did Jehu make?


 


 


17. Of what sin was Jehu himself guilty?


 


 


Read 2 Kings, chapters 11 through 13.


 


18. (a) What woman ruler is mentioned as reigning over Judah for six years?


 


 


(b) How would you summarize her rule?


 


 


19. Who took the lead in bringing Judah to the return of a rightful king?


 


 


20. (a) Give the verses that record the death of Elisha.


 


 


(b) What last prediction did he make for the history of Israel?


 


 


21. Take time to study your chart of kings and prophets up to this time in the history of Israel and Judah.