Read 2 Kings 8
The Shunammite’s Land Restored
8 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” 2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.
3 At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to appeal to the king for her house and land. 4 The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land.
Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.
Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”
Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad
7 Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,” 8 he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the Lord through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
9 Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
10 Elisha answered, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless, the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.” 11 He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael was embarrassed. Then the man of God began to weep.
12 “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.
“Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.”
13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”
“The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram,” answered Elisha.
14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, “What did Elisha say to you?” Hazael replied, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.
Jehoram King of Judah
16 In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 18 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 19 Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.
20 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. 21 So Jehoram went to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night; his army, however, fled back home. 22 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time.
23 As for the other events of Jehoram’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 24 Jehoram rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah King of Judah
25 In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. 27 He followed the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family.
28 Ahaziah went with Joram son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; 29 so King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramoth in his battle with Hazael king of Aram.
Then Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab, because he had been wounded.
In this chapter, though four different things happen, they all serve to illustrate God’s sovereignty and His faithfulness to His people. Mainly, we will look at the story of the woman who regained her land and of Jehoram King of Judah.
As we saw before in 2 Kings 4, God through Elisha had blessed a woman with a son despite her husband’s old age and later brought that same boy back to life. Elisha now warns the woman of a famine in the land and tells her to pack up and move to a land historically hostile to Israelites. In her obedience to Elisha, and ultimately to God, the woman loses her land and seven years’ worth of income. What a cost to follow God’s will for her life. God blesses this obedience and later restores to her all that she had lost.
God’s sovereignty and faithfulness to those who follow Him is amazing. The amount of detail required for this woman to receive not only her land, but her income for the past seven years is immense. And the timing of her appeal coming while Gehazi was telling the king all the great things that Elisha had done is something only God could have orchestrated.
In the story of the Shunammite woman, we see that God is faithful to take care of her in light of her obedience. But God’s faithfulness isn’t determined by our obedience. In this same chapter we also see that God is faithful in spite of Jehoram’s disobedience. Because of God’s promise to David, nothing any one of his descendants do, no matter how evil, could possibly make the Lord falter in His promise. Jehoram did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but still God remained faithful. Even though Edom and Libnah revolted against Judah, the Lord kept the house of David alive.
What a comforting reminder that no matter how much we sin or try to run from God, He will always keep His promises. From this great love then, we can strive to follow him as best we can without fear that He will stop loving us when we mess up. We are free when we realize we can live and work from God’s love and we don’t have to work for His love.
- In what ways do you work for God’s love?
- What can we do to prepare ourselves to follow the Lord regardless of the cost?
- Which of God’s promises in Scripture do you need to hold onto right now?
The exact timeline of this story (v.4) is disputed. Some scholars put it before 2 Kings 5 where Elisha curses Gehazi with leprosy and 2 Kings 6 where the king of Israel wants to behead Elisha, and others in chronological order. Either way it shows God’s sovereignty. Take a look at this commentary for further study:
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3 thoughts on “2 Kings 8”
God continues to perform miracles (18 recorded in scripture) through Elisha, addressing the needs of desperate people. Elisha’s encounter with Hazael gives us a peek into the heaviness of his calling. “Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping” (v11). Imagine the heaviness Elisha carried knowing what was coming for Israel. Elisha, like Jeremiah who was called the “weeping prophet” showed tenderness when he had to deliver a strong message. It’s easy to fall into complacency as we live and interact with a culture that is not all that different than Elisha’s. May God stir our hearts to weep over sin both personally and nationally and turn from our wicked ways and seek his face.
I was thinking about Elisha and what his responsibility was as a prophet. I do not know my history well but God anointing was on him and Elisha listened and obeyed God. I know that sometimes when I hear God or have a thought and argue with that thought it turns out to my advantage and many times disobeyed and it it was a bad disadvantage. I am thankful that God loves me and has given me His promises that I know that I know that I am His and will be doing amazing praise and worship along with whatever work He requires of me someday!!!! But for now I will endeavor to love His people and tell,show, and give them His love.
God thank You for Romans 10:9&10 I believe it and I have a life that will never end. Thank You for all your promises are yes and amen. Daily I surrender my life to you that I may be a light 🕯️ n this world of darkness. Show your love to whomever you direct in my path. Speak about you to whomever you need me to. Thank You God for Your words , Your love, my obedience in Jesus name amen
Nehemiah 2:9 “… And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.” I am reading about Nehemiah, and the comparison to the woman’s request to the king seemed the same. They both had the favor of God. God didn’t stop at restoring her son…7 years later he restores her land. Wouldn’t you like to have a journal of her journey in the philistine territory?! Talk about a mission trip! But I imagine if God brought back my child to life, I would be willing to go into the unknown broke and homeless to spread the good news! (Which I believe she had to be sent to do because she was rewarded for her obedience) I noticed, too, she was the one who saddled the donkey and road all the way to Mount Carmel after Elisha. She was also the one that went before the king…not her husband. Her story could be easily be skipped over without much thought, but she is one tough bird! Thank you for pointing out such a woman to be praised for her faithfulness and obedience! She’s deserving of a woman’s bible study!