Melachim 2/King 2-Chapter 8: The Shunamis, Elisha and king Chazael and Yehoram

1.      The Shunamis flees from famine:

  • Elisha instructs the Shunamis to flee from famine: When the famine was first set to take place in the land of Israel, Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had revived [i.e. the Shunamis], telling her that she should take her household and flee to a different area being that God has decreed a famine onto the land for a total of seven years. [This was the famine that occurred in the days of Yoel Ben Petuel.[1]]
  • The Shunamis flees to the land of the Philistines: The woman heeded to the instructions of Elisha and she traveled together with her household and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years.
  • The Shunamis returns to find her field taken: At the end of seven years, the Shunamis woman returned from the land of Philistines [and found her home and field taken by squatters while she was gone, and they refused to leave[2]]. She went to the king to complain about her house and field asking him to have it restored to her possession.
  • The king hears of the miracle of the resurrection of the son of the Shunamis: [At the same time that Shunamis woman came to complain to the king[3]] the king was speaking to Geichazi, the servant of Elisha, and was asking him to tell him of all the great miracles that Elisha had performed. When Geichazi began telling the king of the miracle that Elisha performed in resurrecting a young sick lad from the dead, at that same moment the Shunamis woman whose son he had revived came to the king with her complaint regarding the squatters that took over her house and field. Geichazi then said to the king that this very woman and her son is the very woman in the story and it is her son whom Elisha revived.
  • The king orders the land and grain to be restored to the Shunamis: The king asked the woman as to what she wants and she told him of the squatters who stole her property, and the king appointed a minister to go with her and make sure that all of her property is returned to her and that she be reimbursed for all the produce of the field that was taken from her on rightfully from the day she left the land until now.

2.      Elisha comes to Damascus and foretells of the imminent death of the king:

  • Ben-Hadad is ill when Elisha arrives: Elisha arrived to Damascus when Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, was ill. [The purpose of his visit to Damascus was to try to motivate Geichazi to repent.[4] Alternatively, the purpose of this travel was to anoint Chazael as king of Aram.[5]] Ben-Hadad was informed of the prophets, Elisha’s, presence.
  • Ben-Hadad asks Chazael to inquire from Elisha if he will survive: Ben-Hadad instructed Chazael [who was one of the king’s ministers] to bring a gift to Elisha the prophet and have him inquire from Hashem as to whether he, Ben Hadad, will recover from his illness?
  • The gift: Chazael went to Elisha and brought with him a gift which included all of the best of Damascus, a load of forty camels [carrying all the goods of Damascus].
  • Elisha tells Chazael that Ben Hadad will die and that he will be appointed as king: Chazael arrived before Elisha and said, “Your son, Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, has sent me to you, to inquire from you if he will recover from his illness?” Elisha said to him, “Go tell the king Ben Hadad that he will not live, and that you Chazael will live instead of him, as Hashem has shown me that he will die.”
  • Elisha cries in sadness of what Chazael will do to the Jewish people: Elisha then made a face as if he was about to cry, and held it in until he could no longer control himself, and so he began to weep. Chazael asked Elisha as to why he was crying, and Elisha said, “As I know that you will do evil to the Jewish people. You will set fire to their fortresses, and you will slay their youths with the sword, and you will eviscerate their infants, and you will rip open their pregnant women.” Chazael astonishingly replied to Elisha, “Is your servant a dog, and am I that powerful, that I would perform these mighty deeds?” Elisha told Chazael that Hashem had revealed to him that he, Chazael, will become king over Aram.
  • Chazael lies and tells Ben Hadad that he will live: Chazael left Elisha and came to his master, the king, Ben Hadad, and when Ben Hadad asked him as to what Elisha replied, Chazael lied and told him that Elisha said that he will live.
  • Ben Hadad dies and Chazael reigns: The next day, Ben Hadad took a blanket which was dipped in water, and spread it over his face, after which he died. Chazael reigned in his stead.

3.      The reign of Yehoram king of Yehuda:

  • Yehoram, the son of Yehoshafat, became king of Yehuda in the fifth year of reign of Yoram the son of Achav. His father, Yehoshafat, coronated him as a king [in the 23rd year of his reign, two years prior to his death[6]].
  • His age: Yehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king.
  • His years of reign: Yehoram reigned for eight years in Yerushalayim.
  • His deeds: Yehoram followed the ways of Achav and other kings of Israel.
  • His wife: Yehoram married the daughter of Achav and he did what was evil in Hashems eyes.
  • Hashem spares his monarchy: Hashem was unwilling to destroy Yehuda, for the sake of His servant Dovid, as Hashem had promised Dovid to give him an everlasting kingdom for his descendants.

4.      The rebellion of Edom:

  • In the days of Yehoram, the nation of Edom rebelled against the sovereignty of Yehuda, and they appointed a king over themselves.
  • Yehoram travels to battle Edom: Yehoram travelled to Tzaira [to battle Edom[7]] together with all the chariots that were with him. Yehoram got up at night and struck the Edomites who surrounded him, as well as the officers of the chariots. Immediately afterwards, the Jewish people fled to their tents [out of fear from retribution of the Edomites[8], and to tell their brethren in the city of the war[9]].
  • Edom rebelled from under the power of Yehuda and has remained in this state of rebellion until this day. The people of Livnah also rebelled at that time.

5.      Yehoram’s legacy:

  • The remaining events of Yehoram and all that he did, are written in the book of Chronicles of the kings of Yehuda.
  • His death: Yehoram died and was buried with his forefathers in the city of Dovid.
  • His successor: Achaziah, his son, reigned after him.

6.      King Achaziah:

  • When he became king: In the twelfth year of reign of Yoram the son of Achav, the king of Israel, Achaziah the son of Yehoram reigned over Yehuda.
  • His age at the time of reign: Achaziah was twenty-two years old when he reigned.
  • His years of reign: Achaziah reigned for one year in Yerushalayim.
  • His mother: The name of Achaziah’s mother was Ataliyahu, the [grand]daughter of Omri [i.e. the daughter of Achav[10]], king of Israel.
  • His deeds: Achaziah followed in the ways of Achav, and he did what was evil in the eyes of Hashem. This was caused because he was the son-in-law of the house of Achav.
  • War with Chazael and injury of Yoram: Achaziah went with Yoram the son of Achav to Ramoth-Gilead to wage war against Chazael, the king of Aram. The Arameans struck Yoram and he was injured. King Yoram returned to Yizrael to recuperate from his injury that the Arameans had inflicted upon him.
  • Achaziah visits Yoram: Achaziah, the son of Yehoram, king of Yehuda, went down to visit Yoram the son of Achav in Yizrael, as he became ill due to his injuries.

[1] Rashi 8:1

[2] See Ralbag 8:3

[3] Metzudos Dovid 8:4

[4] Rashi 8:7; Sota 47a

[5] Radak 8:7

[6] See Rashi and Metzudos Dovid 8:16

[7] Radak 8:21

[8] Metzudos Dovid 8:21

[9] Radak 8:21

[10] See Ralbag and Radak 8:26

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.