The Shunammite’s Land Restored
8 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the LORD has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. And at the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”
Hazael Murders Ben-hadad
Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, “The man of God has come here,” the king said to Hazael, “Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD through him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camels’ loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, “Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but the LORD has shown me that he shall certainly die.” And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.” And Hazael said, “What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?” Elisha answered, “The LORD has shown me that you are to be king over Syria.” Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” But the next day he took the bed cloth and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. And Hazael became king in his place.
Jehoram Reigns in Judah
In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign. He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.
In his days Edom revolted from the rule of Judah and set up a king of their own. Then Joram passed over to Zair with all his chariots and rose by night, and he and his chariot commanders struck the Edomites who had surrounded him, but his army fled home. So Edom revolted from the rule of Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time. Now the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? So Joram slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.
Ahaziah Reigns in Judah
In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, began to reign. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah; she was a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He also walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to the house of Ahab.
He went with Joram the son of Ahab to make war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead, and the Syrians wounded Joram. And King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.
2 Kings 8 Commentary
by Hank Workman
When it comes to things and ways of God, there are no coincidences. Ever.
The opening story of chapter 8 is a throwback or another piece of the life of the Shunammite woman. This was the generous lady who made her home a place for Elisha to stay when he passed through. She was married but her husband was old and had been barren all her life. Elisha prophesied she would have a child, which she did a year later. As the child grew, something happened he became sick and died. Absolutely wrecked, she took off by donkey to find Elisha where her persistence required him to return with her to the house. Clinging to his feet, she said she would not leave until he went back with her. Relenting, he traveled back where the boy had laid dead. Climbing up on him face to face, hands to hands – Elisha began to feel his body turn warm, and miraculously, he was raised to life.
As this story is another twist in her life, commentators believe this happened prior to the chronological order of the 2 Kings. Gehazi had been struck with leprosy after the Naaman healing and the famine of 7 years had not taken place, but it is a wonderful story of God’s timing.
Elisha had truly cared for this family as is evident from his interaction. So when the Lord told him that a famine was coming to the land of Israel – he shared this with the Shunammite woman and her family and they went and lived with her family in the land of the Philistines until it passed. They were spared the worse of what had happened.
And so it would be after the passing of 7 years the lady was coming to appeal to the king for her house and land back. Her departure had forfeited any rights she had. But, so it would be a conversation was taking place between Gehazi and the king about Elisha and the many miracles he had performed for God here appeared the woman. It was at the exact time of her story being told the woman had entered to request her land from the king.
The timing of God was perfect. The king gave her all of her land back.
There are no coincidences with God. He had orchestrated all of this so the timing of her arrival and a story being told synced up. God looked with favor on this woman who had taken care of his prophet so generously. I truly believe God had even pricked the heart of the king to inquire of these stories of Elisha as he knew she was on the road back.
This story should stir within each of us a longing to be in that sweet spot of God all the time. This is the place where we are driven by the Holy Spirit to seek His counsel, have conversations where He is directing things toward His greater plans. Not only His greater plans for our own lives but others whom He is moving in and wants to reveal His nature to.
What would change for all of us if we looked upon even happenstance meetings as divinely orchestrated by God?
2 Kings 8 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The pattern of Elisha’s service to the Lord consistently reflects the act of leading others to a spiritual mind. There was the birth and healing of the Shunammite woman’s son, the enlightening of his servant’s eyes to the army of the Lord, and now we come to Chapter 8.
The king of Aram, Ben-hadad, was sick. He sent Hazael (an official) with a gift to ask Elisha to inquire from the Lord if he would get well again. Hazael arrives and asks Elisha what will happen with the king.
2 Kings 8:10-12 GNB Elisha answered, “The LORD has revealed to me that he will die; but go to him and tell him that he will recover.” 11 Then Elisha stared at him with a horrified look on his face until Hazael became ill at ease. Suddenly Elisha burst into tears. 12 “Why are you crying, sir?” Hazael asked. “Because I know the horrible things you will do against the people of Israel,” Elisha answered. “You will set their fortresses on fire, slaughter their finest young men, batter their children to death, and rip open their pregnant women.”
Had Hazael already planned this assassination and now was playing dumb? We can’t know for sure. However, we do know that Hazael was not forced to kill the king. If he was truly shocked by Elisha’s words, he should have done some soul searching as to why such a harsh word was spoken over him. The shame and embarrassment that Elisha saw in Hazael prove that the thoughts he was entertaining were sinful. This also demonstrates that his heart was not too calloused to repent from this evil plan!
“The prophet gazed long and fixedly into the eyes of Hazael. It would seem that he saw far more in the soul of the man than any other had seen, perhaps more than the man himself was conscious of.” -G. Campbell Morgan
The truth is, Jesus does this every day. He looks into our hearts and minds and knows the evil we are plotting. He knows more than we are conscious of. I imagine Elisha would have found a way to stop Hazael if he could have, but he wept instead. Jesus could have forcefully stopped us, but He chose to die instead. He knew the evil we would commit before we acted and He took responsibility for the thoughts and actions of His beloved children. This is what makes His grace so amazing.