Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are 2 Kings 1-3
Today we begin 2 Kings. Since this is a continuation of 1 Kings, I’m not going to begin with an introduction – we are simply picking up where we left off yesterday.
We open 2 Kings with King Ahaziah suffering an injury that leaves him pretty much waiting to die. Wanting to know if there is any hope, he sends his servants to the god of Ekron to ask if he will live. (2 Kings 1:2). YHWH’s response is to the point and says it all.
3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? 4 Now therefore thus says the Lord, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” So Elijah went. 2 Kings 1:3-4
When you turn to idols, the abilities of idols are what you are left with. Ahaziah had chosen another god and YHWH let him have that other god – and this is what that other god was capable of when it came to helping him in any way whatsoever – nothing.
Of course, Ahaziah doesn’t like this answer and sends men out to find the messenger. The first two teams of fifty soldiers and their commander approach with an attitude of presumptuousness, giving Elijah an order to come down. Elijah puts them in their place pretty quickly. The third group comes with a humble and fearful approach, which is more in line with the reverence that is rightly due to a man YHWH has chosen to represent Him, and at this point the angel intervenes in order to preserve them. Many attribute this to being proof that that hearts and intent of this group of men were better than the previous two groups.
Elijah ascends. Elijah and Enoch are the only two people we read about in Scripture that were taken alive to YHWH. Most people assume that Elijah rode in a flaming chariot pulled by horses but if you read the text carefully, it simply says this chariot and horses appeared and that a wind or stormlike whirlwind is what transported Elijah. I found the following verses offer additional fullness to this story for me with regards to just why the fiery chariot might have appeared.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
he makes the clouds his chariot;
he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds,
his ministers a flaming fire. Psalm 104:3-4
“For behold, the Lord will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire. Psalm 66:15
Was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord?
Was your anger against the rivers,
or your indignation against the sea,
when you rode on your horses,
on your chariot of salvation? Habakkuk 3:8
Keep it quiet… Repeatedly, we read this with regards to Elijah being “caught up”. This was not to be a public spectacle and I can’t help but feel it must have been a weighty matter, with a mixture of emotions, for the inheritor of Elijah’s mantle, Elisha.
Elisha asked for a double portion of the Spirit from Elijah. This is a pattern set forth in the Bible of giving the eldest a double portion and it has been repeated in many different, exceptional, ways. It is interesting to note that YHWH brought about twice as many miracles through Elisha as He did through Elijah.
- 1 Kings 17:1
- 1 Kings 17:14-16
- 1 Kings 17:22-23
- 1 Kings 18:25-38
- 1 Kings 18:41-45
- 2 Kings 1:9-10
- 2 Kings 1:11-12
- 2 Kings 2:8
- 2 Kings 2:14
- 2 Kings 2:19-22
- 2 Kings 2:23-24
- 2 Kings 3:14-25
- 2 Kings 4:2-7
- 2 Kings 4:8-17
- 2 Kings 4:32-37
- 2 Kings 4:38-41
- 2 Kings 4:42-44
- 2 Kings 5:1-19
- 2 Kings 5:20-27
- 2 Kings 6:1-7
- 2 Kings 6:18
- 2 Kings 7:1-20
- 2 Kings 8:7-15
- 2 Kings 13:14-19
2 Kings 2:23-25 The “boys” and the bears – This is a difficult verse for many to read, but it becomes an entirely different scene when we put it back in context. At first glance, most of us likely imagine small schoolboys playfully taunting an old man and him sending a pack of bears to devour them in return.
In reality, though, the Hebrew word translated as “small boys” in some Bibles is simply referring to young men who could have easily been in their twenties. Another piece of the puzzle is that Elijah had been taken up recently and no doubt news of this had traveled far and wide, especially with the failed search party that some of the servants insisted upon.
The men taunted him with “go up, go up”, as if to entice him to call upon YHWH to take him up as well so that they might see it. OR it is possible that they believed this didn’t actually happen and were mocking him. The third piece is when 2 Kings 2:24 tells us that when the bear came, 42 of the young men suffered injuries. Y’all, it doesn’t tell us the total number, but if 42 people suffered injuries this is not a small innocent group. It was more like an angry mob of strong men. Either way, when we take into account that these were young men, numbering more than 42, and taunting Elisha, it is no wonder he felt threatened enough to use strong measures.
It is another common misconception that the boys were murdered. A reading of the text does not say any of them died. This is yet another case of truth being different from tradition and another reminder that we must have a firsthand relationship with the Word. No one can read the Bible for us.
At the end of chapter three we see the king of the Moabites sacrifice his eldest son as a burned offering on top of the wall, in view of everyone. This so disgusts Israel that they abandon the war and return to their own land. See Lev 18:21 and Lev 20:3
Y’all fill in the rabbit trails with your own in the comments in our Facebook group. I’ll be back writing more tomorrow.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!