2 Kings 8

Listen to 2 Kings 8

The Shunammite's Land Restored

1 Now Elisha had said to the woman 1whose son he had restored to life, "Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the LORD 2has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for 3seven years."
2 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.
3 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.
4 Now the king was talking with 4Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, "Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done."
5 And while he was telling the king how 5Elisha 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."
6 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

7 Now Elisha came to 6Damascus. 7Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, "The man of God has come here,"
8 the king said to 8Hazael, 9"Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, 10and inquire of the LORD through him, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?'"
9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camel loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, 11"Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?'"
10 And Elisha said to him, 12"Go, say to him, 'You shall certainly recover,' but the LORD has shown me that 13he shall certainly die."
11 And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, 14until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept.
12 And Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" He answered, "Because I know 15the 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 16and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women."
13 And Hazael said, "What is your servant, 17who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" Elisha answered, 18"The LORD has shown me that you are to be king over Syria."
14 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 19that you would certainly recover."
15 But the next day he took the bed cloth[a] 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

16 In the fifth year of 20Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah,[b] Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign.
17 He was 21thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for 22the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
19 Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, 23since he promised to give 24a lamp to him and to his sons forever.
20 In his days Edom revolted from the rule of Judah and set up 25a king of their own.
21 Then Joram[c] 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 26fled home.
22 27So Edom revolted from the rule of Judah to this day. Then 28Libnah revolted at the same time.
23 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?
24 So Joram slept with his fathers and was buried 29with his fathers in the city of David, and 30Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.

Ahaziah Reigns in Judah

25 31In the 32twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, began to reign.
26 Ahaziah was 33twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah; she was 34a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel.
27 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.
28 He went with Joram the son of Ahab to make war against 35Hazael king of Syria at 36Ramoth-gilead, and the Syrians wounded Joram.
29 37And King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him at 38Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And 39Ahaziah 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

Chapter 8

A famine in Israel, The Shunammite obtains her land. (1-6) Elisha consulted by Hazael, Death of Benhadad. (7-15) Jehoram's wicked reign in Judah. (16-24) Ahaziah's wicked reign in Judah. (25-29)

Verses 1-6 The kindness of the good Shunammite to Elisha, was rewarded by the care taken of her in famine. It is well to foresee an evil, and wisdom, when we foresee it, to hide ourselves if we lawfully may do so. When the famine was over, she returned out of the land of the Philistines; that was no proper place for an Israelite, any longer than there was necessity for it. Time was when she dwelt so securely among her own people, that she had no occasion to be spoken for to the king; but there is much uncertainty in this life, so that things or persons may fail us which we most depend upon, and those befriend us which we think we shall never need. Sometimes events, small in themselves, prove of consequence, as here; for they made the king ready to believe Gehazi's narrative, when thus confirmed. It made him ready to grant her request, and to support a life which was given once and again by miracle.

Verses 7-15 Among other changes of men's minds by affliction, it often gives other thoughts of God's ministers, and teaches to value the counsels and prayers of those whom they have hated and despised. It was not in Hazael's countenance that Elisha read what he would do, but God revealed it to him, and it fetched tears from his eyes: the more foresight men have, the more grief they are liable to. It is possible for a man, under the convictions and restraints of natural conscience, to express great abhorrence of a sin, yet afterwards to be reconciled to it. Those that are little and low in the world, cannot imagine how strong the temptations of power and prosperity are, which, if ever they arrive at, they will find how deceitful their hearts are, how much worse than they suspected. The devil ruins men, by saying they shall certainly recover and do well, so rocking them asleep in security. Hazael's false account was an injury to the king, who lost the benefit of the prophet's warning to prepare for death, and an injury to Elisha, who would be counted a false prophet. It is not certain that Hazael murdered his master, or if he caused his death it may have been without any design. But he was a dissembler, and afterwards proved a persecutor to Israel.

Verses 16-24 A general idea is given of Jehoram's badness. His father, no doubt, had him taught the true knowledge of the Lord, but did ill to marry him to the daughter of Ahab; no good could come of union with an idolatrous family.

Verses 25-29 Names do not make natures, but it was bad for Jehoshaphat's family to borrow names from Ahab's. Ahaziah's relation to Ahab's family was the occasion of his wickedness and of his fall. When men choose wives for themselves, let them remember they are choosing mothers for their children. Providence so ordered it, that Ahaziah might be cut off with the house of Ahab, when the measure of their iniquity was full. Those who partake with sinners in their sin, must expect to partake with them in their plagues. May all the changes, troubles, and wickedness of the world, make us more earnest to obtain an interest in the salvation of Christ.

Cross References 39

  • 1. 2 Kings 4:35
  • 2. Psalms 105:16; Haggai 1:11
  • 3. [Genesis 41:27]
  • 4. See 2 Kings 4:12
  • 5. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 6. [1 Kings 11:24]
  • 7. 2 Kings 6:24; 1 Kings 20:1
  • 8. 1 Kings 19:15, 17
  • 9. See 1 Samuel 9:7
  • 10. [2 Kings 1:2]
  • 11. [2 Kings 5:13]
  • 12. ver. 14
  • 13. ver. 15
  • 14. 2 Kings 2:17
  • 15. 2 Kings 10:32; 2 Kings 12:17; 2 Kings 13:3, 7, 22; Amos 1:3, 4
  • 16. Isaiah 13:16; Hosea 13:16; Nahum 3:10; [Psalms 137:9; Hosea 10:14]
  • 17. See 1 Samuel 17:43
  • 18. [1 Kings 19:15]
  • 19. ver. 10
  • 20. [2 Kings 1:17; 2 Kings 3:1]
  • 21. For ver. 17-24, see 2 Chronicles 21:5-10
  • 22. [ver. 26]
  • 23. 2 Samuel 7:12, 13; Psalms 132:11
  • 24. 1 Kings 11:36; 1 Kings 15:4; [2 Samuel 21:17]
  • 25. 2 Kings 3:9; [1 Kings 22:47]
  • 26. See 2 Samuel 18:17
  • 27. [Genesis 27:40]
  • 28. Joshua 10:29, 30
  • 29. [2 Chronicles 21:20]
  • 30. [2 Chronicles 21:17; 2 Chronicles 22:6; 2 Chronicles 25:23]
  • 31. For ver. 25-29, see 2 Chronicles 22:1-6
  • 32. [2 Kings 9:29]
  • 33. [2 Chronicles 22:2]
  • 34. [1 Kings 15:10]
  • 35. ver. 15
  • 36. [1 Kings 22:3]
  • 37. 2 Kings 9:15
  • 38. 2 Chronicles 22:6; [ver. 28; 2 Chronicles 22:5]
  • 39. 2 Kings 9:16

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • [b]. Septuagint, Syriac lack when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah
  • [c]. Joram is another spelling of Jehoram (the son of Jehoshaphat) as in verse 16; also verses 23, 24

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of some advice Elisha had formerly given to the Shunammite woman, and of the success of it, 2Ki 8:1-6 and of the sickness of the king of Syria, who sent to Elisha, then being at Damascus, by Hazael, to know whether he should recover; by whom a message was returned, and Hazael was told by the prophet he should be king of Syria, and exercise great cruelty in Israel, 2Ki 8:7-15 and of the bad reign of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, over Judah, 2Ki 8:16-24 and of the reign of his son Ahaziah, 2Ki 8:25-29.

2 Kings 8 Commentaries