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2Ki 8:1 Now Elisha had spoken to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise and go, you and your household, and stay for a while wherever you can; for Yahweh has called for a famine. It shall also come on the land seven years-
The famine of 2 Kings 6:25 was because of the siege by the Syrians, but it seems the people didn't learn from the events of 2 Kings 7. The king and his captain had been in denial of the fulfilment of God's word right to the end. They were not reformed by the famine caused by siege, and so now a major famine is called for. We notice the contrast with how Elijah himself called for a famine (1 Kings 17:1), "according to my word". Elisha seems to have reflected upon Elijah's arrogance which had led to his dismissal as the lead prophet. And he expresses the call for a famine in far more humble, God-centred words.

However, the record in Kings isn't chronological. We are given cameos from the ministry of Elisha arranged according to theme and not chronology.  These seven years famine may be the famine of 2 Kings 4:38, which was at the very time that Elisha had restored this woman's son to life. This would explain why Gehazi was not yet a leper, and could freely talk with the king. 

2Ki 8:2 The woman arose, and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household, and lived in the land of the Philistines seven years-
This was a major act of obedience, especially as it resulted in living amongst the Philistines. Although she herself was likely  Gentile, perhaps a Philistine. It is typical of God's grace that He would work with a Philistine, and a female- despised generally within Israelite society. The intention of the famine was to elicit repentance, and perhaps she was one of the few who had already repented and so didn't need the famine experience. "Seven years" may be an idiom or symbolic period and not literal.

2Ki 8:3 It happened after the seven years, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines. Then she went forth to plead to the king for her house and for her land-
It appears someone else had taken her land and house whilst she was away, and as a Philistine and a female head of house, apparently with no man around to plead for her, she was in a very weak position. It must have been through the good offices of Elisha that she even got a hearing with the king.

2Ki 8:4 Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God saying, Please tell me all the great things that Elisha has done-
I noted on :1 that the events in the record of Elisha's life aren't in chronological order. So if this happened at the time of 2 Kings 4:38, Gehazi was not yet a leper. However it could be that he repented and was healed of his leprosy, or that laws about lepers were not strictly enforced; we recall that Naaman as a leper had free access to his king and a place in Syrian society. And Gehazi would now be conducting his ministry with an appropriate sense of humility. King Jehoram is summarized overall as a wicked king, but perhaps he had some sense of conscience, and just as Herod was desirous to hear from John the Baptist, so he wished to learn more about Elisha's ministry.

2Ki 8:5 It happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored to life him who was dead, that the woman whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life-
It was perhaps orchestrated by Elisha that the woman approached the king whilst Gehazi was before him. Otherwise we can see this as a typical outcome of the hand of providence. The restoration of dead man to life was clearly the most gripping of all the Elisha stories, and then the mother of the man appears on the scene. God was really trying to persuade the king of the power of His word. And yet ultimately he refused to accept it in his own life.

2Ki 8:6 When the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed to her a certain officer saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now-
This latter provision was effectively a punishment for the person who had taken her land. Or it could be that the king himself had taken possession of the land, and now repents. This would explain the ease with which he rectifies the situation and can give the woman all the harvest she would otherwise have had in those seven years, which an ordinary farmer would not have been able to do. We wonder if this was the same officer of 2 Kings 7, seeing that the events are not arranged chronologically. In this case he was the more reprehensible for his mockery of Elisha's prophecy that food would be made instantly available during the siege of Samaria.

2Ki 8:7 Elisha came to Damascus; and Ben Hadad the king of Syria was sick. It was told him saying, The man of God has come here-
Ben Hadad is a generic term for the Syrian kings, like Pharaoh for the Egyptian rulers. As noted on :1, it is hard to work out exactly where this fits in to the chronological sequence. It could well have been after the events of Naaman in 2 Kings 5, seeing that the seven years famine began it seems at the time of 2 Kings 4:38. Elisha may well have also intended making a pastoral visit to his convert Naaman. 

2Ki 8:8 The king said to Hazael, Take a present in your hand, and go, meet the man of God, and inquire of Yahweh by him, saying, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’-
Hazael appears to have been the army commander. Depending upon the chronology (see on :1), he may have replaced Naaman, who as a convert to Yahweh wished to resign from his position or just fade out of the limelight of senior leadership. If this was after the events of 2 Kings 5, then he would have recalled how Naaman had been healed by Elisha. He lacks the faith to ask Elisha to heal him, although that may be implicit in his request. He took a present for Elisha as Naaman had done; and thanks to the deception of Gehazi, he would have been under the impression that Elisha had accepted a present for healing Naaman.  

2Ki 8:9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels’ burden, and came and stood before him and said, Your son Ben Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’-
The language of good things, presents, camels and coming and standing before Elisha recalls how Naaman came with similar things and stood before Elisha's house, seeking healing. It seems almost certain that these things happened after the time of 2 Kings 5.

2Ki 8:10 Elisha said to him, Go, tell him, ‘You shall surely recover;’ however Yahweh has shown me that he shall surely die-
The word / Gospel will inevitably have a result, and yet it is also limited by the attitudes of men. The widow woman was told to borrow pots in which to place the oil which would be miraculously provided. The extent of the miracle was limited by the number and size of the pots she borrowed in faith. Or take 2 Kings 8:10 AV: “Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the Lord hath shewed me that he shall surely die”. Ben-Hadad could recover, it was possible in prospect, but God knew he would not fulfil certain preconditions, and therefore he would not. Or the idea may be that Hazael is told to tell the dying king that he would recover, as a courtier was supposed to bring only good news; although in fact, he was going to die.

2Ki 8:11 He settled his gaze steadfastly on him, until he was ashamed. Then the man of God wept-
It is interesting to compare Elijah's attitude with how Elisha weeps tears over Hazael, knowing how much damage he is going to do to Israel in response to Elijah's prayer (2 Kings 8:12). Yet significantly, Elijah doesn't actually do what he is told; he doesn't anoint Jehu nor Hazael to destroy Israel (2 Kings 9:3). It's hard to decide whether this was disobedience or rather an awkward realization that he had been praying with too harsh a spirit for something that would have been best left to God. Elisha was effectively doing what Elijah ought to have done- anointing Hazael as king over Syria.

2Ki 8:12 Hazael said, Why do you weep, my lord? He answered, Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel. You will set their strongholds on fire, kill their young men with the sword, dash in pieces their little ones and rip up their women with child-
The command to Elijah to anoint Hazael king over Syria (1 Kings 19:15) was therefore part of God's intended judgments upon Israel for their sins. There is no specific record of Hazael doing this, but in the records of his attacks upon Israel we are therefore to assume that he did so at those times (2 Kings 10:32; 13:3,22). 

2Ki 8:13 Hazael said, But what is your servant, is he a dog, that he should do this awful thing? Elisha answered, Yahweh has shown me that you will be king over Syria-
This may have been mere politeness to Elisha. He was indeed what Israel would call a "dog", a Gentile. His denial of this may mean that he wanted to give the impression that like Naaman whom he had replaced, he was a proselyte. 

2Ki 8:14 Then he departed from Elisha, and came to his master, who said to him, What did Elisha say to you? He answered, He told me that you would surely recover-
This may have been a polite lie sanctioned by Elisha, or perhaps a literal repeat of Elisha's message, but only part of it. See on :10. 

2Ki 8:15 It happened on the next day, that he took a thick cloth, dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died. Then Hazael reigned in his place-
If he had had true faith in the prophetic word, he would have surely waited for Hazael to die and then taken over from him. But on the other hand, he did believe what Elisha had said, and was impatient to get on and be the king Elisha said he would be. And so he forced the fulfilment of the prophecy by murdering Benhadad. LXX "coverlet" may mean he did it in such a way that it was not perceived as murder. For the body would have shown no signs of violence. We see here how a man can have both faith and unbelief within him at the same time. We are all the same, like the man who said he believed but asked for help with his unbelief (Mk. 9:24).

2Ki 8:16 In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being king of Judah then, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign-
2 Kings 1:17 says Joram son of Ahab began reigning in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat of Judah. It seems that Jehoram reigned alongside his father Jehoshaphat.  Putting together 1 Kings 22:42; 2 Kings 1:17; 3:1; 8:16, Jehoram began reigning as regent in around the 17th year of Jehoshaphat, and yet he was reaffirmed as king two years before Jehoshaphat died (:17).

2Ki 8:17 He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign. He reigned eight years in Jerusalem-
Putting together 2 Kings 1:17; 3:1; 8:3,16; 2 Chron. 21:5,20, it seems Jehoram became king as regent about two years before Jehoshaphat died.

2Ki 8:18 He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab as wife. He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh-
His wife was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri (2 Chron. 22:2; 2 Kings 8:26). "Athaliah", 'Yah has constrained', may mean that she was bitter that Yahweh had as it were limited her; the same groundless complaint as in 2 Cor. 6:12.

Ahab's marriage to a Gentile was far worse than all the sins of Jeroboam; the idolatry, the perversion, the making of Israel sin; these were "a light thing" compared to the evil of marriage out of the faith (1 Kings 16:31). That perspective on marriage out of the faith needs to be appreciated. And further, those who married the daughters of Ahab were led astray by them (2 Kings 8:18,27).

2Ki 8:19 However, Yahweh would not destroy Judah, for David His servant’s sake, as He promised him to give to him a lamp for his children always-
That promise was understood by God at this stage as meaning that a descendant of David would continue to reign on David's throne "always", and therefore He did not destroy Judah. However, He did eventually. He reinterpreted and reapplied His words of promise. And He does this often with the various possible futures prophesied. His word is not proven false but He reapplies it, as He continues His purpose with respect for the freewill decisions of man.

2Ki 8:20 In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves-
A sad decline from the situation in his father's time (2 Chron. 17:10).

2Ki 8:21 Then Joram passed over to Zair, and all his chariots with him. He rose up by night, and struck the Edomites who surrounded him, and the captains of the chariots; and the people fled to their tents-
We note that horses and chariots were forbidden to Israel's king (Dt. 17:17,18). Yet it seems that his chariots and captains prevailed against those of Edom, even when he was surrounded and about to be defeated. Perhaps this was a repeat of the situations of 2 Chron. 13:15; 18:31, where weak believers in their time of need called to God when surrounded by enemies, and were heard. This reflects God's deep sensitivity to faith in Him, even in time of desperation. And yet His final judgment is of the state of a person's heart.

2Ki 8:22 So Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time-
Libnah was a priestly city (1 Chron. 6:47), but the tribes seem to have given the Levites towns which were not particularly valuable to them, or which were exposed to attack. Contrary to the spirit of David, they offered to God that which cost them nothing. And we must take a lesson from that. Some manuscripts read “Then did the Edomites who dwelt in Libnah revolt”. So Libnah had been taken over by Edomites and was formerly only technically under Israelite control.  

2Ki 8:23 The rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?-
This may not necessarily the same books we have in our Bibles known as 1 and 2 Chronicles. 

2Ki 8:24 Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his place-
The description of death as sleeping with fathers is clear evidence that death is seen as a sleep, unconsciousness, and not as the start of an immortal soul going to heaven or 'hell'. Good and bad, David and Solomon, are gathered together in death. The division between them will only therefore come at the resurrection of the dead, and the granting of immortality at the judgment seat of the Lord Jesus.

2Ki 8:25 In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign-
2 Chron. 22:1 adds: "The inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his place; for the band of men who came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the older ones". It could be that this band of men had preserved Ahaziah and were seeking for him to be a puppet king for them. And the fact his mother immediately took the throne after his death hints again at this.

2Ki 8:26 Twenty-two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri king of Israel-
In fact the granddaughter of Omri. "Athaliah", 'Yah has constrained', may mean that she was bitter that Yahweh had as it were limited her; the same groundless complaint as in 2 Cor. 6:12. Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 8:26), but 42 in 2 Chron. 22:2. LXX has 20. But in Biblical Hebrew, numbers were expressed by single letters, and mem, forty, is very similar in orthography to caph, twenty. And that difference is even more probable in ancient Hebrew or 'Samaritan'. So this appears to be a case of where there were indeed slight errors in copying the Divinely inspired text.

2Ki 8:27 He walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, as did the house of Ahab; for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab-
2 Chron. 22:3 adds: "He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab; for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly".
His father had done the same (2 Chron. 21:6). So much sin and spiritual failure is due to a refusal to individuate from parental influence and be an independent person before God. "Counsellor" suggests she specifically instructed him in the ways of idolatry; and it was by listening to the wrong counsel that Rehoboam went wrong when the kingdom of Judah first began (s.w. 2 Chron. 10:8,9).  

2Ki 8:28 He went with Joram the son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth Gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram-
Ahaziah was clearly intended to have learned from the experience of Jehoshaphat, who also went to war with Syria at Ramoth Gilead and was nearly slain there. He was only saved by grace, and afterwards experienced God's wrath for going there (2 Chron. 16:2). Circumstances and similarities repeat within our lives, and between our lives and those of people in the Biblical histories, in order that we might learn. Jehoram is called "Joram" within this same verse, perhaps because the name of God was no longer part of his name in practice.

2Ki 8:29 King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick
As noted on :28, Ahaziah failed to perceive the similarities with the situation of Jehoshaphat. And this was to lead to his death (2 Kings 9:27).