We get a little mashup and a quick catch-up of a few things in this chapter. We see three stories unfolding here. First, we get to see that the woman who once helped Elisha by feeding him and providing him a place to stay has been blessed and cared for ever since Elisha performed one of his first miracles, which was bringing the woman’s son back to life. The first section of the chapter lets us know that the son is still living, and both of them are doing well seven years later. I was thinking that this woman was a widow, but as I looked back on the chapter in which she was featured, I see now that she was married … and was wealthy. I found this quite peculiar. Her husband is mentioned only briefly, so this follow-up is even more significant to me now. The home and property which the king restored to her was actually hers – not her husband’s, like we’re used to seeing. We don’t hear much about women owning property or having much weight to throw around when it comes to matters like these, but this story gives us an excellent example that it did happen.
In the second section, my favorite line is verse 11: “Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy.” I couldn’t help but imagine this scene in my head. Hazael had no idea what was happening. The king of Israel at this time was Joram, and by the third section, we learn what happens to evil Hazael after he made Elisha’s prophecy come true in a horrendously selfish way.
The third section gives us an update on the reigning kings of the day. We had not heard about Judah in a while. The past few chapters have been Israel, Israel, Israel. I guess King Jehoshaphat had everything under control. He was considered a good king. His son, Jehoram, however, ruined the streak. Ironically, King Ahab now has a posthumous foothold on both Israel and Judah, for Jehoram married one of Ahab’s daughters. So, one of Ahab’s descendants now sits on the throne, so to speak, in both Israel and Judah. What a mess!
Writing prompt: three
What did you think about these three stories? Write a summary of each and do a little research of past chapters just to refresh your memory about what is happening in the Promised Land.