2 Kings 8
Elisha Again Helps the Shunammite Woman1 Now Elisha advised the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “You and your family should go and live somewhere else for a while, ▼
▼ Heb “Get up and go, you and your house, and live temporarily where you can live temporarily.”for the Lord has decreed that a famine will overtake the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman did as the prophet said. ▼
▼ Heb “and the woman got up and did according to the word of the man of God.”She and her family went and lived in the land of the Philistines for seven years. 3 After seven years the woman returned from the land of the Philistines and went to ask the king to give her back her house and field. ▼
▼ Heb “and went out to cry out to the king for her house and her field.”4 Now the king was talking to Gehazi, the prophet’s ▼
▼ Heb “man of God’s.”servant, and said, “Tell me all the great things which Elisha has done.” 5 While Gehazi ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (Gehazi) has been specified in the translation for clarity.was telling the king how Elisha ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (Elisha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.had brought the dead back to life, the woman whose son he had brought back to life came to ask the king for her house and field. ▼
▼ Heb “and look, the woman whose son he had brought back to life was crying out to the king for her house and her field.”▼
▼ The legal background of the situation is uncertain. For a discussion of possibilities, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 87-88.Gehazi said, “My master, O king, this is the very woman and this is her son whom Elisha brought back to life!” 6 The king asked the woman about it, and she gave him the details. ▼
▼ Heb “and the king asked the woman and she told him.”The king assigned a eunuch to take care of her request and ordered him, ▼
▼ Heb “and he assigned to her an official, saying.”“Give her back everything she owns, as well as the amount of crops her field produced from the day she left the land until now.”
Elisha Meets with Hazael7 Elisha traveled to Damascus while King Ben Hadad of Syria was sick. The king ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.was told, “The prophet ▼ has come here.” 8 So the king told Hazael, “Take a gift ▼
▼ The Hebrew text also has “in your hand.”and go visit the prophet. Request from him an oracle from the Lord. Ask him, ▼
▼ Heb “Inquire of the Lord through him, saying.”‘Will I recover from this sickness?’” 9 So Hazael went to visit Elisha. ▼
▼ Heb “him”; the referent (Elisha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.He took along a gift, ▼
▼ The Hebrew text also has “in his hand.”as well as ▼
▼ Heb “and.” It is possible that the conjunction is here explanatory, equivalent to English “that is.” In this case the forty camel loads constitute the “gift” and one should translate, “He took along a gift, consisting of forty camel loads of all the fine things of Damascus.”forty camel loads of all the fine things of Damascus. When he arrived, he stood before him and said, “Your son, ▼
▼ The words “your son” emphasize the king’s respect for the prophet.King Ben Hadad of Syria, has sent me to you with this question, ▼
▼ Heb “saying.”‘Will I recover from this sickness?’” 10 Elisha said to him, “Go and tell him, ‘You will surely recover,’ ▼
▼ The consonantal text (Kethib) reads, “Go, say, ‘Surely you will not (לֹא, lo’) recover” In this case the vav beginning the next clause should be translated, “for, because.” The marginal reading (Qere) has, “Go, say to him (לוֹ, lo), ‘You will surely recover.” In this case the vav (ו) beginning the next clause should be translated, “although, but.” The Qere has the support of some medieval Hebrew mss and the ancient versions, and is consistent with v. 14, where Hazael tells the king, “You will surely recover.” It is possible that a scribe has changed לוֹ, “to him,” to לֹא, “not,” because he felt that Elisha would not lie to the king. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 90. Another possibility is that a scribe has decided to harmonize Elisha’s message with Hazael’s words in v. 14. But it is possible that Hazael, once he found out he would become the next king, decided to lie to the king to facilitate his assassination plot by making the king feel secure.but the Lord has revealed to me that he will surely die.” 11 Elisha ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (Elisha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.just stared at him until Hazael became uncomfortable. ▼
▼ Heb “and he made his face stand [i.e., be motionless] and set [his face?] until embarrassment.”Then the prophet started crying. 12 Hazael asked, “Why are you crying, my master?” He replied, “Because I know the trouble you will cause the Israelites. You will set fire to their fortresses, kill their young men with the sword, smash their children to bits, and rip open their pregnant women.” 13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, who is as insignificant as a dog, accomplish this great military victory?” ▼
▼ Heb “Indeed, what is your servant, a dog, that he could do this great thing?” With his reference to a dog, Hazael is not denying that he is a “dog” and protesting that he would never commit such a dastardly “dog-like” deed. Rather, as Elisha’s response indicates, Hazael is suggesting that he, like a dog, is too insignificant to ever be in a position to lead such conquests.Elisha answered, “The Lord has revealed to me that you will be the king of Syria.” ▼
▼ Heb “The Lord has shown me you [as] king over Syria.”14 He left Elisha and went to his master. Ben Hadad ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (Ben Hadad) has been specified in the translation for clarity.asked him, “What did Elisha tell you?” Hazael ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (Hazael) has been specified in the translation for clarity.replied, “He told me you would surely recover.” 15 The next day Hazael ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (Hazael) has been specified in the translation for clarity.took a piece of cloth, dipped it in water, and spread it over Ben Hadad’s ▼
▼ Heb “his”; the referent (Ben Hadad) has been specified in the translation for clarity.face until he died. Then Hazael replaced him as king.
Jehoram’s Reign over Judah16 In the fifth year of the reign of Israel’s King Joram, son of Ahab, Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram became king over Judah. ▼
▼ The Hebrew text reads, “and in the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, and [or, ‘while’?] Jehoshaphat [was?] king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah became king.” The first reference to “Jehoshaphat king of Judah” is probably due to a scribe accidentally copying the phrase from the later in the verse. If the Hebrew text is retained, the verse probably refers to the beginning of a coregency between Jehoshaphat and Jehoram.17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. ▼ 18 He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, for he married Ahab’s daughter. ▼
▼ Heb “he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife.”He did evil in the sight of ▼
▼ Heb “in the eyes of.”the Lord. 19 But the Lord was unwilling to destroy Judah. He preserved Judah for the sake of ▼
▼ The Hebrew has only one sentence, “and the Lord was unwilling to destroy Judah for the sake of.” The translation divides it for the sake of clarity.his servant David to whom he had promised a perpetual dynasty. ▼
▼ Heb “just as he had promised to give him and his sons a lamp all the days.” The metaphorical “lamp” symbolizes the Davidic dynasty; this is reflected in the translation.
20 During his reign Edom freed themselves from Judah’s control and set up their own king. ▼
▼ Heb “in his days Edom rebelled from under the hand of Judah and enthroned a king over them.”21 Joram ▼
▼ Joram is a short form of the name Jehoram.crossed over to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites, who had surrounded him, attacked at night and defeated him and his chariot officers. ▼
▼ Heb “and he arose at night and defeated Edom, who had surrounded him, and the chariot officers.” The Hebrew text as it stands gives the impression that Joram was surrounded and launched a victorious night counterattack. It would then be quite natural to understand the last statement in the verse to refer to an Edomite retreat. Yet v. 22 goes on to state that the Edomite revolt was successful. Therefore, if the MT is retained, it may be better to understand the final statement in v. 21 as a reference to an Israelite retreat (made in spite of the success described in the preceding sentence). The translation above assumes an emendation of the Hebrew text. Adding a third masculine singular pronominal suffix to the accusative sign before Edom (reading אֶתוֹ [’eto], “him,” instead of just אֶת [’et]) and taking Edom as the subject of verbs allows one to translate the verse in a way that is more consistent with the context, which depicts an Israelite defeat, not victory. There is, however, no evidence for this emendation.The Israelite army retreated to their homeland. ▼
▼ Heb “and the people fled to their tents.”22 So Edom has remained free from Judah’s control to this very day. ▼
▼ Heb “and Edom rebelled from under the hand of Judah until this day.”At that same time Libnah also rebelled.
23 The rest of the events of Joram’s reign, including a record of his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. ▼
▼ Heb “As for the rest of the acts of Joram and all which he did, are they not written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Judah?”24 Joram passed away ▼
▼ Heb “lay down with his fathers.”and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His son Ahaziah replaced him as king.
Ahaziah Takes the Throne of Judah25 In the twelfth year of the reign of Israel’s King Joram, son of Ahab, Jehoram’s son Ahaziah became king over Judah. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king and he reigned for one year in Jerusalem. ▼ His mother was Athaliah, the granddaughter ▼
▼ Hebrew בַּת (bat), “daughter,” can refer, as here to a granddaughter. See HALOT 166 s.v. בַּת.of King Omri of Israel. 27 He followed in the footsteps of Ahab’s dynasty and did evil in the sight of ▼
▼ Heb “in the eyes of.”the Lord, like Ahab’s dynasty, for he was related to Ahab’s family. ▼
▼ Heb “and he walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord like the house of Ahab, for he was a relative by marriage of the house of Ahab.” For this use of חֲתַן (khatan), normally “son-in-law,” see HALOT 365 s.v. חָתָן. Ahab was Ahaziah’s grandfather on his mother’s side.
28 He joined Ahab’s son Joram in a battle against King Hazael of Syria at Ramoth Gilead in which the Syrians defeated Joram. 29 King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he received from the Syrians ▼
▼ Heb “which the Syrians inflicted [on] him.”in Ramah when he fought against King Hazael of Syria. King Ahaziah son of Jehoram of Judah went down to visit ▼
▼ Heb “to see.”Joram son of Ahab in Jezreel, for he was ill.
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