Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land. ( 2 Kings 8:1-3)
Elisha, in this story, is telling the faithful woman of the remnant, to go into exile out of the Holy Land. She would have to leave her home, and the little sanctuary apartment that she and her husband had built for the prophet, and go to a foreign country. Why? The LORD had called for a famine to afflict Israel. Both the exile and the famine were portents of Israel’s near future.
The famine lasted seven years, and when it ended, the woman returned to the Holy Land, only to find that her home and land had been occupied in her absence. So she went to the King to plead for Justice and restoration.
At the exact time when she showed up in the King’s court, the disgraced Gehazi had been discussing with the King his experiences with Elisha, including the resurrection of the Widow’s son! He looked up, and there she was, waiting to plead her case.
And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto 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.( 2 Kings 8:4-7)
What would the deeper message be? That for Israel, ere will be famine, exile and other horrors come upon the chosen people, but the Righteous are known and will be alright. Furthermore, there will be a restoration of all things one day, for Israel. Like the miracle son of the woman of Shunnam, Israel will be resurrected by God and restored in a Jubilee.
This story also highlights a very positive story about Jehoram. He actually performs his role in this case a restorer of justice and defender of widows and orphans. Does this mean that there is hope now for Israel?
No it doesn’t. The wheels are already turning by this time, which will bring about the destruction of this sinful nation.
Going all the way back to 1 Kings 19, when Elijah stood in the counsel of God, on Mt Horeb, and where God revealed to Him that Israel would be sent three messengers from God as a judgment; Elisha, Hazael and Jehu.
And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.( I Kings 19:15-17)
It turned out that the first messenger would be Elisha, and he would come as a messenger of Life and mercy. But the time had come for the second and the third.
And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? 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, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the Lord hath shewed me that he shall surely die.( 2 Kings 8:7-10)
First of all the fact that Elisha is sent on a mission outside of the promised land, is a sign of impending judgment upon Israel. The nation itself would soon be sent out of the land.
He goes to Damascus, where Ben Hadad , King of Syria gives him the respect due a Prophet of God, sending his servant Hazael to inquire of Elisha if He would recover of the sickness He was suffering with.
When Hazel found the Prophet and inquired of his master, there is a confusion rendered in the answer, especially in the King James version. Elisha literally said to him ” Say, not living you shall live”, and ‘Yahweh shows me that dying he shall die’. The commentator Jordan says that in Hebrew the negative ‘not’, sounds just like the prepositional phrase ‘to him’ both words are pronounced ‘lo’).
Therefore it would be possible to interpret the answer of Elijah as saying “Don’t say the King will live” or ” To Him, Say the King will live”, which is how Hazael received it.
But next, Elisha began to cry, profusely, just as Jesus would do when he rode into Jerusalem.
And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept. And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.( 2 Kings 8:11-14)
Hazael went back to His king and reported that the Prophet said “Living you shall live’; but that night, Hazael went into the King’s chamber and smothered him to death with his pillow. Then He took the throne. The second messenger in judgment is in place, Hazael would launch devastation and utter destruction on the cities of Israel as an instrument of Divine judgment, until it finally collapsed as a nation and went into captivity.
Elijah pt 28