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The Challenge Issued to Joash

When King Joash (also called Jehoash, and not to be confused with the Joash who
was king of Judah) came to visit the dying Elisha, Elisha gave the king of Israel a
challenge. It was a challenge which the king of Israel responded to poorly.

I. THE FOR ELISHA (c. 830 BC) – II Kings 13:14

A. The life of Elisha is about to end, but before it comes to an end, he is
by the visit of the king.
B. “Now Elisha was fallen sick with his sickness whereof he died. And Joash
the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said,
O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof”
(verse 14).
1. It was a most practice for a king to
personally come to a prophet to pay a visit.
a. Prophets upon kings, not kings
upon prophets.
b. Elisha's career did always have the respect of
Israel's kings.
2. When the king came to Elisha, he “wept over his face.”
a. Joash was moved to over Elisha's condition.
b. It was evident to him that Elisha was on his bed.
3. The only thing Scripture records of what King Joash said to Elisha on this occasion was, “O my father,
my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.”
a. All other conversation recorded here in this episode is done by .
b. If the king said other things, and he surely must have, they would pale in comparison to the value
of what Elisha said.
c. The term “ “ was used in Biblical times not only as a respectful
designation for one's paternal parent; but it also was used as a respectful designation for one's
teacher, master, and elder.
d. The phrase, “ of Israel, and the thereof,”
is a military phrase and describes the protection and security of a nation.

II. THE FROM ELISHA (c. 830 BC) – II Kings 13:15-17

A. After Joash had wept over Elisha and spoken his statement, Elisha then
revealed to Joash that Israel would gain a great over the Syrians at Aphek.
B. “And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the
king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the
king's hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he
shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou
shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them” (verses 15-17).
1. Joash is told by Elisha that the tide is going to turn in Israel's relations with .
a. For a number of years, Syria had waged war on Israel and had left them in bad straits.
b. In fact, Syria had so Israel that during the reign of Joash's father “but
fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen” (II Kings 13:7) were left of
Israel's military.
2. Elisha told Joash that Joash will have a great victory over at the city of .
a. Aphek was located east of the Sea of Galilee.
b. It was here that had gained a great victory over Syria.
c. The promise of at Aphek had real meaning to it. It was great news for Joash.
3. Elisha instructed Joash to shoot an towards the .
a. This was in the general direction of Syria and indicated a declaration of against
b. When Elisha put his hands on Joash's hands, it was a reminder that it
was God Who would give the victory (Genesis 49:24).
c. Joash needed to be reminded that although the of God is going to
die, the of the prophet is not!
III. THE FROM ELISHA (c. 830 BC) – II Kings 13:18-19
A. Elisha gave orders to Joash from his sick bed.
1. The order had to do with shooting the arrow out the window.
2. The order had to do with smiting the ground with the rest of the arrows he had in his
3. These orders were a for Joash, but Joash failed to respond well to this
challenge, and so was by Elisha.
B. After promising the victory at Aphek, Elisha said to Joash, “Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said
unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed [stopped]. And the man of
God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten
Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice” (verses 18-19).
1. When Joash smote the ground only times, Elisha rebuked him for smiting
the ground five or six times.
a. Smiting the ground only three times evidenced that Joash was not totally
to the work of destroying the wicked Syrians.
b. Stopping with the third arrow revealed the tendency to be with partial
results and to stop short of the ultimate goal.
2. “The man of God was ” (verse 19).
a. This was no mild mannered rebuke.
b. Elisha's anger was the proper to half-hearted opposition to evil.