Study Guide

2 Kings Betrayal

Betrayal

Then he left Elisha, and went to his master Ben-hadad, who said to him, "What did Elisha say to you?" And he answered, "He told me that you would certainly recover." But the next day he took the bed-cover and dipped it in water and spread it over the king's face, until he died. And Hazael succeeded him. (NRSV 8:14-15)

So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover. And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead. (KJV 8:14-15)

The treacherous Hazael betrays the Aramean King, Ben Hadad, thus fulfilling the prophecy that Elisha had just made to Hazael (while weeping). The prophecy seems to have only confirmed Hazael in his nastiness, steeling his resolve to kill the king.

So the horseman went to meet him; he said, "Thus says the king, 'Is it peace?'" Jehu responded, "What have you to do with peace? Fall in behind me." The sentinel reported, saying, "The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back." Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, "Thus says the king, 'Is it peace?'" Jehu answered, "What have you to do with peace? Fall in behind me." Again the sentinel reported, "He reached them, but he is not coming back. It looks like the driving of Jehu son of Nimshi; for he drives like a maniac." (NRSV 9:18-20)

So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again. Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously. (KJV 9:18-20)

God sanctions Jehu's act of treason. Jehu seems to easily recruit people to his side, simply because they know what time it is: a time not for peace, but for rebellion. The hour is ripe.

When the messenger came and told him, "They have brought the heads of the king's sons," he said, "Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning." Then in the morning when he went out, he stood and said to all the people, "You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him; but who struck down all these? Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab; for the Lord has done what he said through his servant Elijah." (NRSV 10:8-10)

And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the Lord hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah. (KJV 10:8-10)

Jehu is defending himself. He says that his campaign of slaughter needed to happen to fulfill Elijah's prophecy against the house of Ahab. It may look like treason but in a higher sense it isn't.

Now when Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, she set about to destroy all the royal family. But Jehosheba, King Joram's daughter, Ahaziah's sister, took Joash son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's children who were about to be killed; she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not killed; he remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah reigned over the land. (NRSV 11:1-3)

And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land. (KJV 11:1-3)

In order to take over the land, Athaliah commits a far worse kind of betrayal than political betrayal or treason (which is what brings her down later). She betrays and murders her own family members.

King Amaziah son of Joash of Judah lived fifteen years after the death of King Jehoash son of Jehoahaz of Israel. Now the rest of the deeds of Amaziah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? They made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But they sent after him to Lachish, and killed him there. They brought him on horses; he was buried in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the city of David. All the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king to succeed his father Amaziah. He rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah, after King Amaziah slept with his ancestors. (NRSV 14:17-22)

And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years. And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there. And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David. And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah. He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers. (KJV 14:17-22)

Despite killing his dad, the people of Judah don't have any problem making his son the new king (unless the people of Judah didn't support the conspiracy—it doesn't really say).

In the thirty-eighth year of King Azariah of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestors had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck him down in public and killed him, and reigned in place of him. (NRSV 15:8-10)

In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. (KJV 15:8-10)

Yet another conspiracy—in this case, it seems like conspiracies beget more conspiracies and assassinations. People who begin their rule that way also end it that way.

In the fiftieth year of King Azariah of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned two years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin. Pekah son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him with fifty of the Gileadites, and attacked him in Samaria, in the citadel of the palace along with Argob and Arieh; he killed him, and reigned in place of him. (NRSV 15:23-25)

In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room. (KJV 15:23-25)

This helps make the point from the previous quote: assassins end up getting assassinated.

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