II Kings 13
From the scrolls of Jehoash, king of Israel
I went to Elisha recently. The prophet lay on his death bed, still willing to tell me what to do. He told me to shoot an arrow out the window. I did as he said. Elisha gave the blessing that we would defeat Ben-Hadad at the next battle.
One battle does not win a war, though. Elisha asked me to strike my bundle of arrows on the ground, I did as he said, three times. Elisha grew red with anger. He asked my why I hadn't hit the ground more. He then said the Israelites would only win three more battles against Ben-Hadad.
I wish I had hit the ground more.
I returned to my palace and prepared for the battles.
The next morning, a few citizens stood in line to bring their issue to my attention. The tall one in the group spoke for them.
"As you know, my lord, Moabite raiders enter Israel during the spring."
"Yes, I know. Tell me what happened."
"We were burying a man yesterday." He looked at the others in his group then turned back to to me. "We saw a group of Moabite raiders sneaking behind some bushes near where we were burying our friend. You know how cruel they've been. The Moabites don't take prisoners. They torture their victims then kill them." He cowered back a little. His friends encouraged him to keep speaking. "Elisha's tomb was right there. We tossed our dead friend into Elisha's tomb and planned to run away. But the moment our friend's body touched Elisha's bones--our friend came to life. He stood right in front of our eyes!"
I found his story a bit difficult to believe even if their friend had touched the prophet Elisha. "Have you any proof of this?" I asked.
The group of men pushed one of their company forward. "I am he, my lord."
At that moment I remembered Elisha's words, declaring we would win the next three battles against Ben-Hadad. I dismissed everyone and called for my officers. "Gather your troops. We are going to war. We will no longer remain under the tyranny of Ben-Hadad. Have your men ready to march first thing in the morning."
The next day we marched to three cities which had been captured by Ben-Hadad's cruel army. Before each battle, I gathered the soldiers together and reminded them the cities belonged to us and, according to Elisha, the Lord said he would give the cities back to us.
Fired up and ready for battle we faced Ben-Hadad's men and won all three battles, reclaiming Israelite cities as ours.
Just as Elisha said.
1. What king caused trouble for the Israelites?
2. What happened to the citizens who tried to bury their friend?
3. What had Elisha told King Jehoash about the battles?
4. Who did the cities first belong to?
5. Who had captured the cities?
6. Who said Jehoash could have the cities back?