Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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4 KINGS - Chapter 13

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4 Kings xiii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Years. Two with his son Joas, (Usher) or three. (Capell) (Du Hamel) See ver. 10.

Ver. 3. Days, while Joachaz lived, ver. 22. (Menochius) --- Yet Benadad only molested his son. (Calmet) --- Hazael proved a dreadful scourge in the hand of God, to punish his people, chap. viii. 12. (Haydock)

Ver. 5. Saviour, in the person of Joas, (ver. 23.; Tostat) after the death of Joachaz, whose repentance preserved him, at least, in this world. (Haydock)

Ver. 6. A grove, dedicated to the worship of idols. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "and the Ascera (grove of Astarte) was standing even in Samaria." That impure worship had gained ground again, after Jehu was dead.

Ver. 7. Floor. Amos (i. 3.) informs us, that Hazael had crushed the inhabitants of Galaad to death with iron chariots.

Ver. 8. Valour, or personal courage, (Calmet) though he gained no complete victory. The most valiant are not always successful. (Tirinus) --- Fortiter ille facit qui miser esse potest. (Martial) (Haydock) --- Joachaz did not quite sink under his troubles. (Tirinus)

Ver. 10. Seven. To complete the number seventeen, (ver. 1.) it ought to be "nine" ending. (Houbigant, p. 109.) See chap. xiv. 23. --- Years. If Jeroboam reigned in the 15th year of Amasias, and his father in the 37th of Joas, and not in the 39th almost complete, this king would have held dominion eighteen years. (Ibid.[Houbigant, p. 109.?])

Ver. 12. Juda, who was the aggressor. See 2 Paralipomenon xxv. 23.

Ver. 13. Throne, for ten years, along with his father. From this period the reign of Azarias must be dated, chap. xv. 1. (Usher) (Calmet)

Ver. 14. The illness. Hebrew, Septuagint, and Chaldean, "of his sickness whereof he also died;" insinuating that he had been before afflicted with this infirmity. --- To him, probably in the same city of Samaria. --- Wept. See how he loved him! He was concerned for the welfare of his kingdom. (Menochius) --- Thereof. Eliseus had addressed Elias in the same terms, chap. ii. 12. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. East, looking towards Galaad, (Hadock) which the Syrians occupied. (Menochius) --- These actions were all significative and prophetical. The throwing of a dart was formerly the mode of declaring war. (Virgil, Æneid ix.) Justin (ii.) says, "Alexander first threw a javelin, as against a hostile country." Thus also the ancients took possession. (Varro) (V. Max. iii., &c.) The people of Andros and Chalcis, sent each a deputy to seize Acanthos, when it had been abandoned by its inhabitants. The man from Andros, perceiving the other before him, threw his dart at the gate, and it was decided that he had thus lawfully obtained possession. (Plutarch, q. Græc.; Selden, Mare. Claus. iv.) --- The action of Joas may be considered in both lights. --- Them. We do not read the particulars of this battle: but it must have been very bloody. One of the three victories (ver. 25.) of Joas was probably obtained at Aphec, (Calmet) a place memorable for the victory of Achab, over the same Syrians, 3 Kings xx. 26. (Menochius)

Ver. 18. Still. This shewed a degree of remissness. (Haydock) --- It was natural for the king to conclude, that the more he struck the earth, the greater would be his success; (Calmet) and the prophet had, perhaps, insinuated as much. (Menochius)

Ver. 19. Angry. Septuagint, "grieved." (Haydock) --- Or seven is omitted in Hebrew and Septuagint. This text proves that God knows what would take place conditionally. (Tirinus) --- If, &c. By this it appears, that God had revealed to the prophet that the king should overcome the Syrians, as many times as he should then strike on the ground; but, as he had not, at the same time, revealed to him how often the king would strike, the prophet was concerned to see that he struck but thrice. (Challoner) --- Joas was assured that he should consume the Syrians. But this was to be understood, provided he performed his part, (Menochius; Tirinus) and that destruction was not said to be entire. (Haydock)

Ver. 20. Buried him, near Samaria. (Menochius) --- He had been chosen by Elias sixty-eight years before, and had lived eleven with him. His perfect character is given, Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 13. His double spirit represents the plentitude of grace in Jesus Christ; as his raising of the child to life, in such a wonderful manner, denotes his incarnation. The waters of Jericho made sweet, and the healing of Naaman, set before us the virtue of baptism: as the widow's oil shews the great graces which are bestowed by Christ upon his Church. The children devoured, and the Syrians struck blind, remind us of the perversity and blindness of infidels, who will not acknowledge the truth, Matthew xiii. 14. We must now see how the bones of Eliseus prophesied: 1. By raising the dead to life, as a confirmation of all his former predictions; 2. as proof of a future resurrection, of the virtue of relics, and of the influence of the saints in heaven, whose souls were formerly united to their bodies, and were filled with the Holy Spirit; (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, cat. xviii. Illum.) 3. in as much as this miracle was a figure of Christ's resurrection, who raised himself to life, and those who believe in him: (Calmet) while Eliseus, in the like state of death, had only raised another. (Haydock) (St. Max., hom. i. de pasc.) --- Same. Septuagint, Hebrew, and Syriac, "at the coming in of the year;" (Haydock) or, "the next year." (Pagnin)

Ver. 21. Eliseus. His tomb was not in the city, but in a spacious cave, the entrance of which was secured with a stone, according to custom. This was removed in the hurry, and the corpse thrown into the same recess, which had been prepared for the remains of the prophet. Josephus ([Antiquities?] ix. 8.) relates the history in a different manner, and pretends that robbers having slain a person, threw his corpse accidentally into the tomb of Eliseus. The Rabbins tell us his name was Sellum, and that he died again immediately, because he was a wicked man, which would render the miracle, in a manner, useless. (Calmet) --- By it God honoured his servant, and convinced the Israelites that what he had so lately foretold, respecting the Syrians, would undoubtedly take place. (Menochius)

Ver. 23. Time. Long before the captivity of Babylon, the Israelites had been led captives, to return no more in a body. Some stragglers mixed with the Jews, and inhabited the country under that appellation. It would seem that this was written before the overturning of the kingdom of Israel. (Haydock)

Ver. 25. Israel, on the east side of the Jordan; (chap. x. 33.; Calmet) at least (Haydock) those which had been taken from his father. Jeroboam retook what had been lost by Jehu. (Menochius) --- Hence both these kings are styled saviours, ver. 5., and chap. xiv. 27. (Salien)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The reign of Joachaz, and of Joas, kings of Israel. The last acts and death of Eliseus, the prophet: a dead man is raised to life by the touch of his bones.

1 In the three and twentieth year *of Joas, son of Ochozias, king of Juda, Joachaz, the son of Jehu, reigned over Israel, in Samaria, seventeen years.

2 And he did evil before the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, who made Israel to sin; and he departed not from them.

3 And the wrath of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael, the king of Syria, and into the hand of Benadad, the son of Hazael, all days.

4 But Joachaz besought the face of the Lord, and the Lord heard him: for he saw the distress of Israel, because the king of Syria had oppressed them:

5 And the Lord gave Israel a saviour, and they were delivered out of the hand of the king of Syria: and the children of Israel dwelt in their pavilions as yesterday and the day before.

6 But yet they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, but walked in them: and there still remained a grove also in Samaria.

7 And Joachaz had no more left of the people than fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen: for the king of Syria had slain them, and had brought them low as dust by threshing in the barn-floor.

8 But the rest of the acts of Joachaz, and all that he did, and his valour, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Israel?

9 And *Joachaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria: and Joas, his son, reigned in his stead.

10 In the seven and thirtieth year of *Joas, king of Juda, Joas, the son of Joachaz, reigned over Israel, in Samaria, sixteen years.

11 And he did that which is evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, who made Israel to sin; but he walked in them.

12 But the rest of the acts of Joas, and all that he did, and his valour wherewith he fought against Amasias, king of Juda, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Israel?

13 And Joas slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne. But Joas was buried in Samaria, with the kings of Israel.

14 Now Eliseus was sick of the illness whereof he died: and Joas, king *of Israel, went down to him, and wept before him, and said: O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the guider thereof.

15 And Eliseus said to him: Bring a bow and arrows. And when he had brought him a bow and arrows,

16 He said to the king of Israel: Put thy hand upon the bow. And when he had put his hand, Eliseus put his hands over the king's hands,

17 And said: Open the window to the east. And when he had opened it, Eliseus said: Shoot an arrow. And he shot. And Eliseus said: The arrow of the Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of the deliverance from Syria: and thou shalt strike the Syrians in Aphec, till thou consume them.

18 And he said: Take the arrows. And when he had taken them, he said to him: Strike with an arrow upon the ground. And he struck three times, and stood still.

19 And the man of God was angry with him, and said: If thou hadst smitten five or six, or seven times, thou hadst smitten Syria even to utter destruction: but now three times shalt thou smite it.

20 And Eliseus died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into the land the same year.

21 *And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life, and stood upon his feet.

22 Now Hazael, king of Syria, afflicted Israel all the days of Joachaz.

23 And the Lord had mercy on them, and returned to them, because of his covenant, which he had made with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob: and he would not destroy them, nor utterly cast them away, unto this present time.

24 And Hazael, king of Syria, died; and Benadad, his son, reigned in his stead.

25 Now Joas, *the son of Joachaz, took the cities out of the hand of Benadad, the son of Hazael, which he had taken out of the hand of Joachaz, his father, by war; three times did Joas beat him, and he restored the cities to Israel.



1: Year of the World 3148, Year before Christ 856.

9: Year of the World 3165, Year before Christ 839.

10: Year of the World 3163, Year before Christ 841.

14: Year of the World 3165.

21: Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 14.

25: Year of the World 3168.