Notes on 2Kings
Version Date: October 22, 2023. (Date of First Version: December 19, 2020)
2Ki 4:2-3 Considering מה יש לכי "what hast thou" in 2Ki 4:2, the text has לכי (Kethiv) instead of לך (Qere). The meaning of לכי and לך is the same. However, since a yod is seldom appended to a pronominal suffix, by using לכי the text adds some emphasis to "thou". There are other similar examples of words with a yod suffix. Such words often have Qere notes suggesting readings without the yod. For example, the suffix כי has been used for the second person feminine singular in several passages, such as in Ps 103:3-5, 116:7, 19. The terminal yod appears also in the second person feminine singular pronoun אתי in 2Ki 4:16, 23 (Kethiv) and in verb forms that do not have a pronominal suffix, as could be seen by considering ההפכי of Ps 114:8 and הלכתי of 2Ki 4:23. There are many other related examples; 2Ki 4 itself includes a few more examples. Thus, the כי suffix of לכי in 2Ki 4:2 appears again in the Kethiv forms שכנכי of 2Ki 4:3, and נשיכי and בניכי of 2Ki 4:7.
2Ki 4:29 The prophet leaned on God. Thus, the staff on which he leaned represented figuratively the Lord. So the staff touching the face of the child was signifying the Lord touching the child. Now there was no visible change when the staff touched the boy. This could remind one that God's work in a person takes time and may not result in instant changes. Later, the Lord did raise the boy, but only only after Elisha illustrated how life comes to a person (2Ki 4:34-35). In 2Ki 4:34, as Elisha stretched and became motionless, he illustrated a dead person. Note that Elisha stretched himself for the boy; he had no other reason to stretch. The manner in which he stretched emphasized that he was stretching himself for the boy, that is, he was representing one who would die for the boy. The fact that Elisha rose and walked (2Ki 4:35) illustrated that the person who would die for the boy would later rise from the dead. When Elisha stretched again over the boy, life came to the boy (2Ki 4:35). This illustrated that life comes from that person who would die for the boy. What Elisha did at that time showed how one gets life. First, God reaches out to a person, and this was signified by the staff of the prophet touching the boy. Second, life comes through the one who died for us and rose from the dead, just as Elisha illustrated shortly before the Lord gave life to the boy.
The interpretation above of the staff can be supported based on several passages. The word for staff in 2Ki 4:29 is משענת, which can be derived from the verb שען "to lean on". This verb is used in several passages that indicate that people should lean on God, including 2Ch 13:18, 14:11 (10), Is 10:20, 50:10. This verb is used together with the word for staff in Eze 29:6-7.
2Ki 4:42 The meaning of בצקלנו could be inferred from the context. Understanding כרמל to mean "ears of grain" and to be the antecedent of the pronominal suffix of בצקלנו, it follows that בצקלנו "in its ... " must be "in its husk", as in KJV. This could remind us of Lk 6:1. Note that 2Ki 4:42 is related to Lev 2:14 which mentions the grain offering of the firstfruits.
2Ki 7:14 Concerning שני רכב סוסים, see the note on Lev 16:21.
2Ki 8:10 In the Masoretic manuscripts, this verse has a margin note (a Qere note) that has caused traditional translations to differ somewhat from the written text. Following the text as written (the Kethiv), the verse states, "And Elisha told him, 'Go, say, "Thou wilt not surely live." And the LORD hast shown me that he will surely die.'" The words "Thou wilt not surely live" indicated that (apart from Hazael's plot) the recovery of the king was not certain; it was dependent on other things, such as how he would respond to God. Thus, it was essentially an invitation to repentance. However, the Lord knew that Hazael was an unreliable messenger. With the words "Go, say, 'Thou wilt not surely live'", Hazael was urged to speak the truth to his master. If Hazael was already plotting against his master, these words were also urging him to give up his plot; he could not honestly say to the king that recovery was possible while planning to kill him. Now Hazael told the king the opposite of the prophet's message. He said, "Thou wilt surely live" (2Ki 1:14). This corrupted message was doubtlessly meant to give the king a false sense of security so as to make the plot successful. The Lord knew that there will be a successful plot, so Elisha said, "the LORD hast shown me that he will surely die". In conclusion, the words "he will surely die" indicated that the Lord knew how things will end, while "Go, say, 'Thou wilt not surely live'" involved an appeal to Hazael to be faithful to his master and stated what he was supposed to say if he chose to be faithful.
2Ki 14:28 This verse states that "Jeroboam ... restored Damascus and Hamath for Judah in Israel." This statement can be explained as follows. Damascus and Hamath had been under the control of king Solomon. David had several wars with the Syrians and he subdued them. At the time of 2Sa 8:6, he placed garrisons in the territory of Damascus. The Scripture does not record wars between David and Hamath; apparently, he was at peace with Hamath. However, Solomon occupied Hamath (2Ch 8:3) and built store cities in it (2Ch 8:4). From 2Ch 8:2 we could infer that Solomon would bring Israelite inhabitants in the cities he occupied. The Israelites living in Damascus and Hamath must have had various privileges and leadership positions during the time of Solomon. In view of 2Ki 14:28, it could be concluded that there were men of Judah living in Damascus and Hamath during the reign of Solomon. After Solomon died, they became part of the northern kingdom of Israel. In time, as the Syrians grew stronger, they lost their privileges. Nonetheless, they continued to live in that area or in the northern kingdom of Israel. In view of 2Ki 14:28, Jeroboam restored their privileges. So "Judah in Israel" refers to men of the tribe of Judah who belonged to the northern kingdom of Israel.
2Ki 16:17 "And King Ahaz chopped off the frames of the stands, removed also the basin from the altars, and took down the sea from off the bronze oxen that were under it and placed it on a stone pavement." Note that the two altars mentioned in 2Ki 16:15 must be the antecedent of the suffix of מעליהם "from them", translated above "from the altars". Furthermore, "the basin" must refer to the basin that was used in the tabernacle (Ex 30:18); apparently, it was used also in the temple. As indicated by 2Ki 16:17, it was moved from the area of the two altars to a stone pavement.
The translation above follows the text as written (the Kethiv) which has ואת הכיר "also the basin." The word "also" implies that there were other things removed besides the basin. Since the frames of the stands were broken, it could be concluded that the stands were removed at that time. Likely, the basins that were supported by the stands were also removed.
2Ki 21:12 Following the text as written, "therefore, thus says the LORD God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing calamity to Jerusalem and Judah, the kind that makes both ears of anyone who hears about Judah tingle." Note that the Kethiv has שמעיו "hearing of him", where the antecedent of "him" must be Judah. The singular number of the suffix of אזניו would imply that כל should be understood as "anyone who" instead of "all who". This usage of כל appears also in כל נדריה ואסריה אשר אסרה על נפשה לא יקום (Nu 30:6) and והיה כל ראיך ידוד ממך (Na 3:7).