Hit Me With Your Best Shot


Introduction   II Kings 13:14-20


Blame is a terrible thing to happen when circumstances do not go your way. I read a story last month of a soldier that was wounded in Iraq and shipped to the states. His wife and three kids made the journey to visit him in the hospital. An accident occurred and the three children were killed. Cindy Sheehan another tragic testimony of a war casualty.  We look at all this and begin to wonder how these events occur. Or why this events are allowed to occur. When we begin to question it puts us in a frame of mind that changes our life and faith in God.


1.      God's Answer (II Kings 13:14-20)

     The death of Elisha was at hand and Joash sought to hear or receive from God

     This was the custom to receive the passing of inheritance as the provider was in his death bed  (Gen 27:1-4)

     There are events in life that will mark a turning point in ones life for God, expound

  I.    (II Kings 2:7-14)  Elisha knew what was to take place in Elijah and sought after God

ii.     God has appointed times where he decides to met with humanity

iii.   Joash placed himself in a position of receiving from God, a wise choice

iv.    God honors man decision to seek after him and allows for blessing to be given, mercy (John 1:38-51)

v.     (Prov. 1:7)  It's funny how fear and wisdom go hand in hand - your wise to fear God

vi.    Josiah was brought up in a sinful environment but sought after God and God accepted him

      Those that approach God will not be disappointed but the terms must be God's not ours

      God knew what was in Josiah's heart as the King of Israel and that was deliverance from the Syrians (Luke 11:9-10)

      (Matt 6:7-8) We must understand that God is aware of the present state of affaires your not catching him by surprise

      The church is forced to accept homos as clergy, this defiles the holiness of God yet acceptable to sinners and the religious

      God is and will be waiting for you to come to him as he draws you towards his kingdom (John 6:44-45)

*      God is waiting for you to respond to his will and plan for your life


2.      Man's Reply ( vs. 16:18)

       Joash was obedient coming to God and following the instruction of the Man of God

       Joash fell under the plan of God and heir to God's kingdom thru faith (Mark 3:32-35)

       It is an important thing to know as you turn to God for instruction but something else was in place he did not understand

  • The arrows, the first shot was for deliverance and the rest was for dominion in life
  • People come to salvation from the enemy but fail in the battles that will follow
  • The arrows were symbolic of future battle that Joash was going to encounter during his rein as king 
  • Like most individuals we come to God, that's great but then take a half hearted approach to his Kingdom
  • God has his hand on your life, you are king he chooses to deliver nations but you can only fight three times, expound
  • What has happen to service to God, we call him Lord but under our terms
  • What does God expect, a war!, you are no different from Joash, dear king
  • When you get saved God has called you to a greater plan but are you ready for the fight
  • We can relate this to church attendance or prayer, the list goes on
  • How many times will you strike the ground Joash, three times how sad
  • We have not learn this valuable lesson in warfare
  • God wants us evolved in his plan, you must strike until you have no weapons or strength
  • This is the attitude God searches in the church, don't play games fight
  • I'm speaking of personal battles as well as the battles God places before us
  • Yes, God does but us in a place of grave danger just to see what you will do
  • His promise is that you will destroy your enemies but you must rise up and fight


3.      Consequences  (vs. 19)

        The Man of God was angry, why?

  i.      God was in a position of giving and Joash failed to understand missing the blessing of God 

  • There are consequences to our action in the Kingdom of God

  • The attitude that now that we are saved God is going to help us has actions that must be followed

  • There is a balance you are responsible for  (James 2:18-23)

  • Your response to The Kingdom of God will effect the victory you have

  • This is why so many believers walk in failure and not victory

  • Doubt, fear and disobedience follow them because they fail to contend for the Kingdom

  • They strike the ground but 3 times and turn away from God like Joash

  • The bible states that at Joash end he turned from God back to idol worship, why?

  • People that are saved need to contend through out life not just in the beginning

  • It is a life long battle as seen by the arrows that were shot to the ground

  • We need to look at what type of warrior we are?

  • But I'm a lover not a fighter  (Matt 11:11-12)  in Jesus words

  • (II Kings 12:19-21) This was the Kings end murdered by his own after the victories God gave him

  • (II Chronicles 24:15-27) The end



2 Kings 13:14-20
14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of 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.
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
16 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.
17 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.
18 And he said, 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.
19 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.
20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.

Gen 27:1-4
27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
4 And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.

2 Kings 2:7-14
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

John 1:38-51
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Prov 1:7
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Luke 11:9-10
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Matt 6:7-8
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

John 6:44-45
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Mark 3:32-35
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

James 2:18-23
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

2 Kings 12:19-21
19 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
20 And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.
21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Matt 11:11-12
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

2 Chron 24:15-27
15 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house.
17 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.
18 And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.
19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.
21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.
22 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.
23 And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus.
24 For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash.
25 And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.
26 And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.
27 Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

2 Kings 13:17; 2 Kings 13:18; 2 Kings 13:19
2 Kings 13:17
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.
[Open the window eastward] This was toward the country beyond Jordan, which Hazael had taken from the Israelites.
[The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria] That is, As surely as that arrow is shot toward the lands conquered from Israel by the Syrians, so surely shall those lands be reconquered and restored to Israel.
It was an ancient custom to shoot an arrow or cast a spear into the country which an army intended to invade. Justin says that, as soon as Alexander the Great had arrived on the coasts of Iona, he threw a dart into the country of the Persians. "Cum delati in continentem essent, primus Alexander jaculum velut in hostilem terram jacit."-Just. lib. ii.
The dart, spear, or arrow thrown, was an emblem of the commencement of hostilities. Virgil (AEn. lib. ix., verse 51) represents Turnus as giving the signal of attack by throwing a spear.
Ecquis erit mecum, O Juvenes, qui primus in hostem?
En, ait: et jaculum intorquens emittit in auras,
Principium pugnae; et campo sese arduus infert.

"Who, first," he cried, "with me the foe will dare?"
Then hurled a dart, the signal of the war.

Servius, in his note upon this place, shows that it was a custom to proclaim war in this way: the pater patratus, or chief of the Feciales, a sort of heralds, went to the confines of the enemy's country, and, after some solemnities, said with a loud voice, I wage war with you for such and such reasons; and then threw in a spear. It was then the business of the parties thus defied or warned to take the subject into consideration; and if they did not, within thirty days, come to some accommodation, the war was begun.
[Thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek] This was a city of Syria, and probably the place of the first battle; and there, it appears, they had a total overthrow. They were, in the language of the text, consumed or exterminated.

2 Kings 13:18
And he said, 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.
[Smite upon the ground] Since he was ordered to take his arrows, the smiting on the ground must mean shooting arrows into it.
[He smote thrice, and stayed.] The prophet knew that this shooting was emblematical: probably the king was not aware of what depended on the frequency of the action; and perhaps it was of the Lord that he smote only thrice, as he had determined to give Israel those three victories only over the Syrians. Elisha's being wroth because there were only three instead of five or six shots does not prove that God was wroth, or that he had intended to give the Syrians five or six overthrows.

2 Kings 13:19
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.

JO'ASH (jo'ash; Heb. Yo'ash, "Jehovah has given"; Arab. 'asa, "to give").

1. The father of Gideon, who, although himself an idolater, ingeniously screened his son from those desiring to avenge his overthrow of the altar of Baal (Judg 6:11,29-31; 7:14; 8:13,29). He was buried in Ophrah, where he lived (8:29-32).
2. A person who was ordered by King Ahab to imprison Micaiah the prophet for denouncing the allied expedition against Ramoth-gilead (1 Kings 22:26; 2 Chron 18:25), about 853 BC In both passages he is called "the king's son," which is usually taken literally. Some, however, suggest that the title may merely indicate a youth of princely stock; others, that Melek, translated "king," is a proper name.
3. King of Judah (2 Kings 11:2; 12:19-20; 13:1,10; 14:1,3,17,23; 1 Chron 3:11; 2 Chron 22:11; 24:1-2,4,22,24; 25:23,25). See Jehoash, no. 1.
4. King of Israel (2 Kings 13:9,12-14,25; 14:1,23,27; 2 Chron 25:17-18,21,23,25; Hos 1:1; Amos 1:1). See Jehoash, no. 2.
5. A descendant of Shelah, son of Judah, mentioned among those "who ruled in Moab" (1 Chron 4:22). The Hebrew tradition, quoted by Jerome and Jarchi, applies it to Mahlon, the son of Elimelech, who married a Moabitess.
6. A son of Shemah (or Hasmath), the Gibeathite, who, with his brother Ahiezer and other "mighty men," joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron 12:3).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Kirk and G. Rawlinson, Studies in the Books of the Kings, 2 vols. in 1 (1983), 2:119-24, 129-34; E. R. Thiele, Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (1983), pp. 57, 104.

*** Meaning 2 ***
JO'ASH (Heb. Yo'ash, "Jehovah has come, hastened").

1. One of the "sons" (descendants) of Becher, son of Benjamin, and a leader of his family (1 Chron 7:8).
2. The person having charge of the "stores of oil" under David and Solomon (1 Chron 27:28), after 1000 BC
(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

2 Kings 12:17-21
2 Kings 12:17-21

Death of Joash, king of Judah

When Joash had revolted from God and become both an idolater and a persecutor the hand of the Lord went out against him, and his last state was worse than his first.
I. His wealth and honour became an easy prey to his neighbours. Hazael, when he had chastised Israel (2 Kings 10:32), threatened Judah and Jerusalem likewise, took Gath, a strong city (v. 17), and thence intended to march with his forces against Jerusalem, the royal city, the holy city, but whose defence, on account of its sinfulness, had departed. Joash had neither spirit nor strength to make head against him, but gave him all the hallowed things, and all the gold that was found both in his exchequer and in the treasures of the temple (v. 18), to bribe him to march another way. If it were lawful to do this for the public safety, better part with the gold of the temple than expose the temple itself; yet,
1. If he had not forsaken God, and forfeited his protection, his affairs would not have been brought to this extremity, but he might have forced Hazael to retire.
2. He diminished himself, and made himself very mean, lost the honour of a prince and a soldier, and of an Israelite too, in alienating the dedicated things.
3. He impoverished himself and his kingdom. And,
4. He tempted Hazael to come again, when he could carry home so rich a booty without striking a stroke. And it had this effect, for the next year the host of Syria came up against Jerusalem, destroyed the prince, and plundered the city, 2 Chron 24:23-24.
II. His life became an easy prey to his own servants. They conspired against him and slew him (v. 20-21), not aiming at his kingdom, for they opposed not his son's succeeding him, but to be avenged on him for some crime he had committed; and we are told in Chronicles that his murdering the prophet, Jehoiada's son, was the provocation. In this, how unrighteous soever they were (vengeance was not theirs, nor did it belong to them to repay), God was righteous; and this was not the only time that he let even kings know that it was at their peril if they touched his anointed and did his prophets any harm, and that, when he comes to make inquisition for blood, the blood of prophets will run the account very high. Thus fell Joash, who began in the spirit and ended in the flesh. God usually sets marks of his displeasure upon apostates, even in this life; for they, of all sinners, do most reproach the Lord.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Soldier's Children Killed In Crash

This is horrible.

Soldier's Children Killed In Crash - San Antonio News Story - KSAT San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO -- Two children of a Fort Bliss soldier flown back from Iraq with combat injuries are dead and a third is on life support following a car accident on the way to visit their father in the hospital, Army officials said.

Army Spc. John Austin Johnson was waiting for his wife and three kids to visit him at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio last week when another soldier told him his family's car had rolled over four times in the gusty West Texas plains.

"He said, 'Two of my children are dead?"' Army Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Schmidt told The Dallas Morning News. "And we started crying."

Schmidt said Johnson's wife, Lisa, overcorrected the steering in her sport utility vehicle after encountering a blast of wind on the drive from El Paso.

The couple's youngest children, 2-year-old Logan and 5-year-old Ashley, died at the scene.

Tyler Johnson, 9, suffered massive head injuries and remains on life support at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

"He's a fighter. Even the doctors are amazed he's still alive," said Schmidt, who says the family is too grief-stricken to speak publicly. "We're praying."

Tyler remained at the hospital Saturday while their parents left for their children's visitation in Benton, Ark., the family's hometown.

An anonymous donor provided five burial plots in the veteran's section of Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander, Ark., where Spc. Johnson's grandfather is buried.

Another donor purchased markers for Logan and Ashley, whose funeral is set for Tuesday in Alexander.

American Airlines provided the family seven roundtrip tickets, and other groups are helping the family take care of expenses.

"It's been a pleasure and an honor to help them," said Rehnda White-Brunner, director of United Services Organizations of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Schmidt said Johnson has survived five brushes with improvised explosive device blasts during two years in Iraq.

The latest left him with a traumatic brain injury, and he speaks with a severe stutter.

"They're really overwhelmed with gratitude from everybody," Schmidt said. "They're very humble people. Everyone's coming together."


Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan (born July 10, 1957) is an American anti-war activist, whose son, Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in the Iraq War on April 4, 2004, aged 24. She attracted international attention in August 2005 for her extended demonstration at a camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch garnering her both support and criticism. In May 2007, Sheehan officially ended her involvement as an anti-war activist, saying "I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost."[1] On July 8, 2007, in the wake of President Bush's reduction of the sentence of Scooter Libby, Sheehan announced that she plans to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi should Pelosi fail to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush


2 Kings 13:14; 2 Kings 13:15; 2 Kings 13:16; 2 Kings 13:17; 2 Kings 13:18; 2 Kings 13:19; 2 Kings 13:20; 2 Kings 13:21
2 Kings 13:14

Now Elisha was fallen sick of 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.
The closing scene of Elisha's life. It was now at least sixty-three years since his call, so that he was at this time very possibly above ninety. He seems to have lived in almost complete retirement from the time he sent the young prophet to anoint Jehu king (2 Kings 9:1). And now it was not he who sought the king, but the king who sought him. Apparently, the special function of the two great Israelite prophets (Elijah and Elisha) was to counteract the noxious influence of the Baalistic rites; and, when these ceased, their extraordinary ministry came to an end.
[The chariot of Israel ...] See the marginal reference. Joash must have known the circumstances of Elijah's removal, which were perhaps already entered in the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel;" and he must have intended to apply to Elisha his own words on that solemn occasion; "Thou too art about to leave us, and to follow Elijah-thou who hast been since his departure, that which he was while he remained on earth, the true defense of Israel."

2 Kings 13:15

And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

No BARNES commentary on this verse.

2 Kings 13:16

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.
[Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands] A symbolic act, indicating that the successes, which the shooting typified, were to come, not from human skill, or strength, or daring, but from the presence and the power of God.

2 Kings 13:17
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.
[Eastward] Syria of Damascus lay partly east, but still more north, of the holy land. The arrow was to be shot, eastward, not so much against Syria itself as against the scene of the recent Syrian successes, Gilead (2 Kings 10:33), which was also to be the scene of Joash's victories over them. Aphek is almost due east from Shunem, where it is not unlikely that Elisha now was.
[The arrow ...] literally, "An arrow of deliverance from the Lord, and an arrow of deliverance against Syria; and thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, even to consuming."

2 Kings 13:18
And he said, 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.
[Smite upon the ground] Some prefer to render - "Shoot to the ground;" i.e. "Shoot arrows from the window into the ground outside, as if thou wert shooting against an enemy."

2 Kings 13:19
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.
The unfaithfulness of man limits the goodness of God. Though Joash did the prophet's bidding, it was without any zeal or fervour; and probably without any earnest belief in the efficacy of what he was doing. Compare Mark 6:5-6. God had been willing to give the Israelites complete victory over Syria (2 Kings 13:17); but Joash by his non-acceptance of the divine promise in its fulness had checked the outflow of mercy; and the result was that the original promise could not be fulfilled.

2 Kings 13:20
And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
[The bands of the Moabites invaded the land] The Moabites had been increasing in strength ever since their revolt from Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:1). The defeat which they suffered at the hands of Jehoram and Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 3:24) did not affect their subjugation. They spread themselves into the country north of the Arnon (Isa 16:2), and thence proceeded to make plundering expeditious year by year into Samaria, in Spring. This was the natural season for incursions, as then in Palestine the crops began to be ripe.

2 Kings 13:21
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
[They cast the man] Rather, "they thrust the man." The graves of the Jews were not pits dug in the ground, like ours, but caves or cells excavated in the side of a rock, the mouth of the cave being ordinarily shut by a heavy stone.
[Stood up on his feet] Coffins were not used by the Jews. The body was simply wrapped or swathed in grave-clothes (compare Luke 7:15; John 11:44).
This miracle of Elisha's after his death is more surprising than any of those which he performed during his lifetime. The Jews regarded it as his highest glory (compare Ecclesiaticus 48:13,14). It may be said to belong to a class of Scriptural miracles, cases, i.e. where the miracle was not performed through the agency of a living miracle-worker, but by a material object in which, by God's will, "virtue" for the time resided (compare Acts 19:12). The primary effect of the miracle was, no doubt, greatly to increase the reverence of the Israelites for the memory of Elisha, to lend force to his teaching, and especially to add weight to his unfulfilled prophecies, as to that concerning the coming triumphs of Israel over Syria. In the extreme state of depression to which the Israelites were now reduced, a very signal miracle may have been needed to encourage and reassure them.

2 Kings 13:10-19; 2 Kings 13:20-25
Verses 10-19 Jehoash, the king, came to Elisha, to receive his dying counsel and blessing. It may turn much to our spiritual advantage, to attend the sick-beds and death-beds of good men, that we may be encouraged in religion by the living comforts they have from it in a dying hour. Elisha assured the king of his success; yet he must look up to God for direction and strength; must reckon his own hands not enough, but go on, in dependence upon Divine aid. The trembling hands of the dying prophet, as they signified the power of God, gave this arrow more force than the hands of the king in his full strength. By contemning the sign, the king lost the thing signified, to the grief of the dying prophet. It is a trouble to good men, to see those to whom they wish well, forsake their own mercies, and to see them lose advantages against spiritual enemies.

Verses 20-25 God has many ways to chastise a provoking people. Trouble comes sometimes from that point whence we least feared it. The mention of this invasion on the death of Elisha, shows that the removal of God's faithful prophets is a presage of coming judgments. His dead body was a means of giving life to another dead body. This miracle was a confirmation of his prophecies. And it may have reference to Christ, by whose death and burial, the grave is made a safe and happy passage to life to all believers. Jehoash was successful against the Syrians, just as often as he had struck the ground with the arrows, then a stop was put to his victories. Many have repented, when too late, of distrusts and the straitness of their desires.
(from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database. Copyright 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)