Almost eight chapters have passed since any reference to a succession of kings. The pages have been consumed with the work of God through His prophets Elijah and Elisha. With 2 Kings 8, we return to the story of the kings.
Throughout these eight chapters the story reveals the great presence of God in Israel, and His sovereignty over all the earth – not just sovereignty in Israel.
Near the end of 1 Kings (chapter 19), Elijah, having run in fear all the way to Sinai, is approached by the Lord and told to return to his homeland. There, Hazael will be anointed the new king of Syria, Jehu the new king of Israel, and Elisha the successor of Elijah.
We’ve seen the anointing of Elisha. The other two events are about to come to pass.
Ben-Hadad, king of Syria recognizes that Elisha is the prophet of God – the only God there is. Critically ill, he sends his closest confidant to Elisha to find out if he will survive. Elisha does not anoint Hazael, but confirms that he will be king. Hazael returns to his master and, finding him in a weakened state, finishes him off. This is how the kingship passes from the family of Ben-Hadad to Hazael and, just as 1 Kings 19 gave us a glimpse into Israel and Syria’s political future, so Elisha now gives us a view of Israel’s punishment to come.