Elisha’s fame is widespread now, and he was known in Syria too.  Even his servant Gehazi is known by the king of Israel.  Old acquaintances are coming back into the story to draw the kingdoms into their destiny. 

Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.  And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.  And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.  And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.  And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.  2 Kings 8:1-5

I wonder if Gehazi still had leprosy at this point?  Do people come to him to hear about God?  King Jehoram of Israel asks about the man of God, but not about God.  The widow who’s son was revived gets help because of the fame of Elisha’s gift.  Elisha is nowhere near at this time though.

And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.  And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.  And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?  So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels’ burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?  And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.  2 Kings 8:6-10

The man of God can enter the nation of his enemies freely.  Perhaps they know he is no friend of king Jehoram.  Or they may remember the hard lessons of previous battles with Israel.  Benhadad chances to send Hazael to Elisha.  The prognosis for the king’s illness is grim.

And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept.  And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.  And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.  So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover.  And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.  2 Kings 8:11-15

There must have been a plan brewing in Hazael’s mind because the death prediction provokes shame.  He knew about the impending death of the king that he was planning.  Elisha is aware too, and prophesies that Hazael will rule Syria.  So Hazael makes it so.

Do you remember when I warned that we should not be unequally yoked?  The king of Judah was joined with the king of Israel for war.  Jehosaphat of Judah named his son after Jehoram of Israel.  Now we see serious confusion setting in.  Notice that the spelling of Jehoram alternates with Joram for both kings.  I think the King James translators were getting confused too!

The relationship of kings of Israel and Judah got closer when Ahab’s daughter married Jehoram of Judah.  This dragged Judah farther off the path of righteousness.  So king Jehoram of Judah fell into the sins of his father in law Jehoram of Israel.  

And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign.  Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.  Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.  In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves.  2 Kings 8:16-20

While Judah is not destroyed in Jehoram’s reign, it is diminished by the revolt of their neighbors.  He has victory in battle with them, but does not end the rebellion.

So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.  Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.  And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.  2 Kings 8:21-24

King Jehoram of Judah comes to life’s end with no glory, and his son Ahaziah takes over rule of Judah.  He will continue in his father’s sins, under the influence of the royal line of Israel.  It introduces more confusion as he is the nephew of King Ahaziah who ruled Israel before his brother Jehoram replaced him.  We have more name games to follow.  I guess England had at least eight Henrys, and France had fourteen Louies, so this caught on elsewhere.

In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.  Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.  And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab.  And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramothgilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram.  And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick. 2 Kings 8:25-29

Once again Israel and Judah are ready to war against Syria, while being weakened by the sins of its kings.  Now Israel’s king is ill from wounds received in battle.

Where can this go?  We have been watching both kingdoms circling the drain for a long time now.  Elisha told Hazael what he would do long ago.  God had a plan and a power to carry out his sentence.  The plan of God is in motion now, even today.