2 Kings 1:1-8:5. Joram King of Israel (852-841 B.C.)

Joram has a brief, 12 year rule.  Most of the space in these chapters is devoted to a description of the ministry of Elisha.

Elisha.  The prophet Elisha succeeds Elijah.  He ministers to the people and kings of Israel for some fifty years.  Like Elijah, Elisha withstands the spread of the cult of Baal-Melqart, introduced into Israel by Jezebel, the mother of King Joram.

Elisha prayed for a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit as enablement for his ministry.  The OT reports just twice as many miracles of Elisha as of Elijah.  Elisha’s miracles tend to reflect compassion, showing something perhaps of this prophet’s character.  Most, if not all, of the miracles reported here happened during Joram’s reign.

Joram’s rule.  Joram’s era is a time of war and foreign pressures.  He invades the Moabites (3:4-27) but fails to restore them to a vassal state.  The Aramaeans continue to harass Israel, finally bringing Samaria itself under siege (6:24-7:20).  Joram continues the religious policies of his parents, and is a devotee of Baal (2 Kings 3:13, cf. 10:19).  The report of removing an altar set up by his father does not imply a religious change of heart (cf. 3:1-3)