The Benhadad Prophecy - Northern Elijah & Elisha: A Mirror-Reading

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

This is a mirror-reading of The Benhadad Prophecy Narrative. If you don’t know what mirror-reading is, please visit this page. The Benhadad Prophecy Narrative is primarily concerned with Elisha’s reputation, where he lived and his prophecy about King Benhadad.

If you’d like a less technical overview, please check out my podcast episode on this narrative. If you’re not familiar with Northern Elijah & Elisha, be sure to check out all of the podcast episodes in that series. I used Tzemah Yoreh's work as the basis for my Northern Elijah/Elisha Source. My mirror-reading map and commentary are listed below. In my commentary, I refer to the author of the Northern Elijah/Elisha source as “M”, after Tzemah’s labeling of the source as “Miracle Workers”.

Mirror-Reading Map

The map below shows how I derived the opposing narrative from the Biblical narrative. It relies primarily on mirrors/echos and cause/effect. For more information about mirrors/echoes, causal chains and my methodology, please visit this post.


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Please note that “M” refers to the author of the opposing narrative

Why Was Elisha In Damascus?

Both narratives place Elisha in Damascus. The question is, why was he there? Given what the opposing narrative says in this and other cycles, we can infer he was there because he betrayed Israel and served the Syrians. M counters this by saying that he traveled to Syria. Hazael goes to meet him and presents him with a gift that contains every good thing of Damascus. M suggests, why would would he give Elisha things of Damascus, if Elisha lived there?

Was Elisha’s Prophecy Wrong?

Both narratives have Elisha deliver a prophecy that claimed Benhadad would get well. However, M inserts Hazael so that Benhadad wouldn’t hear the entire prophecy. That way, M can add the qualifier that Benhadad would die. The opposing narrative asserts that Benhadad died from his disease, not from Hazael. It’s interesting that at least one scholar doesn’t see an assassination by Hazael

Gray (528, 532) acknowledges no assassination of Ben Hadad by Hazael in this action. The “coverlet” is regarded as a kind of mosquito net, which when dipped in water would act as a cooler for the person in bed. He sees here nothing more than the discovery of Ben Hadad’s death in the morning when the coverlet was removed. While the Assyrian records (ANET, 280) do not mention the mode of death, they do allow for a violent death.

Hobbs, T. R. (1998). 2 Kings (Vol. 13, p. 102). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

Why Did Elisha Cry?

In the opposing narrative, Elisha weeps because Benhadad dies. M gives the reason that it was because Hazael would kill many Israelites. This hits two birds with one stone by fixing Elisha’s prophecy and showing his loyalty to Israel.

Was Elisha A Prophet of Yahweh?

M shows that Elisha was a prophet of Yahweh by having Benhada ask to have him inquire of Yahweh for him. Also, it is Yahweh who shows Elisha that Benhadad would die and that Hazael would reign.

Man of Elohim?

If Elisha served the king of Syria, then no Israelite would refer to him as a “man of Elohim”. Once again, M counters this by referring to Elisha as a “man of Elohim” throughout this cycle. See comment regarding “man of Elohim” in The Woman At Zarephath.