2 Kings 8:7 Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,” 8 he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the Lord through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

9 Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

10 Elisha answered, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless,[a] the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.” 11 He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael was embarrassed. Then the man of God began to weep.

12 “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.

“Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.”

13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”

“The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram,” answered Elisha.

14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, “What did Elisha say to you?” Hazael replied, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.


This is from the easy English site.

This event happened after Elisha had cured Naaman. It happened after the battles and the miracles in chapter 6 also. So Elisha was now well-known in Damascus. But we would not expect him to go there. Damascus was the capital city of Syria. It was a long journey from the cities that Elisha usually visited in Israel. And Syria was a foreign country. Syria and Israel were frequent enemies during Elisha’s life.

But a long time before, God had announced his intention to make Hazael king of Syria. God told Elijah to appoint Hazael (1 Kings 19:15). This became Elisha’s duty after Elijah went up to heaven. But this would not be a pleasant task. Hazael would be a cruel king. His rule would bring about a period of terrible punishment for the rulers in Israel. God had sent powerful prophets to warn them. But the rulers of Israel still refused to obey God. They continued to worship false gods. And their punishment was certain (1 Kings 19:17).

Benhadad heard that Elisha was in Damascus. So Benhadad told Hazael to ask Elisha whether he (Benhadad) would recover from his illness. Benhadad sent a very large present to Elisha. It is clear that Benhadad respected Elisha greatly. It is interesting to compare the behaviour of this foreign king with the actions of Israel’s king in chapter 1.

Elisha told Hazael to say that Benhadad would not die from his disease. Elisha meant that in normal circumstances the king would recover. But then Elisha told Hazael that Benhadad would certainly die. Perhaps God showed that to Elisha at that moment. Elisha wept.

Hazael asked Elisha why he was weeping. Elisha told him this. Hazael would do terrible things to the Israelites. Hazael did not say that those deeds made him feel disgust. He said that he was not an important person. He meant that he would never become powerful enough to do such things. Hazael probably already had great ambitions. Soon he would carry out a cruel plot against Benhadad. But Elisha did not argue with Hazael. Elisha simply replied that Hazael would become the king of Syria.

Benhadad had a long and rocky relationship with the prophet. He was the king in Syria while Ahab and Jezebel were running Israel. He's sick and now he wants to hear from Elisha. It's a shame he has to die. But... according to the prophets... God's angry at Israel's leaders and Hazael is just mean enough to use.

God's going to release a murdering monster loose on Israel because they refuse to stop worshiping shiny little objects. [Remember.. In Israel they set up those fake churches with the little golden calves to worship instead of going to Jerusalem in Judah where the Temple was located. It was convenient to worship in Israel's "temples" but they were fake and because they were fake... they were deadly. God gave us ten commandments... and the two apply here.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.


That's why Hazael killed Benhadad and became king of Aram Damascus [Damascus, Syria]. Judging by the cruelty it would take to cover your king's head with a towel and fight to hold it there while the king fights to get free, he's perfect for the cruelty he's to let loose on Israel.