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Elisha causes iron to swim, ver. 1 - 7.
Discloses to the king of Israel the secret counsels of the king
of Syria, ver. 8 - 12.
Saves himself out of the hands of those who were sent to apprehend
him, ver. 13 - 23.
Samaria is besieged by the Syrians, and reduced to extremity,
ver. 24 - 33.
2: Jordan - To the woods near Jordan. A beam - A piece of
timber for the building. Hence it may be gathered, that although the
sons of the prophets principally devoted themselves to religious
exercises, yet they sometimes employed themselves about manual arts.
10: Sent - Soldiers to secure the place and passage designed.
16: They - Angels, unspeakably more numerous, God, infinitely more
17: He saw, &c. - Fire is both dreadful and devouring: that power
which was engaged for Elisha, could both terrify and consume the
assailants. Elijah gave a specimen of Divine justice, when he called
for flames of fire on the heads of his persecutors to consume them.
Elisha gives a specimen of Divine mercy, in heaping coals of fire on
the heads of his persecutors to melt them.
22: Wouldest thou smite - It is against the laws of humanity, to kill
captives, though thou thyself hast taken them with thy own sword and bow;
which might seem to give thee some colour to destroy them; but much more
unworthy will it be in cold blood to kill these, whom not thy arms, but
God's providence hath put into thy hands. Set bread - Give them meat and
drink, which may refresh and strengthen them for their journey. This was
an action of singular piety and charity, in doing good to their enemies,
which was much to the honour of the true religion; and of no less prudence,
that hereby the hearts of the Syrians might be mollified towards the
23: No more - For some considerable time.
24: Ben - hadad - He whom Ahab wickedly spared, now comes to
requite his kindness, and to fulfil that Divine prediction.
Ben - hadad was a name very frequent among the kings of Syria, if not
common to them all.
25: Famine in Samaria - Probably the siege was so sudden, that they
had no time to lay in provisions. Pieces - Supposed to be shekels; and
the common shekel being valued at fifteen pence of English money, this
amounts to five pounds. A vast price, especially for that which had on
it so little meat, and that unwholesome and unclean. A kab - A measure
containing twenty - four eggs. Dung - This Hebrew word is of a doubtful
signification, and no where else used, probably it means a sort of
pease, which in the Arabick language (near a - kin to the Hebrew)
is called doves dung: for this was a food much in use amongst the poorer
Israelites, and was a very coarse food, and therefore fit to be joined
with the asses head: and a kab was the usual measure of all sorts of
grains and fruits of that sort.
27: Whence shall I help thee - Dost thou ask of me corn or wine,
which I want for myself? If God does not, I cannot help thee. Creatures
are helpless things without God. Every creature is all that, and only
that which God makes it to be.
29: We boiled - A dreadful judgment threatened to them in case of
their apostacy, (De 28:56,57), in which they were now deeply plunged.
31: God do so, &c. - Because he had encouraged them to withstand the
Syrians, by promising them help from God.
32: He said - Being admonished by God of his danger.
This son - The genuine son of that wicked Ahab the murderer of the
Lord's prophets. This expression may seem very harsh and unfit; nor is
it to be drawn into imitation by others: but it must be considered, that
he was an extraordinary prophet, intrusted with a power in some sort
superior to that of Joram, and had authority to control and rebuke him
in the name of the king of kings. Hold him - That he may not break in
upon me, and take away my life, before the king comes.
33: He said - Or, the king, who, though not here named, may be
presumed to be present, both by the prophet's prediction of his speedy
coming, and by the presence of the lord, on whose hand the king leaned,(2Ki 7:2).
This evil - This dreadful famine, which is now so extreme, that women are
forced to eat their own children. The Lord - Hath inflicted it, and (for
ought I see) he will not remove it. All penal evil is of the Lord, as the
first cause and sovereign judge. And this we ought to apply to particular
cases: if all evil, then this evil which we are groaning under. Whoever
are the instruments, God is the principal agent.
What should I, &c. - Thou bidst me wait upon God for help: but I perceive
I may wait long enough before deliverance comes: I am weary with waiting,
I can wait no longer.