Page images

16 And the people went out, and" spoiled the

CHAPTER VIII. tents of the Syrians. So a measure of' fine four

The passages of story recorded in this chapler, oblige ua to look back. I. We was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley read, belore, of a Shunammite woman that was a kind benefactor to Fliaha ;

now here we are told how she fared the better for it, afterward, in the advice for a shekel, according to the word "of the Lord.

Elisha gave her, and the ta tour the king showed ber for his sake, v.1-6. 11. We 17 And the king appointed the lord on whose read, before, of the designation of Hazael to be king of Syria, (1 Kings 19. 15.)

and here we have an account of his elevation to that throne, and the way be hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and forced for himself to it, by killing his master, v.7–15. 111. We read before or le. the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, horam's reigning user Judah in tbe room of luis father Jehonhaphat, ( I kinga

22-50, now here we have a short and sal history of his short and wickelrrigo, as the man of God had said, who spake when the (v. 16-24,) and the beginning of the history of the reign of his son Abaziah,

v. 25-29. king came down to him.

18 And it came to pass, as the man of God had THEN spake Elisha unto the woman whose son spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley ahe had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever shall be to-morrow, about this time, in the gate of thou canst sojourn : for the Lord hath called for a Samaria :

famine: and it shall also come upon the land seven 19 And that lord answered the man of God, 'years. and said, Now, behold, if the Lord should make 2 And the woman arose, and did after the saying windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he of the man of God: and she went with her housesaid, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but hold, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines shalt rnot eat thereof.

seven years. 20 And so it fell out unto him: for the people 3 And it came to pass at the seven years' end, trode upon him in the gate, and he died.

that the woman returned out of the land of the Phim Pr. 69. 12. Is. 33. 1, 4, 23.

& Gen. 18. 14. Num. II. Num. 20. 12. Jer. 17. 5, 6. Heb. 3. 19. a c. 1. 19, &c. 6 Ps. 105, 16, Hng. ).


o ver. 1.

P ver. 2.

23. 23. 19.

11. c Gen. 41. 27.

the just, (Job 27. 16, 17,) and the spoilers spoiled, Is. 33. 1. rewarded by the care that was taken of her in that famine ; she 2. The wants of Israel supplied in a way that they little thought was not indeed sed by miracle, as the widow of Sarepta was, of, which should encourage us to depend upon the power and but, 1. She had notice given her of this famine before it came, goodness of God in our greatest straits. 3. The word of Elisha that she might provide accordingly, and was directed to remove fulfilled, to a titule, a measure of fine fiqur was sold for a shekel; to some other country: any where, but in Israel, she would find they that spoiled the camp, had not only enough to supply them- plenty. It was a great advantage to Eaypt in Joseph's time, selves with, but an overplus to sell at an easy rate for the be- that ihey had notice of the famine before it came, so it was to nefit of others; and so even they that tarried at home, did divide this Shunammite; others would be forced to remove at last, the spoil, Ps. 68. 12. Is. 33. 23. God's promise may be safely after they had long borne the grievances of the famine, and bad relied on, for no word of his shall fall to the ground.

wasted their substance, and could nol settle elsewhere upon IV. The death of the unbelieving courtier, that questioned such good terms as she might, that

went early before the crowd, the truth of Elisha's word; divine threatenings will as surely be and took her stock with her unbroken. It is our happiness to accomplished as divine promises; He that believeth not, shall be foresee an evil, and our wisdom, when we foresee it, to hide damned, stands as firm as He that believeth, shall be saved. This ourselves. 2. Providence gave her a comfortable settlement in lord, 1. Was preferred by the king to the charge of the gate, the land of the Philistines, who, though subdued by David, yet (v. 17,) to keep the peace, and to see that there was no tumult were not wholly rooted out; it seems, the famine was peculiar or disorder in dividing and disposing of the spoil; so much trust to the land of Israel, and other countries that joined close to did the king repose in him, and in his prudence and gravity, and them, had plenty at the same time, which plainly showed the so much did he delight to honour him : he that will be great, immediate hand of God in it, as in the plagues of Egypt, when let him serve the public. 2. Was trodden to death the they distinguished between the Israelites and the Egyptians, people in the gate, either by accident, the crowd being exceed- and that the sins of Israel, against whom this judgment was ing great, and he in the thickest of it, or perhaps designedly, directly levelled, were more provoking to God than the sins of because he abused his power, and was imperious in restrain their neighbours, because of their professjon of relation to God; ing the people from satisfying their hunger : however it was, You only have I known, therefore will I punish you, Am. 3.2. God's justice was glorified, and the word of Elisha was fulfilled; Other countries had rain when they had none, were free from he saw the plenty, for the silencing and shaming of his unbelief, locusts and caterpillars when they were eaten up with them; corn cheap, without opening windows in heaven, and therein for some think this was the famine spoken of, Joel 1. 3, 4. It saw his own folly in prescribing to God: but he did not eat of is strange that when there was plenty in the neighbouring the plenty he saw; when he was about to fill his belly, God cast countrios, there were not those that made it their business to the fury of his wrath upon him, Job 20.23, and it came between import corn into the land of Israel, which might have prevented the cup and the lip. Justly are those thus tantalized with the the inhabitants removing ; but as they were befooled with their world's promises that think themselves tantalized with the idolatries, so they were infatuated even in the matters of their promises of God; if believing shall not be seeing, seeing shall civil interest. not be enjoying.

III. Her petition to the king at her return, favoured by the This matter is repeated, and the event very particularly seasonableness of her application to him. compared with the prediction, (v. 18—20,) that we might take 1. When the famine was over, she returned out of the land special notice of it, and might learn, (1.) How deeply God of the Philistines ; that was no proper place for an Israelite any resents our distrust of him, and of his power, providence, and longer than there was necessity for it, for there she could not promise: when Israel said, Can God furnish a table? The keep her new moons and her sabbaths as she used to do in her Lord heard it, and was wroth. Infinite wisdom will not be own country, among the schools of the prophets, ch. 4. 23. limited by our folly : God never promises the end, without 2. At her return she found herself kept out of the possession knowing where to provide the means. (2.) How uncertain life of her own estate, it being either contiscated to the exchequer, is, and the enjoyments of it; honour and power cannot secure seized by the lord, or usurped, in ber absence, by some of the men from sudden and inglorious deaths; he whom the king neighbours; or perhaps the person she had intrusted with the leaned upon, the people trod upon; he who fancied himself the management of it, proved false, and would neither resign it to stay and support of the government, is trampled under foot as her, nor come to an account with her for the profits : so hard is the mire in the streets: thus hath the pride of men's glory been

it to find a person that ono can put a confidence in in a time of often stained. (3.) How certain God's threatenings are, and trouble, Prov. 25. 19. Mic. 7. 5. how sure to alight on the guilty and obnoxious heads : let all 3. She made her application to the king himself for redress; men fear before the great God, who treads upon princes as for, it seems, (be it observed to his praise,) he was easy of mortar, and is terrible to the kings of the earth.

access, and did himself take cognizance of the complaints of his injured subjects. Time was, when she dwelt so securely among

her own people, that she had no occasion to be spoken for to the V.1-6. Here we have,

king, or to the captain of the host, (ch. 4. 13;) but now her own I. The wickedness of Israel punished with a long famine, one familiar friends, in whom she trusted, proved so unjust and of God's sore judgments often threatened in the law; Canaan, unkind, that she was glad to appeal to the king against them; that fruitful land, is turned into barrenness, for the iniquity of such uncertainty there is in the creature, that that may fail us, them that duelt therein. The famine in Samaria was soon re- which we most depend upon, and that befriend us, which we lieved, by the raising of the siege, but neither that judgment, think we shall never need. nor that mercy had a due influence upon them, and therefore the 4, She found the king talking with Gehazi about Elisha's Lord calls for another famine; for when he judgeth, he will miracles, v. 4. It was his shame that he needed now to be overcome; if lesser judgments do not prevail to bring men to informed concerning them, when he might have acquainted repentance, he will send greater and longer; they are at his himself with them as they were done from Elisha himself

, if he beck, and will come when he calls for them. He does, by his had not been willing to shut his eyes against the convincing ministers, call for reformation and obedience, and if those calls evidences of his mission; yet it was his praise that he was now be not regarded, we may expect he will call for some plague better disposed, and would rather talk with a leper that was or other, for he will be heard ; this famine continued seven capable of giving a good account of them, than continue ignoyears, as long again as that in Elijah's time; for, if men will rant of them. The law did not forbid all conversation with walk contrary to him, he will heat the furnace yet hotter. lepers, but only dwelling with them: there being then no priests II. The kindness of the good shunammite to the prophet in Israel, perhaps the king, or some one appointed by him, had


listines : and she went forth to cry unto the king for hadad the king of Syria was sick: and it was told her house and for her land.

him, saying, The man of God is come hither. 4 And the king talked with Gehazi,d the servant 8 And the king said unto Hazael,« Take a present of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, I pray thee, all in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and the great things that Elisha hath done.

inquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover 5 And it came to pass, as he was telling the king of this disease ? how he had restored a dead body to life, that, be 9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present hold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, cried to the king for her house and for her land. forty camels' burden, and came and stood before And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the wo- him, and said, Thy son Ben-hadad king of Syria man, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this life.

disease? 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told 10 And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, him. So the king appointed unto her a certain Thou mayest kcertainly recover: howbeit the LORD 'officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all hath showed me that he shall surely die. the fruits of the field since the day that she left the 11 And he settled his countenance steadfastly, land, even until now.

unuil he was ashamed : and the man of God wept." 7 And Elisha came to Damascus ; and Ben 12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord ?

[blocks in formation]

d c5. 20, 2. e Matt. 2. 8. Luke 9. 9. 23.8. John 9. 27. eunuch. & King19. 15.

[blocks in formation]

the inspection of lepers, and passed the judgment upon them, ment to the greatest of men to attend the prophets of the Lord; which inight bring him acquainted with Gehazi.

Hazael must go meet him at the place where he had appointed 5. This happy coincidence befriended both Gehazi's narra a meeting with his friends. (3.) He sends him a noble present, tive, and her petition. Providence is to be acknowledged in of every good thing of Damascus, as much as loaded 40 camels; ordering the circumstances of events, for sometimes those that (v. 9,) testifying hereby his affection to the prophet, bidding are minute in themselves, prove of great consequence, as this him welcome to Damascus, and providing for his sustenance here ; for,

while he sojourned there; it is probable that Elisha accepted (1.) It made the king ready to believe Gehazi's narrative, it, (why should he not?) though he refused Naaman's. (4.) He when it was thus confirmed by the persons most nearly con orders Hazael to call him his son Ben-hadad, conforming to the cerned;" This is the woman, and this her son, let them speak for language of Israel, who called the prophets fathers. Lastly, themselves," v. 5. Thus did God even force him to believe He put an honour upon him as one acquainted with the secrets what he might have had some colour to question, if he had only of Heaven, when he inquired of him, Shall I recover? It is had Gehazi's word for it, because he was branded for a liar, natural to us, to desire to know things to come in time, while witness his leprosy.

things to come in eternity are liulu thought of, or inquired (2.) It made him ready to grant her request ; for who would after. not be ready to favour one whom Heaven had thus favoured, IV. What passed between Hazael and Elisha, is especially and to support a life which was given once and again by remarkable. '1. Elisha answered his inquiry concerning the miracle? In consideration of this, the king gave orders that king, that he might recover, the disease was not mortal, but her land should be restored her, and all the profits that were that he should die another way, (v. 10,) not a natural, but a made of it in her absence : if it were to himself that the land violent death. There are many ways out of the world, and and profits had escheated, it was generous and kind to make so sometimes, while men think to avoid one, they fall by another. full à restitution; he would not (as Pharaoh did in Joseph's 2. He looked Hazael in the face with an unusual concern, till time) enrich the crown by the calamities of his subjects; if it he made Hazael blush, and himself weep, v. 11. The man of were by some other person that her property was invaded, it God could outface the man of war. It was not in Hazael's was an act of justice in the king, and part of the duty of his countenance, that Elisha read what he would do, but God did, place to do her right, Ps.82.3, 4. Prov.31.9. It is not enough at this time, reveal it to him, and it fetched tears from his eyes : for those in authority, that they do no wrong themselves, but the more foresight men have, the more grief they are liable to. they must support the right of those that are wronged.

3. When Hazael asked him why he wept, he told him what a V. 7-15. Here,

great deal of mischief he foresaw he would do to the Israel of God, I. We may inquire what brought Elisha to Damascus, the (v. 12,) what desolations he would make of their strong holds, chief city of Syria. Was he sent to any but the lost sheep of and barbarous destruction of their men, women, and children. the house of Israel? It seems, he was, perhaps he went to The sins of Israel provoked God to give them up into the hands make a visit to Naaman his convert, and to confirm him in his of their cruel enemies, yet Elisha wept to think that ever Israelchoice of the true religion, which was the more needful now, ites should be thus abused; for though he foretold, he did not because, it should seem, he was now out of his place, for desire, the woful day. See what havoc war makes, what havoc Hazael is supposed to be captain of the host; either he resigned sin makes, and how the nature of man is changed by the fall, and it, or was turned out of it, because he would not bow, or not stripped even of humanity itself. 4. Hazael is greatly surprised bow heartily, in the house of Rimmon; some think he went to at this prediction ; (v.13,) What! says he is thy servant a dog, Damascus upon account of the famine, or rather, he went that he should do this great thing? This great thing he looks thither in obedience to the orders God gave Elijah, (1 Kings upon to be, (1.) An act of great power, not to be done but by a 19. 15,) Go to Damascius, to anoint Hazael, thou, or thy suc- crowned head; it must be some mighty potentate that can think cessor.

to prevail thus against Israel, and therefore not I; many are II. We may observe that Ben-hadad, a great king, rich and raised to that dominion which they never thought of, and it often mighty, lay sick: no honour, wealth, or power, will secure men proves to their own hurt, Ec. 8. 9. (2.) An act of great, barfrom the common diseases and disasters of human life; palaces barity, which could not be done but by one lost to all honour and thrones lie as open to the arrests of sickness and death as and virtue; “ Therefore," says he, it is what I shall never the meanest cottage.

find in my heart to be guilty of: Is thy servant a dog, to rend, III. We may wonder that the king of Syria, in his sickness, and tear, and devour? Unless I were a dog, I could not do it.' should make Elisha his oracle. Notice was soon brought him See here, (1.) What a bad opinion he had of the sin, he looked that the man of God (for by that title he was well known in upon it to be great wickedness, fitter for a brute, for a beast of Syria since he cured Naaman) was come to Damascus, v. 7. prey, to do than a man. Note, It is possible for a wicked man, Never in better time, says Ben-hadad; Go, and inquire of the under the convictions and restraints of natural conscience, to Lord by him: in his health, he boued in the house of Rimmon ; express great abhorrence of a sin, and yet afterward to be well but now that he is sick, he distrusts his idol, and sends to inquire reconciled to it. (2.) What a good opinion he had of himself, of the God of Israel. Affliction brings those to God, who, in how much better than he deserved; he thought it impossible he their prosperity, had made light of him; sometimes sickness should do such barbarous things as the prophet foresaw. Note, opens men's eyes, and rectifies their mistakes. This is the We are apt to think ourselves sufficiently armed against those sins more observable, 1. Because it is not long since a king of Israel which yei we are afterward overcome by, as Peter, Mat. 26. 35. had, in his sickness, sent to inquire of the god of Ekron, (ch. 1.2,) | Lasily, In answer to this, Elisha only told him he should be king as if there had been no God in Israel. Note, God sometimes over Syria; then he would have power to do it, and then he fetches to himself that honour from strangers, which is denied would find in his heart to do it. Honours change men's tempers him, and alienated from him, by his own professing people. and manners, and seldom for the better; "Thou knowest not 2. Because it is not long since this Ben-hadad had sent a great what thou will do when thou comest 10 be king, but I tell thee, force to treat Elisha as an enemy, (ch. 6. 14,) yet now he courts this thou wilt do." Those that are little and low in the world, him as a prophet. Note, Among other instances of the change cannot imagine how strong the temptations of power and prosof men's minds by sickness and affliction, this is one, that it often perity are, which, if ever they arrive at, they will find how gives them other thoughts of God's ministers, and teaches them deceitful their hearts were, and how much worse than they to value the counsels and prayers of those whom they had hated suspected. and despised.

V. What mischief Hazael did to his master, hereupon ; if To put an honour upon the prophet, (1.) He sends to him, he took any occasion to do it from what Elisha had said, the and does not send for him, as if, with the centurion, he thought fault was in him, not in the word. himself not worthy that the man of God should come under his 1. He basely cheated his master, and belied the prophet; roof. (2.) He sends to him by Hazael, his prime minister of (v. 14,) He told me thou shouldest certainly recover : ihis was state, and not by a common messenger. It is no disparage- abominably false, he told him he should die, (v. 10;) but he

And he answered, Because I know the evil "that David his servant's sake, as he promised yhim to thon wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong give him alway a light, and to his children. holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt 20 In his days Edom revolted from under the thou slay with the sword, and "wilt dash their chil- hand of Judah, and made a king cover themselves. dren, and rip up Ptheir women with child.

21 So Joram went over to Zair, and all the cha13 And Hazael sa id, But what! is thy servant a riots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the dog, that he should do this great thing? And Eli- Edomites which compassed him about, and the sha answered, The Lord hath showed me "that thou captains of the chariots: and the people fled into shalt be king over Syria.

their tents. 14 So he departed from Elisha, and came to his 22 Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? Judah unto this day. Then Libnah 'revolted at And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest the same time. surely recover.

23 And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that 15 And it came to pass on the 'morrow, that he he did, are they not written in the book of the chrotook a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread nicles of the kings of Judah? it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned 24 And Joram slept with his fathers, and was in his stead.

buried with his fathers in the city of David : and 16 And in the fifth year of Joram, the son of Ahab | Ahaziah his dson reigned in his stead. king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, 25 In the twelfth year of Joram, the son of Ahab Jehoram“ the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah king of Israel, did Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram king *began to reign.

of Judah, begin to reign. 17 Thirty and two years old was he when he be 26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when gan to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jeru- he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem.

salem : and his mother's name was Athaliah, the 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of daughter of Omri king of Israel. Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for the "daughter 27 And he walked in the way of the house of of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did of the Lord.

the house of Ahab: for he was the son-in-law of the 19 Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for house of Ahab. n c. 10.32. 12, 17. 13.3, 7. o Am. 1. 3–5. Ps. 137.8, 9. p c. 15. 16. Hox. 13. v 2 Sam. 7. 13. I Kings 11. 36. 15. 4. Ps. 132. 17. candle, or, lamp. reigned. 1 Kings 22. 52, 53. 22. 6, and Jehoahaz, 2 Chr. 21, 17. 25. 23.

$or, grand

rl Kinga 19. 15.

27. 40. 41 Kings 22. 47.

b ver. 20.

16. Am. 1. 13. 91 Sain. 17. 43,
u 2 Chr. 21. 5, &c.
25, 26. Has. 11. 9.

. ver. 10.
o ver. 26.

Mic. 2. 1. * Jer. 33.

* Gen. c Josh. 21, 13. I called Azariak, 2 Chr.

d 2 Chr. 22. 1, &c.

daughter, ver, 18.

unfairly and unfaithfully concealed that, either because he was pride, (than which nothing is more pernicious to young people,) loath to put the king out of humour with bad news, or because indulged him in his ambition, in hopes to reform him by hereby he might the more effectually carry that bloody design, humouring him, and so brought a curse upon his family, as Eli which he conceived when he was told he should be his suc- did, whose sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them cessor. The devil ruins men, by telling them they shall cer not. Jehoshaphat had made this wicked son of his, viceroy, tainly recover and do well; so rocking them asleep in security, once when he went with Ahab 10 Ramoth-gilead, from which than which nothing is more fatal: this was an injury to the Jehoshaphat's 1716 year (1 Kings 22. 51) is made Jehoram's king, who lost the benefit of this warning to prepare for death, second, (ch. 1. 17:) but afterward, in his 22d year, he made and an injury to Elisha, who would be counted a false prophet. him partner in his government, and from thence Joram's eight

2. He barbarously murdered his master, and so made good years are to be dated, three years before bis father's death. It the prophet's word, v. 15. He dipped a thick cloth in cold has been hurtful to many young men, to come loo soon to their water, and spread that upon his face, under pretence of cooling estates; Samuel got nothing by making his sons judges.. and refreshing him, but so that it stopped his breath, and stified III. The rebukes of Providence which he was under for his him presently, he being weak, (and not able to help himself,) badness. 1. The Edomites revolted, who had been under the or perhaps asleep; such a bubble is the life of the greatest of government of the kings of Judah ever since David's time, about men, and so much exposed are princes to violence. Hazael, 150 years, v. 20. He attempted to reduce them, and gave them who was Ben-hadad's confidant, is his murderer, and, some a deseal, (v. 21,) but he could not improve the advantage he think, was not suspected, nor did it ever come out but by the had got, so as to recover his dominion over them; yet Edom pen of this inspired historian. We found this haughty monarch, revolted, (v. 22;) and the Edomiles were, after this, bitter ene(1 Kings 20,) the terror of the mighty in the land of the living, mies to the Jews, as appears by the prophecy of Obadiah, and but he goes down slain to the pit with his iniquity upon his bones, Ps. 137. 7. Now Isaac's prophecy was fulfilled, that this Esau Ez. 32. 27.

the elder should serve Jacob the younger; yet, in process of V. 16–24. We have here a brief account of the life and time, he should brenk that yoke from off his neck, Gen. 27. 40. reign of Jehoram, (or Joram,) one of the worst of the kings of 2. Libnah revolted, that was a city in Judah, in the heart of his Judah, but the son and successor of Jehoshaphat, one of the country, a priests' city, the inhabitants of that city shook off best. Note, 1. Parents cannot give grace to their children: his government, because he had forsaken God, and would have many that have themselves been godly, have had the grief and compelled them to do so too, 2 Chr. 21. 10, 11. In order that shame of seeing those that came forih out of their bowels, they might preserve their religion, they set up for a free stale; wicked and vile; let not the families that are thus afflicted, perhaps, other cities did the same. 3. His reign was short, think it strange. 2. If the children of good parents prove God cut him off in the midst of his days, when he was but 40 wicked, commonly they are worse than others: the unclean years old, and had reigned but eight years; bloody and deceitful spirit brings in seven others more wicked than himself, Luke men shall not live out half their days. 11. 26. 3. A nation is sometimes justly punished with the IV. The gracious care of Providence for the keeping up of miseries of a bad reign, for not improving the blessings and the kingdom of Judah, and the house of David, notwithstanding advantages of a good one.

the apostacies and calamities of Jehoram's reign; (v. 19,) Yet Concerning this Jehoram, observe,

the Lord would not destroy Judah; he could easily have done I. The general idea here given of his badness; (v. 18,) He it, he might justly have done it, it would have been no loss to did as the house of Ahab, and worse he could not do; his cha- him to have done it; yet he would not do it, for David's sake, racter is taken from the bad example he followed, for men are not for the sake of any merit of his which could challenge this according to the company they converse with, and the copies favour to his family as a debt, but for the sake of a promise they write after. No mistake is more fatal to young people, made to him, that he should always have a lamp, that is, a sucthan a mistake in the choice of those whom

they would recom- cession of kings from one generation to another; by which his mend themselves to, and take their measures from, and whose name should be kept bright and illustrious, as a lamp is kept good opinion they value themselves by ; Jehoram chose the house burning by a constant fresh supply of oil: thus his family was of Ahab for his pattern rather than his father's house, and it was not to be extinct, till il terminated in the Messiah, that Son of his ruin. We have a particular account of his wickedness, David, on whom was to be hung all the glory of his Father's 2 Chr. 21. murder, idolatry, persecution, every thing that was house, and in whose everlasting kingdom that promise to David bad.

is fulilled, (Ps. 132. 17,) I have ordained a lamp for mine II. The occasions of his badness; his father was a very good anointed. man, and, no doubt, took care to have him taught the good V. The conclusion of this impious and inglorious reign, v. 23, knowledge of the Lord; but, 1. It is certain he did ill, to marry 24. Nothing peculiar is here said of him; but we are told, him to the daughter of Ahab; no good could come of an alliance 2 Chr. 21. 19, 20, that he died of sore diseases, and died without with an idolatrous family, but all mischief with such a daughter being desired. of such a mother, as Athaliah the daughter of Jezebel : the V. 25-29, As among common persons, there are some that degeneracy of the old world took rise from the unequal yoking we call little men, who make no figure, are little regarded, and of professors with profane ; those that are ill matched, are less valued; so among kings, there are some whom, in compaalready half ruined. 2. I doubt he did not do well, to make him rison with others, we may call little kings. This Ahaziah was king in his own lifetime : it is said here, (v. 16,) he began la one of these ; he looks mean in the history, and, because wicked, reign, Jehoshaphat being then king; hereby he gratified his in God's account, vile. It is too plain an evidence of the affinity

A ,

< c. 9. 13.

* roun led.

cc. 8. 28.

28 And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to 2 And when thou comest thither, look out there the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramoth Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, gilead ; and the Syrians wounded Joram.

and go in, and make him arise up from among dhis 29 And king Joram went back to be healed in brethren, and carry him to an *inner chamber : Jezreel of the wounds *which the Syrians had given 3 Then take the box of oil and pour it on his him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king head, and say, Thus saith the Lord, have anointof Syria. And Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram king ed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and of Judah, went down to see Joram the son of Ahab fee, and tarry not. in Jezreel, because he was isick.

4 So the young man, even the young man the

prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. CHAPTER IX.

5. And when he came, behold, the captains of the

host were sitting: and he said, 'I have an errand to Haznel and Jehu were the men that were designed to be the instruments of God's thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of Justice in punishing and destroyiog the house of Abab. Elijah was bidden to appoint them to this service; but, upoo Ahab's humiliation, a reprieve was all us? And he said, To thee, O captain. granted, and as it was left to Elisha tu appoint them. Hazael's elevation to the

6 And he arose, and went into the house; and he throue of Syria we read of in the foregoing chapter ; and we must now attend Jehu to the throne of Israel; for bim that cacapell the word of Hazael, as Jo poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus ram and Ahaziah did, Jebu must alay, of which this chapter gives us an account.

Esaith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee I. A commission is sent to Jehu by the hand of one of the prophts, to take upon him the government, and destroy the house of Ahab, v. 1-10. !1. Here is king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel. his speedy execution of this commission. 1. He communicates it to his caplains, v. 11-15. 2. He marches directly to Jezreel, (v, 16-20,) and there despatches,

7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy (!) Joram king of Israel, v. 20—26. (2.) Abaziab king of Judah, v. 9.–29. master, that I may iavenge the blood of my servants (3.) Jezebel, v. 30–37.

kthe prophets, and the blood of all the servants of ND Elisha the prophet called one of the chil the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.

8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and bup thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against and go to Ramoth-gilead.

the wall, and him that is shut up mand left in Israel. • whereroith the Syrians hart wounded, t called Ramoth, ver. 28. 1 Kings 19. 16. SI Sam. 10. 1. & 2 Chr. 22. 7. À Ps. 75. 6. Dan. 2. 21. 4. I c. 9. 16. a 1 Kings 20. 35. be. 4. 29. Jer, 1. 17.

17-32. 5. 20, 21. i Luke 18. 7,8. Rev. 6.9, 10. k 1 Kings 18. 4. 21. 15, 21. a ver. 5, 11. • chamber in a chamber.

11 Kings 14. 10. in Deut. 32. 36. between Jehoshaphat and Ahab, that they had the same names one of them: he would not engross all the honours to himself, in their families, at the same time, in which, we may suppose, nor grudge the young prophets a share in them. they designed to compliment one another. Ahab had two sons, When he sent him, (1.) He put the oil into his hand, with Ahaziah and Jehoram, who reigned successively; Jehoshaphat which he must anoint Jehu. Take this box of oil. Solomon had a son and grandson named Jehoram and Ahazjah, who, was anointed with oil out of the tabernacle, 1 Kings 1. 39. That in like manner, reigned successively. Names indeed do not could not now be had, but oil from a prophet's hand was equimake natures, but it was a bad omen to Jehoshaphat's family, valent to oil out of God's house. It was not the constant practo borrow names from Ahab's; or if he lent the names to that tice to anoint kings, but upon the disturbance of the succession, wretched family, he could not communicate with them the as in the case of Solomon; or the interruption of it, as in the devotion of their significations, Ahaziah, Taking hold of the case of Joash, (ch. 11. 12 ;) or the translation of the governLord; and Jehoram, The Lord exalted.

ment to a new family, as here, and in the case of David; yet it Ahaziah king of Ísrael had reigned but two years, Ahaziah might be used, generally, though the scripture does not menking of Judah reigned but one. We are here told that his tion it. (2.) He put the words into his mouth which he must relation to Ahab's family was the occasion,

say, (v. 3,) 'I have anointed thee king, and, no doubt, told him 1. Of his wickedness; (v. 27,) He walked in the way of the all the rest that he said, v. 7–10. Those whom God sends on house of Ahab, that idolatrous bloody house ; for his mother was his errand, shall not go without full instructions. Ahab's daughter, v. 26. So that he sucked in wickedness with He also ordered him, (1.) To do it privately; to single out his milk. Partus sequitur ventrem-The child may be expected Jehu from the rest of the captains, and anoint him in an inner to resemble the mother. When men choose wives for themselves, chamber, (v.2,) that Jehu's confidence in his commission might they must remember they are choosing mothers for their child be tried, when he had no witness to attest it; his being, of a dren, and are concerned to choose accordingly.

sudden, animated for the service, would be proof sufficient of 2. Of his fall; Joram, his mother's brother, courted him to his being anointed to it, there needed no other proof. The join with him for the recovery of Ramoth-gilead, an attempt thing signified was the best evidence of the sign. (2.) To do it fatal to Ahab; so it was to Joram bis son, for in that expedition expeditiously; when he went about it, he must gird up his he was wounded, (v. 28,) and returned to Jezreel to be cured, loins; when he had done it, he must flee and not tarry for a fee, leaving his army there in possession of the place. Ahaziah or a treat, or to see what Jehu would do. It becomes the sons was likewise returned, but went to Jezreel, to see how Jehoram of the prophets to be quick and lively at their work, to go about did, v. 29. Providence so ordered it, that he who had been it, and go through it, as men that hale sauntering and trifling, debauched by the house of Ahab, might be cut off with them, They should be as angels that fy swiftly. when the measure of their iniquity was full, as we shall find in II. The commission delivered. The young prophet did his the next chapter. They who partake with sinners in their sin, business with despatch ; was at Ramoth-gilead presently, v. 4. inust expect to partake with them in their plagues.

There he found the general officers sitting together, either at dinner, or in a council of war, v. 5. With the assurance that

became a messenger from God, notwithstanding the meanness V.1-10. We have here the anointing of Jehu to be king, of his appearance, he called Jehu out from the rest, not waiting who was, at this time, a commander (probably, commander-in- his leisure, or begging his pardon for disturbing him, but as one chief) of the forces employed at Ramoth-gilead, v. 14. There having authority, I have an errand lo thee, O captain. Pere he was fighting for the king his master, but received orders from haps Jebu had some intimation of his business; and therefore, a higher King to fight against him. It does not appear that that he might not seem too forward to catch at the honour, ho Jehu aimed at the government, or that he ever thought of it, asked, To which of all us? That it might not be said after. but the commission given him was a perfect surprise to him. ward, he got it by speaking first, but they might all be satisfied Some think that he had been anointed before by Elijah, whom he was indeed the person designed. God ordered to do it, but privately, and with an intimation that When the prophet had him alone, he anointed him, v. 6. The ho must not act till further orders; as Samuel anointed David anointing of the Spirit is a hidden thing, that new name, which long before he was to come to the throne; but that is not at all none knows but they that have it. Herewith, probable, for then we must suppose Elijah had anointed Hazael 1. He invests him with the royal dignity; Thus saith the too. No, when God bade him do these things, he bade him Lord God of Israel, whose messenger I am, in his name I have anoint Elisha to be prophet in his room, to do them when he anointed thee king over the people of the Lord. He gives him was gone, as God should direct him.

an uncontestable title, but reminds him that he was made king, Here is,

(1.) By the God of Israel; from him he must see his power I. The commission sent. Elisha did not go himself to anoint derived, for by him kings reign, for him he must use it, and to Jehu, because he was old, and unfit for such a journey, and so him he must be accountable. Magistrales are the ministers well known that he could not do it privately, could not go and of God, and must therefore act in dependence upon him, and come without observation ; therefore he sends one of the sons with an entire devotedness to him and to his glory. (2.) Over of the prophets to do it, v. 1. They not only reverenced him as the Israel of God; though the people of Israel were wretchedly their father, (ch. 2. 15,) but observed and obeyed him as their corrupted, and had forfeited all the honour of relation to God, father. This service of anointing Jehu, 1. Had danger in it, yet they are here called the people of the Lord, for he had a (1 Sam. 16. 2,) and therefore it was not fit that Elisha should right to them, and had not yet given them a bill of divorce. expose himself, but one of the sons of the prophets, whose life Jehu must look upon the people he was made king of, as the was of less value, and who could do it with less danger. 2. It people of the Lord, not as his vassals, but God's freemen, his required labour, and therefore fitter for a young man in his full sons, his first-born, not to be abused or tyrannized over; God's strength. Let youth work, and age direct. 3. Yet it was an people, and therefore to be ruled for him, and according to his honourable piece of service, to anoint a king, and he that did it, laws. might hope io be preferred for il afterward, and therefore, for 2. He instructs him in his present service, which was to the encouragement of the young prophets, Elisha employed destroy all the house of Ahab, (v. 7;) not that he mighi clear


2 Sam. 15. 10.
u 2 Sam. 18. 24. 11. 21.6, &c.

1 Jehoram.

1 Kings 21. 23. ver. 35, 36.

Jer. 29
Ver. 6

. Máte, 21.7.

[ocr errors]

§ let no esceper go.

9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the 14 So Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of house of Jeroboam "the son of Nebat, and like the Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram house of Baasha "the son of Ahijah:

had kept Ramoth-gilead, he and all Israel, because 10 And Pthe dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Hazael king of Syria. of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And 15 But king Joram was returned to be healed in he opened the door, and fled.

Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given 11 Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) lord: and one said unto him, Is all well? where- And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then slet none fore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said go forth nor escape out of the city, to go to tell it in unto them, Ye know the man, and his communica- Jezreel. tion.

16 So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jez12 And they said, It is false; tell us now. And reel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of he said, Thus rand thus spake he to me, saying, Judah was come down to see Joram. Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king 17 And there stood a watchman "on the tower in over Israel.

Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he 13 Then they hasted, and took every man his came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, garment, and put it under him on the top of the Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let stairs, and blew 'with trumpets, saying, Jehu is him say, Is it "peace? king.

18 So there went one on horesback to meet him, 26. Hot Sonu 10. 20. CIS 25. 24. Iconins


1 Sam. 16. 4. 17. 22. 1 kings 2. 13. his own way to the throne, and secure to himself the posses- have put them off, but they urged him to tell them. “It is sion of it, but that he might execute the judgments of God upon false," say they, "we cannot conjecture what was his errand, that guilty and obnoxious family. He calls Ahab his master, and therefore tell us.' Being thus pressed to it, he told them that the relation might be no objection. “He was thy master; that the prophet had anointed him king, and, it is probable, and to lift up thy hand against his son and successor, would be showed them the oil upon his head, v. 12. He knew not but not only base ingratitude, but treason, rebellion, and all that is some of them, either out of loyalty to Joram, or envy of him, bad, if thou hadst not an immediale command from God to do might oppose him, and go near to crush his interest in its it: but thou art under higher obligations to thy Master in infancy; but he relied on the divine appointment, and was not heaven, than to thy master Ahab; He has determined that the afraid to own it, knowing whom he had trusted : he that raised whole house of Ahab shall perish, and by thy hand; fear not, him, would stand by him. has not he commanded thee? Fear not sin; his command will 2. With what respect they compliment the new king, upon justify thee and bear thee out: fear not danger; his command the first notice of his advancement, v. 13. How meanly soever will secure and prosper thee."

they thought of the prophet that anointed him, and of his office, That he mighi, intelligently, and in a right manner, do this they expressed a great veneration for the royal dignity of him great execution on the house of Ahab, he tells him,

thai was anointed, and were very forward to proclaim him with (1.) What was their crime, what the ground of the contro- sound of trumpet. In token of their subjection and allegiance versy, and wherefore God had this quarrel with them, that he to him, their affection to his person and government, and their might have an eye to that which God had an eye to, and that desire to see him bigh and easy in it, they put their garments was the blood of God's servants the prophets, and his other faith- under him, that he might stand or sit upon them on the top of ful worshippers, which they had shed, and which must now be the stairs, in sight of the soldiers, who, upon the first intimation, required at the hand of Jezebel. That they were idolaters, came together to grace the solemnity. God put it into their was bad enough, and merited all that was brought upon them; hearts thus readily to own him, for he turns the hearts of peoyet that is not mentioned here, but the controversy God has ple as well as kings, like the rivers of water, into what channel with them, is, for their being persecutors; not so much their he pleases. Perhaps they were disquieted at Joram's governthrowing down Goľs altars, as their slaying his prophets with ment, or had a particular affection for Jehu; however, it seems, the sword. Nothing fills the measure of the iniquity of any things were ripe for the revolution, and they all came into prince or people so as this does, or brings a surer and sorer Jehu's interest, and conspired against Joram, v. 14. ruin.

This was the sin that brought on Jerusalem its first 3. With what caution Jehu proceeded. He had advantages destruction, (2 Chr. 36. 16,) and its final one, Matt. 23. 37, 38. against Joram, and he knew how to improve them. He had Jezebel's whoredoms and witchcrafts were not so provoking as the army with him; Joram had left it, and was gone home her persecuting the prophets, killing some, and driving the rest badly wounded. Jehu's good conduct appears in two things; into corners and caves, 1 Kings 18. 4.

(1.) That he complimented the captains, and would do nothing (2.) What was their doom; they were sentenced to utter without their advice and consent; (“If it be your minds, we destruction; not to be corrected, but to be cut off, and rooted will do so and so, else not;") thereby intimating the deference

This Jehu must know, that his eye might not spare for he paid to their judgment, and the confidence he had in their pity, favour, or affection. All that belonged to Ahab, must be fidelity, both which tended to please and fix them. It is the slain, v. 8. A pattern is given him of the destruction intended, wisdom of those that would rise fast, and stand firm, to take in the destruction of the families of Jeroboam and Baasha, their friends along with them. (2.) That he contrived lo sur(v. 9 ;) and he is particularly directed to throw Jezebel to the prise Joram; and, in order thereto, to come upon him with dogs, v. 10. The whole stock of royal blood was little enough, speed, and to prevent his having notice of what was now done : and too little, to atone for the blood of the prophets, the saints "Let none go forth to tell it in Jezreel, that, as a snare, the and martyrs, which, in God's account, is of great price. ruin may come on him and his house." The suddenness of

The prophet, having done this errand, made the best of his an attack sometimes turns to as good an account as the force way hoine again, and left Jehu alone to consider what he had of it. to do, and to beg direction from God.

V. 16—29. From Ramoth-giload to Jezreel was more than V. 11-15. Jehu, after some pause, returned to his place at one day's march; about the midway between them, the river the rd, taking no notice of what had passed, but, as it should Jordan must be crossed. We may suppose Jehu to have seem, designing, for the present, to keep it to himself, if they marched with all possible expedition, and to have taken the had not urged him to discover it. Let us therefore see what utmost precaution to prevent the tidings from getting to Jezreel passed between him and the captains.

before him; and, at length, we have him within sight first, and 1. With what contempt the captains speak of the young pro- then within reach, of the dovoted king. phet; (v. 11,) "Wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? I. Joram's watchman discovers him first at a distance, bim What business has he with thee? and why wouldest thou and his retinue, and gives notice to the king of the approach of humour him so far as to retire for conversation with him? Are a company, whether of friends or foes he cannot tell. But the prophets company for captains ?" They call him a mad fellow, king (impatient to know what is the matter, and perhaps jeabecause he was one of those that would not run with ihem to lous that the Syrians, who had wounded him, had traced him an ercess of riot, (1 Pet. 4. 4,) but that lived a life of self-denial, by the blood to his own palace, and were coming to seize him) mortification, and contempt of the world, and spent their time sent first one messenger, and then another, to bring him intelin devotion ; for these things they thought the prophets were ligence, v. 17-19. He had scarcely recovered the fright he fools, and the spiritual men were mad, Hos. 9.7. Noto, Those was put into in the battle, and his guilty conscience put him that have no religion, commonly speak with disdain of those into a continual terror. Each messenger asked the same questhat are religious, and look upon them as mad. They said of tion, “Is it peace? Are you for us, or for our adversaries ? Do our Saviour, He is beside himself; of John Baptist, He has a you bring good tidings or bad ?" Each had the same answer, devil, is a poor melancholy man; of St. Paul, Much learning What host thou to do with peace? Turn thee behind me, (v. 18, has made him mad. The highest wisdom is thus represented 19;) as if he had said, “ It is not to thee, but to him that sent as folly, and those that best understand themselves, are looked thee, that I will give answer; for thy part, if thou consult upon as beside themselves. Perhaps Jehu intended it for a thy own safety, turn thee behind me, and enlist thyself among rebuke to his friends, when he said, “Ye know the man to be my followers. The watchman gives notice that the messena prophet, why then do ye call him a mad fellow? Ye know

gers were taken prisoners; and, at length, observes that the the way of his communication to be not from madness, but leader of this troop drove like Jehu, who, it seems, was noted inspiration." Or, “Being a prophet, you may guess what his for driving furiously, thereby discovering himself to be a man business is, to tell me of iny faults, and to teach me my duty; of a hot eager spirit, intent upon his business, and pushing forI need not inform you concerning it. This he thought to ward with all his might. A man of such a violent temper, was


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »