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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 8

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.

Then spake Elisha. — Or, Elisha had spoken to the woman, so Junius rendereth it, sc., about the time of his raising her son to life: then he foretold her, by way of gratitude, this sore famine, the same, some think, with that spoken of by Joel, Joel 1:1-20 which soon after began, and lasted seven years, which was an ordinary time for great famines, as Genesis 41:27 2 Samuel 24:13 2 Kings 4:38 .

Thou and thy household. — Her husband is not mentioned; either because he was now dead, or else so decayed through old age, that he left the ordering of all to his wife, whom he knew to be pious and prudent.

For the Lord hath called for a famine.Invitavit: A metaphor, saith Vatablus, from such as invite others to a feast, Famines and the like public calamities are God’s guests, and come at his call.

Seven years. — Because the former famine of three years and a half did no good, now it is doubled.

Verse 2

And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.

And sojourned in the land of the Philistines. — Their fields flourish, while the soil of Israel yieldeth nothing but weeds and barrenness. Not that Israel was more sinful, but that the sin of Israel was more intolerable, saith a great divine. No pestilence is so contagious as that which hath taken the purest air.

Verse 3

And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.

To cry unto the king for her house and for her land. — Which in her so long absence was seized on, either by the king’s officers, or by some of her kindred.

Verse 4

And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.

And the king talked with Gehazi. — Though a leper, as he might: the leper was only to dwell alone without the camp. Leviticus 13:46 Besides, Gehazi might by this time be upon his true repentance, which some think may be evinced and gathered from this text, and perhaps his leprosy had cleansed him, his white forehead made him a white soul, cleansed from his leprosy.

Verse 5

And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this [is] the woman, and this [is] her son, whom Elisha restored to life.

And it came to pass, as he was telling the king. — This telling the king the praises of his severe master so truly, is some argument that he had now repented of that dearly bought lie he once told to Elisha. God maketh our very sins subservient to our salvation; and the horrible sting of Satan to be like a pearl pin to pin upon us the long white robe of Christ, and to dress us with the garment of gladness, as one speaketh.

Verse 6

And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that [was] hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

Restore all that was hers. — Now the Shunammite thinks her table and stool, her bed and her candlestick, well bestowed. He is a niggard to himself that scants his beneficence to a prophet, whose very "cold water" shall not go unrewarded.

Verse 7

And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.

Benhadad the king of Syria was sick.Ex terrore et moerore: he was so vexed at the late shameful flight of his host from the siege of Samaria, occasioned by a causeless fear, that it made him sick, saith Josephus. Philip of Spain bore his great loss in 1588 much better.

Verse 8

And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?

Take a present. — For so he thought to purchase the prophet’s favour, as they were wont to do their soothsayers’ and sorcerers’.

Shall I recover of this disease? — Shall I have thy prayers that I may? He could tell what this prophet had once done for Naaman, 2 Kings 5:14 and therefore thus seeks to him.

Verse 9

So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels’ burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?

Forty camels’ burden — A very great present, and far beyond that of Naaman. 2 Kings 5:5 What will not princes part with for their life and health? Why should I die, being so rich? said Cardinal Beauford, Chancellor of England, in the reign of Henry VI; if the whole realm would save my life, I am able either by policy to get it, or by riches to buy it. Fie! quoth he, will not death be hired? will money do nothing? Fox, Martyr., 925.

Verse 10

And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.

Thou mayest certainly recover:Responsum ειρωνικον , saith one: Vult Propheta impium illum vana spe deludi, saith another; that is, the prophet mocketh this wicked king, and deludeth him with vain hopes of health again. But Tremellius rendereth it, Non omnino revalesces, Thou shait in no wise recover: so that Hazael manifestly lied, saith Lyra, in returning his answer. Others make this the sense, Thy disease is not deadly; howbeit thou shalt die at this bout by another mean. 2 Kings 8:15

Verse 11

And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept.

And he settled his countenance steadfastly. — Heb., And set it. He settled his countenance and looked wistly with a comely gravity; Elisha did so upon Hazael.

Until he was ashamed. — Till Hazael blushed to see the prophet look so earnestly upon him.

Verse 12

And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.

Because I know the evil, … — This pained the prophet at the very heart, and drew tears from him. "Weep with those that weep," saith the apostle. Cum singulis pectus meum copulo, saith Cyprian, moerores et funeris pondera luctuosa participo, … Ambrose wished to God that all the Church’s adversaries would turn upon himself, and satisfy their thirst with his blood.

Verse 13

And Hazael said, But what, [is] thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou [shalt be] king over Syria.

But what, is thy servant a dog? — Curst and cruel, so as to tear men’s entrails, and to devour them. Hazael could not imagine himself so bad as he proved to be. Little did Bonner think when he was Cromwell’s favourite, and preferred by him, that he should ever have been so bloody a butcher, the common cut-throat, and general slaughter-slave to all the bishops of England, as a certain unknown good woman called him in her letter to him. When he was newly made Bishop of London, he thus spake to Grafton the stationer: Before God, the greatest fault that I ever found in Stokesly, my predecessor, was for vexing and troubling poor men - as Lobley, the bookbinder, and others - for having the Scriptures in English; and, God willing, he did not so much hinder it, but I will as much further it, … Act. and Mon., 1087.

That thou shalt be king over Syria. — And shalt exercise thy power to the vexation and vastation of my people. Honours change men’s manners; but seldom for the better.

Verse 14

So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me [that] thou shouldest surely recover.

He told me thou shouldst surely recover. — He relateth the prophet’s words with the same honesty, saith Junius, as he afterwards strangled his master, aud stopped his breath.

Verse 15

And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped [it] in water, and spread [it] on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.

He took a thick cloth. — A blanket, saith the Vulgate; a haircloth, saith Pagnine; a coarse canvas, saith the Chaldee; and that empoisoned, haply, saith Serrarius, as was Hercules’s shirt, sent him by Deianira; or as was the garment put on by Otho III, emperor; by Ladislaus, king of Hungary, and by Solyman the Grand Signior. Princes usually find treason in trust, and are killed by their nearest friends; as Augustus was by his wife Livia, Claudius by Agrippina, …

And dipped it in water. — Under a pretence of cooling and curing him, laborabat enim febre ardentissima, for he was sick of a burning fever, saith Vatablus. This he did per imprudentiam, say some; ex industria, say others; on set purpose to put an end to his life, without any mark or sign of violence offered unto him.

So that he died. — To be sure that he should not surely recover, as 2 Kings 8:14 . Buchanan telleth of Natholicus, the thirty-first king of the Scots, that having usurped the crown, he sent a trusty friend to a famous witch, to know what success he should have in his kingdom, and how long he should live. The witch answered, that he should shortly be murdered, not by an enemy, but by his friend. The messenger instantly inquired, By what friend? By thyself, said the witch. The messenger at first abhorred the thought of any such villainy; but afterwards, conceiving that it was not safe to reveal the witch’s answer, and yet that it could not be concealed, he resolved rather to kill the king to the content of many, than to hazard the loss of his own head. Thereupon, at his return, being in secret with the king, to declare to him the witch’s answer, he suddenly slew him.

Verse 16

And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat [being] then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign.

Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign. — Whilst his father was yet living, for preventing of mischief after his death, which yet could not be.

Verse 17

Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.

And he reigned eight years. — Six years he reigned with his father, and eight years after him. See Ussher’s Annals of the World .

Verse 18

And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.

For the daughter of Ahab was his wife. — That wicked woman Athaliah, who drew him to her father’s courses.

Verse 19

Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, [and] to his children.

To give him alway a light.i.e., A successor, till Shiloh should come. Luke 1:31 For although the Maccabees, who were of another tribe, bore sway for a season; yet at the same time, as Calvin well observeth, sat the Synedrium, who were of David’s posterity, exercised chief authority, and lasted till Christ’s nativity in great power.

Verse 20

In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves.

In his days Edom revolted. — And so fulfilled old Isaac’s prophecy, Genesis 27:40 for the punishment of this idolatrous tyrant, who had lately imbrued his hands in the blood of his six brethren, with others their partisans, and set up high places in the mountains of Judah, … 2 Chronicles 21:2 ; 2 Chronicles 21:10-11

Verse 21

So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.

So Joram went over to Zair. — That is, To Idumea, then a flourishing country; now it liveth by fame only, being wholly swallowed up, as very many other countries are, in the greatness of the Turkish empire.

Verse 22

Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.

Then Libna revolted at the same time. — So that Joram taken off thereby, could not prosecute his victory over the Edmonites. Libna was a city of Judah, and given to the priests. Joshua 21:13 1 Chronicles 6:57 These not enduring the late innovations in religion, and other abominations committed by Joram, cast off their obedience, "because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers." 2 Chronicles 21:10

Verse 23

And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

Are they not written? — See 1 Kings 11:41 .

Verse 24

And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

And was buried with his fathers. — Buried as they had been, yet not in the sepulchres of the kings, but in some other common burying place, without the ordinary funeral solemnities. 2 Chronicles 21:20

Verse 25

In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.

In the twelfth year. — In the end of the eleventh, 2 Kings 9:29 and beginning of the twelfth.

Verse 26

Two and twenty years old [was] Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.

Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah. — Two and forty, saith another prophet, 2 Chronicles 22:2 though the Septuagint there also have two and twenty: so have the Syriac and Arabic versions. Here, therefore, some say, but erroneously, that the text in the Chronicles hath been erroneously copied out, and ought to be corrected by this in the Kings. Others answer better, that those forty-two years are to be understood of the continuance of Omri’s pedigree, from whom Ahaziah descended by his mother Athaliah, as we here have it in this verse. Vide Sharpii Symphoniam, page 203.

Verse 27

And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as [did] the house of Ahab: for he [was] the son in law of the house of Ahab.

For he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab. — His father was so, and himself might be so too by his mother Athaliah’s persuasion. Thus idolatry came to be so deeply rooted and riveted in that family, that it could not be rooted out but by rooting up the corrupted stock, as one hath it.

Verse 28

And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramothgilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram.

And the Syrians wounded Joram. — See on 2 Kings 5:7 .

Verse 29

And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.

To be healed in Jezreel. — Which is said to be twenty-four miles from Ramothgilead, and was looked upon as a place of more security.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/2-kings-8.html. 1865-1868.
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