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chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, 2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vine- thence every man a beam, and let us make us a yards, and sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, maid-servants ?
27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave 3 And one said, Be bcontent, I pray thee, and unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. out from his presence a leper ras white as snow. 4 So he went with them. And when they came
to Jordan, they cut down wood. CHAPTER VI.
5. But as one was felling a beam, the *axe-head In this chapter, we have, I. A further account of the wondrous works of Elisha: fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, secret counsels of the king of Assyria, v. 8-12. 3. His saving himself out of the master! for it was borrowed. hands of those who were sent w appreheud him, v. 13-23. II. The besieging 6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? of Samaria by the Syriaus, and the great distress the city was reduced to,
24–33. The reliet of it in another of the wonders wrought by Elisha's word And he showed him the place. And he cut down blessing both to church and clute, both to the song of the prophets and this a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did prince.
swim. ND the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, 7 said he, it up to thee. And thee is too strait for us.
8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, e Is 59, 2, 3. Hos, 10. 13, / Num. 12. 10. c. 15. 5. & c. 4.38.
6 c. 5. 23. • iron. c c. 2. 21.
II. The punishment of this sin. Elisha immediately called one in which he grudged his master's generosity.
2. They were humble men, and did not affect that which
and to act in all things of moment under their conduct, permissu 2. How he was punished for it. The leprosy of Naaman superiorum-by permission of their superiors. (2.) They would shall cleave to thee, v. 27. If he will have his money, he shall not willingly go to fell timber without his company : Go with take his disease with it, Transit cum onere-- Il passes with this thy servants, (v. 3;) not only to advise us in any exigence, but encumbrance. He was contriving to entail lands upon his pos- to keep good order among us, that, being under thine eye, we terity; but, instead of them, entails a loathsome disease on the may behave as becomes us.
. Good disciples desire to be heirs of his body, from generation to generation. The sentence always under good discipline. was immediately executed on himself; no sooner said than done, 6. They were honest men, and men that were in care to give he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. Thus all men their own. When one of them, accidentally fetching he is stigmatized and made infamous, and carries the mark of too fierce a stroke, (as those that work seldom are apt to be his shame wherever he goes: thus he loads himself and family violent,) threw off his axe head into the water, he did not say, with a curse, which shall not only for the present proclaim his “It was a mischance, and who can help it? It was the fault villany, but for ever perpetuate the remembrance of it. Note, of the helve, and the owner deserves to stand to the loss." No, The getting of treasures by a lying tongue, is a vanity tossed to he cries out with deep concern, Alas ! master, for it was borand fro of them that seek death, Prov. 21.6. Those who get rowed, v. 5. Had the axe been his own, it would only have wealth by fraud and injustice, cannot expect either the comfort troubled him, that he could not be further serviceable to his or the continuance of it. What was Gehazi profited, though brethren; but now, beside that it troubles him that he cannot he gained his two talents, when thereby he losi his health, his be just to the owner, to whom he ought to be not only just, but honour, his peace, his service, and, if repentance prevented not, grateful. Note, We ought to be as careful of that which is his soul for ever? See Job 20. 12, &c.
borrowed, as of that which is our own, that it receive no damage, because we must love our neighbour as ourselves, and do
as we would be done by. It is likely, this prophet was poor, V. 1-7. Several things may be observed here,
and had not wherewithal to pay for the axe, which made the I. Concerning the sons of the prophets, and their condition loss of it so much the greater trouble. To those that have an and character. The college here spoken of, seems to be that honest mind, the sorest grievance of poverty is, not so much at Gilgal, for there Elisha was, ch. 4. 38, and it was near Jor their own want and disgrace, as their being by it rendered dan; and, probably, wherever Elisha resided, as many as could unable to pay their just debts. of the sons of the prophets, flocked to him for the advantage of II. Concerning the father of the prophets, Elisha. his instructions, counsels, and prayers. Every one would covet 1. That he was a man of great condescension and compas
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI
and took counsel with his servants, saying, in such 14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and such a place shall be my *camp.
and a great host: and they came by night, and 9 And the man of God sent unto the king of compassed the city about. Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a 15 And when the servant of the man of God place; for thither the Syrians are come down. was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place compassed the city both with horses and chariots. which the man of God told him and warned him of, And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! and saved himselt' there, not once nor twice. how shall we do?
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was 16 And he answered, Fear not; for they that sore troubled for this thing; and he called his ser- be with us are more than they that be with them. vants, and said unto them, Will ye not show me 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray which of us is for the king of Israel?
thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD 12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, opened the eyes of the young man: and he saw, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest chariots of fire round about Elisha. in thy bed-chamber?
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha 13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
with mblindness, according to the word of Elisha.
• or, encaiping
† No. Am. 3. 7. & Ps. 139. 1-4. Jer, 23, 24, h Ps. 37. 32, 33. Jer. 36. 26. Acts 23. 12--27.
i Gen. 37. 17.
1 heavy. or, minister. k2Chr. 16. 9. 92. 7, 8. Ps. 55. 18. I c. 2. 11. Ps. 84. 7. 68. 17. Zecb. I. 8.6.1-7. Rer. 19. 11, 14.
sion; he went with the sons of the prophets to the woods, when could he be so weak as to imagine that he would not discover they desired his company, v. 3. Let no man, especially no the designs laid against himself? And that, having interest minister, think himself too great to stoop to do good, but be enough in heaven to discover them, he would not have interest tender to all.
enough to defeat them? Those ihat fight against God, his 2. That he was a man of great power; he could make iron people, and prophets, know not what they do. to swim, contrary to its nature, (v. 6,) for the God of nature is II. The grievous fright which the propher's servant was in, not lied up to its laws. He did not throw the helve after the when he perceived the city surrounded by the Syrians, and the hatchet, but cut down a new stick, and cast it into the river; effectual course which the prophet took io pacify him, and free we need not double the miracle, by supposing that the stick him from his fears. It seems, Elisha used his servant to rise sunk to fetch up the iron, it was enough that it was a signal of early, that is the way to bring something to pass, and to do the the divine summons to the iron to rise. God's grace can thus work of a day in its day. Being up, we may suppose be heard raise the stony iron heart, which is sunk into the mud of this the noise of soldiers, and, thereupon, looked out, and was aware world, and raise up affections, naturally earthly, to things of an army compassing the city, (v. 15,) with great assurance, above.
no doubt, of success; and that they should have this troubleV.8-12. Here we have Elisha, with bis spirit of prophecy, some prophet in their hands presently. Now observe, 1. What serving the king, as, before, helping the sons of the prophets; a consternation he was in; he runs straight to Elisha, to bring for thai, as other gifts, is given to every man to profit withal; and him an account of it, “ Alas, master," (said he,) " what shall whatever abilities any man has of doing good, he is by them we do? We are undone : it is to no purpose to think either made a debtor both to the wise and unwise. Observe here, of fighting or flying, but we must unavoidably fall into their
1. How the king of Israel was informed by Elisha of all the hands.” Had be but studied David's Psalms, which were then designs and motions of bis enemy, the king of Syria, more extant, he might have learned not to be afraid of len thousands effectually than he could have been by the most vigilant and of people, (Ps. 3. 6,) no, not of a host encamped against him, faithful spies. If the king of Syria, in a secret council of war, Ps. 27. 3. Had he considered, that he was embarked with his determined in what place to make an inroad upon the coasts of master, by whom God had done great things, and whom he Israel, where he thought it would be the greatest surprise, and would not now leave to fall into the hands of the uncircumcised, they would be least able to make resistance, before his forces and who, having saved others, no doubt would save himself, he could receive his orders, the king of Israel had notice of them had not been thus at a loss. If he had only said, What shall I from Elisha, and so had opportunity of preventing the mischief; do? it had been the more excusable, and like that of the disciples, and this, many a time, v. 8-10. See here, (..) That the ene- Lord, sove us, we perish; but he needed not to put his master mies of God's Israel are politic in their devices, and restless in, as in distress, nor to say, What shall we do? 2. How his in their atteinpts, against him. They shall not know, nor see, master quieted him ; (1.) By word: what he said to him, (v. till we come into the midst among them, and slay them, Neh. 4. 16,) is spoken to all the faithful servants of God, when without 11. (2.) All those devices are known to God, even those that are fightings and within are fears ; " Fear not, with that fear are deepest laid. He knows not only what men do, but what which has torment and amazement, for they that be with us, to they design, and has many ways of countermining them. (3.) It protect us, are more than they that be against us, to destroy us ; is a great advantage to us, to be warned of our danger, that angels, unspeakably more numerous ; God, infinitely more we may stand upon our guard against it. The work of God's powerful." "When we are magnifying the causes of our fear, prophets, is to give us warning; if, being warned, we do not we ought to possess ourselves with clear, and great, and high save ourselves, it is our own fault, and our blood will be upon thoughls of God, and the invisible world. If God be for us, our own head. The king of Israel would regard the warnings we know what follows, Rom. 8. 31. (2.) By vision, v. 17. Elisha gave him of his danger by the Syrians, but not the [1.] It seems, Elisha was much concerned for the satisfaction warnings he gave him of his danger by his sins. Such warnings of his servant. Good men desire, not only to be easy themare little heeded by the most; they will save themselves from selves, but to have those about them easy. Elisha had lately death, but not from hell.
parted with his old man, and this, being newly come into his 2. How the king of Syria resented this. He suspected trea- service, had not the advantage of experience; his master was chery among his senators, and that his counsels were betrayed, therefore desirous to give him other convincing evidence of v. 11. But one of his servants that had heard, by Naaman that omnipotence which employed him, and was therefore emand others, of Elisha's wondrous works, concludes it inust ployed for him. Note, They whose faith is strong, ought ten, needs be he that gave this intelligence to the king of Israel, derly to consider and compassionate those who are weak, and v. 12. What could not he discover, who could tell Gehazi his of a timorous spirit, and io do what they can, lo strengthen thought? Here, a confession of the boundless knowledge, as, their hands. (2.) He saw himself safe, and wished no more before, of the boundless power, of Israel's God, is extorted than that his servant might see what he saw, a guard of angels from Syrians. Nothing done, said, thought, hy any person, round about him ; such as were his master's convoy to the in any place, at any time, is out of the reach of God's cogni- gates of heaven, were his protectors against the gates of hell ;
chariots of fire, and horses of fire. Fire is both dreadful and V.13—23. Here is,
devouring; that power which was engaged for Elisha's protecI. The great force which the king of Syria sent to seize Eli- lion, could both terrify and consume the assailants. As angels sha. He found out where he was, at Dothan, (v. 13,) which are God's messengers, so they are his soldiers, his hosts, (Gen. was not far from Samaria ; thither he sent a great host, who 32. 2,) his legions, or regiments, (Matt. 26. 53,) for the good were to come upon him by night, and to bring him dead or of his people. (3.) For the satisfaction of his servant, there alive, v. 14. Perhaps he had heard that when only one captain needed no more than the opening of his eyes; that therefore he and his 50 men were sent to take Elijah, they were baffled in the prayed for, and obtained for him, Lord, open his eyes that he attempt, and therefore he sent an army against Elisha, as if may see. The eyes of his body were open, and with them he the fire from heaven that consumed 50 men, could not as easily saw the danger, "Lord, open the eyes of his faith, that with consume 50,000. Naaman could tell him that Elisha dwelt not them he may see the protection we are under.” Note, First, in any strong hold, nor was attended with any guards, nor had The greatesi kindness we can do for those that are fearful and any such great interest in the people, that he needed to fear a faint-hearted, is, to pray for them, and so to recommend them tumult among them; what occasion then was there for this to the mighty grace of God. Secondly, The opening of our great force ? But thus he hoped to make him sure, especially eyes will be the silencing of our fears; in the dark we are most coming upon him by surprise. Foolish man! Did he believe apt to be frightened; the clearer sight we have of the sovethat Elisha had informed the king of Israel of his secret coun- reignty and power of heaven, the less we shall fear the calamisels or not? If not, what quarrel had he with him? If he did,ties of this earth.
Rom. 12. 2. qc. 5. 2. 24. 2. Lev. 26. 28. Jer. 52 6. EP Prov. 25. 21. 22. r 2 Sam. 16, 18.
19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the 24 And it came to pass, after this, that Ben way, neither is this the city: follow * me, and I will hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led up, and besieged Samaria. them to Samaria.
25 And there was a great famine in Samaria : 20 And it came to pass, when they were come and, behold, they besieged rit, until an ass's head into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth of these men, that they may see. And the LORD part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, 26 And as the king of Israel was passing by they were in the midst of Samaria.
upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, say21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when ing, Help, my lord, O king! he saw them, My father, shall I smite them ? shall 27 And he said, If the LORD 'do not help thee, I smite them?
whence shall I help thee? out of the barn-floor, or 22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite out of the wine-press ? them : wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast 28. And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give Set bread pand water before them, that they may thy son 'that we may eat him to-day, and we will eat and drink, and go to their master.
eat my son to-morrow. 23 And he prepared great provision for them; 29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them said unto her the next day, Give thy son; that we away, and they went to their master. So the bands may eat him; and "she hath hid her son. of Syria came no more into the land of Israel. 30 And it came to pass, when the king heard come ye after me. o Luke 24. 1631.
1 or, Let not the LORD save thee. Ps. 127. 1. 146, 3, 5. Jer. 17. 5. 1 Lor. 26.
29. Deut. 28. 53--57. Is. 49. 15. 1 other. * 1 Kings 3. 26. III. The shameful defeat which Elisha gave to the host of it seemed, to his interest, 1 Sam. 24. 19. Nay, so willing was Syrians who came to seize him; they thought to make a prey he to oblige Elisha, that whereas he was ordered only to set of him, but he made fools of them, perfectly played with them, bread and water before them, (and that is good fare for capso far was he from fearing them, or any damage by them. tives,) he prepared great provision for them, for the credit of his
1. He prayed to God to smite them with blindness, and they court and country, and of Elisha. [2.] It was the prophet's were all struck blind immediately, not stoneblind, nor so as to praise, that he was so generous to his enemies, who, though be themselves aware that they were blind, for they could see they came to take him, could not but go away admiring him, as the light, but their sight was so altered, that they could not know both the mightiest and the kindest man they ever met with. the persons and places they were before acquainted with, v. 18. The great duty of loving enemies, and doing good to those that They were so confounded, that those among them whom they hate us, was both commanded in the Old Testament, (Prov. depended upon for information, did not know this place to be 25. 21, 2, If thine enemy hunger feed him, Ex. 23. 4, 5,) and Dothan, nor this person to be Elisha, but groped al noonday practised, as here by Elisha; his predecessor had given a as in the night, (Is. 59. 10. Job 12. 24, 25;) their memory specimen of divine justice, when he called for flames of fire on failed them, and their distinguishing faculty. See the power the heads of his persecutors to consume them, but he gave a speof God over the minds and understanding of men, both ways; cimen of divine mercy, in heaping coals of fire on the heads of he enlightened the eyes of Elisha's friend, and darkened the his persecutors to melt them; let not us then be overcome of evil, eyes of his foes, that they might see, indeed, but not perceive, but overcome evil with good. Is. 6. 9. For this twofold judgment Christ came into this Lastly, I be good effect orbe into del manihe presenet upon his world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see, Syrians; they came no more into the land of Israel, might be made blind, (John 9. 39,) a savour of life to some, of namely, upon this errand, to take Elisha; they saw it was to death to others.
no purpose to attempt that, nor would any of their bands be per2. When they were thus bewildered and confounded, he led suaded to make an assault on so great and good a man. The them to Samaria, (v. 19,) promising that he would show them most glorious victory over an enemy is to turn him into a friend. the man whom they sought, and did so. He did not lie to them, V. 24–33. This last paragraph of this chapter should, of when he told them, This is not the way, nor is this the city where right, have been the first of the next chapter, for it begins a new Elisha is; for he was now come out of the city; and if they story, which is there continued and concluded. would see him, they must go to another city which he would Here is, direct them to. They that fight against God and his prophets, 1. The siege which the king of Syria laid to Samaria, and deceive themselves, and are justly given up to delusions. the great distress which the city was reduced to thereby the
3. When he had brought them to Samaria, he prayed to God Syrians had soon forgotten the kindnesses they had lately receive so to open their eyes, and restore them their memories, that they ed in Samaria, and very ungratefully, for aught that appears, might see where they were ; (v. 20,) and, behold, to their
great without any provocation, seek the destruction of it, v. 21. Those terror, they were in the midst of Samaria, where, it is probable, are base spirits, that show no lasting gratitude. The country, there was a standing force sufficient to cut them all off, or make we may suppose, was plundered and laid waste, when this them prisoners of war. Satan, the God of this world, blinds capital city was brought to the last extremity, v. 25. The deartb men's eyes, and so deludes them into their own ruin; but when which had of late been in the land was, probably, the occasion God enlightens their eyes, they then see themselves in the midst of the emptiness of their stores; or the siege was so sudden, of their enemies, captives to Satan, and in danger of hell, though, that they had not time to lay in provisions : so that while the before, they thought their condition good. The enemies of God sword devoured without, the famine within was more grievous ; and his church, when they fancy themselves ready to triumph, (Lam. 4. 9,) for, it should seem, the Syrians designed not to will find themselves conquered and triumphed over.
storm the city, but to starve it. So great was the scarcity, that 4. When he had them at his mercy, he made it appear that an ass's head, that has but little flesh on it, and that unsavoury, he was influenced by a divine goodness as well as a divine unwholesome, and ceremonially unclean, was sold for five power.
pounds, and a small quantity of fitches, or lentiles, or some such (1.) He took care to protect them from the danger into which coarse corn, then called dove': dung, no more of it than the he had brought them, and was content to show them what he quantity of six eggs, for five pieces of silver, about twelve or could have done; he needed not the sword of an angel to avenge bfteen shillings. Learn to value plenty, and to be thankful for his cause, the sword of the king of Israel is at his service, if he it; see how contemptible money is, when, in time of famine, it pleases, v. 21. My father, (so respectfully does he now speak is so freely parted with for any thing that is eatable. to him, though, soon after, he swore his death,) shall / smite II. The sad complaint which a poor woman had to make to them? And again, as if he longed for the assault, Shall I smite the king, in the extremity of the famine; he was pussing by them?. Perhaps, he remembered how God was displeased at upon the wall to give orders for the mounting of the guard, the his father, for letting go out of his hands those whom
he had put posting of the archers, the repair of the breaches, and the like, it into his power to destroy, and he would not offend in like when a woman of the city cried to him, Help, my lord, o king, manner; yet such a reverence has he for the prophet, that he v. 26. Whither should the
subject, in distress, go for help but will not strike a stroke without his commission, but the prophet to the prince, who is, by office, the protector of right, and the would by no means suffer him to meddle with them, they were avenger of wrong? He returns but a melancholy answer, (v. 27,) brought hither, to be convinced and ashamed, not to be killed, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I? Some think it was v. 22. Had they been his prisoners, taken captive by his sword, a quarrelling word, and the language of his fretfulness: Why and bow, when they had asked quarter, it had been barbarous dost thou expect any thing from me, when God himself deals to deny, and when he had given it them, it had been perfidious thus hardly with us?” Because he could not help her as he to do them any hurt, and against the law of arms to kill men in would, out of the floor or the wine-press, he would not help her cool blood; but they were not his prisoners, they were God's at all ; we must take heed of being made cross by afflictive proprisoners, and the prophet's, and therefore he must do them novidences. It rather seems to be a quieting word; “Let us be harm; they that humble themselves under God's hand, take the content, and make the best of our affliction, looking up to God, best course to secure themselves.
for till he help us, I cannot help thee.” '1. He laments the (2.) He took care to provide for them; he ordered the king emptiness of the floor and the wine-press; those were not as to ireat them handsomely, and then dismiss them fairly, which they had been, even the king's failed. We read, v. 23, of great he did, v. 23. 11.] It was the king's praise, that he was so provisions which he had at command, sufficient for the enterobsequious to the prophet, contrary to his inclination, and, as I tainment of an army; yet now he has not wherewithal to relieve Vol. I.-112
( 889 )
Ez. 8. 1. 20. 1.
& ver. 18, 19.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII.
the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes :
CHAPTER VII. and he passed by upon the wall
, and the people Relief is here brought to Samaria, and her king, when the case was, to a manner, looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon
ing lord shut out from the benefit of it, v. 1, 2. 11. li is brought about, 1. By his flesh.
an unaccountable fright which God put the Syrians into, (v. 6.) which caused
them to retire precipitately, . 1. 2. By the seasonable discovery which four 31 Then he said, God "do so and more also to
lepers made of this, (v. 3-5.) and the account they gave of it to the court, V. me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall 8-11. 3. By the cautioua trial which the king made of the truth of it, . 12–15.
Lastly, The event answered the prediction both in the sudden plenty, (v. 16.) stand on him this day.
and the death of the unbelieving lord, (v. 17–20.) for no word of God shall fall 32 But Elisha sat in his house, and "the elders to the ground. sat with him: and the king sent a man from before THEN Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD: to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer time, shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, shath sent to take away mine head? look, when the and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast of Samaria. at the door: is not the sound of his master's, feet
2 Then a lord, *on whose hand the king leaned, behind him?
answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the 33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, Lord would make "windows in heaven, mighi this the messenger came down unto him: and he said, thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shali see it Behold, this evil «is of the Lord; what should 1 with thine eyes, but “shalt not eat thereof. wait for the LORD any longer?
3 And there were four leprous men at the env 1 Kings 21. 27. w 1 Kings 19. 2.
y 1 Kings 14.6.
* which belonged to the king, leaning upon his hand, c. 5. 18. * 1 Kings 18. 13, 14. & Job 1. 21. 6 P. 37. 7, 9.
6 Gen. 7. 11. Mal. 3. 10. < vor. 17, 20. one poor woman : scarcity sometimes follows upon great plenty; wait for the Lord any longer ? When Eli, and David, and Job, we cannot be sure that to-morrow shall be as this day, Is. 56. said, 'It is of the Lord, they grew patient upon it, but this bad 12. Ps. 30. 6. 2. He acknowledges himself thereby disabled man grew outrageous upon it; "I will neither fear worse, for to help, unless God would help them. Note, Creatures are worse cannot, nor expect better, for better never will come ; we helpless things without God, for every creature is that, all that, are all undone, and there is no remedy.” It is an unreasonand only that, which he makes it to be. However, though he able thing to be weary of waiting for God, for he is a God of cannot help her, he is willing to hear her ; (v. 28,) "What ails judgment, and blessed are all they that wait for him. thee? Is there any thing singular in thy case, or dost thou fare worse than thy neighbours ?" Truly yes; she and one of her neighbours had made a barbarous agreement, that, all provi V. 1, 2. Here, 1. Elisha foretels that notwithstanding the sions failing, they should boil and eat her son first, and then her great straits that the city of Samaria was reduced to, within 24 neighbour's; hers was eaten, (who can think of it without hor- hours they should have plenty, v. 1. The king of Israel despaired ror!) and now her neighbour hid bers, v. 28, 29. See an in- of it, and grew weary of waiting: Elisha said this, then, when stance of the dominion which the flesh has got abo the spirit, things were at the worst; man's extremity is God's opportunity when the most natural affections of the mind may be thus over- of magnifying his own power; his time to appear for his people, powered by the natural appetites of the body: see the word of is, when their strength is gone, Deut. 32. 36. When they had God fulfilled; among the threatenings of God's judgments upon given over expecting help, it came: When the Son of man comes, Israel for their sins, this was one, (Deut. 28. 53—57,) that they shall he find farth on the earth? Luke 18.8. The king said, should eat the flesh of their own children, which one would think What should I wait for the Lord any longer? And perhaps some incredible, yet it came to pass,
of the elders were ready to say the same ; "Well," said Elisha, III. The king's indignation against Elisha, upon this occa- " you hear what these say; now hear ye the word of the Lord, sion; he lamented the calamity, rent his clothes, and had sack-hear what he says, hear it and heed it, hear it and believe it; cloth upon his flesh, (v. 30,) as one heartily concerned for the to-morrow, corn shall be sold at the usual rate in the gate of misery of his people, and that it was not in his power to help Samaria;" that is, (1.) The siege shall be raised, for the gate them; but he laments not his own iniquity, nor the iniquity of of the city shall be opened, and the market shall be held there his people, which was the procuring cause of the calamity; he as formerly; the return of peace is thus expressed, Judg. 5. 11, is not sensible that his ways and his doings have procured this Then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates, to buy to himself ; this is his wickedness, for it is bitter; the foolishness and sell there. (2.) The consequence of that shall be great of man perverts his way, and then his heart frets against the plenty: this would, in time, follow, of course, but that corn Lord; instead of vowing to pull down the calves of Dan and should be thus cheap in so short a time, was quite beyond what Bethel, or letting the law have its course against the prophets could be thought of; though the king of Israel had just now of Baal, and of the groves, he swears the death of Elisha, v. 31. threatened Elisha's life, God promises to save his life and the Why, what is the matter? What has Elisha done? His head life of his people, for where sin abounded, grace doth much more is the most innocent and valuable in all Israel, and yet that must abound. be devoted, and made an anathema. Thus in the days of the 2. A peer of Israel, that happened to be present, openly depersecuting emperors, when the empire groaned under any ex. clared his disbelief of this prediction, v. 2. He was a courtier traordinary calamity, the fault was laid on the Christians, and whom the king had an affection for, as the man of his right they were doomed to destruction,
Christianos ad leones- Away hand, on whom he leaned, that is, on whose prudence he much with the Christians to the lions. Perhaps Jehoram was in this relied, and in whom he reposed much confidence; he thought heat against Elisha, because he had foretold this judgment, or it impossible, unless God should rain corn out of the clouds, as had persuaded him to hold out, and not surrender, or rather, once he did manna ; no less than the repetition of Moses's mibecause he did not, by his prayers, raise the siege, and relieve racle will serve him, though that of Elijah might have served to the city, which he thought he could do, but would not; whereas answer this intention, the increasing of the meal in the barrel. till they repented and reformed, and were ready for deliverance, 3. The just doom passed upon him for his infidelity, that he they had no reason to expect that the prophet should pray for it. should see this great plenty for his conviction, and yet not eat
IV. The foresight Elisha had of the king's design against of it to his comfort. Note, Unbelief is a sin by which men him ; (v. 32,) he sat in his house well composed, and the elders greatly dishonour and displease God, and deprive themselves of with him well employed, no doubt, while the king was like a wild the favours he designed for them; the murmuring Israelites saw bull in a net, or like the troubled sea when it cannot rest; he Canaan, but could not enter in because of unbelief; such, (says told the elders there was an officer coming from the king to cut Bishop Patrick,) will be the portion of those that believe
not off his head, and bade them stop him at the door, and not let the promise of eternal life, they shall see it at a distance, Abrahim in, for the king his master was just following him, to revoke ham a far off, but shall never taste of it; for they forfeit the the order, as we may suppose. The same spirit of prophecy benefit of the promise, if they cannot find in their heart to take that enabled Elisha to tell what was done at a distance, author- God's word. ized him to call the king the son of a murderer, which, unless V. 3-11. We are here told, we could produce such an extraordinary commission, it is not I. How the siege of Samaria was raised in the evening, at for us to imitate ; far be it from us to despise dominion, and to the edge of night, (v.
6, 7,) not by might or power, but by the speak evil of dignities. He appeals to the elders, whether he Spirit of the Lord of hosts, striking terror upon the spirits of had deserved so ill at the king's hands ; see whether in this he the besiegers; here was not a sword drawn against them, pot be not the son of a murderer? For, what evil had Elisha done? a drop of blood shed, it was not by thunder or hailstones that He had not desired the woful day, Jer. 17. 16.
they were discomfited, nor were they slain, as Sennacherib's V. The king's passionate speech, when he came to prevent army before Jerusalem, by a destroying angel; but, the execution of his edict for the bcheading of Elisha ; he seems 1. The Lord made them to hear a noise of chariots and horses ; to have been in a struggle between his convictions and his cor the Syrians that besieged Dothan, had their sight imposed upruptions, knew not what to say, but, seeing things brought to on, (ch. 6. 18;) these had their hearing imposed upon, for God the last extremity, he even abandons himself to despair, (v. 33,) knows how to work upon every sense, pursuant to his own This evil is of the Lord : therein his notions were right, and counsels; as he makes the hearing ear, and the seeing eye, so he well applied ; it is a general truth, that
all penal evil is of the makes the deaf and the blind, Ex. 4. 11. Whether the noise Lord,
as the First Cause, and Sovereign Judge, (Am. 3. 6,) was really made in the air by the ministry of angels, or whether and this we ought to apply to particular cases; if all evil, then it was only a sound in their ears, is not certain ; whichsoever it this evil, whatever it is, we are now groaning under; whoever was, it was from God, who both brings the wind out of his frea. are the instruments, God is the principal Agent of it; but his sures, and formeth the spirit of man within him. The sight of inference from this truth was foolish and wicked, What should I horses and chariots had encouraged the prophet's servant,
d Lev. 13. 46. 21.
• Esth. 4. 16. Luke 15. 17, 18.
S 2 Sam. 5. 24. c. 19. 7. Job 15.
1 Estb. 4. 14.
k Lev. 19. 18. Prov. II. 26.
tering in of the gate :d and they said one to another, mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, Why sit we here until we die ?
that we may go and tell the king's household. 4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then 10 So they came, and called unto the porter mof the famine is in the city, and we shall die there : the city; and they told him, saying, We came to and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no come, and let us fail unto the host of the Syrians : man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, if "they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill and asses tied, and the tents as they were. us, we shall but die.
11 And he called the porters: and they told it 5 And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto to the king's house within. the camp of the Syrians; and when they were come 12 And the king arose in the night, and said to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, unto his servants, I will now show you what the there was no man there.
Syrians have done to us: They know that we be 6 For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians hungry, therefore are they gone out of the camp to to hear a noise Sof chariots, and a noise of horses, hide themselves in the field, saying, When they even the noise of a great host: and 5they said one come out of the city we shall catch them alive, and to another, Lo; the king of Israel hath hired against get into the city. us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the 13 And one of his servants answered and said, Egyptians, to come upon us.
Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that re7 Wherefore they arose, and fled in the twilight, main, which are left tin the city, (behold, they are and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it; beeven the camp as it was, and fed for their life. hold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the
8 And when these lepers came to the uttermost Israelites that are consumed,) and let us send and part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did see. eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, 14 They took therefore two chariot horses; and and raiment, and went and hid it ; and came again, the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, and entered into another tent, and carried thence Go and see. also, and went and hid it.
15 And they went after them unto Jordan; and, 9 Then they said one to another, Wek do not lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold which the Syrians had cast away in their haste : our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, *some and the messengers returned, and told the king.
• we shall find punishme, & c. 3. 22, &c. h i Kings 10. 29. i Ps. 14. 5. 48. 4-6. 68. 12. Prov. 21. 1. (ch. 6. 17,) the noise of horses and chariots terrified the hosts of to their great surprise, found it wholly deserted, not a man to Syria; for notices from the invisible world are either very com be seen or heard in it, v. 5. Providence ordered it, that these fortable, or very dreadful, according as men are at peace with lepers came as soon as ever the Syrians were fled, for they fled God, or at war with him.
in the twilight, (the evening twilight,) v. 7, and in the twilight 2. Hearing this noise, they concluded the king of Israel had the lepers came, (v. 5;) and so no time was lost, certainly procured assistance from some foreign power; he has 2. How they reasoned themselves into a resolution to bring hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the tidings of this to the city; they feasted in the first tent they Egyptians; there was, for aught we know, but one king of came to, (v. 8,) and then began to think of enriching themselves Egypt, and what kings there were of the Hittites no body can with the plunder: but they correct themselves ; (v. 9,) “We imagine ; but as they were imposed upon by that dreadful do not do well, to conceal those good tidings from the community sound in their ears, so they imposed upon themselves by the in- we are members of, under colour of being avenged upon them terpretation they made of it. Had they supposed the king of for excluding us their society; it was the law that did it, not Judah to have come with his forces, there had been more of they, and therefore let us bring them the news; though it awake probability in it, than to dream of the kings of the Hittites, and them from sleep, it will be life from the dead to them.". Their the Egyptians ; is the fancies of any of them raised this spectre, own consciences told them that some mischief would befall thom yet their reasons might soon have laid it: how could the king if they acted separately, and sought themselves only; selfish of Israel, who was closely besieged, hold intelligence with those narrow-spirited people cannot expect to prosper, the most comdistant princes? What had he to hire them with? It was im- fortable prosperity is that which our breihren share with us in. possible but some notice would come, before, of the motions of According to this resolution, they returned to the gate, and acso great an host; but there were they in greal fear, where no fear quainted the sentinel with what they had discovered, (v. 10,)
who straightway brought the intelligence to court, (v. 11,) and 3. flereupon they all fled with incredible precipitation, as for it was never the less acceptable for being first brought by lepers. their lives, left their camp as it was, and even their horses, that V. 12-20. Here is, might have hastened their fight, they could not stay to take with I. The king's jealousy of a stratagem in the Syrians' retreat; them, v. 7. None of them had so much sense as to send out (v. 12,) he feared they withdrew into an ambush, to draw out scouts to discover the supposed enemy, much less, courage the besieged, that they might fall on them with more advantage ; enough to face the enemy, though fatigued with a long march; he knew he had no reason to expect that God should appear thus the wicked flee, when none pursues ; God can, when he pleases, wonderfully for him, having forfeited his favour by his unbelief dispirit the boldest and most brave, and make the stoutest heart and impatience; he knew no reason the Syrians had to fly, for to tremble; as for them that will not fear God, he can make it does not appear that he or any of his attendants heard the them fear at the shaking of a lear.
noise of the chariots which the Syrians were frightened at. Let II. How the Syrians' Aight was discovered by four leprous not those who, like him, are unstable in all their ways, think to
Samaria is delivered and does not know it; the watch-receive any thing from God; nny, a guilty conscience fears the men on the walls were not aware of the retreat of the enemy, so worst, and makes men suspicious. silently did they steal away, but Providence employs four lepers II. The course they took for their satisfaction, and to preto be the intelligencers, who had their lodging without the gate, vent their falling into a snare; they sent out spies to see what being excluded the city, as ceremonially unclean: the Jews say was become of the Syrians, and found they were all fled indeed, they were Gehazi and his three sons; perhaps Gehazi might commanders as well as common soldiers ; they could track them be one of them, which might make him taken notice of after- by the garments which they threw off, and left by the way, for ward by the king, ch. 8. 4. See here,
their greater expedition, v. 15. He that gave this advice, 1. How these lepers reasoned themselves into a resolution to seems very sensible of the deplorable condition the people were make a visit in the night to the camp of the Syrians, v. 3, 4. in, (v. 13,) for, speaking of the horses, many of which were They were ready to perish for hunger, none passed through the dead, and the rest ready to perish for hunger, he says, and regate to relieve them; should they go into the city, there was peats it, They are as at the multitude of Israel Israel used to nothing to be had there, they must die in the streets; should glory in their multitude, but now they are minished and brought they sit still, they must pine to death in their cottage: they low; he advised to send five horsemen, but it should seem,
there therefore determine to go over to the enemy, and throw them were only two fit to be sent, and those chariot horses, v. 14. selves upon
their mercy; if they killed them, better die by the Now the Lord repented himself concerning his servants, when sword than by famine, one death than a thousand; but perhaps he saw that their strength was gone, Deut. 32. 36. they would save them alive, as objects of compassion : common III. The plenty that was in Samaria, from the plunder of the prudence will put us upon that method which may mend our camp of the Syrians, v. 16. Had the Syrians been governed condition, but cannot make it worse. The prodigal son resolves by the modern policies of war, when they could not take their to return to his father whose displeasure he had reason to fear, baggage and their tents with them, they would rather have burned rather than perish with hunger in the far country. These lepers them, (as it is common to do with the forage of a country, conclude, "If they kill us, we shall but die;" and happy they than let them fall into their enemies' hands ; but God intended who, in another sense, can thus speak of dying ; "We shall but that the besieging of Samaria, which was intended for its ruin, die, that is the worst of it, not dio and be damned, not be hurt should turn to its advantage, and that Israel should now be enof the second death." According to this resolution, they went, riched with the spoil of the Syrians, as of old with those of the in the boginning of the night, to ihe camp of the Syrians, and, Egyptiang. Here see, 1. The wealth of the sinner laid up for