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16 And the people went out, and" spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.

17 And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said," who spake when the king came down to him.

18 And it came to pass," as the man of God had spoken to the saying, Two measures for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to-morrow, about this time, in the gate of Samaria :

19 And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.

20 And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.

p ver. 2. g Gen. 18. 14. Num. 11.

7 Pa. 68. 12. Is. 33. 1, 4, 23. o ver. 1. 23. 23. 19.

the just, (Job 27. 16, 17,) and the spoilers spoiled, Is. 33. 1. 2. The wants of Israel supplied in a way that they little thought of, which should encourage us to depend upon the power and goodness of God in our greatest straits. 3. The word of Elisha fulfilled, to a tittle, a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel; they that spoiled the camp, had not only enough to supply themselves with, but an overplus to sell at an easy rate for the benefit of others; and so even they that tarried at home, did divide the spoil, Ps. 68. 12. Is. 33. 23. God's promise may be safely relied on, for no word of his shall fall to the ground.

NOTES TO CHAPTER VIII.

IV. The death of the unbelieving courtier, that questioned the truth of Elisha's word; divine threatenings will as surely be accomplished as divine promises; He that believeth not, shall be damned, stands as firm as He that believeth, shall be saved. This lord, 1. Was preferred by the king to the charge of the gate, (v. 17,) to keep the peace, and to see that there was no tumult or disorder in dividing and disposing of the spoil; so much trust did the king repose in him, and in his prudence and gravity, and so much did he delight to honour him; he that will be great, let him serve the public. 2. Was trodden to death by the people in the gate, either by accident, the crowd being exceeding great, and he in the thickest of it, or perhaps designedly, because he abused his power, and was imperious in restraining the people from satisfying their hunger: however it was, God's justice was glorified, and the word of Elisha was fulfilled; he saw the plenty, for the silencing and shaming of his unbelief, corn cheap, without opening windows in heaven, and therein saw his own folly in prescribing to God: but he did not eat of the plenty he saw; when he was about to fill his belly, God cast the fury of his wrath upon him, Job 20. 23, and it came between the cup and the lip. Justly are those thus tantalized with the world's promises that think themselves tantalized with the promises of God; if believing shall not be seeing, seeing shall not be enjoying.

:

This matter is repeated, and the event very particularly compared with the prediction, (v. 18-20,) that we might take special notice of it, and might learn, (1.) How deeply God resents our distrust of him, and of his power, providence, and promise when Israel said, Can God furnish a table? The Lord heard it, and was wroth. Infinite wisdom will not be limited by our folly: God never promises the end, without knowing where to provide the means. (2.) How uncertain life is, and the enjoyments of it; honour and power cannot secure men from sudden and inglorious deaths; he whom the king leaned upon, the people trod upon; he who fancied himself the stay and support of the government, is trampled under foot as the mire in the streets: thus hath the pride of men's glory been often stained. (3.) How certain God's threatenings are, and how sure to alight on the guilty and obnoxious heads: let all men fear before the great God, who trends upon princes as mortar, and is terrible to the kings of the earth.

CHAPTER VIII.

The passages of story recorded in this chapter, oblige us to look back. I. We read, before, of a Shunammite woman that was a kind benefactor to Elisha; now here we are told how she fared the better for it, afterward, in the advice Elisha gave her, and the favour the king showed her for his sake, v. 1-6. I. We 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 forced for himself to it, by killing his master, v. 7—15. III. We read before of Jehoram's reigning over Judah in the room of his father Jehoshaphat, (1 Kings 22-50,) now here we have a short and sad history of his short and wicked reigu, (v. 16-24,) and the beginning of the history of the reign of his son Ahaziah, v. 25-29.

V. 1-6. Here we have,

I. The wickedness of Israel punished with a long famine, one of God's sore judgments often threatened in the law; Canaan, that fruitful land, is turned into barrenness, for the iniquity of them that dwell therein. The famine in Samaria was soon relieved, by the raising of the siege, but neither that judgment, nor that mercy had a due influence upon them, and therefore the Lord calls for another famine; for when he judgeth, he will overcome; if lesser judgments do not prevail to bring men to repentance, he will send greater and longer; they are at his beck, and will come when he calls for them. He does, by his ministers, call for reformation and obedience, and if those calls be not regarded, we may expect he will call for some plague or other, for he will be heard: this famine continued seven years, as long again as that in Elijah's time; for, if men will walk contrary to him, he will heat the furnace yet hotter. II. The kindness of the good Shunammite to the prophet

THEN spake Elisha unto the woman whose son 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.

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.

3 And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the PhiNum. 20. 12. Jer. 17. 5, 6. Heb. 3. 19. a c. 4. 19, &c. b Ps. 105. 16. Hag. 1. 11. c Gen. 41. 27.

rewarded by the care that was taken of her in that famine; she was not indeed fed by miracle, as the widow of Sarepta was, but, 1. She had notice given her of this famine before it came, that she might provide accordingly, and was directed to remove to some other country; any where, but in Israel, she would find plenty. It was a great advantage to Egypt in Joseph's time, that they had notice of the famine before it came, so it was to this Shunammite; others would be forced to remove at last, after they had long borne the grievances of the famine, and had wasted their substance, and could not settle elsewhere upon such good terms as she might, that went early before the crowd, and took her stock with her unbroken. It is our happiness to foresee an evil, and our wisdom, when we foresee it, to hide ourselves. 2. Providence gave her a comfortable settlement in the land of the Philistines, who, though subdued by David, yet were not wholly rooted out; it seems, the famine was peculiar to the land of Israel, and other countries that joined close to them, had plenty at the same time, which plainly showed the immediate hand of God in it, as in the plagues of Egypt, when they distinguished between the Israelites and the Egyptians, and that the sins of Israel, against whom this judgment was directly levelled, were more provoking to God than the sins of their neighbours, because of their profession of relation to God; You only have I known, therefore will I punish you, Am. 3. 2. Other countries had rain when they had none, were free from locusts and caterpillars when they were eaten up with them; for some think this was the famine spoken of, Joel 1. 3, 4. It is strange that when there was plenty in the neighbouring countries, there were not those that made it their business to import corn into the land of Israel, which might have prevented the inhabitants removing; but as they were befooled with their idolatries, so they were infatuated even in the matters of their civil interest.

III. Her petition to the king at her return, favoured by the seasonableness of her application to him.

1. When the famine was over, she returned out of the land of the Philistines; that was no proper place for an Israelite any longer than there was necessity for it, for there she could not keep her new moons and her sabbaths as she used to do in her own country, among the schools of the prophets, ch. 4. 23.

2. At her return she found herself kept out of the possession of her own estate, it being either confiscated to the exchequer, seized by the lord, or usurped, in her absence, by some of the neighbours; or perhaps the person she had intrusted with the management of it, proved false, and would neither resign it to her, nor come to an account with her for the profits: so hard is it to find a person that one can put a confidence in in a time of trouble, Prov. 25. 19. Mic. 7. 5.

3. She made her application to the king himself for redress; for, it seems, (be it observed to his praise,) he was easy of 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 king, or to the captain of the host, (ch. 4. 13;) but now her own familiar friends, in whom she trusted, proved so unjust and unkind, that she was glad to appeal to the king against them; such uncertainty there is in the creature, that that may fail us, which we most depend upon, and that befriend us, which we think we shall never need.

4. She found the king talking with Gehazi about Elisha's miracles, v. 4. It was his shame that he needed now to be informed concerning them, when he might have acquainted himself with them as they were done from Elisha himself, if he had not been willing to shut his eyes against the convincing evidences of his mission; yet it was his praise that he was now better disposed, and would rather talk with a leper that was capable of giving a good account of them, than continue ignorant of them. The law did not forbid all conversation with lepers, but only dwelling with them: there being then no priests 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.

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

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 Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?

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

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.

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the inspection of lepers, and passed the judgment upon them, which might bring him acquainted with Gehazi.

5. This happy coincidence befriended both Gehazi's narrative, and her petition. Providence is to be acknowledged in ordering the circumstances of events, for sometimes those that are minute in themselves, prove of great consequence, as this here; for,

(1.) It made the king ready to believe Gehazi's narrative, when it was thus confirmed by the persons most nearly concerned; "This is the woman, and this her son, let them speak for themselves," v. 5. Thus did God even force him to believe what he might have had some colour to question, if he had only had Gehazi's word for it, because he was branded for a liar, witness his leprosy.

(2.) It made him ready to grant her request; for who would not be ready to favour one whom Heaven had thus favoured, and to support a life which was given once and again by miracle? In consideration of this, the king gave orders that her land should be restored her, and all the profits that were made of it in her absence: if it were to himself that the land and profits had escheated, it was generous and kind to make so full a restitution; he would not (as Pharaoh did in Joseph's time) enrich the crown by the calamities of his subjects; if it were by some other person that her property was invaded, it was an act of justice in the king, and part of the duty of his place to do her right, Ps. 82. 3, 4. Prov. 31.9. It is not enough for those in authority, that they do no wrong themselves, but they must support the right of those that are wronged.

V. 7-15. Here,

I. We may inquire what brought Elisha to Damascus, the chief city of Syria. Was he sent to any but the lost sheep of the house of Israel? It seems, he was, perhaps he went to make a visit to Naaman his convert, and to confirm him in his choice of the true religion, which was the more needful now, because, it should seem, he was now out of his place, for Hazael is supposed to be captain of the host; either he resigned it, or was turned out of it, because he would not bow, or not bow heartily, in the house of Rimmon; some think he went to Damascus upon account of the famine, or rather, he went thither in obedience to the orders God gave Elijah, (1 Kings 19. 15,) Go to Damascus, to anoint Hazael, thou, or thy suc

cessor.

II. We may observe that Ben-hadad, a great king, rich and mighty, lay sick no honour, wealth, or power, will secure men from the common diseases and disasters of human life; palaces and thrones lie as open to the arrests of sickness and death as the meanest cottage.

III. We may wonder that the king of Syria, in his sickness, should make Elisha his oracle. Notice was soon brought him that the man of God (for by that title he was well known in Syria since he cured Naaman) was come to Damascus, v. 7. Never in better time, says Ben-hadad; Go, and inquire of the Lord by him: in his health, he bowed in the house of Rimmon; but now that he is sick, he distrusts his idol, and sends to inquire of the God of Israel. Affliction brings those to God, who, in their prosperity, had made light of him; sometimes sickness opens men's eyes, and rectifies their mistakes. This is the more observable, 1. Because it is not long since a king of Israel had, in his sickness, sent to inquire of the god of Ekron, (ch. 1.2,) as if there had been no God in Israel. Note, God sometimes fetches to himself that honour from strangers, which is denied him, and alienated from him, by his own professing people. 2. Because it is not long since this Ben-hadad had sent a great force to treat Elisha as an enemy, (ch. 6. 14,) yet now he courts him as a prophet. Note, Among other instances of the change of men's minds by sickness and affliction, this is one, that it often gives them other thoughts of God's ministers, and teaches them to value the counsels and prayers of those whom they had hated and despised.

To put an honour upon the prophet, (1.) He sends to him, and does not send for him, as if, with the centurion, he thought himself not worthy that the man of God should come under his roof. (2.) He sends to him by Hazael, bis prime minister of state, and not by a common messenger. It is no disparage

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

11 And he settled his countenance steadfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept." 12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord?

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ment to the greatest of men to attend the prophets of the Lord; Hazael must go meet him at the place where he had appointed a meeting with his friends. (3.) He sends him a noble present, of every good thing of Damascus, as much as loaded 40 camels; (v. 9,) testifying hereby his affection to the prophet, bidding him welcome to Damascus, and providing for his sustenance while he sojourned there; it is probable that Elisha accepted it, (why should he not ?) though he refused Naaman's. (4.) He orders Hazael to call him his son Ben-hadad, conforming to the language of Israel, who called the prophets fathers. Lastly, He put an honour upon him as one acquainted with the secrets of Heaven, when he inquired of him, Shall I recover? It is natural to us, to desire to know things to come in time, while things to come in eternity are little thought of, or inquired after.

IV. What passed between Hazael and Elisha, is especially remarkable. 1. Elisha answered his inquiry concerning the king, that he might recover, the disease was not mortal, but that he should die another way, (v. 10,) not a natural, but a violent death. There are many ways out of the world, and sometimes, while men think to avoid one, they fall by another. 2. He looked Hazael in the face with an unusual concern, till he made Hazael blush, and himself weep, v. 11. The man of God could outface the man of war. It was not in Hazael's countenance, that Elisha read what he would do, but God did, at this time, reveal it to him, and it fetched tears from his eyes: the more foresight men have, the more grief they are liable to. 3. When Hazael asked him why he wept, he told him what a great deal of mischief he foresaw he would do to the Israel of God, (v. 12,) what desolations he would make of their strong holds, and barbarous destruction of their men, women, and children. The sins of Israel provoked God to give them up into the hands of their cruel enemies, yet Elisha wept to think that ever Israelites should be thus abused; for though he foretold, he did not desire, the woful day. See what havoc war makes, what havoc sin makes, and how the nature of man is changed by the fall, and stripped even of humanity itself. 4. Hazael is greatly surprised at this prediction; (v. 13,) What! says he, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? This great thing he looks upon to be, (1.) An act of great power, not to be done but by a crowned head; it must be some mighty potentate that can think to prevail thus against Israel, and therefore not I; many are raised to that dominion which they never thought of, and it often proves to their own hurt, Ec. 8. 9. (2.) An act of great barbarity, which could not be done but by one lost to all honour and virtue; "Therefore," says he, "it is what I shall never find in my heart to be guilty of: Is thy servant a dog, to rend, and tear, and devour? Unless I were a dog, I could not do it." See here, [1.] What a bad opinion he had of the sin, he looked upon it to be great wickedness, fitter for a brute, for a beast of prey, to do than a man. Note, It is possible for a wicked man, under the convictions and restraints of natural conscience, to express great abhorrence of a sin, and yet afterward to be well reconciled to it. [2.] What a good opinion he had of himself, how much better than he deserved; he thought it impossible he should do such barbarous things as the prophet foresaw, Note, We are apt to think ourselves sufficiently armed against those sing which yet we are afterward overcome by, as Peter, Matt. 26. 35. Lastly, In answer to this, Elisha only told him he should be king over Syria; then he would have power to do it, and then he would find in his heart to do it. Honours change men's tempers and manners, and seldom for the better; "Thou knowest not what thou wilt do when thou comest to be king, but I tell thee, this thou wilt do." Those that are little and low in the world, cannot imagine how strong the temptations of power and prosperity are, which, if ever they arrive at, they will find how deceitful their hearts were, and how much worse than they suspected.

V. What mischief Hazael did to his master, hereupon; if he took any occasion to do it from what Elisha had said, the fault was in him, not in the word.

1. He basely cheated his master, and belied the prophet; (v. 14,) He told me thou shouldest certainly recover: this was abominably false, he told him he should die, (v. 10;) but he

David his servant's sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.

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

And he answered, Because I know the evil "that thon 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

19 Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for

n c. 10. 32. 12. 17. 13. 3, 7. o Am, 1.3-5. Ps. 137. 8, 9. p c. 15. 16. Hos. 13.
16. Am. 1. 13. 91 Sam. 17. 43. r1 Kings 19. 15. a ver. 10. ! Mic. 2. 1.
2 Chr. 21. 5, &c. reigned. 1 Kings 2. 52, 53.
to ver. 26.
Jer. 33.
25, 26. Hos. 11. 9.

unfairly and unfaithfully concealed that, either because he was loath to put the king out of humour with bad news, or because hereby he might the more effectually carry that bloody design, which he conceived when he was told he should be his successor. The devil ruins men, by telling them they shall certainly recover and do well; so rocking them asleep in security, than which nothing is more fatal: this was an injury to the king, who lost the benefit of this warning to prepare for death, and an injury to Elisha, who would be counted a false prophet. 2. He barbarously murdered his master, and so made good the prophet's word, v. 15. He dipped a thick cloth in cold water, and spread that upon his face, under pretence of cooling and refreshing him, but so that it stopped his breath, and stifled him presently, he being weak, (and not able to help himself,) or perhaps asleep; such a bubble is the life of the greatest of men, and so much exposed are princes to violence. Hazael, who was Ben-hadad's confidant, is his murderer, and, some think, was not suspected, nor did it ever come out but by the pen of this inspired historian. We found this haughty monarch, (1 Kings 20,) the terror of the mighty in the land of the living, but he goes down slain to the pit with his iniquity upon his bones, Ez. 32. 27.

V. 16-24. We have here a brief account of the life and reign of Jehoram, (or Joram,) one of the worst of the kings of Judah, but the son and successor of Jehoshaphat, one of the best. Note, 1. Parents cannot give grace to their children: many that have themselves been godly, have had the grief and shame of seeing those that came forth out of their bowels, wicked and vile; let not the families that are thus afflicted, think it strange. 2. If the children of good parents prove wicked, commonly they are worse than others: the unclean spirit brings in seven others more wicked than himself, Luke 11. 26. 3. A nation is sometimes justly punished with the miseries of a bad reign, for not improving the blessings and advantages of a good one.

Concerning this Jehoram, observe,

I. The general idea here given of his badness; (v. 18,) He did as the house of Ahab, and worse he could not do; his racter is taken from the bad example he followed, for men are according to the company they converse with, and the copies they write after. No mistake is more fatal to young people, than a mistake in the choice of those whom they would recommend themselves to, and take their measures from, and whose good opinion they value themselves by; Jehoram chose the house of Ahab for his pattern rather than his father's house, and it was his ruin. We have a particular account of his wickedness, 2 Chr. 21. murder, idolatry, persecution, every thing that was

bad.

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

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?

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.

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.

II. The occasions of his badness; his father was a very good man, and, no doubt, took care to have him taught the good knowledge of the Lord; but, 1. It is certain he did ill, to marry him to the daughter of Ahab; no good could come of an alliance with an idolatrous family, but all mischief with such a daughter of such a mother, as Athaliah the daughter of Jezebel: the degeneracy of the old world took rise from the unequal yoking of professors with profane; those that are ill matched, are already half ruined. 2. I doubt he did not do well, to make him king in his own lifetime: it is said here, (v. 16,) he began to reign, Jehoshaphat being then king; hereby he gratified his

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.

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.

pride, (than which nothing is more pernicious to young people,) indulged him in his ambition, in hopes to reform him by humouring him, and so brought a curse upon his family, as Eli did, whose sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. Jehoshaphat had made this wicked son of his, viceroy, once when he went with Ahab to Ramoth-gilead, from which Jehoshaphat's 17th year (1 Kings 22. 51) is made Jehoram's second, (ch. 1. 17;) but afterward, in his 22d year, he made him partner in his government, and from thence Joram's eight years are to be dated, three years before his father's death. It has been hurtful to many young men, to come too soon to their estates; Samuel got nothing by making his sons judges.

III. The rebukes of Providence which he was under for his badness. 1. The Edomites revolted, who had been under the government of the kings of Judah ever since David's time, about 150 years, v. 20. He attempted to reduce them, and gave them a defeat, (v. 21,) but he could not improve the advantage he had got, so as to recover his dominion over them; yet Edom revolted, (v. 22 ;) and the Edomites were, after this, bitter enemies to the Jews, as appears by the prophecy of Obadiah, and Ps. 137. 7. Now Isaac's prophecy was fulfilled, that this Esau the elder should serve Jacob the younger; yet, in process of time, he should break that yoke from off his neck, Gen. 27. 40. 2. Libnah revolted, that was a city in Judah, in the heart of his country, a priests' city, the inhabitants of that city shook off his government, because he had forsaken God, and would have compelled them to do so too, 2 Chr. 21. 10, 11. In order that they might preserve their religion, they set up for a free state; perhaps, other cities did the same. 3. His reign was short, God cut him off in the midst of his days, when he was but 40 years old, and had reigned but eight years; bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.

IV. The gracious care of Providence for the keeping up of the kingdom of Judah, and the house of David, notwithstanding the apostacies and calamities of Jehoram's reign; (v. 19,) Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah; he could easily have done it, he might justly have done it, it would have been no loss to cha-him to have done it; yet he would not do it, for David's sake, not for the sake of any merit of his which could challenge this favour to his family as a debt, but for the sake of a promise made to him, that he should always have a lamp, that is, a succession of kings from one generation to another; by which his name should be kept bright and illustrious, as a lamp is kept burning by a constant fresh supply of oil: thus his family was not to be extinct, till it terminated in the Messiah, that Son of David, on whom was to be hung all the glory of his Father's house, and in whose everlasting kingdom that promise to David is fulfilled, (Ps. 132. 17,) I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.

v 2 Sam. 7. 13. 1 Kings 11. 36. 15. 4. Pa. 132. 17. t candle, or, lamp.
z Gen.
27.40. a 1 Kings 22. 47. b ver. 20. c Josh. 21. 13. I called Azariah, 2 Chr.
22. 6, and Jehoahaz, 2 Chr. 21. 17. 25. 23. d 2 Chr. 22. 1, &c. $or, grand-
daughter, ver. 18.

V. The conclusion of this impious and inglorious reign, v. 23, 24. Nothing peculiar is here said of him; but we are told, 2 Chr. 21. 19, 20, that he died of sore diseases, and died without being desired.

V. 25-29. As among common persons, there are some that we call little men, who make no figure, are little regarded, and less valued; so among kings, there are some whom, in comparison with others, we may call little kings. This Ahaziah was one of these; he looks mean in the history, and, because wicked, in God's account, vile. It is too plain an evidence of the affinity

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.

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.

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

Hazael and Jehu were the men that were designed to be the instruments of God's thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain.

Justice in punishing and destroying the house of Ahab. Elijah was bidden to appoint them to this service; but, upon Ahab's humiliation, a reprieve was granted, and so it was left to Elisha to appoint them. Hazael's elevation to the throue of Syria we read of in the foregoing chapter; and we must now attend

Jehu to the throne of Israel; for him that escapeth the sword of Hazael, as Jo

ram and Ahaziah did, Jehu must slay, of which this chapter gives us an account. 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. 11. Here is

his speedy execution of this commission. 1. He communicates it to his captains, ▼. 11-15. 2. He marches directly to Jezreel, (v. 16-20,) and there despatches,

(1) Joram king of Israel, v. 20-26. (2.) Ahaziah king of Judah, v. 27-29.

(3.) Jezebel, v. 30-37.

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between Jehoshaphat and Ahab, that they had the same names in their families, at the same time, in which, we may suppose, they designed to compliment one another. Ahab had two sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram, who reigned successively; Jehoshaphat had a son and grandson named Jehoram and Ahaziah, who, in like manner, reigned successively. Names indeed do not make natures, but it was a bad omen to Jehoshaphat's family, to borrow names from Ahab's; or if he lent the names to that wretched family, he could not communicate with them the devotion of their significations, Ahaziah, Taking hold of the Lord; and Jehoram, The Lord exalted.

Ahaziah king of Israel had reigned but two years, Ahaziah king of Judah reigned but one. We are here told that his relation to Ahab's family was the occasion,

1. Of his wickedness; (v. 27,) He walked in the way of the house of Ahab, that idolatrous bloody house; for his mother was Ahab's daughter, v. 26. So that he sucked in wickedness with his milk. Partus sequitur ventrem-The child may be expected to resemble the mother. When men choose wives for themselves, they must remember they are choosing mothers for their children, and are concerned to choose accordingly.

2. Of his fall; Joram, his mother's brother, courted him to join with him for the recovery of Ramoth-gilead, an attempt fatal to Ahab; so it was to Joram his son, for in that expedition he was wounded, (v. 28,) and returned to Jezreel to be cured, leaving his army there in possession of the place. Ahaziah was likewise returned, but went to Jezreel, to see how Jehoram did, v. 29. Providence so ordered it, that he who had been debauched by the house of Ahab, might be cut off with them, when the measure of their iniquity was full, as we shall find in the next chapter. They who partake with sinners in their sin, must expect to partake with them in their plagues.

2 And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber:

3 Then take the box of oil and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not.

NOTES TO CHAPTER IX.

V. 1-10. We have here the anointing of Jehu to be king, who was, at this time, a commander (probably, commander-inchief) of the forces employed at Ramoth-gilead, v. 14. There he was fighting for the king his master, but received orders from a higher King to fight against him. It does not appear that Jehu aimed at the government, or that he ever thought of it, but the commission given him was a perfect surprise to him. Some think that he had been anointed before by Elijah, whom God ordered to do it, but privately, and with an intimation that he must not act till further orders; as Samuel anointed David long before he was to come to the throne; but that is not at all probable, for then we must suppose Elijah had anointed Hazael too. No, when God bade him do these things, he bade him anoint Elisha to be prophet in his room, to do them when he was gone, as God should direct him. Here is,

I. The commission sent. Elisha did not go himself to anoint Jehu, because he was old, and unfit for such a journey, and so well known that he could not do it privately, could not go and come without observation; therefore he sends one of the sons of the prophets to do it, v. 1. They not only reverenced him as their father, (ch. 2. 15,) but observed and obeyed him as their father. This service of anointing Jehu, 1. Had danger in it, (1 Sam. 16. 2,) and therefore it was not fit that Elisha should expose himself, but one of the sons of the prophets, whose life was of less value, and who could do it with less danger. 2. It required labour, and therefore fitter for a young man in his full strength. Let youth work, and age direct. 3. Yet it was an honourable piece of service, to anoint a king, and he that did it, might hope to be preferred for it afterward, and therefore, for the encouragement of the young prophets, Elisha employed

6 And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.

7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants *the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of

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one of them

he would not engross all the honours to himself, nor grudge the young prophets a share in them. When he sent him, (1.) He put the oil into his hand, with which he must anoint Jehu. Take this box of oil. Solomon was anointed with oil out of the tabernacle, 1 Kings 1. 39. That could not now be had, but oil from a prophet's hand was equivalent to oil out of God's house. It was not the constant practice to anoint kings, but upon the disturbance of the succession, as in the case of Solomon; or the interruption of it, as in the case of Joash, (ch. 11. 12;) or the translation of the government to a new family, as here, and in the case of David; yet it might be used, generally, though the scripture does not mention it. (2.) He put the words into his mouth which he must say, (v. 3,) I have anointed thee king, and, no doubt, told him all the rest that he said, v. 7-10. Those whom God sends on his errand, shall not go without full instructions.

He also ordered him, [1.] To do it privately; to single out Jehu from the rest of the captains, and anoint him in an inner chamber, (v. 2,) that Jehu's confidence in his commission might be tried, when he had no witness to attest it; his being, of a sudden, animated for the service, would be proof sufficient of his being anointed to it, there needed no other proof. The thing signified was the best evidence of the sign. [2.] To do it expeditiously; when he went about it, he must gird up his loins; when he had done it, he must flee and not tarry for a fee, or a treat, or to see what Jehu would do. It becomes the sons of the prophets to be quick and lively at their work, to go about it, and go through it, as men that hate sauntering and trifling. They should be as angels that fly swiftly.

II. The commission delivered. The young prophet did his business with despatch; was at Ramoth-gilead presently, v. 4. 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 of his appearance, he called Jehu out from the rest, not waiting his leisure, or begging his pardon for disturbing him, but as one having authority, I have an errand to thee, O captain. Perhaps Jehu had some intimation of his business; and therefore, that he might not seem too forward to catch at the honour, he asked, To which of all us? That it might not be said afterward, he got it by speaking first, but they might all be satisfied he was indeed the person designed.

When the prophet had him alone, he anointed him, v. 6. The anointing of the Spirit is a hidden thing, that new name, which none knows but they that have it. Herewith,

1. He invests him with the royal dignity; Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, whose messenger I am, in his name I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord. He gives him an uncontestable title, but reminds him that he was made king, (1.) By the God of Israel; from him he must see his power derived, for by him kings reign, for him he must use it, and to him he must be accountable. Magistrates are the ministers of God, and must therefore act in dependence upon him, and with an entire devotedness to him and to his glory. (2.) Over the Israel of God; though the people of Israel were wretchedly corrupted, and had forfeited all the honour of relation to God, yet they are here called the people of the Lord, for he had a right to them, and had not yet given them a bill of divorce. Jehu must look upon the people he was made king of, as the people of the Lord, not as his vassals, but God's freemen, his sons, his first-born, not to be abused or tyrannized over; God's people, and therefore to be ruled for him, and according to his laws.

2. He instructs him in his present service, which was to destroy all the house of Ahab, (v. 7;) not that he might clear

9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam "the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:

10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.

11 Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication. And

12 And they said, It is false; tell us now. he said, Thus rand thus spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel.

13 Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew 'with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.

n1 Kings 15. 29. 1 Kings 16.5, 11. p 1 Kings 21. 23. ver. 35, 36. 9 Jer. 29. 26. Hus. 9. 7. John 10. 20. Acts 26. 24. Cor. 4.10. r ver. 6. Matt. 21.7.

his own way to the throne, and secure to himself the possession of it, but that he might execute the judgments of God upon that guilty and obnoxious family. He calls Ahab his master, that the relation might be no objection. "He was thy master; and to lift up thy hand against his son and successor, would be not only base ingratitude, but treason, rebellion, and all that is bad, if thou hadst not an immediate command from God to do it: but thou art under higher obligations to thy Master in heaven, than to thy master Ahab; He has determined that the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and by thy hand; fear not, has not he commanded thee? Fear not sin; his command will justify thee and bear thee out fear not danger; his command will secure and prosper thee."

That he might, intelligently, and in a right manner, do this great execution on the house of Ahab, he tells him,

(1.) What was their crime, what the ground of the controversy, and wherefore God had this quarrel with them, that he might have an eye to that which God had an eye to, and that was the blood of God's servants the prophets, and his other faithful worshippers, which they had shed, and which must now be required at the hand of Jezebel. That they were idolaters, was bad enough, and merited all that was brought upon them; yet that is not mentioned here, but the controversy God has with them, is, for their being persecutors; not so much their throwing down God's altars, as their slaying his prophets with the sword. Nothing fills the measure of the iniquity of any prince or people so as this does, or brings a surer and sorer ruin. This was the sin that brought on Jerusalem its first destruction, (2 Chr. 36. 16,) and its final one, Matt. 23. 37, 38. Jezebel's whoredoms and witchcrafts were not so provoking as her persecuting the prophets, killing some, and driving the rest into corners and caves, 1 Kings 18. 4.

(2.) What was their doom; they were sentenced to utter destruction; not to be corrected, but to be cut off, and rooted out. This Jehu must know, that his eye might not spare for pity, favour, or affection. All that belonged to Ahab, must be slain, v. 8. A pattern is given him of the destruction intended, in the destruction of the families of Jeroboam and Baasha, (v. 9;) and he is particularly directed to throw Jezebel to the dogs, v. 10. The whole stock of royal blood was little enough, and too little, to atone for the blood of the prophets, the saints and martyrs, which, in God's account, is of great price.

The prophet, having done this errand, made the best of his way home again, and left Jehu alone to consider what he had to do, and to beg direction from God.

14 So Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria.

15 But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city, to go to tell it in Jezreel.

V. 11-15. Jehu, after some pause, returned to his place at the board, taking no notice of what had passed, but, as it should seem, designing, for the present, to keep it to himself, if they had not urged him to discover it. Let us therefore see what passed between him and the captains.

1. With what contempt the captains speak of the young prophet; (v. 11,) "Wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? What business has he with thee? and why wouldest thou humour him so far as to retire for conversation with him? Are prophets company for captains?" They call him a mad fellow, because he was one of those that would not run with them to an excess of riot, (1 Pet. 4. 4,) but that lived a life of self-denial, mortification, and contempt of the world, and spent their time in devotion; for these things they thought the prophets were fools, and the spiritual men were mad, Hos. 9. 7. Note, Those that have no religion, commonly speak with disdain of those that are religious, and look upon them as mad. They said of our Saviour, He is beside himself; of John Baptist, He has a devil, is a poor melancholy man; of St. Paul, Much learning has made him mad. The highest wisdom is thus represented as folly, and those that best understand themselves, are looked upon as beside themselves. Perhaps Jehu intended it for a rebuke to his friends, when he said, "Ye know the man to be a prophet, why then do yo call him a mad fellow? Ye know the way of his communication to be not from madness, but inspiration." Or, " Being a prophet, you may guess what his business is, to tell me of my faults, and to teach me my duty; I need not inform you concerning it." Thus he thought to

16 So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram.

17 And there stood a watchman "on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it "peace?

18 So there went one on horesback to meet him,

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have put them off, but they urged him to tell them. "It is false," say they, "we cannot conjecture what was his errand, and therefore tell us." Being thus pressed to it, he told them that the prophet had anointed him king, and, it is probable, showed them the oil upon his head, v. 12. He knew not but some of them, either out of loyalty to Joram, or envy of him, might oppose him, and go near to crush his interest in its infancy; but he relied on the divine appointment, and was not afraid to own it, knowing whom he had trusted: he that raised him, would stand by him.

2. With what respect they compliment the new king, upon the first notice of his advancement, v. 13. How meanly soever they thought of the prophet that anointed him, and of his office, they expressed a great veneration for the royal dignity of him that was anointed, and were very forward to proclaim him with sound of trumpet. In token of their subjection and allegiance to him, their affection to his person and government, and their desire to see him high and easy in it, they put their garments under him, that he might stand or sit upon them on the top of the stairs, in sight of the soldiers, who, upon the first intimation, came together to grace the solemnity. God put it into their hearts thus readily to own him, for he turns the hearts of people as well as kings, like the rivers of water, into what channel he pleases. Perhaps they were disquieted at Joram's government, or had a particular affection for Jehu; however, it seems, things were ripe for the revolution, and they all came into Jehu's interest, and conspired against Joram, v. 14.

3. With what caution Jehu proceeded. He had advantages against Joram, and he knew how to improve them. He had the army with him; Joram had left it, and was gone home badly wounded. Jehu's good conduct appears in two things; (1.) That he complimented the captains, and would do nothing without their advice and consent; ("If it be your minds, we will do so and so, else not;") thereby intimating the deference he paid to their judgment, and the confidence he had in their fidelity, both which tended to please and fix them. It is the wisdom of those that would rise fast, and stand firm, to take their friends along with them. (2.) That he contrived to surprise Joram; and, in order thereto, to come upon him with speed, and to prevent his having notice of what was now done: "Let none go forth to tell it in Jezreel, that, as a snare, the ruin may come on him and his house.' The suddenness of an attack sometimes turns to as good an account as the force of it.

V. 16-29. From Ramoth-gilead to Jezreel was more than one day's march; about the midway between them, the river Jordan must be crossed. We may suppose Jehu to have marched with all possible expedition, and to have taken the utmost precaution to prevent the tidings from getting to Jezreel before him; and, at length, we have him within sight first, and then within reach, of the devoted king.

I. Joram's watchman discovers him first at a distance, him and his retinue, and gives notice to the king of the approach of a company, whether of friends or foes he cannot tell. But the king (impatient to know what is the matter, and perhaps jealous that the Syrians, who had wounded him, had traced him by the blood to his own palace, and were coming to seize him) sent first one messenger, and then another, to bring him intelligence, v. 17-19. He had scarcely recovered the fright he was put into in the battle, and his guilty conscience put him into a continual terror. Each messenger asked the same question, "Is it peace? Are you for us, or for our adversaries? Do you bring good tidings or bad?" Each had the same answer, What hast thou to do with peace? Turn thee behind me, (v. 18, 19;) as if he had said, "It is not to thee, but to him that sent thee, that I will give answer; for thy part, if thou consult thy own safety, turn thee behind me, and enlist thyself among my followers." The watchman gives notice that the messengers were taken prisoners; and, at length, observes that the leader of this troop drove like Jehu, who, it seems, was noted for driving furiously, thereby discovering himself to be a man of a hot eager spirit, intent upon his business, and pushing forward with all his might. A man of such a violent temper, was

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