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d Mark 3. 22.
of the man ?
Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of 8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite. inquire of Baal-zebub dthe god of Ekron?
9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of 4 Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord, Thou fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him; (and, *shalt not come down from that bed on which thou behold, he sat on the top of an hill;) and he spake art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah de- unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, parted.
Come down. 5 And when the messengers turned back unto 10 And Elijah answered and said to the caphim, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned tain of fifty, It'I be a man of God, then let fire come back?
down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. 6 And they said unto him, There came a man And there came down fire from heaven, and conup to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again sumed him and his fifty. unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, 11 Again also he sent unto him another capThus esaith the Lord, Iş it not because there is not tain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt said, Come down quickly. not come down from that bed on which thou art 12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, gone up, but shalt surely die.
If I be a man of God, let fire come down from hea7 And he said unto them, What manner of ven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire man was he which came up to meet you, and told of God came down from heaven, and consumed him you these words?
and his fifty. * The bed whither thou art gone up, thou shall not come doton
6 Zech. 13. 14. Matt. 3. 4. Num. 16. 35. Luke 9. 54. Heb. 12. from it. Is. 41, 22, 23. siChr. 10. 13. Ps, 16. 1. † What roas the mannor 29. i 1 Kings 18. 24. Dan. 3. 25. & c. 2. 24. Acls 5.5, 9. Testament, the prince of the devils is called Beel-zebub, (Matt. Why then durst he persecute him? Did he think him a com12. 24;) for the gods of the Gentiles were devils, and this, per mon person? What occasion was there to send such a force, haps, grew to be one of the most famous.
in order to seize him? Thus a band of men must take our IV. Elijah, by direction from God, meets the messengers, Lord Jesus. and turns them back with an answer that shall save them the II. The captain that was sent with his fifty soldiers, found labour of going to Ekron. Had Ahaziah sent for Elijah, hum-Elijah on the top of a hill, (some think Carmel,) and commanded bled himself, and begged his prayers, he might bave had an him, in the king's name, to surrender bimself, v. 9. Elijah was answer of peace; but if he send to the god of Ekron, instead now so far from absconding, as formerly, in the close recesses of the God of Israel, that, like Saul's consulting the witch, shall of a cave, that he makes a bold appearance on the top of a hill; fill the measure of his iniquity, and bring upon him a sentence experience of God's protection makes him more bold. The of death. They that will not inquire of the word of God for captain calls him a man of God, not that he believed him to be their comfort, shall be made to hear it, whether they will or no, so, or reverenced him as such a one, but because he was comto their amazement.
monly called so; bad he really looked upon him as a prophet, 1. He faithfully reproves his sin; (v. 3,) Is it not because he would not have attempted to make him his prisoner; and there is not (that is, because you think there is not) a God in had he thought him intrusted with the word of God, be would Israel, (because there is no God, none in Israel, so it may be not have pretended to command him with the word of a king. read) that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub, the God of Ekrón, a III. Elijah calls for fire from heaven, to consume this haughty despicable town of the Philistines, (Zech. 9.7,) long since van- daring sinner, not to secure himself, he could have done that quished by Israel?, Here, (1.). The sin was bad enough, giving some other way, nor to avenge himself, for it was not bis own that honour to the devil, which is due to God alone, which was cause that he appeared and acted in; but to prove his mission, done as much by their inquiries, as by their sacrifices. Note, It and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven against the ungodliis a very wicked thing, upon any occasion or pretence whatso ness and unrighteousness of men. This captain had, in scorn, ever, to consult with the devil. This wickedness reigned in the called him a man of God: “If I be so," says Elijah, " thou heathen world, (Is. 47. 12, 13,) and remains too much even in shalt pay dear for making a jest of it.” He valued himself upon the Christian world, and the devil's kingdom is supported by it. his commission, (the king has said, Come down,) but Elijah (2.) The construction which Elijah, in God's name, puts upon will let him know that the God of Israel is superior to the king it, makes it much worse: “It is because you think not only of Israel, and has a greater power to enforce his commands. that the God of Israel is not able to tell you, but that there is It was not long since Elijah' had fetched fire from heaven to no God at all in Israel; else you would not send so far for a consume the sacrifice, (i Kings 18. 38,) in token of God's divine answer." Note, A practical and constructive atheism acceptance of that sacrifice as an atonement for the sins of the is the cause and malignity of our departures from God. Surely people ; but they having slighted that, now the fire falls, not on we think there is no God in Israel, when we live at large, make the sacrifice, but on the sinners themselves, v. 10. See here, flesh our arm, and seek a portion in the things of this world. 1. What an interest the prophets had in heaven; what the
2. He plainly reads his doom; “Go, tell him, he shall surely Spirit of God in them demanded, the power of God effected; die, v. 4. Since he is so anxious to know his fate, this is it; let Elijah did but speak, and it was done; he that formerly had him make the best of it." The certain fearful looking for of fetched water from heaven, now fetches fire. O the power of judgment and indignation which this message must needs cause, prayer! Concerning the work of my hands, command ye me, cannot but cut him to the heart.
İs. 45. 11. 2. What an interest heaven had in the prophets! V. The message being delivered to him by his servants, he God was always ready to plead their cause, and avenge the inquires of them by whom it was sent him, and concludes, by injuries done to them. Kings shall still be rebuked for their their description of him, that it must be Elijah, v. 7, 8. For, sakes, and charged to do his prophets no harm. One Elijah is 1. His dress was the same that he had seen him in, in his more to God than 10,000 capiains and their fifties. Doubtless father's court. He was clad in a hairy garment, and had Elijah did this by a divine impulse, and yet our Saviour would leathern girdle about him, plain and homely in his garb. John not allow the disciples to draw it into a precedent, Luke 9. 54. Baptist, the Elias of the New Testament, herein resembled | They were now not far from the place where Elias did this act him, for his clothes were made of haircloth, and he was girt of justice upon provoking Israelites, and would needs, in like with a leathern girdle, Matt, 3. 4. He that was clothed with manner, call for fire upon those provoking Samaritans; "No," the Spirit, despised all rich and gay clothing. 2. His message says Christ, “by no means; you know not whal manner of spirit was such as he used to deliver to his father, to whom he never you are of ; that is, (1.) “ You do not consider what manner of prophesied good, but evil. Elijah is one of those witnesses spirit, as disciples, you are called to, and how different from that still torment the inhabitants of the earth, Rev. 11. 10. He that of the Old Testament dispensation; it was agreeable that was a thorn in Ahab's eyes, will be so in the eyes of his enough to that dispensation of terror, and of the letter, for Elias son, while he treads in the steps of his wickedness; and he is to call for fire ; but the dispensation of the Spirit and of grace ready to cry out, as his father did, Hast thou found me, o mine will by no means allow of it."
.” (2.) “You are not aware what Let sinners consider, that the word which took hold manner of spirit you are, upon this occasion, acted by, and of their fathers, is still as quick and powerful as ever. See how different from that of Elias: he did it in holy zeal, you in Zech. 1. 6. Heb. 4. 12.
passion; he was concerned for God's glory, you for your own V. 9-18. Here,
reputation only,” God judges men's practices by their princiI. The king issues out a warrant for the apprehending of ples, and his judgment is according to truth. Elijah. If the God of Ekron had told him he should die, it is IV. This is repeated a second time; would one think it? probable he would have taken it quietly ; but now that a prophet 1. Abaziah sends, a second time, to apprehend Elijah, (v. 11,) of the Lord tells him so, reproving him for his sin, and remind as if he were resolved not to be baffled by omnipotence itself : ing him of the God of Israel, he cannot bear it: so far is he obstinate sinners must be convinced and conquered, at last, by from making any good improvement of the warning given him, the fire of hell, for fire from heaven, it seems, will not do it. that he is enraged against the prophet; neither his sickness, 2. Another captain is ready with his fisiy, who, in his blind nor the thoughts of death, made any good impressions upon rage against the prophet, and his blind obedience to the king, him, or possessed him with any fear of God: no external alarms dares engage in that service which had been fatal to the last will startle and soften secure sinners, but rather exasperate undertakers; this is as impudent and imperious as the last, them. Did the king think Elijah a prophet, a true prophot? I and more in haste; not only, “ Come down quietly, and do not
and Elisha's lamentation of the loss thi
Gen. 5. 24.
c Jer. 4 2. di Sam,
• bowed. over. 6.
13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty
CHAPTER II. with his fifty. And the third captain of fisty went in this chapter we have, 1. That extraordinary event, the translation of Elijah; up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, in the close of the foregoing chapter, we had a wicked king leaving the world in
disgrace, here we have a holy prophet leaving it in houour; the de perture of the and besought him, and said unto him, O man of former was his greatest misery, of the latter, his greatest bliss : men are as God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these their end ia. Here is!. Elijah's taking leave of his friends, the sons of the pro
phets, and especially Elisha, who kept close to him, and walked with him through fifty thy servants, be precious min thy sight,
earth had of him, v. 12. 11. The ma14 Behold, there came "fire down from heaven,
nifestation of Elisha, as a prophe in his room. 1. By the dividing of Jordan, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties
v. 13, 14. 2. By the respect thich the sons of the prophets paid him, y. 15–18.
3. By the healing of the unwholesome waters of Jericho, v. 19-22. 4. By the with their filties: therefore let my life now be pre destruction of the children of Beth-el that mocked him, v. 23-25. This revolucious in thy sight.
tion in prophecy makes a greater figure than the revolution of a kingdom. 15 And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, ND it came to pass, when the LORD would take Go down with him; be not afraid of him. And he oup Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that arose, and went down with him unto the king. Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, (is it not because And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word ?) and as “thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on they went down to Beth-el. which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at 17 So he died, according to the word of the LORD Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, which Elijah had spoken : and Jehoram reigned in Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy his stead, in the second year of Jehoram the son of master from thy head to-day? And he said, Yea, I Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son. know it; hold ye your peace.
18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he 4. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, did, are they not written in the book of the chroni- | I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. cles of the kings of Israel?
And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul m 1 Sam. 26. 21. Ps. 72. 14. 116. 15. n ver, 10, 12. Jchoshaphal, c. 3. 1.
b I Kings 19. 21. t the second year that Jehoram was Prorer, and the eighteenth of 1. 26. ver. 4.6. c. 4. 30. 1 Kings 20. 35. ver. 5, 7, 15. c. 4. I, 38. 9. 1. struggle," but, without taking any notice of what had been therefore cannot conjecture how long he flourished; it is supdone, he
says, Come down quickly, and do not trifle, the king's posed about 20 years in all. business requires haste; come down, or I will fetch thee down." Here we are told, 3. Elijah relents not, but calls for another flash of lightning, I. That God had determined to take him up into heaven by which instantly lays this captain and his fifty dead upon the spot; a whirlwind, v.1. He would do it, and, it is probable, let him they that will sin like others, must expect to suffer like them; know of his purpose, some time before, that he would shortly God is inflexibly just.
take him from the world, not by death, but translate him body V. The third captain humbled himself, and cast himself upon and soul to heaven, as Enoch was, only causing him to undergo the mercy of God and Elijah. It does not appear that Ahaziah such a change as would be necessary to the qualifying of him ordered him to do so, (his stubborn heart is as hard as ever; to be an inhabitant in that world of spirits; and such as they so regardless is he of the terrors of the Lord, so little affected shall undergo, who will be found alive at Christ's coming. It with the manifestations of his wrath, and withal so prodigal of is not for us to say, why God would put such a peculiar honour the lives of his subjects, that he sent a third with the same upon Elijah above any other of the prophets; he was a man provoking message to Elijah,) but he took warning by the fate subject lo like passions as we are, knew sin, and yet never lasted of his predecessors, who, perhaps, lay dead before his eyes; death. Wherefore is he thus dignified, thus distinguished, as and, instead of summoning the prophet down, fell down before a man whom the King of kings did delight to honour? We may him, and begged for his life, and the lives of his soldiers, suppose that herein, i. God looked back upon his past services, acknowledging their own evil deserts, and the prophet's power; which were eminent and extraordinary, and intended a recom(v. 13, 14,) Let my life be precious in thy sight. Note, There pense for those, and an encouragement to the sons of the prophets is nothing to be got by contending with God: if we would pre- to tread in the steps of his zeal and faithfulness, and, whatever vail with him, it must be by supplication; if we would not fall it cost them, to witness against the corruptions of the age they before God, we must bow before him; and those are wise for lived in. 2. He looked down upon the present dark and dethemselves, who learn submission from the fatal consequences generate state of the church, and would thus give a very sensible which others entail by their obstinacy.
proof of another life after this, and draw the hearts of the faithful VI. Elijah does more than grant the request of this third few upward toward himself, and that other life. 3. He looked caplain. God is not severer with those that stand it out against forward to the evangelical dispensation, and, in the translation him, than he is ready to show mercy to those that repent, and of Elijah, gave a type and figure of the ascension of Christ, and submit to him; never any found it in vain to cast themselves the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Elijah upon the mercy of God. This captain not only has his life had, by faith and prayer, conversed much with heaven, and now spared, but is permitted to carry his point; Elijah, being so he is taken thither, to assure us that if we have our conversacommanded by the angel, goes down with him to the king, v. 15. tion in heaven, while we are here on earth, we shall be there Thus he shows that he, before, refused to come, not because he shortly, the soul shall, (and that is the man,) be happy there, feared the king or court, but because he would not be imperi- there for ever. ously summoned, and would not lessen the honour of his inaster; II. That Elisha had determined, as long as he continued on he magnifies his office. He comes boldly to the king, and tells earth, to cleave to him, and not to leave him: Elijah seemed him, to his face, (let him take it as he may,) what he had, desirous to shake him off, would have had him stay behind at before, sent to him, (v. 16,) that he should surely and shortly Gilgal, at Bethel, at Jericho, v. 2, 4, 6. Some think, out of die; he mitigates not the sentence, either for fear of the king's humility; he kneav what glory God designed for him, but would displeasure, or in pity to his misery: the God of Israel has not seem to glory in it, nor desired it should be seen of men; condemned him, let him send to see whether the god of Ekron (God's favourites covet not to have it proclaimed before them, can deliver him. So thunderstruck is Abaziah with this mes that they are so, as the favourites of earthly princes do :) or sage, when it comes from the prophet's own mouth, that neither rather, it was to try him, and make his constant adherence to he, nor any of those about him, durst offer him any violence, him the more commendable, like Naomi's persuading Ruth to nor so much as give him an affront; but out of that den of lions go back : in vain does Elijah entreat him to tarry here, and he comes unhurt, like Daniel. Who can harm those whom God carry there ; he resolves to tarry no where behind his master, will shelter?
till he goes to heaven, and leaves him behind on this earth; Lastly, The prediction is accomplished in a few days; whatever comes of it, I will not leave thee; and why so? Not Ahaziah died, (0.17,) and, dying childless, left his kingdom only because he loved him, but, 1. Because he desired to be to his brother Jehoram; his father reigned wickedly twenty-edified by his holy heavenly converse as long as he stayed on two years, he not two; sometimes the wicked live, become old, earth ; it had always been profitable, but, we may suppose, now, yer, are mighty in power ; but they who therefore promise more so than ever. We should therefore do all the spiritual themselves prosperity in impiety, may, perhaps, find them- good we can, one to another, and get all we can, one by another, selves deceived; for, (as Bishop Hall observes here,) “Some while we are together, because we are to be logether brit a while. sinners live long, to aggravate their judgment, others die soon, 2. Because he desired to be satisfied concerning his departure, to hasten it;" but it is certain that evil pursues sinners, and, and to see him when he was taken up, that his faith might be sooner or later, it will overtake them; nor will any thing fill the confirmed, and his acquaintance with the invisible world inmeasure sooner than that complicated iniquity of Ahaziah ; creased. He had long followed Elijah, and he would not leave honouring the devil's oracles, and hating God's oracles. him now when he hoped for the parting blessing; let not those
that follow Christ, come short by tiring at last. NOTES TO CHAPTER IT.
III. That Elijah, before his departure, visited the schools of V.1-8. Elijah's times, and the events concerning him, are the prophets, and took leave of them; it seems that thero wore as little dated as those of any great man in scripture; we are such schools in many of the cities of Israel, probably, even in not told of his age, nor in what year of Ahab's reign he first Samaria itself; here we find sons of the prophets, and conappeared, nor in what year of Joram's he disappeared, and I siderable numbers of them, even at Bethel, where one of the Vol. 1.-110
liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Je 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it richo.
together, and smote the waters, and <they were 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at divided hither and thither; so that they two went Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest over on dry ground. thou that the Lord will take away thy master from 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone thy head to-day? And he answered, Yea, I know it ; over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall hold ye your peace.
do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, Elisha said, I pray thee, let "a double portion of thy here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And spirit be upon me. he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, 10 And he said, Thou hast tasked a hard thing: I will not leave thee. And they two went on. nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not went, and stood to view afar off; and they two be so. stood by Jordan.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, • in sight, or, over against. I Kings 19. 13, 19.
g Ex. 14. 21. ver. 14. Josh. 3. 14–17. A Num. I7. 20. dons hard in asking. calves was set up, and at Jericho, which was lately built in defi V. 9–12. Here, ance of a divine curse. At Jerusalem, and in the kingdom of I. Elijah makes his will, and leaves Elisha his heir, now Judah, they had priests and Levites, and the temple service, anointing him to be a prophet in his room, more than when he the want of which, in the kingdom of Israel, God graciously cast his mantle upon him, 1 Kings 19. 19. made up by those colleges, where men were trained up and 1. Elijah, being greatly pleased with the constancy of Elisha's employed in the exercises of religion and devotion, and whither affection and attendance, bade him ask what he should do for good people resorted to solemnize the appointed feasts with him, what blessing he should leave him at parting; he does not praying and hearing, when they had not conveniences for say, (as Bishop Hall well observes,) “ Ask of me when I am sacrifice or incense; and thus religion was kept up in a time gone, in heaven I shall be better able to befriend thee," but, of general apostacy. Much of God was among these prophets, "Ask before I go.” Our friends on earth may be spoken to, and more were the children of the desolate than the children of and can give us an answer, but we know not that we can have the married wife; none of all the high priests were comparable access to any friend in heaven, but Christ, and God in him; to those two great men Elijah and Elisha, who, for aught we Abraham is ignorant of us. know, never attended in the temple at Jerusalem. These semi 2. Elisha, having this fair opportunity to enrich bimself with naries of religion and virtue, which Elijah, it is probable, had the best riches, prays for a double portion of his spirit; he asks been instrumental to found, he now visits, before his departure, not for wealth, or honour, or exemption from trouble, but to be to instruct, encourage, and bless them. Note, Those that are qualified for the service of God and his generation; he asks, going to heaven themselves, ought to be concerned for those (1.) For the Spirit; not that the gifts and graces of the Spirit they leave behind them on earth, and to leave with them their were in Elijah's power to give, therefore he says not, "Give experiences, testimonios, counsels, and prayers, 2 Pet. 1. 15. me the Spirit,” she knew very well it was God's gift,) bul; When Christ said, with triumph, Now I am no more in the “Let it be upon me, intercede with God for this, for me. world, he added, with tenderness, But these are; Father, keep Christ bade his disciples ask what they would, not one, but all, them.
and promised to send the Spirit, with much more authority IV. That the sons of the prophets had intelligence, (either and assurance than Elijah could. (2.) For his spirits because from Elijah himself, or by the spirit of prophecy in some of he was to be a prophet in his room, to carry on his work, to their own society,) or suspected, by the solemnity of Elijah's father the sons of the prophets, and face their enemies; because farewell, that he was now shortly to be removed; and, 1. They he had the same difficulties to encounter, and the same per. told Elisha of it, both at Bethel, (v. 3,) and at Jericho; (v. 5,) verse generation to deal with, that he had, so that if he have Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy not his spirit, he has not strength according to the day. (3.) For hend to-day? This they said, not as upbraiding him with his a double portion of his spirit; he does not mean double to what loss, or expecting that when his master was gone, he would be he had, but double to what the rest of the prophets had, from upon the level with them, but to show how full they were of the whom so much would not be expected as from Élisha, who had thoughts of this matter, and big with expectation of the event, been brought up under Elijah. It is a holy ambition to covet and to admonish Elisha to prepare for the loss : know we noi earnestly the best gifts, and ihose which will render us most serthat our nearest relations, and dearest friends, must shortly be viceable to God and our brethren. Note, We all ought, both taken from us? The Lord will take them, we lose them not till ministers and people, to set before us the examples of our prehe calls for them, whose they are, and who taketh away, and decessors, to labour after their spirit, and to be earnest with none can hinder him. He takes away superiors from our head, God for that grace which carried them through their work, and inferiors from our feet, equals from our arms; let us therefore enabled them to finish well. carefully do the duty of every relation, that we may reflect upon 3. Elijah promises him that which he asked, but under two it with comfort, when it comes to be dissolved. Elisha knew provisoes, v. 10. (1.) Provided he put a due value upon it, and it too well, and sorrow had filled his heart upon this account, esteem it highly : this he teaches him to do, by calling it a hard (as it did the disciples in a like case, John 16. 6,) and there. thing; not too hard for God to do, but too great for him to es. fore he did not need to be told of it, did not care for hearing of pect. Those are best prepared for spiritual blessings, that are it, and would not be interrupted in his contemplations on this most sensible of their worth, and their own unworthiness to great concern, or, in the least, diverted from his attendance receive them. (2.) Provided he kept close to his master, even upon his master; I know it, hold ye your peace : he speaks not to the last, and was observant of him: If thou see me when I this peevishly, or in contempt of the sons of the prophets, but am laken from thee, it shall be so, otherwise not. A diligent as one that was himself, and would have them, composed and attendance upon his master's instructions, and a careful observ. sedate, and with an awful silence expecting the event; I know ance of his example, particularly now in his last scene, were il, be silent, Zech. 2. 13. 2. They went themselves to be wit- the condition, and would be a proper means of obtaining much nesses of it at a distance, though they might not closely attend ; of his spirit: taking strict notice of the manner of his ascen(9.7,) Fifty of them stood to view afar off, intending io satisfy sion, would likewise be of great use to him. The comforts of their own curiosity, but God so ordered it, that they might be departing saints, and their experiences, will mightly help, both eyewitnesses of the honour heaven did to that prophet, who to gild our comforts, and to steel our resolutions. Or, perhaps, was despised and rejected of men. God's works are well worthy this was intended only as a sign; Ir God favour thee so far as our notice; when a door is opened in heaven, the call is, Come to give thee a sight of me when I ascend, take that for a token up hither, come and see.
that he will do this for thee, and depend upon it." Christ's V. That the miraculous dividing of the river Jordan was the disciples saw him ascend, and were, thereupon, assured that preface to Elijah's translation into the heavenly Canaan, as it they should, in a little time, be filled with his Spirit, Acts 1. 8. had been to the entrance of Israel into the carthly Canaan, Elisha, we may suppose, hereupon, prayed earnestly, Lord, 0.8. He must go on the other side Jordan, to be iranslated, show me this token for good. because it was his native country, and that he might be near II. Elijah is carried up to heaven in a fiery chariot, v. II. the place where Moses died, and that thus honour might be Like Enoch, he was translated, that he should not see death; put on that part of the country, which was most despised. He and was (as Mr. Cowley expresses it) and Elisha might have gone over Jordan by a ferry, as other
“The second man that leap'd the ditch passengers did, but God would magnify Elijah in his exit, as he did Joshua in his entrance, by the dividing of this river,
Where all the rest of mankind fell, Josh. 3. 7. As Moses with his roul divided the sea, so Elijah
And went not downward to the sky." with his mantle divided Jordan, both, the insignia--the badges Many curious questions might be asked about this matter, of their office; these waters, of old, yielded to the ark, now, to
which could not be answered. Let it suffice that we are here the prophet's mantle, which, to those that wanted the ark, was told, an equivalent token of God's presence. When God will take 1. What his Lord, when he came, found him doing. He was np bis faithful ones to heaven, death is the Jordan which, talking with Elisha, instructing and encouraging him, directing immediately before their translation, they must pass through, him in his work, and quickening him to it, for the good of those and they find a way through it, a safe and comfortable way; whom he left behind. He was not meditating or praying, as the death of Christ has divided those waters, that the ransomedone wholly taken up with the world he was going to, but enof the Lord may pass over; O death, where is thy sting! thy gaged in edifying discourse, as one concerned about the kingdom hure, thy terror
of God among men. We mistake, if we think our preparation
and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Lord God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten heaven.
the waters, they parted hither and thither: and 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, "My father, Elisha went over. my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen 15 And when the sons of the prophets, which thereot'! And he saw him no more: and he took were to view nat Jericho, saw him, they said, The hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came pieces.
to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that before him. fell from him, and went back, and stood by the 16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there *bank of Jordan:
be with thy servants fifty 'strong men; let them go, i c. 6. 11. Ps. 104. 4. & c. 13. 14. lip. 1 ver. 8.
m ver. 7. t sons of strength. for heaven is carried on only by contemplation, and the acts of could have served him for ever. 3. He gave him a very devotion. Usefulness to others will pass as well in our account honourable character, as the reason why he thus lamented the as any thing. Thinking of divine things is good, but talking loss of him. (1.) He himself had lost the guide of his youth ; of them (if it come from the heart) is better, because for edi- My father, my father! he saw his own condition like that of a fication, i Cor. 14. 4. Christ ascended as he was blessing his fatherless child thrown upon the world, and laments it accorddisciples.
ingly. Christ, when he left his disciples, did not leave them 2. What convoy his Lord sent for him; a chariot of fire, and orphans, (John 14. 15,) but Elijah must. (2.) The public had horses of fire, which appeared either descending upon them from lose its best guard; he was the chariot of Israel, and the horsethe clouds, or (as Bishop Patrick thinks) running toward them men thereof. He would have brought them all to heaven, as in lipon the ground: in this form the angels appeared. The souls this chariot, if it had not been their own fault; they used not of all the faithful are carried by an invisible guard of angels chariots and horses in their wars, but Elijah was to them, by into the bosom of Abraham; but Elijah being to carry his body his counsels, reproofs, and prayers, better than the strongest with him, this heavenly guard was visible, not in a human force of chariot and horse, and kept off the judgments of God; shape, as usual, though they might so have borne him up in his departure was like the routing of an army, an irreparabie their arms, or carried him as on eagles' wings, but that had loss. Belter have lost all our men of war than this man of been to carry him like a child, like a lamb, (Is. 40. 11, 31,) they God. appear in the form of a chariot and horses, that he may ride in V. 13—18. We have here an account of what followed imslate; may ride in triumph, like a prince, like a conqueror, yea, mediately after the rapture of Elijah. more than a conqueror; the angels are called, in scripture, I. The tokens of God's presence with Elisha, and the marks Cherubim and Seraphim, and their appearance here, though it of his elevation into Elijah's room, to be, as he had been, a may seem below their dignity, answers to both those names; father to the sons of the prophets, and the chariot and horsemen for, (1.) Seraphim signifies fiery, and God is said to make them of Israel, a flame of fire, Ps. 101. 4. (2.) Cherubim (as many think) 1. He was possessed of Elijah's mantle, the badge of his signities chariots, and they are called the chariots of God, Ps. office, which, we may suppose, he put on, and wore, for his 68. 17. And he is said to ride upon a cherub, (Ps. 18. 10,) 10 master's sake, v. 13. When Elijah went to heaven, though he which perhaps there is an allusion in Ezekiel's vision of four did not let fall his body as others do, he let fall his mantle living creatures, and wheels, like horses and chariots; in Zech- instead of it; for he was unclothed, that he might be clothed ariah's vision they are so represented, Zech. 1.8.-6.1. Com- upon with immortality: he was going to a world where he pare Rev. 6. 2, &c. See the readiness of the angels to do the needed not the mantle, either to adorn him, or to shelter him will of God, even in the meanest services, for the good of them from weather, or to wrap his face in, as I Kings 19. 13. He that shall be heirs of salvation. Elijah must remove to the left his mantle as a legacy to Elisha, and though in itself it world of angels, and therefore, to show how desirous they were was of small value, yet as it was a token of the descent of the of his company, some of them would come to fetch him ; the Spirit upon him, it was more than if he had bequeathed to him chariot and horses appeared like fire, not for burning, but bright- thousands of gold and silver. Elisha took it up, not as a sacred ness, not to torture or consume him, but to render his ascension relic to be worshipped, but as a significant garment to be worn, conspicuous and illustrious in the eyes of those that stood afar and a recompense to him for his own garments which he had off to view it. Elijah had burned with holy zeal for God and rent; he loved this cloak ever since it was first cast over him, his honour, and now with a heavenly fire he was refined and 1 Kings 19. 19. He that then so cheerfully obeyed the sumtranslated.
mons of it, and became Elijah's servant, is now dignified with 3. How he was separated from Elisha; this chariot parted it, and becomes his successor. There are remains of great and them both asunder. Note, The dearest friends must part; good men, which, like this mantle, ought to be gathered up and Elisha had protested he would not leave him, yet now is lest preserved by the survivors, their sayings, their writings, their behind by him.
examples, that as their works follow them in the reward of 4. Whither he was carried; he went up by a whirlwind into them, they may stay behind in the benefit of them. heaven; the fire lends upward, the whirlwind helped to carry 2. He was possessed of Elijah's power to divide Jordan, him through the atmosphere, out of the reach of the magnetic v.14. Having parted with his father, he returns to his sons in tho virtue of this earth, and then how swiftly he ascended through schools of the prophets; Jordan was between him and them, it the pure ether to the world of holy and blessed spirits, we can had been divided to make way for Elijah to his glory, he will not conceive.
try whether it will divide to make way for him to his business,
and by that he will know that God is with him, and that he has " But where he stopp'd, will ne'er be known.
the double portion of Elijah's spirit; Elijah's last miracle shall 'Till phenix nature, aged grown,
be Elisha's first; thus he begins where he left off, and there is To a belter being shall aspire,
no vacancy. In dividing the waters, (1.) He made use of Mounting herself, like him, to eternity in fire."--COWLEY. Elijah's mantle, as Elijah himself had done, (v. 8,) to signify
that he designed to keep to his master's methods, and would Elijah had once, in a passion, wished he might die; yet God not introduce any thing new, as those affect to do, that think was so gracious to him, as not only not to take him at his word themselves wiser than their predecessors. (2.) He applied then, but to honour him with this singular privilege, that he himself to Elijah's God, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? should never see death; and by this instance, and that of Enoch, He does not ask, “Where is Elijah ?" either as poring upon (1.) God showed how men should have left the world, if they the loss of him, as if he could not be easy now ihat he was had not sinned, not by death, but by a translation. (2.) He gone, or as doubting of his happy state, as is, like the sons of gave a glimpse of that life and immortality which are brought the prophets here, he knew not what was become of him, or as to light by the Gospel, of the glory reserved for the bodies of curiously inquiring concerning him, and the particulars of that the sainis, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all stale he was removed to; no, that is a hidden life, it does not believers, as then to Elijah; it was also a figure of Christ's yet appear what we shall be ; nor as expecting help from him; ascension.
no, Elijah is happy, but is neither omniscient nor omnipotent: III. Elisha pathetically laments the loss of that great prophet, but he asks, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? Now that but attends him with an encomium, v. 12. 1. He saw it; thus Elijah was taken to heaven, God had abundantly proved himself he received the sign by which he was assured of the grant of the God of Elijah ; if he had not prepared for him that city, his request for a double portion of Elijah's spirit; be looked and done better for him there than ever he did for liim in this steadfastly toward heaven, whence he was to expect that gift, world, he would have been ashamed to be called his God, Heb. as the disciples did, Acts 1. 10. He saw it a while, but the 11. 16. Matt. 27. 31, 32. Now that Elijah was taken to vision was presently out of his sight; and he saw him no more. heaven, Elisha inquired, [1.] After God; when our creature 2. He rent his own clothes, in token of the sense be had of his comforts are removed, we have a God to go to, that lives for ever. own and the public loss; though Elijah was gone triumphantly (2.) After the God of Elijah, the God that Elijah served, and to heaven, yet this world could ill spare him, and therefore his honoured, and pleaded for, and adhered to, when all Israel had removal ought to be much regretted by the survivors. Surely deserted him. This honour is done to those who cleave to their hearts are hard, whose eyes are dry, when God, by taking God in times of general apostacy, that God will be, in a pecuaway faithful useful men, calls for weeping and mourning. liar manner, their God. " The God that owned, and protected,
Though Elijah's departure made way for Elisha's eminency, and provided for Elijah, and, many ways, honoured him, espeospecially since he was now sure of a double portion of his cially now at last, where is he? Lord, am not I promised spirit, yot he lamented the loss of him, for he loved him, and 'Elijah's spirit ? Make good that promise." The words which
one of the mountains.
P. 107. 33, 31.
* Matt. 27. 29, &c.
Gen. 9. 25.
we pray thee, and seek thy master; lest peradven 21 And he went forth unto the spring of the ture the "Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus and cast him upon *some mountain, or into sonue saith the Lord, I haver healed these waters; there yalley. And he said, Ye shall not send.
shall not be from thence any more death, or barren? 17 And when they urged him till be was ashamed, land. he said, Send. They sent, therefore, filty men; 22 So the waters were healed unto this day, and they sought three days, but found lim not. according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
18 And when they came again to him, (for he 23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not and as he was going up by the way, there came say unto you, Go not?
forth little children rout of the city, and mocked 19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, "him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is go up, thou bald head. pleasant, as my lord seeth : but the water is naught, 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and the ground barren.
and cursed 'them in the name of the LORD. And 20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, put salt therein. And they brought it to him. and tare forty and two children of them. nl Kings 18. 12. Acts 8. 39.
Job 19. 18. 30. 1, 9, &c. o Lev. 2. 13. Matt. 5. 13. Mark 9. 50. p Ex. 13. 25. c.4.41. Ez. 47.5, %: Sudg. 9. 20, 67. Lam 3.65. next follow in the original, Aph-his-even he, which we join to those walls that were built by iniquity, we find a nursery of the following clause, when he also had sinitten the waters, some piety. Fools, they say, build houses for wise men to dwell in. make an answer to this question, Where is Elijah's God? Here the wealth of the sinner provided a habitation for the jast. Eliam ille adhuc superest—" He is in being still, and nigh at We find Christ at Jericho, Luke 19. 1. Hither Elisha came, hand; we have lost Elijah, but we have not lost Elijah's God; to confirm the souls of the disciples with a more particular ache has not forsaken the earth, it is even he that is still with count of Elijah's translation than their spies could give them, me."
." Note, First, It is the duty and interest of the saints on who saw it at a distance. Here he stayed while the fifty men earth to inquire afier God, and apply themselves to him as the were searching for him. Lord God of the saints that are gone before to heaven, the God And, 1. The men of Jericho represented to him their grieve of our fathers. Secondly, It is very comfortable to those who ance, v. 19. God's faithful prophets love to be employed; it inquire after God, that they know where to find him; it is even is wisdom to make use of them, the little while that their light he that is in his holy temple, (Ps. 11. 4,) and nigh' to all who is with us. They had not applied themselves to Elijah concall upon him, Ps. 145. 18. Thirdly, Those that walk in the cerning the matter, perhaps because he was not so easy of spirit and steps of their godly faithful predecessors, shall cer access as Elisha was; but now, we may hope, by the influence tainly experience the same grace that they experienced; Eli- of the divinily school in their city, they were reformed. The jah's God will be Elisha's too; the Lord God of the holy situation was pleasant, and afforded a good prospect; but they prophets is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and what had neither wholesome water to drink, nor fruitful soil to yield will it avail us to have the mantles of those that are gone, their them food; and what pleasure could they take then in their 'places, their books, if we have not their spirit, their God? prospect? Water is a common mercy, which we should esti
3. He was possessed of Elijah's interest in the sons of the mate by the greatness of the calamity which the want or unprophets, v. 15. Some of the fellows of the college of Jericho, wholesomeness of it would be. Some think that it was not all who had placed themselves conveniently near Jordan, to see the ground about Jericho, that was barren, and had bad water, what passed, were surprised to see Jordan divided before Eli- but some one part only, and that where the sons of the prophets sha in his return, and took that as a convincing evidence that had their lodgings, who are here called the men of the city. the spirit of Elijah did rest upon him, and that therefore they 2. He soon redressed their grievance. Prophets should enought to pay the same respect and deference to him, that they deavour to make every place they come to, some way or other, had done to Elijah. Accordingly, they went to meet him, to the better for them, endeavouring to sweeten bitter spirits, and congratulate him on his safe passage through fire and water, to make barren souls fruitful, by the due application of the and the honour God had put upon him; and they bowed them word of God. Elisha will heal their waters; but, (1.) They selves to the ground before him: they were trained up in the must furnish him with salt in a new cruse, v. 20. if sale had schools, Elisha was taken from the plough, yet, when they been proper 10 season the water, yet what could so small a perceive that God is with him, and that this is the man whom quantity do towards it, and what the better for being in a new he delights to honour, they readily submit to him, as their head cruse? But thus they that would be helped, must be emand father, as tho people to Joshua, when Moses was dead, ployed, and their faith and obedience tried God's works of Josh. 1. 17. Those that appear to have God's Spirit and grace are wrought, not by any operations of ours, but in our presence with them, ought to have our esteem and best affec- observance of his institutions. (2.) He cast the salt into the tions, notwithstanding the meanness of their extraction and spring of the waters, and so healed the streams, and the ground education. Whomsoever God honours, we must. This ready they watered. Thus the way to reform men's lives, is, to submission of the sons of the prophets, no doubt, was a great renew their hearts; let those be seasoned with the salt of grace, encouragement to Elisha, and helped to clear his call.
for out of them are the issues of life. Make the tree good, and II. The needless search which the sons of the prophets made the fruit will be good. Purify the heart, and that will cleanse for Elijah. 1. They suggested it possible that he was dropped, the hands. (3.) He did not pretend to do this by his own either alive or dead, upon some mountain, or in some valley ; power, but in God's name; Thus saith the Lord, I have healed and it would be a satisfaction to them, if they sent some strong these waters. He is but the instrument, the channel through men, whom they had at command, in quest of him, v. 16. Some which God is pleased to convey this healing virtue. By doing of them perhaps started this as a demurrer to the choice of them this kindness with a Thus suith the Lord, they would be Elisha ; "Let us first be sure that Elijah is quite gone. Can made the more willing, hereafier, to receive from him a rewe think Elijah thus neglected by heaven, that chosen vesse! proof, admonition, or command, with the same preface. Il, in thus cast away as a vessel in which was no pleasure ?" God's name, he can help them, in God's name, let him teach 2. Elisha consented not to their motion, till they overcame him and rule them. Thus saith the Lord, out of Elisha's mouth, with importunity, v. 17. They urged him till he was ashamed must, ever after, be of mighty force with them. (4.) The cure to oppose it any further, lest he should be thought wanting in was lasting, and not for the present only, The waters were healed his respect to his old master, or loath to resign the mantle unto this day, v. 22. Whai God doeth, it shall be for ever, Ec. again. 'Wise men may yield to that, for the sake of peace, and 3. 14. When he by his Spirit, heals a soul, there shall be no the good opinion of others, which yet their judgment is against more death nor barrenness; the property is altered ; what was as needless and fruitless. 3. The issue made them as much useless and offensive, becomes grateful and serviceable. ashamed of their proposal, as they, by their importunity, had II. Here is a curse upon the children of Bethel, which was made Elisha ashamed of his opposing it. Their messengers, effectual to destroy them ; for it was not a curse causeless. after they had tired themselves with fruitless search, returned At Bethel there was another school of prophets, thither Elisha with a non est inventus-he is not to be found, and gave Elisha goes next, in this his primary visitation; the scholars there, no an opportunity of upbraiding his friends with their folly; Did I doubt, welcomed him with all possible respect, but the townsnot say unto you, Go not? v. 18. This would make them the more men were abusive to him. One of Jeroboam's calves was at willing to acquiesce in his judgment another time. Traversing Bethel; this they were proud of, and fond of, and hated them hills and valleys, will never bring us to Elijah, but the imitation ibat reproved them. The law did not empower them to supof his holy faith and zeal will, in due time.
press this pious academy, but we may suppose it was their V., 19–25. Elisha had, in this respect, a double portion of usual practice to jeer the prophets as they went along the streets, Elijah's spirit, that he wrought more miracles than he did. to call them by some nickname or other, that they might expose Some reckon them in number just double. Two are recorded them to contempt, prejudice their youth against them, and, if in these verses-a miracle of mercy to Jericho, and a miracle possible, drive them ont of their town. Had the abuse done to of judgment to Bethel, Ps. 101.1.
Elisha, been the first offence of that kind, it is probable that it I. Here is a blessing upon the waters of Jericho, which was would not have been so severely punished. But mocking the effectual to heal them. Jericho was built in disobedience to messengers of the Lord, and misusing the prophets, was one of a command, in defiance to a threatening, and at the expense of the crying sins of Israel, as we find, 2 Chr. 36. 16. Now the lives of all the builder's children; yet, when it was built, here we have, it was not ordered to be demolished again, nor were God's 1. An instance of that sin. The little children of Bethel prophets or people forbidden to dwell in it, but even within the boys and girls that were playing in the streets, notice, it is