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The house of Ahabis doomed
GC. 1. 17.
25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel ; | but not like his father, and like his mother; for he and from thence he returned to Samaria.
put away the *image of "Baal that his father had
made. CHAPTER III.
3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the «sins of JeWe are now called to attend the public affairs of Israel, in which we shall find roboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin: Elisha concerned. Here is, 1. The general character of Jehoram king of Israel, he departed not therefrom. v. 1-3. II. A war with Moab, in which Jehoram and his allies were engaged,
. 4-8. III. The strails which the confederale army were reduced to in their 4 And Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-master, expedition against Moab, and their consulting of Elisha in that distress, with the answer of peace he gave them, y. 9-19. IV. The glorious issue of this
and drendered unto the king of Israel an hundred campuiga, (v. 21-25,) and the barbarous method the king of Moab took to thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, oblige the confederate army to retire, v. 25, 27. to destruction, and though in this chapter we have both its character and its with the wool. condition better than before, yet the threatened ruin is not far off.
5 But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, COW a Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of
over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Israel. Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve 6 And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the years.
same time, and numbered all Israel. 2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; 7 And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king statue. 61 Kings 16. 32. cl Kings 12.28-32.
d 2 Sam. 8. 2. Pp. 108.9, 10. e Is. 18. 1. s 6.1.1. 8. 20. likely, being come to the town of his approach) went out to 1. That he removed his father's idols. He did evil in many meet him, not with their hosannas, as they oughi to have done, things, but not like his father Ahab, or his mother Jezebel, v.2. but with their scoffs; they gathered about him, and mocked Bad he was, but not so bad, so overmuch wicked, as Solomon him, as if he had been a fool, or one fit to make sport with : speaks, Ec.7. 17. Perhaps Jehoshaphat, though by his alliamong other things that they used to jeer the prophets with, ance with the house of Ahab he made his own family worse, they had this particular taunt for him, Go up thou bald-head; did something toward making Ahab's better. Jehoram saw Go up thou bald-head. It is a wicked thing to reproach any his father and brother cut off for worsbipping Baal, and wisely for their natural infirmities or deformities; it is adding aflic- took warning by God's judgments on them, and put away the tion to the atHicted; and if they are as God made them, the image of Baal, resolving to worship the God of Israel only, and reproach reflects upon him. But this was such a thing as consult nene but his prophets. So far was well, yet it did not scarcely deserved to be called a blemish, and would never have prevent the destruction of Ahab's family, nay, that destruction been turned to his reproach, if they had had any thing else to came in his days, and fell immediately upon him, (ch. 9. 24;) reproach him with. It was his character as a prophet, that though he was one of the best of the family, for then the meathey designed to abuse. The honour God had crowned bim sure of its iniquity was full. Jehoram's reformation was next to with, should have been sufficient to cover his bald head, and none : for, (1.) He only put away the image of Baal which his protect him from their scoffs. They bade him go up, perhaps father had made, and this, probably, in compliment to Jehoshareflecting on the assumption of Elijah: “Thy master," they phat, who otherwise would not have come into confederacy say, " is gone up; why dost not thou go up after him? Where with him, any more than with this brother, 1 Kings 22. 49. is the fiery chariot? When shall we be rid of thee too ?" These But he did not destroy the worship of Baal among the people, children said as they were taught; they had learned of their for Jehu found it prevalent, ch. 10. 19. It was well to reform idolatrous parents to call foul names, and give bad language, his family, but it was not enough; he ought to have used his especially io prophets. Perhaps their parents did, at the same power for the reforming of his kingdom. (2.) When he put time, send them out, and set them on, that, if possible, they away the image of Baal, he maintained the worship of the calves, might keep the prophet out of their town.
that politic sin of Jeroboam, v. 3. He departed not therefrom, 2. A specimen of that ruin which came upon Israel, at last, because that was the state engine by which the division befor misusing God's prophets, and of which this was intended tween the two tribes was supported. Those do not truly nor to give them fair warning. Elisha heard their taunts, a good acceptably repent or reform, who only part with the sins that while, with patience ; but, at length, the fire of holy zeal for they lose by, but continue their affection to the sins that they God was kindled in his breast by the continued provocation, get by: .(3.) He only put away the image of Baal, he did not and he turned and looked upon them, to try if a grave and se break it in pieces, as he ought to have done. He laid it aside vere look would put them out of countenance, and oblige them for the present, yet not knowing but he might have occasion for to retire; to see if he could discern in their faces any marks of it another time; and Jezebel, for reasons of state, was content ingenuousness: but they were not ashamed, neither could they to worship her Baal in private. blush; and therefore he cursed them in the name of the Lord, 2. That he did what he could, to recover his brother's losses. both imprecated and denounced the following judgment, not in As he had something more of the religion of an Israelite than personal revenge for the indignity done to himself, but as the his father, so he had something more of the spirit of a king mouth of divine justice to punish the dishonour done to God. than his brother. Moab rebelled against Israel immediately His summons was immediately obeyed: two she-bears (bears upon the death of his father, ch. 1. 1. And we do not find that perhaps robbed of their whelps) came out of an adjacent wond, A haziah made any attempt to chastise or reduce them, but and presently killed 42 children, v. 24. Now in this, (1.) The tamely let go his interest in them rather than entertain the cares, prophet must be justified, for he did it by divine impulse. Had undergo the fatigues, and run the hazards, of a war with them. the curse come from any bad principle, God would not have His folly and pusillanimity herein, and his indifference to the said Amon to it. We may think it had been better to have public good, were the more aggravated, because the tribute called for two rods for the correction of these children, than two which the king of Moab paid, was a very considerable branch bears for the destruction of them, But Elisha knew, by the of the revenue of the crown of Israel. An hundred thousand Spirit, the bad character of these children, what a generation of ambs, and an hundred thousand wethers, v. 4. The riches of vipers they were, and what mischievous enemies they would be kings then lay more in calile than coin, and they thought it not to God's prophets, if they should live to be men, who began so below them to know the state of their flocks and herds themselves, early to be abusive to them. He intended hereby lo punish because, as Solomon observes, the crown doth not endure to every the parents, and to make them afraid of God's judgments. generation, Prov. 27. 23, 24. Taxes were then paid, not so (2.) God must be glorified, as a righteous God thai hates sin, much in money, as in the commodities of the country, which was and will reckon for it, even in little children. Let the hideous an ease to the subject, whether it were an advantage to the shrieks and groans of this wicked wretched brood make our fiesh prince or no. The revolt of Moab was a great loss to Israel, tremble for fear of God. Let little children be afraid of speak- yet A haziah sat still in sloth and ease. But an upper chamber ing wicked words, for God notices what they say. Let them in his house proved as fatal to him, as the bigh places of the not mock at any for their defects in mind or body, but pity them field could have been, (ch. 1. 2;) and the breaking of his lattice rather; especially let them know that it is at their peril, if they let into his throne a man of a more active genius, that will not jeer God's people or ministers, and scoff at any for well doing. lose the dominion of Moab, without making, at least, one push Let parents that would have comfort in their children, train for its preservation. them up well, and do their utmost betimes to drive out the fool V.6-19. Jehoram has no sooner got the sceptre into his ishness that is bound up in their hearts; for, (as Bishop Hall hand, than he takes the sword into his hand, to reduce Moab. says,)." In vain do we look for good of those children włose Crowns bring such cares and perils to the heads that wear them; education we have neglected ; and in vain do we grieve or no sooner in honour than in war. Now here we have, those miscarriages which our care might have prevented.” I. The concerting of this expedition between Jehoram king
Elisha comes to Bethel, and fears not the revenges of the be- of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Jehoram levied an reaved parents ; God, who bade him do what he did, he knew army, (v. 6,) and such an opinion he had of the godly king of would bear him out. Thence he goes to mount Carmel, (v. Judah, that, 1. He courted him to be his co lerate : Wilt 25,) where, it is probable, there was a religious house fit for thou go with me against Moab? And he gained him. Jehosharetirement and contempla'ion. Thenre he returned to Samaria, phaisaid, I will go up, I am as thou art, v.7. Judah and Israel, where, being a public place, this father of the prophets might ihough unhappily divided from each other, yet can unite against be most serviceable. Bishop Hall observes here, “That he Moab, a common enemy. Jehoshaphat upbraids them not with can never be a profitable seer, who is either always or never their revolt from the house of David, nor makes it an article of alone."
their alliance, that they should return to their allegiance, though NOTES TO CHAPTER III.
he had good reason to insist upon it, but treats with Israel as a V. 1–5. Jehoram, the son of Ahab, and brother of Ahaziah, sister kingdom. Those are no friends to their own peace and is here upon the throne of Israel; and though he was but a bad strength, who can never find in their hearts to forgive and forget man, yet two things are here recorded of him.
an old injury, and unite with those that have formerly broken
į Luke 22. 27. I Judg. 10. 14. Prov. I. 28. Jer.
k Ez. 14. 3.
m I Kings 18. 19.
Ez. 1.3. 3. 14.8.1.
rc. 4. 3.
of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled, What "have I to do with thee? Get 'thee to the against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to prophets "of thy father, and to the prophets of thy battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings horses.
together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab. 8 And he said, Which way shall we go up? 14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts And he answered, The way through the wilderness liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were .it not of Edom.
that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king 9 So the king of Israel went, and the king of of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a thee. compass of seven days' journey: and there was no 15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came water for the host, and for the cattle *that followed to pass when the minstrel played, that the hand of them.
the Lord came upon him. 10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the 16 And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make Lord hath called these three kings together, to de- rthis valley full of ditches : liver them into the hand of Moab!
17 For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see u But Jehosha phat said, Is there not here a wind, neither shall ye see see rain; yet that valley prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's ser- ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. vants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of 18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of Shaphat, which poured iwater on the hands of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into Elijah.
12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD 19 And ye shall smite every fenced city, and is with him. So the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and the king of Edom, went down to him. and stop all wells of water, and mart every good 13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, piece of land with stones.
• at their feet, Ex. 11.8. h! Kings 22. 7. Scho 135, 14.1 Tim. 5.10.
nl Kings 17. 1. c. 5. 16.
. in upon their rights. Quod initio non valuit, tractu temporis feared the Lord; to such a one Elisha made himself known, not invalescit- That which was originally destitute of authority, in to the kings. The account he gives of him is, that it was he the progress of time, acquires it. 2. He consulted him as his that poured water on the hands of Elijah, that is, he was his confidant, v.8. He took advice of Jehoshaphat, who had more servant, and, particularly, attended him when he washed his wisdom and experience than himself, which way they should hands. He that will be great, let him learn to minister : he that make their descent upon the country of Moab; and he advised | will rise high, let him begin low. that they should not march against them the nearest way, over V. The application which the kings made to Elisha. They Jordan, but go round through the wilderness of Edom, that they went down to him fo his quarters, v, 12. Jehosha phat had might take the king of Edom (who was tributary to him) and such an esteem for a prophet with whom the word of the Lord his forces along with them: if two be better than one, much was, that he would condescend to visit him in his own person, more will not a threefold cord be easily broken. Jehoshaphat had and not send for him up to him. The other two were moved like to have paid dear for his joining with Ahab, yet he joins by the straits they were in, to make their court to the prophet. with his son, and this expedition also had like to have been fatal He that humbled himself, was thus exalted, and looked greal, to him. There is nothing got by being yoked with unbelievers. when three kings came to knock at his door, and beg his assist
II. The great straits that the army of the confederates was ance; see Rev. 3. 9. reduced to in this expedition. Before they saw the face of an VI. The entertainment which Elisha gave them. enemy, they were all in danger of perishing for want of water, 1. He was very plain with the wicked king of Israel ; (v. 13,)
This ought to have been considered before they ventured “What have I to do with thee? How canst thou expect an a march through the wilderness, the same wilderness, (or very answer of peace from me ? Get thee to the prophets of thy father near it,) where their ancestors wanted water, Num. 20. 2. and mother, whom thou hast countenanced and maintained in God suffers his people, by their own improvidence, to bring thy prosperity, and let them help thee now in thy distress." themselves into distress, that the
wisdom, power, and goodness Elisha was not imposed upon, as Jehoshaphat was, by his parof his providence may be glorified in their relief. What is tial and hypocritical reformation; he knew that though he had more cheap and common than water? It is drink to every beast put away the image of Baal, Baal's prophets were still dear to of the field; (Ps. 104. 11,) yet the want of it will soon humble him, and perhaps some of them were now in his camp. Go, and ruin kings and armies. The king of Israel sadly laments said he, go to them. Get you to the gods whom ye have serred, the present distress, and the imminent danger it put them in, Judg. 10. 14. The world and the flesh have ruled you, let them of falling into the hands of their enemies the Moabites, to help you: why should God he inquired of by you? Ez. 14. 3. whom, when weakened by thirst, they would be an easy prey, Elisha tells him to his face, in a boly indignation at his wickedv. 10. It was he that had called these kings together, yet he ness, that he could scarcely find in his heart to look tovard lum, charges it upon Providence, and reflects upon that as unkind; or to see him, v. 14. Jehoram is to be respected as a prince, but The Lord has called them together. Thus the foolishness of man as a wicked man, he is a vile person, and is to be contemned, perverleth his way, and then his heart frelteth against the Lord,' Ps. 15. 4. Elisha, as a subject, will honour him, but, as a prophet, Prov. 19. 3.
he will make him to know his iniquity. For them that had such III. Jehoshaphat's good motion to ask counsel of God in this an extraordinary commission, it was fit (though not for a common exigence, v. 11. The place they were now in, could not but person) to say to a king, Thou art wicked, Job 34.-18. Jehoram remind them of the wonders which their fathers told them of, the has so much self-command as to take it patiently; he cares not waters fetched out of the rock for Israel's seasonable supply. now for hearing of the prophets of Baal, but is an humble suitor The thought of this, we may suppose, encouraged Jehoshaphat to the God of Israel and his prophet, representing the present to ask, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, like unto Moses ? case as very deplorable, and humbly recommends it to the proHe was the more concerned, because it was by his advice that phet's compassionate consideration. In effect, he owns himself they fetched this compass through the wilderness, v. 8. It was unworthy, but let not the other kings be ruined for his sake. well that Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord now, but it had been 2. He showed a great respect to the godly king of Judah, remuch better if he had done it sooner, before he engaged in this garded his presence, and, for his sake, would inquire of the Lord war, or steered this course; so the distress might have been for them all. It is good being with those that have God's favour prevented. Good men are sometimes remiss and forgetful, and and his prophet's love. Wicked people often fare the better neglect their duty, till necessity and affliction drive them to it. for the iriendship and society of those that are godly.
IV. Elisha recommended as a proper person for them to 3. He composed himself to receive instructions from God: his consult with, v. 11. And here we may wonder, 1. That Elisha mind was somewhat rulled and disturbed at the sight of Jeho should follow the camp, especially in such a tedious march as ran; though he was not put into a sinful heat or passion, nor this, as a volunteer, unasked, unobserved, and in no post or had spoken unadvisedly, yet his zeal, for the present, indishonour at all; not in the office of priest of the war, (Deut. 20.posed him for prayer and the operations of the spirit, which 2,) or president of the council of war, but in such obscurity, that require a mind very calm and sedate. He therefore called none of the kings knew they had such a jewel in the treasures for a musician, (v. 15,) a devout musician, one accustomed of their camp, nor so good a friend in their retinue. We muy to play upon his barp, and sing psalms to it. To hear Gol's suppose it was by special direction from heaven, that Elisha praises sweetly sung, as David had appointed, would cheer his attended the war, as the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen here- spirits, and settle his mind, and help to put him into a right of. Thus does God go before his people with the blessing of frame, both to speak to him, and to hear from him. We find his goodness, and provide his oracles
for those that provide a company of prophets prophesying with a psaltery and a inbret them not for themselves. It would often be bad with us, if God before them, 1 Sam. 10.5. Those that desire communion with did not take more care of us, both for soul and body, than we for God, must keep their spirits quiet and serene. Elisha being ourselveg. 2. That a servant of the king of Israel knew of his refreshed, and having the tumult of his spirits laid by this divine being there, when the king himself did not. Probably it was music, the hand of the Lord came upon him, and his visit did him such a sorvant as Obadiah was to his father Abab, one that I more honour than that of threo kings.
vetid - they the stones thereof; howbeit, the slingers Now he sees rich the prophets unto Elisha, say
20 And it came to pass in the morning, when 26 And when the king of Moab saw that the batthe meat-offering 'was offered, that, behold, there tle was too sore for him, he took with him seven came water by the way of Edom; and the country hundred men that drew swords, to break through was filled with water.
even unto the king of Edom: but they could not. 21 And when all the Moabites heard that the 27 Then he took his eldest son, that should have kings were come up to fight against them, they reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt'gathered all that were able to put on armour, and offering yupon the wall. And there was great inupward, and stood in the border.
dignation against Israel: and they departed from 22 And they rose up early in the morning, and him, and returned to their own land. the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood :
CHAPTER IV. 23 And they said, This is blood : the kings are surely #slain, and they have smitten one another : Great service Elisha had done, in the foregoing chapter, for the three kinga ; to
his prayers and prophecies they owed their lives and triumphs. One would now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.
have expected that the next chapter should have told us what honours and what
dignities were conferred on Elisha for this: that he should immediately have 24 And when they came to the camp of Israel,
been preferral at court, and made prime minister of stale ; that Jehoshapha! the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so should have taken him bome with him, and advanced him in his kingdom. No,
the wise man delivered the army, but no man remembered the wise man, Ec. that they fed before them : but they swent forward 9. 15. Or, if he had preferiment offered him, he delivel it: he preferred the smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
honour of doing good in the schools of the propheta before that of being great in
the courts of princes. God magnified him, and that sufliced him; mngaited him 25 And they beat down the cities, and on every indeed, for we have him bere employed in working no less than five miracles, good piece of land cast every man his stone, and
1. He multiplied the poor widow's oil, v. 1-7. 11. He obtained for the good
Shonamite the blessing of a son in her old age, v. 8-17. III. He raised that lilled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, child to lite, when it was dead, v. 1837. IV. He healed the deadly pottage,
v. 38-41. V. He fed a hundred men with twenty small loaves, v. 42-44. and felled all the good irees: only in Kir-haraseth
OW there cried a of went about it, and smote it. & Ex. 29. 39, 40. • tere cried together, + gird himself with a girdle.
ll until he left the stonea thereof in Kir Haraseth. u Is. 16.7, 11. Mic. 6. 7. stroyed. or, emote in it, even smiting. u Is. 37. 26. » Gen. 26. 15.
y Am. 2. 1. Is. 37. 37. al kinga 20. 35. 4. God, by him, gave them assurance that the issue of the water. The sun shone upon it, and, probably, the sky was red present distress would be comfortable and glorious.
and lowering, a presage of foul weather that day, (Mait. 16. 3,) (1.) They should speedily be supplied with water, v. 16, 17. and so it proved io them. But this making the water look red, To try their faith and obedience, he bids them make the valley their own fancies, which made them willing to believe what full of ditches to receive the water. They that expect God's made for them, suggested, This is blood; God permitting them blessings, must prepare room for them, dig the pools for the rain thus to impose upon themselves. (2.) If their camp was thus to fill, as they did in the valley of Baca, and so made even that full of blood, they conclude, “Certainly the kings have fallen a well, Ps. 81. 6. To raise their wonder, lie tells them they out, (as confederates of different interests are apt to do,) and should have water enough, and yet there should be neither vind they have slain one another, (v. 23,) for what else should slay nor rain. Elijah, by prayer, obtained water out of the clouds, them?" And, (3.) “ If the armies have slain one another, we but Elisha feiches it nobody knows whence. The spring of have nothing to do but to divide the prey. Now therefore, Moab, these waters shall be as secret as the head of the Nile. God to the spoil." These were the gradual suggestions of some sanis not tied to second causes. Ordinarily, it is by a plentiful guine spirits among them, that thought themselves wiser and rain, that God confirms his inheritance, (Ps. 68. 9,) but here it happier in their conjectures than their neighbours; and the rest, is done without rain, at least, without rain in that place. Some being desirous it should be so, were forward to believe it was of the fountains of the great deep, it is likely, were broken up on so. Quod volumus facile credimus-What we wish, we readily this occasion ; and, to increase the miracle, thut valley only (as believe. Thus they that are to be destroyed, are first deceived, it should seem) was filled with water, and no other place had (Rev. 20.8;) and none are so effectually deceived as those that any share of it.
deceive themselves. (2.) That supply should be an earnest of victory, v. 18, " This 2. How fatally they thereby ran upon their own destruction. is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord; you shall not only They rushed carelessly into the camp of Israel, to plunder it, be saved from perishing, but shall return in triumph.” As God but were undeceived, when it was too late. The Israelites, gives freely to the unworthy, so he gives richly, like himself, animated by the assurances Elisha had given them of victory, more than we are able to ask or think. His grants outdo our fell upon them with the utmost fury, routed them, and pursued requests and expectations. They that sincerely seek for the them into their own country, (v. 24,) which they laid waste; dew of God's grace, shall have it, and by it be made more than (v.25,) destroyed the cities, marred the ground, stopped up the conquerors. It is promised that they should be masters of the wells, felled the timber, and left only the royal city standing; rebellious country, and they are permitted to lay it waste and in the walls of which they made great breaches with their bairuin it, v. 19. The law forbade them to fell fruit trees to be tering engines. This they got by rebelling against Israel. Who employed in their sieges, (Deut. 20. 19,) but not when it was ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered ? intended, in justice, for the starving of a country that bad for In the close of the chapter, we are told what the king of Moab feited its fruits by denying tribute to whom tribute is due. did, when he found himself reduced to the last extremity by the
V. 20-27. We have here the divine gift of both those things besiegers, and that his capital city was likely to fall into their which God had promised by Elisha; water and victory; and hands. the former not only a pledge of the latter, but a means of it. (1.) He attempted that which was bold and brave. He got God, who created, and commands, all the waters both above and together 700 choice men, and with them sallied out upon the beneath the firmament, sent them an abundance of water on a intrenchments of the king of Edom, who, being but a mercenary sudden, which did them double service.
in this expedition, would not, he hoped, make any great resistI. It relieved their armies, which were ready to perish, v. 20. ance if he were vigorously attacked, and so be might make his And, which was very observable, this relief came just at the escape that way. But it would not do; even the king of Edom time of the offering of the morning sacrifice upon the altar at proved 100 hard for him, and obliged him to retire, v. 26. Jerusalem, a certain time, and universally known ; that time (2.) This failing, he did that which was brutish and barbaElisha chose for his hour of prayer, (it is likely looking toward rous; he took his own son, his eldest son, that was to succeed the temple, for so they were to do in their prayers, when they him, than whom nothing could be more dear to himself, and his were going out to battle, and encamped at a distance, ! Kings people, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall, v. 27. 8. 41,) in token of his communion with the temple service, and He designed by this, [1.) To obtain the favour of Chemosh his his expectation of success, by virtue of the great Sacrifice. god, which, being a devil, delighted in blood and murder, and We now cannot pitch upon any hour more acceptable than the destruction of mankind. The dearer any thing was to another, because our High Priest is always appearing for us, to them, the more acceptable those idolaters thought it must needs present and plead his sacrifice. That time God chose for the be, if offered in sacrifice to their gods, and therefore burned their hour of mercy, to put an honour upon the daily sacrifice which children in the fire to their honour. (2.) To terrify the behad been despised. God answered Daniel's prayer just at the siegers, and oblige them to retire. Therefore he did it upon time of the evening sacrifice, (Dan. 9. 21,) for he will glorify his the wall, in their sight, that they might see what desperate own institutions.
courses he resolved to take rather then surrender, and how dear II. It deceived their enemies, who were ready to triumph, he would sell his city and life. He intended hereby to render into their destruction. Notice is brought to the Moabites of them odious, and exasperate and enrage his own subjects the advances of the confederale army ; to oppose which, all that against them. This effect it had ; there was great indignation were able to put on armour, were raised, and posted upon the against Israel for driving him to this extremity. Whereupon, frontiers, where they are ready to give them a warm reception, they raised the siege, and returned. Tender and generous (v.21,) promising themselves, that it would be easy dealing spirits would not do that, though just, which will drive any man with an army fatigued by so long a inarch through the wilder- distracted, or make him desperate. ness of Edom. But see here,
1. How easily they were drawn into their own delusions; observe the steps of their self-deceit. (1.) They saw the water V.1–7. Elisha's miracles were for use, not for show: this in the valley where the army of Israclencamped, and conceited here was so; an act of real charity: Christ's were so; not only it was blood, (v. 22,) because they knew it was a dry valley, great wonders, but great favours, 1o them for whom they wero and there having been no rain) could not imagine it should be wrought. God magnifies his goodness with his power.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV.
de. 3. 16. Rom. 4. 17.
6 Lev. 25. 39. Matt. 18. 25. scan!.
ing, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set knowest that thy servant did fear
the Lord: and aside that which is full. the "creditor is come to take unto him my two sons 5 So she went from him, and shut the door to be bondmen.
upon her and upon her sons, who brought the ves2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do sels to her, and she poured out. for thee? tell me: what hast thou in the house? 6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were And she said, Thine handmaid hath not cany thing full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a in the house save a pot of oil.
vessel : and he said unto her, There is not a vessel 3 Then he said, Go,' borrow thee vessels abroad more. And the oil stayed. of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels ; *borrow 7 Then she came and told the man of God: and not a few.
he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy 'debt, and live 4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut thou and thy children of the rest. the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and «shalt 8 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to cl Kings 17. 12.
e Mark 6. 37–44. 8. 5—9. John 2.7–9. Eph. 3, 20. for, creditor
uns a day. I. Elisha readily receives a poor widow's complaint. She what we have, is, lo use it; to him that so hath, shall be given. was a prophet's widow; to whom therefore should she apply It is not hoarding the talents, but trading with them, that doubles herself, but to him that was a father to the sons of the prophets, them. (2.) It must be poured out by herself. not by Elisha, or and concerned himself in the welfare of their families? It seems, some of the sons of the prophets, to intimate that it is after our the prophets had wives, as well as the priests, though prophecy careful and diligent endeavours, that we may expect the blessing went not by entail, as the priesthood did. Marriage is honour of God to enrich us, both for this world and the other. What able in all, and not inconsistent with the most sacred professions. we have, will increase best in our own hand. Now, by the complaint of this poor woman, (u. 1.) we are 2. She did it accordingly. She did not tell the prophet he given to understand, 1. That her husband, being one of the sons designed to make a fool of her, but, firmly believing the divine of the prophets, was well known to Elisha. Ministers of emi- power and goodness, and in pure obedience to the prophet, she nent gifts and stations should make themselves familiar with borrowed vessels large and many of her neighbours, and poured those that are every way their inferiors, and know their charac- out her oil into them; one of her sons was employed to bring ter and state. 2. Thai he had the reputation of a godly man. her empty vessels, and the other carefully to set aside those that Elisha knew him to be one that feared the Lord, else he had were full, while they were all amazed io find their pot, like a been unworthy of the honour, and unfit for the work, of a prophet. fountain of living water, always flowing, and yet always full; He was one that kept his integrity in a time of general apostacy; they see not the spring that supplies it, but believe it io be in one of the 7000 that had not bowed the knee to Baal. 3. That Him in whom all our springs are. Job's metaphor is now he was dead, though a good man, a good minister. The pro- verified in the letter ; (Job 29.6,) The rock poured me out rivers phets-do they live for ever? They that were clothed with the of oil. Perhaps this was in the tribe of Asher, part of whose Spirit of prophecy, were not thereby armed against the stroke blessing it was, that he should dip his foot in oil, Deut. 33. 24. of death. 4. That he died poor, and in debt more than he was 3. The oil continued flowing as long as she had any empty worth. He did not contract his debts by prodigality, and luxury, vessels to receive it; when every vessel was full, the oil stayed, and riotous living, for he was one that feared the Lord, and (v. 6,) for it was not fit that this precious liquor should run over, therefore durst not allow himself in such courses: nay, religion and be as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered obliges men not to live above what they have, nor to spend up again. Note, We are never straitened in God, and in his more than what God gives them, no not in expenses otherwise power and bounty, and the riches of his grace; all our straitlawful; for thereby, of necessity, they must disable themselves, ness is in ourselves. It is our faith that sails, not his promise. at last, to give every one his own, and so prove guilty of a con He gives above what we ask : were there more vessels, there tinued act of injustice all along; yet it may be the lot of those is enough in God to fill them; enough for all, enough for each. that fear God to be in debt, and insolvent, through afflictive Was not this pot of oil exhausted, as long as there were any providences, losses by sea, or bad debts, or their own impru- vessels to be filled from it? And shall we fear lest the golden dence, for the children of light are not always wise for this oil whirh flows from the very root and fatness of the good olive, world. Perhaps this prophet was impoverished by persecution : should fail as long as there are any lamps to be supplied from when Jezebel ruled, prophets had much ado to live, and espe- ii, Zech. 4. 12. cially if they had families. 5. That the creditors were very 4. The prophet directed her what to do with the oil she had, severe to her. Two sons she had to be the support of her v. 7. She must not keep it for her own use, to make her face widowed state, and their labour is reckoned assets in her hand; to shine. Those whom Providence has made poor, must be that must go therefore, and they must be bondmen for seven content with poor accommodations for themselves-that is years, (Ex. 21. 2,) to work out this debt. Those that leave knowing how to want ; and must not think, when they get a their families under a load of debt disproportionable to their little of that which is better than ordinary, to feed their own estates, know not what trouble they entail. In this distress, the luxury: no; (1.) She must sell the oil to those that were rich, poor widow goes to Elisha, in dependence upon the promise, and could afford to bestow it on themselves. We may suppose, that the seed of the righteous shall not be forsaken. The being produced by miracle, it was the best of its kind, (like the generation of the upright may expect help from God's provi- wine, John 2.10,) so that she might have both a good price, and dence, and countenance from his prophets.
a quick market, for it. Probably, the merchants bought it to II. He effectually relieves this poor widow's distress, and export, for oil was one of the commodities that Israel traded in, puts her in a way both to pay her debt, and to maintain herself Ez, 27. 17. (2.) She must pay her debt with the money and her family. He did not say, Be warmed, be filled; but gave she received for her oil. Though her creditors were too rigorher real help. He did not give her some small matter for her ous with her, yet they must not therefore lose their debt. Her present provision, but set her up in the world to sell oil, and put first care, now that she has wherewithal, must be to discharge a stock into her hand to begin with. This was done by miracle, that, even before she makes any provision for her children. It but it is an indication to us what is the best method of charity, is one of the fundamental laws of our religion, that we render to and the greatest kindness one can do to poor people, which is, all their due, pay every just debt, give every one his own, though if possible, to help them into a way of improving what little we leave ever so little for ourselves; and this, not of constraint, they have, by their own industry and ingenuity.
but willingly and without grudging; not only for wrath, to avoid 1. He directed her what to do; considered her case; What being sued, but also for conscience sake. They that bear an shall I do for thee? The sons of the prophets were poor, and it honest mind, cannot with pleasure eat their daily bread, unless would signify little to make a collection for her among them: it be their own bread. (3.) The rest must not be laid up, but but the God of the holy prophets is able to supply all her need; she and her children must live upon it, not upon the oil, but upon and if she has a litle committed to her management, her need the money received from it, with which they must put themmust be supplied by his blessing and increasing that little. selves into a capacity of getting an honest livelihood. No doubt, Elisha therefore inquires what she had to make money of, and she did as the man of God directed ; and hence, (1.) Let those finds she had nothing to sell but one pot of oil, v. 2. If she had that are poor and in distress, be encouraged to trust God for had any plate or furniture, he would have bidden her part with supply in the way of duty : Verily, thou shall be ferl, though not it, to enable her to be just to her creditors. We cannot reckon feasted. It is true, we cannot now expect miracles, yet we that really, nor comfortably, our own, which is not so when all may expect mercies, if we wait on God, and seek to him. Let our debts are paid. If she had not had this pot of oil, the divine widows particularly, and prophets' widows in a special manner, power could have supplied her; but having this, it will work depend upon him to preserve them and their fatherless children upon this, and so teach us to make the best of what we have. alive, for to them he will be a Husband, a Father. (2.) Let The prophet, knowing her to have credit among her neighbours, those whom God has blessed with plenty, use it for the glory bids her borrow of them empty vessels, (v. 3,) for, it seems, she of God, and under the direction of his word: let them do justly had sold her own, toward the satisfying of her creditors. He with it, as the widow did, and serve God cheerfully in the use directs her to shut the door upon her and her sons, while she of it; and, as Elisha, be ready to do good to those that need filled all those vessels out of that one. She must shut the door, them, be eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. to prevent interruptions from the creditors and others while it V. 8–17. The giving of a son to such as were old, and bad was in the doing, that they might not seem proudly to boast of been long childless, was an ancient instance of the divine power this miraculous supply, and that they might have opportunity and favour, in the case of Abraham, and Isaac, and Manoah, and for prayer and praise to God upon this extraordinary occasion. Elkanah : 'we find it here among the wonders wrought by Elisba. Observe, (1.) The oil was to be multiplied in the pouring, as This was wronght in recompense for the kind entertainment the other widow's meal in the spending. The way to increase' which a good woman gave him, as the promise of a son was
Shunem, where was a great woman: and she 14 And he said, What then is to be done for *constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that, her? And Gehazı answered, Verily she hath no as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither io eat child, and her husband is old. bread.
15 And he said, Call her. And when he had 9 And she said unto her husband, Behold now, called her, she stood in the door. I perceive & that this is an holy man of God, which 16 And he said, About “this season, according passeth by us continually.
to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And 10 Let us make a litile chamber, I pray thee, on she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do 'not the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a lie unto thine handmaid. table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, 17 And the woman conceived," and bare a son when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. at that season that Elisha had said unto her, ac
11 And it fell on a day that he came thither, cording to the time of life. and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.
18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this day that he went out to his father to the rea pers. Shunammite. And when he had called her, she 19 And he said unto his father, My head, my stood before him.
head! And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. 13 And he said unto him, Say now unto her, 20 And when he had taken him, and brought him Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou then died. be poken for to the king, or to the captain of the 21
And she went up, and laid him on the bed host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, people.
and went out. Josh. 19. 8. * laid hold on him. & Matt. 5. 16. Matt. 10.41, 42. Mark, 9. 1 Heb.6. 10. A Gen. 18. 10, 14. f set time. i ver. 28. in Ps. 113. 9. Luke 1. 41. Heb. 13. 2. 1 Pet. 4. 9. given to Abraham when he entertained angels. Observe piness to dwell among our own people, that love and respect us, here,
and to whom we are in a capacity of doing good; and a greater 1. The kindness of the Shunamınite woman to Elisha. happiness to be content to do so, to be easy, and to know when Things are bad enough in Israel, yet not so bad, but that God's we are well off'; why should those that live comfortably among prophet finds friends, wherever he goes. Shunem was a city in their own people, covet to live delicately in kings' palaces ? the tribe of Issachar, that lay in the road between Samaria and It would be well with many, if they did but know when they Carmel, a road that Elisha often travelled, as we find ch. 2. 25, are well off. Some years after this, we find this ShunamThere lived a great woman, who kept a good house, and was mite had occasion to be spoken for to the king, though now she very hospitable, her husband having a good estate, and his heart needed it not, ch. 8. 3, 4. Those that dwell among their own safely trusting in her, and in her discreet management, Prov. people, must not think their mountain stands so strong as that 31. 11. So famous a man as Elisha, could not pass or repass
it cannot be moved; they may be driven as this good woman unobserved. Probably he had been accustomed to take some was, to sojourn among strangers; our continuing city is above. private obscure lodgings in the town; but this pious matron, 2. He did use his interest for her in the court of heaven, having notice once of his being there, pressed him with great which was far better. Elisha consulted with his servant what importunity, and, with much difficulty, constrained him to dine kindness he should do for her, such a freedom did this great with her, v. 8. He was modest, and loath to be troublesome; prophet admit even his servant 10: Gehazi tells him she is humble, and affected not to associate with those of the first childless, has a great estate, but no son to leave it to, and was rank; so that it was not without some difficulty, that he was past hopes of having any, her husband being old; if Elisha can first drawn into an acquaintance there: but afterward, whenever obtain this favour from God for her, it will be the removal of that he came that way in his circuit, he constantly called there. So which, at present, was her only grievance. Those are the most well pleased was she with her guest, and so desirous of his welcome kindnesses, which are most suited to our necessities. company, that she will not only bid him welcome to her table, He sent for her immediately; she very humbly and respectfully but provide a lodging-room for him in her house, that he might stood in the door, (v. 15,) according to her aceustomed modestý, make the longer stay, not doubting but her house would be and then he assured her that within a year she should bring blessed for his sake, and all under her roof edified by his pious forth a son, v, 16. She had received this prophet in the name instructions and example; a good design, yet she will not do it of a prophet, and now she had not a courtjer's reward, in being without acquainting her husband, will neither lay out his money, spoken for to the king, but a prophet's reward, a signal mercy nor invite strangers to his house, without his consent asked and given by prophets, and in answer to prayer : the promise was a oblained, v. 9, 10. She suggests to him, 1. That the stranger surprise to her, and she begs she may not be flattered by it ; she would invile, was a holy man of God, who therefore would “ Nay, my lord, thou art a mun of God, and therefore, I hope, do good to their family, and God would recompense the kind- speakest seriously, and dost not jest with me, nor lie unto thine ness done to him; perhaps, she had heard how well paid the handmaid.” The event, within the time limited, confirmed the widow of Sarepta was for entertaining Elijah. 2. That the truth of the promise ; she bare a son at the season that Elisha kindness she intended him, would be no great charge to them; spake of, v. 17. God built up her house, in reward of her she would build him only a little chamber: perhaps, she had kindness in building the prophet a chamber. We may well no spare room in the house, or none private and retired enough imagine what joy this brought to the family ; Sing, O barren, for him, who spent much of his time in contemplation, and thou that didst not bear. cared not for being disturbed with the noise of the family. The V. 18—37. We may well suppose, after the birth of this furniture shall be very plain; no costly hangings, no stands, no son, that the prophet was doubly welcome to the good Shunamcouches, no looking-glasses; but a bed, and a table, a stool, and mite: he had thought himself indebted to her, but from hencea candlestick; all that was needful for his convenience, not only forth, as long as she lives, she will think herself in his debt, and for his repose, but for his study, his reading and writing. Elisha that she can never do too much for him. We may also supseems highly pleased with these accommodations, for he turned pose that the child was very dear to the prophet, as the son of in and lay there, (0.11,) and, as it should seem, his man in the his prayers, and very dear to the parents, as the son of their old same chamber, for he was far from taking state.
age. But here is, II. Elisha's gratitude for this kindness; being exceedingly 1. The sudden death of the child, though so much a darling ; pleased with the quietness of his apartment, and the friendliness he is so far past the perils of infancy, that he is able to go to of his entertainment, he began to consider with himself what the field to his father, who, no doubi, is pleased with his enrecompense he should make her. They that receive courtesies, gaging talk, and his joy of his son is greater than the joy of his should study to return them ; it ill becomes men of God to be harvest; but either the cold or the heat of the open field overungrateful, or to sponge upon those that are generous.
came the child, that was bred tenderly, and he complains to his 1. He offers to use his interest for her in the king's court, father that his head aches, v. 19. Whither should we go with v. 13, Thou hast been careful for us with all this care; thus does our complaints, but to our heavenly Father? Thither the Spirit he magnify the kindness he received, as those that are humble, of adoption brings believers with all their grievances, all their are accustomed to do, though, in the purse of one so rich, and desires, teaching them to cry, with groanings that cannot be ute in the breast of one so free, it was as nothing ; now whal shall tered, "My head, my head; my heart, my heart.". The father be done for thee? As the liberal devises liberal things, so the sends him to his mother's arms, his mother's lap, little suspectgrateful devises grateful things. “Wouldest thou be spoken for ing any danger in his indisposition, but hoping he will drop to the king, or the captain of the host, for an office for thine asleep in his mother's bosom, and awake well; but it proves husband, civil or military? Hast thou any complaint to make, fatal, he sleeps the sleep of death, (v. 20 ;) well in the morning, any petition to present, any suit at law depending, that needs and dead by noon; all the mother's care and tenderness cannot the countenance of the higher powers? Wherein can I serve keep him alive: a child of promise, a child of prayer, and thee?" It seems, Elisha had got such an interest by his late given in love, yet taken away. Little children lie open to the services, that though he chose not to prefer himself by it, yet arrests of sickness and death. But how admirably does the he was capable of preferring his friends ; a good man can take prudent pious mother guard her lips, under this surprising afflicas much pleasure in serving others, as in raising himself. But tion! Not one peevish indecent word comes from her, she has she needs not any good offices of this kind to be done for her, a strong belief that the child will be raised to life again : like a I dwell (says she) among mine own people, that is, “We are genuine daughter of Abraham's faith, as well as loins, she well off as we are, and do not aim at prefermont." "It is a hapo I accounts that God is able to raise him from the dead, for thenco VOL. I.-111
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