The Shunammite's Land Restored.
1. Then spake Elisha unto the
woman—rather "had spoken." The repetition of Elisha's
direction to the Shunammite is merely given as an introduction to the
following narrative; and it probably took place before the events
recorded in chapters 5 and 6.
the Lord hath called for a famine—All
such calamities are chastisements inflicted by the hand of God; and
this famine was to be of double duration to that one which happened in
the time of Elijah (Jas 5:17)—a just increase of severity,
since the Israelites still continued obdurate and incorrigible under
the ministry and miracles of Elisha (Le 26:21, 24, 28).
2. she … sojourned in the land of the
Philistines seven years—Their territory was recommended to
her from its contiguity to her usual residence; and now that this state
had been so greatly reduced, there was less risk than formerly from the
seductions of idolatry; and many of the Jews and Israelites were
residing there. Besides, an emigration thither was less offensive to
the king of Israel than going to sojourn in Judah.
3. she went forth to cry unto the king for her
house and for her land—In consequence of her long-continued
absence from the country, her possessions were occupied by her kindred,
or had been confiscated by the crown. No statute in the law of Moses
ordained that alienation. But the innovation seems to have been adopted
4-6. the king talked with
Gehazi—Ceremonial pollution being conveyed by contact alone,
there was nothing to prevent a conference being held with this leper at
a distance; and although he was excluded from the town of
Samaria, this reported conversation may have taken place at the gate or
in one of the royal gardens. The providence of God so ordained that
King Jehoram had been led to inquire, with great interest, into the
miraculous deeds of Elisha, and that the prophet's servant was in the
act of relating the marvellous incident of the restoration of the
Shunammite's son when she made her appearance to prefer her request.
The king was pleased to grant it; and a state officer was charged to
afford her every facility in the recovery of her family possession out
of the hands of the occupier.
Hazael Kills His Master, and Succeeds
7, 8. Elisha came to Damascus—He was
directed thither by the Spirit of God, in pursuance of the mission
formerly given to his master in Horeb (1Ki 19:15), to anoint Hazael king of Syria. On the
arrival of the prophet being known, Ben-hadad, who was sick, sent to
inquire the issue of his disease, and, according to the practice of the
heathens in consulting their soothsayers, ordered a liberal present in
remuneration for the service.
9. forty camels' burden—The present,
consisting of the rarest and most valuable produce of the land, would
be liberal and magnificent. But it must not be supposed it was actually
so large as to require forty camels to carry it. The Orientals are fond
of display, and would, ostentatiously, lay upon forty beasts what might
very easily have been borne by four.
Thy son Ben-hadad—so called from the
established usage of designating the prophet "father." This was the
same Syrian monarch who had formerly persecuted him (see 2Ki 6:13, 14).
10. Go, say … Thou mayest certainly
recover—There was no contradiction in this message. This part
was properly the answer to Ben-hadad's inquiry [2Ki 8:9]. The second part was intended for
Hazael, who, like an artful and ambitious courtier, reported only as
much of the prophet's statement as suited his own views (compare 2Ki 8:14).
11. he settled his countenance stedfastly until he
was ashamed—that is, Hazael. The steadfast, penetrating look
of the prophet seemed to have convinced Hazael that his secret designs
were known. The deep emotions of Elisha were justified by the horrible
atrocities which, too common in ancient warfare, that successful
usurper committed in Israel (2Ki 10:32; 13:3, 4, 22).
15. took a thick cloth, &c.—a
coverlet. In the East, this article of bedding is generally a thick
quilt of wool or cotton, so that, with its great weight, when steeped
in water, it would be a fit instrument for accomplishing the murderous
purpose, without leaving any marks of violence. It has been supposed by
many doubtful that Hazael purposely murdered the king. But it is common
for Eastern people to sleep with their faces covered with a mosquito
net; and, in some cases of fever, they dampen the bedclothes. Hazael,
aware of those chilling remedies being usually resorted to, might have,
with an honest intention, spread a refreshing cover over him. The rapid
occurrence of the king's death and immediate burial were favorable to
his instant elevation to the throne.
2Ki 8:16-23. Jehoram's
16. Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat … began
to reign—(See on 2Ki 3:1). His father
resigned the throne to him two years before his death.
18. daughter of Ahab—Athaliah, through
whose influence Jehoram introduced the worship of Baal and many other
evils into the kingdom of Judah (see 2Ch 21:2-20). This apostasy would have led to the
total extinction of the royal family in that kingdom, had it not been
for the divine promise to David (2Sa 7:16). A national chastisement, however, was
inflicted on Judah by the revolt of Edom, which, being hitherto
governed by a tributary ruler (2Ki 3:9; 1Ki 22:47), erected the standard of independence
Ahaziah Succeeds Him.
24. Ahaziah his son reigned in his
stead—(See on 2Ch 22:1).