Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

(5) And the sons of the prophets that
were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said
unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD
will take away thy master from thy
head to day? And he answered, Yea, I
know it; hold ye your peace.
(6) And
Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee,
here; for the LORD hath sent me to
Jordan. And he said, As the LORD
liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not

1 Heb., in sight,

the Jordan.

they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

(9) And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, or, over against. before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. (10) And he said, "Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am

leave thee. And they two went on. Heb., Thou hast taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee;

(7) And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood 1to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. (8) And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and

(5) Came.-Drew near. Answered.-Said.

done hard in ask-
ing.

(6) Said unto him.-Syriac adds, "unto Elisha; " Arabic, as verse 4, and so three MSS.

And he said.-LXX., "and Elisha said "—an improvement.

[ocr errors]

A

Not only Elisha, the intimate companion and future successor of Elijah, but all the disciples of the different 'schools of the prophets,' have the presentiment of the loss which threatens them. The Spirit has warned them all; they communicate their fears, but Elisha forbids them to give free course to their sorrow. respectful silence, a resignation not exempt from foreboding, suits this condition of things. Elisha clings to his master, as though he could keep him back; the disciples follow them with their eyes. The monotony of the successive scenes adds to the solemn effect of the total description" (Reuss).

.

(7) And fifty... went.-Now fifty . . had gone.

Stood to view.-Taken their stand opposite, i.e., directly opposite the place where the two were standing by the brink of the river, yet at some distance behind. They wished to see whether and how the companions would cross the stream at a point where there was no ford.

(8) His mantle.-The hairy 'addèreth, which characterised him as prophet. Zech. xiii. 4, 'addèreth sē ār, "mantle of hair;" Syriac and Arabic, "head-dress (wrongly).

Wrapped it together.-Rolled it up. Here only. (Comp. "my substance," or "mass," Ps. cxxxix. 16; 'blue mantles," Ezek. xxvii. 24, from the same root.) LXX., elanσe; Vulg., "involvit ;" Syriac, "rolled it up." Smote the waters.-A symbolical action like that of Moses smiting the rock, or stretching out his rod over the sea. (Comp. also the use of Elisha's staff, chap. iv. 29.) In all these cases the outward and visible sign is made the channel of the invisible and spiritual force of faith.

They were divided hither and thither.Exod. xiv. 16, 21, 22; Josh. iv. 22, seq.

So that.-And.

(9) I pray thee, let . . .-Literally, And (i.e., well, then) let there fall, I pray thee, a portion of two in thy spirit, unto me.

A double portion.-The expression used in Deut. xxi. 7 of the share of the firstborn son, who by the Mosaic law inherited two parts of his father's property.

but if not, it shall not be so.

(11) And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Elisha asks to be treated as the firstborn among “the sons of the prophets," and so to receive twice as great a share of "the spirit and power" of his master as any of the rest. Let me be the firstborn among thy spiritual sons; Make me thy true spiritual heir; not "Give me twice as great a share of the spirit of prophecy as thou possessest thyself," as many have wrongly interpreted. The phrase, "a mouth of two," seems to be a metaphor derived from the custom of serving honoured guests with double, and even greater, messes (Gen. xliii. 34).

Ask what I shall do for thee... from thee. -As a dying father, Elijah might wish to bless his spiritual son ere his departure (Gen. xxvii. 4). (Comp. verse 12 infra, "My father, my father.")

(10) Thou hast asked a hard thing.-Because to grant such a petition was not in Elijah's own power, but in God's only. And therefore in the next words the prophet connects the fulfilment of his follower's wish with a condition depending entirely upon the Divine will: "If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee" (Keil). "If the Lord think thee worthy to witness my departure, thou wilt be worthy to win thy boon.' Elijah thus disclaims power to fulfil the request. At the same time, it is implied that his departure will be something exalted above the perception of ordinary men" (Thenius).

When I am taken.-Literally, taken (participle pu'al, shortened form, as in Exod. iii. 2; Isa. xviii. 2). (11) And it came to pass. talked.-Liter

[ocr errors]

ally, And it came to pass, they (emphatic) were walking
a walking and talking, i.e., were going on farther
and farther, talking as they went. Whither they went
is not told; probably some height of the mountains of
Gilead, Elijah's native country, was the scene of his
departure. (Comp. Deut. xxxiv. 5; Num. xx. 28.)
That, behold, there appeared
Literally, and, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire.
Rekeb is generally collective; so the Targum here.
(Comp. chap. vi. 17: "Horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha.")

fire.

Parted them both asunder.-Or, made parting between them twain, i.e., the appearance of fiery chariots and horses came between Elijah and Elisha, surrounding the former as with a flaming war-host. (Comp. chap. vi. 17.)

Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. -Rather, Elijah went up in the storm heavenward, or, perhaps, into the air. Se arah, properly storm-blast; and

[blocks in formation]

Macc. 2. 58.

Carried to Heaven.

and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into a Ecclus. 48.9; said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? heaven.

1 Heb., lip.

(12) And Elisha saw it, and he cried, 'My father, my father, the chariot of Is- ch. 13. 14. rael, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. (13) He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the 1bank of Jordan; (14) and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and

[ocr errors]

c ver. 7.

2 Heb., sons
strength.

so storm, thunderstorm. (Comp. Ezek. i. 4, seq., where Jehovah appears in a "whirlwind," which is described as a great fiery cloud; and Job xxxviii. 1, where He answers Job "out of the whirlwind;" and Neh. i. 3: The Lord hath His path in whirlwind and in storm (se ārāh), and the clouds are the dust of His feet.") The Hebrew mind recognised the presence and working of Jehovah in the terrific phenomena of nature; the thunder-cloud or storm-wind was His chariot, the thunder His voice, the lightning His arrow. (Comp. Pss. xviii. 6-15, civ. 3.) We must therefore be cautious of taking the words before us in too literal a sense. The essential meaning of the passage is this, that God suddenly took Elijah to Himself, amid a grand display of His power in and through the forces of nature. The popular conception, which we see embodied in such pictures as William Blake's Translation of Elijah, that the prophet ascended to heaven in a fiery car drawn by horses of fire, is plainly read into, rather than gathered from, the sacred text.

Went up.-Bähr may be right in asserting that 'alah here means "disappeared, was consumed" (like the German aufgehen). He compares Judges xx. 40, "The whole city went up heavenward," i.e., was consumed, and the Hebrew name of the burnt offering (ôlah). But the same phrase ("to go up to heaven") is used in Psalm cvii. 26 of a ship rising heavenward on the stormy waves.

66

As regards the miraculous removal of Elijah and Enoch (Gen. v. 24), Von Gerlach remarks: All such questions as whither they were removed, and where they now are, and what changes they underwent in translation, are left unanswered by the Scriptures." It may be added, that the ascension of Elijah into heaven is nowhere alluded to in the rest of the Bible.

(12) And Elisha... cried.-Literally, And Elisha was seeing, and he (emphatic) was shouting. (Comp. verse 10, "If thou see me taken away.")

My father, my father.-Expresses what Elijah was to Elisha. (See Note on verse 9.)

The chariot (chariots-rèkeb) of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.-Expressing what Elijah was to the nation. The Targum paraphrases, "My master, my master, who was better to Israel than chariots and horsemen by his prayers." The personal work and influence of a prophet like Elijah was the truest safeguard of Israel. The force of the expression will be seen, if it is remembered that chariots and horsemen constituted, in that age, the chief military arm, and were indispensable for the struggle against the Aramean states. (Comp. chaps. vii. 6, x. 2, xiii. 14; 1 Kings xx. 1; Ps. xx. 7.)

He saw him no more.-After his outcry. He had seen him taken up.

and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

(15) And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. (16) And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty 2 strong men; let them go, we pray of fifty

Rent them in two pieces.-From top to bottom, in token of extreme sorrow. (For the phrase, comp. 1 Kings xi. 30.)

(13) The mantle of Elijah. See verse 8, and comp. 1 Kings xix. 19. The badge of the prophet's office was naturally transferred to his successor.

The bank.-Literally, lip. So xeitos is used in Greek (Herod. ii. 70).

(14) Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?-Has He left the earth with His prophet? If not, let Him now show His power, and verify the granting of my request (verse 9). The words are a sort of irony of faith. Elisha "seeks "Jehovah as the only source of power. (Comp. Jer. ii. 6, 8, where the priests and prophets are blamed for having recourse to idols, instead of asking, "Where is Jehovah ?")

And when he also had smitten.-The Hebrew is, also (or, even) he—and he smote. There is clearly something wrong. The LXX. does not render the Hebrew 'aph hu', "also he," but copies the words in Greek (app). Keil connects them with the foregoing question, "Where is Jehovah, the God of Elijah, even He?" Thenius objects that this use of 'aph is doubtful, and supports Houbigant's correction, 'ephó, an enclitic then-Where, then, is Jehovah, the God of Elijah? and he smote," &c. Perhaps 'éphōh ("where") was the original reading: "Where is Jehovah, the God of Elijah? Where?" -an emphatic repetition of the question. Or it may be that the words 'aph hû' wayyakkeh should be transposed: and he smote-he also (like Elijah)," &c. The Vulgate has the curious rendering, "And with the cloak of Elias which had fallen from him, he smote the waters, and they were not divided: and he said, Where is the God of Elias now also? And he smote the waters, and they were divided," &c. Such also is the reading of the Complutensian LXX.; but the variation is simply an old attempt to account for the twofold" and he smote the waters."

[ocr errors]

It

(15) To view. - Opposite, over against. LXX., evavrías; Vulg., "e contra" (Deut. xxxii. 52). is not clear whether these sons of the prophets are the fifty who "went and stood opposite afar off" (verse 7), or not. On the whole, it seems likely that all the guild residing at Jericho is meant. Awaiting Elisha's return, they had assembled at the river side, and witnessed the miracle, which was evidence to them that Elisha was to be their future head.

The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.Hath alighted, i.e., settled, rested. The proof was that Elisha had just repeated his master's miracle.

(16) And they said unto him. After he had told them of the Assumption of Elijah (Thenius).

Fifty strong men. See margin. Perhaps these were attendants on the members of the prophetic guild.

The Search for Elijah.

II. KINGS, II.

thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon 1some mountain, or into some valley.

Healing the Waters.

Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situa tion of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. (20) And he said, Bring

And he said, Ye shall not send. 1 Hcb one of the me a new cruse, and put salt therein.

(17) And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. (18) And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go

not?

(19) And the men of the city said unto

mountains.

miscarry.

And they brought it to him. (21) And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed

2 Heb., causing to these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. (22) So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

(Comp. Elisha's servant Gehazi, and the fifty sons of the prophets, in verse 7.) Their being" sons of valour” was important, as the search in the mountains would involve danger.

The Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up. -Comp. 1 Kings xviii. 12; Acts viii. 39, 40. This suggestion of the sons of the prophets is a good comment on verses 11, 12. It shows that what is there told is certainly not that Elijah ascended a fiery chariot and rode visibly into heaven, as the popular notion is. Upon some mountain, or into some valley. -Literally, on to one of the mountains, or into one of the valleys, of the land of Gilead. The motive of the disciples was not a desire to pay the last honours to the body of the departed master, as Keil suggests; for they rather expected to find Elijah alive. After the words "east him," the LXX. has "into the Jordan," which may be authentic. In that case, the disciples may have thought the prophet was hidden somewhere among the reeds and rushes of the river bank, in order to escape some threatened danger.

Ye shall not send.-Or, Ye must not, ye should not, or ought not, to send.

(17) Urged him.-Gen. xxxiii. 11.

Till he was ashamed.-Literally, unto being ashamed. The pronoun is not expressed in the Hebrew. "They pressed upon him, 'ad bosh," means "until he was embarrassed, disconcerted, put out of countenance." (Comp. chap. viii. 11; Judges iii. 25.) Thenius prefers they carried their importunity to a shameless length;" Keil and Bähr," until he was disappointed in the hope of dissuading them." (Comp. Ps. xxii. 5.)

66

(18) For he tarried.-Now he (emphatic) was abiding in Jericho (while they were searching).

Did I not say.-Or, command. Elisha could now fairly remind them of his authority. So the phrase "Go not" is, in the Hebrew, imperative. (Comp. "Ye shall not send," verse 16.) With these words, the history of Elijah significantly closes. "Elias resembled Moses in courage and eloquence, and no other prophet was his equal. But when he withdrew from the world, that Providence which guided the destinies of Israel did not, therefore, forsake His people. A portion of Elijah's spirit passed to his disciples; and they are forbidden to seek their departed master in the desert: they must find among themselves the means of carrying on his work" (Reuss).

Thenius considers the entire section (chaps. i. 2-ii. 18) to be a distinct fragment of a lost history of Elijah. Its contents, he says, betray the same poetical (?) spirit as 1 Kings xvii.—xix.

(19-25) Elisha, as prophet, heals the waters of Jericho, and curses the scorners of Beth-el.

(19) The men of the city.-Not "the sons of the prophets," but the citizens make this trial of the prophet's miraculous powers.

[ocr errors]

The situation of this (Heb., the) city is pleasant (Heb., good). - Jericho, "the city of palms' (Deut. xxxiv. 3), had a fine position, "rising like an oasis from a broad plain of sand.'

The water is naught.-Heb., bad. "Naught" i.e., "naughty."

And the ground barren. Verse 21 ("from thence ") shows that the waters, not the soil, were the cause of the evil complained of. "The ground," or rather, the land is here put for its inhabitants, including the lower animals; and what is said is either" the country bears dead births," or, " the country has many miscarriages" (piel may be either factitive or intensive). (Comp. Exod. xxiii. 26; Mal. iii. 11.) The use of different waters is said to have good and bad effects upon the functions of conception and parturition (not a popular superstition," as Reuss suggests). "The ground is barren," or unfruitful, is therefore an incorrect translation.

66

(20) A new cruse.-Vessel; either dish, bowl, or cup (gelohith); only here. (Comp. çelahoth, 2 Chron. XXXV. 16: and the Targum, çelûhithā.) A new one, because the holy purpose demanded an instrument uncontaminated by use. (Comp. Num. xix. 2; 2 Sam. vi. 3.)

Salt.-As an antiseptic, an appropriate sacramental medium of the Divine influence which was to expel the corruption of the spring.

(21) The spring of the waters.-Now called Ain es Sultan ("the Sultan's Fountain "), a fine spring of sweet water, which irrigates the neighbouring plain.

Thus saith the Lord.-Not the prophet's own power, nor the natural virtues of the salt, but the Divine creative will was effectual to the healing of the spring.

There shall not be.-Many MSS., and all the versions, save LXX., read " and there shall not be," or, "arise."

Death. Caused by the unwholesome water, either to the people, or to their unborn offspring.

Or barren land.-The same word as in verse 19. Literally, and making (or, multiplying) abortion, which is apparently used as a substantive here (i.e., cause of abortion).

Unto this day.-The time when the narrative was first committed to writing.

[blocks in formation]

B.C. 896.

(23) And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. (24) And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. 1 Heb., statue. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. (25) And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

(23) Went up.-From Jericho, in the plain, Elisha goes now to visit the prophetic community established at Beth-el, the chief seat of the illicit cultus.

By the way. The way par excellence; the highroad leading directly up to the gates of the town.

Little children-Young boys (or, lads). Na'ar is not used rhetorically here, as in 1 Chron. xxix. 1; 2 Chron. xiii. 7. The boys who mocked Elisha might be of various ages, between six or seven years and twenty. "Little children" would not be likely to hit upon a biting sarcasm, nor to sally forth in a body to insult the prophet (verse 24).

Mocked. Hab. i. 10. In Syriac and Chaldee the root implies "to praise, and to praise ironically," i.e., to deride.

66

Go up.-Not as Elijah was reported to have done;" for the Bethelites knew no more of that than the prophets of Jericho. The word obviously refers to what Elisha was himself doing at the time (verse 23). He was probably going up the steep road slowly, and his prophet's mantle attracted attention.

Thou bald head.-Baldness was a reproach (Isa. iii. 17, xv. 2), and suspicious as one of the marks of leprosy (Lev. xiii. 43). Elisha, though still young-he lived fifty years after this (chap. xiii. 14)-may have become bald prematurely.

(24) He turned back.-The boys were following him with their jeers. Thenius says, "The wanton young people, who had not courage to attack except in the rear, had stolen round him."

Cursed them.-" To avenge the honour of Jehovah, violated in his person" (Keil). (Comp. Exod. xvi. 8; Acts v. 4.)

And there came forth.-Whether at once, and in the presence of Elisha, or not, is uncertain. Thenius supposes that on some occasion or other a terrible calamity had fallen on some person or persons after such a mockery of Elisha, or of some other prophet (!); and that in the desire to magnify the divinely maintained inviolability of the prophetic office, the author of the above narrative has overlooked the immoral character of cursing, especially in the case of wanton children. He then contrasts the behaviour of the "historical" David (2 Sam. xvi. 10). But (1) the curse of a prophet was an inspired prediction of punitive disaster; (2) Beth-el was a chief seat of idolatry (1 Kings xii. 29, seq.; Amos iv. 4, v. 5, vii. 10), and the mobbing of the new prophetic leader may have been premeditated; (3) at all events, the narrative is too brief to enable us to judge of the merits of the case; and (4) what is related belongs to that dispensation in which judgment was made more

Jehoram Reigns.

CHAPTER III. (1) Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. (2) And he wrought evil

in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. (3) Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

(4) And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the

prominent than mercy, and directly fulfils the menace of Lev. xxvi. 21, seq.

Two she bears.-Hosea xiii. 8; Prov. xvii. 12; Amos v. 19. (Comp. chap. xvii. 25.) Wild beasts were common in Palestine in those days.

Forty and two.-This may be a definite for an indefinite number. It shows that the mob of young persons who beset the prophet was considerable.

(25) To mount Carmel.-To cultivate the memory of his master in solitude. Elijah had often lived there (comp. 1 Kings xviii.), as its caves were well fitted for solitude and concealment. Elisha may have retired thither to prepare himself for his public ministry by prayer and fasting. (Comp. Matt. iv. 1, seq.)

To Samaria.-Where he had his permanent abode. (Comp. chap. vi. 32.)

III.

THE REIGN OF JEHORAM OF ISRAEL, AND HIS EXPEDITION AGAINST MOAB, IN WHICH JEHOSHAPHAT OF JUDAH TAKES PART.

(1) Began to reign.-Literally, reigned. The eighteenth year.-Comp. Note on chap. i. 17, and viii. 16.

(2) Wrought evil.-Did the evil in the eyes, &c., i.e., maintained the illicit worship of the bullock at Beth-el (verse 3).

Like his mother.-Jezebel lived throughout his reign (chap. ix. 30), which explains why he did not eradicate the Baal-worship (chap. x. 18-28).

For he put away. And he removed, scil., from its place in the temple of Baal. (Comp. 1 Kings xvi. 31, 32.) It must have been afterwards restored, probably by the influence of Jezebel. (Comp. chap. x. 26, 27, and Notes.)

The image.-Pillar. (Comp. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 4.) The LXX., Vulg., and Arabic read "pillars" (a different pointing); and the LXX. adds at the end, "and brake them in pieces." This seems original. Ahab would be likely to set up more than one pillar to Baal.

(3) He cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam. -1 Kings xii. 28, seq., xvi. 2, 26.

Therefrom.-Heb., from it (a collective feminine). So in chap. xiii. 2, 6, 11.

(4) The revolt of Moab, continued from chap. i. 1. Ahaziah did not reign two full years, and his accident seems to have prevented any attempt on his part to reduce the Moabites.

Mesha.-The name means "deliverance, salvation," and occurs on the monument set up by this king, de

[blocks in formation]

king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. (5) But it came to pass, when "Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

a ch. 1. 1.

B.C. 895.

March against Moab.

And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom. (9) So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days' journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. (10) And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab! (11) But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, Heb., at their that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured

(6) And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel. (7) And he went and sent to 1 Kings 22. 4. Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: 'I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. (8) And he said, Which way shall we go up?

feet.

scribing his victories and buildings. (See Note on chap. i. 1.)

A sheep-master.-Heb., nôqēd (Amos i. 1). In Arabic, naqad means a kind of sheep of superior wool; naqqad, the owner or shepherd of such sheep. The land of Moab is mountainous, but well watered, and rich in fertile valleys, and thus specially suited for pasture; and the Arabian wilderness lay open to the Moabite shepherds and their flocks.

Rendered. Used to render (waw conversive of the perfect); scil., year by year. This tribute is referred to in Isa, xvi. 1.

With the wool.-Rather, in wool (an accusative of limitation). The word rendered “lambs” (kārîm) means lambs fatted for food. The expression "in wool," therefore, relates only to the rams. Mesha's annual tribute was paid in kind, and consisted of a hundred thousand fatted lambs and the fleeces of a hundred thousand rams. This was a heavy burden for a country no larger than the county of Huntingdon. (Comp. Mesha's own allusions to the "oppression" of Moab by Omri and Ahab, chap. i. 1, Note.) The LXX. adds, èv T Tavaσтáσeι ("in the revolt"); implying that the present rebellion was distinct from that of chap. i. Í, and that this tribute was imposed as an indemnity for the former revolt. The addition is probably due to a transcriber.

(5) But.-And.

[blocks in formation]

(6) The same time.-Literally, in that day; which, in Hebrew, is a much less definite phrase than in English. The time intended is that when the Moabite refusal of tribute was received by Jehoram, who, on his accession, would demand it afresh.

Numbered.-Mustered, made a levy of.

(7) Wilt thou go. So Ahab asks Jehoshaphat in 1 Kings xxii. 4, and he replies as here, "I am as thou art," &c. This indicates that the present section was originally composed by the same hand as 1 Kings xx. 1-34 and xxii. 1-37 (Thenius). Jehoshaphat assented, in spite of the prophetic censures of his alliance with Ahab and Ahaziah (2 Chron. xix. 2, xx. 37); perhaps because he was anxious to inflict further punishment on the Moabites for their inroad into Judah (2 Chron. xx.), and to prevent any recurrence of the same (Keil).

[ocr errors]

Against Moab to battle ? Or, into Moab to the war?

(8) And he said-i.e., Jehoram said.

Which way. They might cross the Jordan, and attack the northern frontier of Moab, or they might round the southern end of the Dead Sea, and invade Moab from the side of Edom. The former was the shortest route for both kings. But Moab's strongest defences were on the north frontier, and the allies would be liable to attacks from the Syrians in Ramothgilead (chap. viii. 28). The longer and more difficult southern road may have been chosen partly on these grounds, and partly because Jehoshaphat wished to march as far as might be within his own territory. and to get a contingent from Edom, which was at this time subject to him (1 Kings xxii. 48), and perhaps to hold it in check. Moreover, the Moabites were less likely to be on their guard on the southern border, which was more difficult of access.

And he answered.-Said-i.e., Jehoshaphat. (9) The king of Edom.-A vassal king appointed by Jehoshaphat (1 Kings xxii. 48).

They fetched a compass.-Went round (scil., the Dead Sea) a journey of seven days. The confederates appear to have lost their way among the mountains of Seir. They would, in any case, be greatly delayed by the cattle which it was necessary to take with them for subsistence. It is evident from the context that the distress began after the Edomite contingent had joined.

For the host, and for the cattle that followed them. The stopping is wrong. It should be, and there was not water for the army and for the cattle which followed them. "Them," i.e., the kings. (Comp. Judges v. 15.) "The cattle," i.e., the herds and flocks for the maintenance of the army.

The allies appear to have marched through the deep, rocky glen of El-Ahsy (or El-Qurahy), between Moab and Edom. They expected to find water there, as is usually the case, even in the dry season; but on this occasion the water failed.

(10) That.-Omit (ki, emphatically introducing the assertion).

Together.-Omit.

[ocr errors]

(11) But (and) Jehoshaphat by him ?-The same question is asked by Jehoshaphat in 1 Kings xxii. 7. By him. Heb., from with him (me'ûthô for me'ittô, both here and in the parallel place-a mark of the same hand). Jehoshaphat is for "seeking Jehovah" through

« ÎnapoiContinuă »