And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
too strait for us
Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.
and take thence
And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
go with thy
So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
they cut down wood
But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
for it was borrowed
And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
he cut down
This could have no natural tendency to raise the iron and cause it to swim: it was only a sign, or ceremony, which the prophet chose to employ on the occasion.
This was the real miracle; for the gravity of the metal must otherwise still have kept it at the bottom of the river.
Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
Take it up
Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.
And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
thither the Syrians
And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
sent to the place
To see if it were so. But the Vulgate renders, misit rex Israel ad locum, et prÊoccupavit eum; "the king of Israel sent to the place, and pre-occupied it;" which is very likely, though not expressed in the Hebrew text.
Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
Will ye not
And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.
Heb. No. Elisha.
thy bed chamber
And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
This is supposed to be the same place where Joseph was sold by his brethren; and it is placed by Eusebius 12 miles north of Samaria.
Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
sent he thither horses
It is strange the Syrian monarch did not think, that he who could penetrate his secrets with respect to the Israelitish army, could inform himself of all the machinations against his own life.
And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
they that be
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
open his eyes
full of horses
And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
Smite this people
Confound their sight, so that they may not know what they see; and so mistake one place for another. The word sanverim, rendered blindness, occurs only here and in Ge 19:11, on which see the Note.
And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
Heb. come ye after me.
I will bring
And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
open the eyes
And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
This was dastardly: the utmost he ought to have done with these men, when thus brought into his hand, was to make them prisoners of war.
And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
So the bands
That is, for a considerable time. What is mentioned in the next verse was more than a year afterwards. See on ver.
And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.
a great famine
an ass's head
If the pieces of silver were drachms, the whole would amount to about 2£. 9s.; which was a great price for so mean a part of this unclean animal.
This probably denotes, as Bochart, Scheuchzer, and others suppose, a kind of pulse, or vetches, which the Arabs still call pigeon's dung. "They never," says Dr. Shaw, (Travels, p. 140), "constitute a dish by themselves, but are strewed singly as a garnish over cuscasowe, pillowe, and other dishes. They are besides in the greatest repute after they are parched in pans and ovens; then assuming the name leblebby;" and he thinks they were so called from being pointed at one end, and acquiring an ash colour in parching.
And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
Help, my lord
And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
If the Lord, etc
or, Let not the Lord save thee. whence.
And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.
What aileth thee
Give thy son
So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.
Heb. other. she hath hid.
And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.
he rent his clothes
Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
God do so
if the head
But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?
ere the messenger
See ye how
son of a murderer
And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?