1 Kings 19:17 MEANING

1 Kings 19:17
(17) Him that escapeth the sword of Hazael.--The vengeance wrought by Hazael and Jehu on the faithlessness of Israel speaks for itself; it is marked in bloody letters on the history (2 Kings 10). But Elisha's mission was obviously not one of such vengeance. He had to destroy enmity, but not to slay the enemies of God. The difficulty, such as it is, is one of the many marks of historic accuracy in the whole passage. Probably Elisha's mission is here described in the terms in which Elijah would best understand it. His spirit was for war; he could hardly have conceived how the completion of his mission was to be wrought out by the weapons of peace in the hand of his successor. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.)

Verse 17. - And it Shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael [See 2 Kings 8:12, 28; 2 Kings 10:32; 2 Kings 13:3, 22] shall Jehu slay [2 Kings 9:24-33; 2 Kings 10. passim. Cf. Isaiah 66:16]: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. [Elijah might reasonably interpret the commission to "anoint" Hazael, etc., as a figure, seeing there is an undoubted figure of speech here. Elisha was a man of peace. His sword was the "sword of the Spirit, the word of God." It was by "the breath of his lips he slew the wicked" (Isaiah 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Hosea 6:5). Not only are vers. 16, 17 an interpretation, in some sort, of the vision, but they are an answer to Elijah's complaint (vers. 10, 14). The "children of Israel" who had forsaken the covenant should be punished by Hazael (cf. 2 Kings 8:12, "I know what thou wilt do unto the children of Israel," and cf. 1 Kings:32); the king and queen who had thrown down the altars and slain the prophets should be slain, one by the sword of Syria, the other at the command of Jehu; while to his allegation that the prophets were extinct and he was left alone is opposed the ordination of a successor, and the mention of the "seven thousand" in ver. 18.]

19:14-18 God repeated the question, What doest thou here? Then he complained of his discouragement; and whither should God's prophets go with their complaints of that kind, but to their Master? The Lord gave him an answer. He declares that the wicked house of Ahab shall be rooted out, that the people of Israel shall be punished for their sins; and he shows that Elijah was not left alone as he had supposed, and also that a helper should at once be raised up for him. Thus all his complaints are answered and provided for. God's faithful ones are often his hidden ones, Ps 83:3, and the visible church is scarcely to be seen: the wheat is lost in chaff, and the gold in dross, till the sifting, refining, separating day comes. The Lord knows them that are his, though we do not; he sees in secret. When we come to heaven we shall miss many whom we thought to have met there; we shall meet many whom we little thought to have met there. God's love often proves larger than man's charity, and far more extended.And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay,.... Which suggests that many should be slain in Israel by them both, as were by Hazael, 2 Kings 10:32 and by Jehu, 2 Kings 9:24,

and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay; which may be understood either literally of the forty two children cursed by him, in consequence of which they were destroyed by bears, 2 Kings 2:24 or rather figuratively by his prophecies, see Hosea 6:5 who foretold the slaughters made by Hazael and Jehu, as well as others, see 2 Kings 8:12, these several things were not done in the order in which they are here put; for what Elisha did was before Hazael and Jehu, and Jehu before Hazael; these words therefore do not respect the exact order of time in which they should be done, only that each should do the part appointed and assigned unto him, and what could not be so well done by the other; thus Hazael was to destroy those that came out to war; and Jehu Ahab's family that did not; and Elisha the children of idolatrous parents at Bethel, that came not within the reach of either; though it may be observed, that Hazael began to distress Israel before Jehu appeared, 2 Kings 8:28 and the prophecies of Elisha might not have their full accomplishment until after Hazael and Jehu had done what was appointed for them.

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