2 Kings 8:8 MEANING

2 Kings 8:8
(8) Hazael.--See Note on 2 Kings 8:15. In 1 Kings 19:15; 1 Kings 19:17 the name is written H?z?h'el; here it is spelt with an etymological allusion, H?z?h'el, i.e., "El hath seen" (foreseen). Hazael appears to have been the highest officer in Ben-hadad s court; Josephus says, "the trustiest of his domestics."

Take a present in thine hand.--Comp. Numbers 22:7; 1 Samuel 9:7; 2 Kings 5:5; 1 Kings 14:3.

Go, meet the man of God.--Literally, go to meet him. This does not imply, as some have supposed, that Elisha was still on the road to Damascus, nor even that he happened to be at the time on his way to the palace, for how could Ben-hadad know that? What is meant is "Go to the place where the prophet is to be found; seek an interview with him."

Enquire of the Lord by him.--A different construction is used in 2 Kings 1, 2.

By him.--Literally, from with him. (Comp. Note on 2 Kings 1:15.)

Shall I recover of this disease?--Comp. 2 Kings 1:2.

Verse 8. - And the king said unto Hazael. It is implied that Hazael was in attendance on Benhadad in his sick-room, either permanently as a chamberlain, or occasionally as a minister. According to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:4. § 6), he was "the most faithful of the king's domestics" (ὁ πιστότατος τῶν οἱκετῶν). We cannot presume from ver. 12 that he had as yet distinguished himself as a warrior. Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God. It was usual, both among the heathen and among the Israelites, for those who consulted a prophet to bring him a present (see 1 Samuel 9:7; 1 Kings 14:3). Hence, mainly, the great wealth of the Delphic and other oracles. Naaman (2 Kings 5:5) had brought with him a rich present when he went to consult Elisha in Samaria. And inquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease! The miracles of Elisha had had at any rate this effect - they had convinced the Syrians that Jehovah was a great and powerful God, and made them regard Elisha himself as a true prophet. Their faith in their own superstitions must have been at least partially shaken by these convictions. It was by these and similar weakenings of established errors that the world was gradually educated, and the way prepared for the introduction of Christianity. There was very early among the Syrians a flourishing Christian Church.

8:7-15 Among other changes of men's minds by affliction, it often gives other thoughts of God's ministers, and teaches to value the counsels and prayers of those whom they have hated and despised. It was not in Hazael's countenance that Elisha read what he would do, but God revealed it to him, and it fetched tears from his eyes: the more foresight men have, the more grief they are liable to. It is possible for a man, under the convictions and restraints of natural conscience, to express great abhorrence of a sin, yet afterwards to be reconciled to it. Those that are little and low in the world, cannot imagine how strong the temptations of power and prosperity are, which, if ever they arrive at, they will find how deceitful their hearts are, how much worse than they suspected. The devil ruins men, by saying they shall certainly recover and do well, so rocking them asleep in security. Hazael's false account was an injury to the king, who lost the benefit of the prophet's warning to prepare for death, and an injury to Elisha, who would be counted a false prophet. It is not certain that Hazael murdered his master, or if he caused his death it may have been without any design. But he was a dissembler, and afterwards proved a persecutor to Israel.And the king said to Hazael,.... The captain general of his army:

take a present in thine hand, and go and meet the man of God, who, perhaps, was not as yet come into the city, only into the region of Damascus: or rather "with thee"; so the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions; and which Noldius (f) approves of, since a burden of forty camels, 2 Kings 8:9 could not be carried in the hand:

and inquire of the Lord by him, saying, shall I recover of this disease? he did not desire him to pray the Lord that he might recover, only was curious to know whether he should or not, see 2 Kings 1:2.

(f) Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 189. No. 362.

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