for the people trod upon him in the gate, and he died; See Gill on 2 Kings 7:17.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 Kings 8
This chapter gives an account of some advice Elisha had formerly given to the Shunammite woman, and of the success of it, 2 Kings 8:1 and of the sickness of the king of Syria, who sent to Elisha, then being at Damascus, by Hazael, to know whether he should recover; by whom a message was returned, and Hazael was told by the prophet he should be king of Syria, and exercise great cruelty in Israel, 2 Kings 8:7 and of the bad reign of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, over Judah, 2 Kings 8:16 and of the reign of his son Ahaziah, 2 Kings 8:25.
saying, arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn; with the greatest safety to her person and property, and with the least danger to her moral and religious character:
for the Lord hath called for a famine, and it shall also come upon the land seven years: which Jarchi says was the famine that was in the days of Joel; it was, undoubtedly, on account of the idolatry of Israel, and was double the time of that in the days of Elijah.
and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines; which was not far from her native place, and where there was plenty of food, and she could have as free an exercise of her religion as in the idolatrous kingdom of Israel.
and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house, and for her land; which her nearest relations in her absence had seized upon, as heirs to them; or those in whose hands she had intrusted them refused, upon her return, to deliver them to her; or the king's officers had seized upon them for him, as forfeited to the crown by her going out of the land without leave; and now she needed a friend to speak for her to the king, which, in time past, she had no occasion for, and thought she never should, see 2 Kings 4:13.
saying, tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done; the miracles he wrought, as the dividing of the waters of Jordan, and healing those near Jericho; the affair of procuring water for the armies of the three kings in Edom he needed not to relate, since Jehoram was an eyewitness thereof; the next was the multiplying the widow's cruse of oil, when he in course came to those that were done for the Shunammite woman.
that, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life cried to the king for her house, and for her land; came and presented her petition to the king at that very instant:
and Gehazi said, my lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life; the very person I am speaking of.
so the king appointed unto her a certain officer; the word signifies an "eunuch": him he ordered to attend upon her, and assist her, and see to it that she was put into the possession of her house and land:
saying, restore all that was her's, and all the fruits of the field, since the day that she left the land, even till now; not only her house and land, but all the rent, profits, and dues arising from thence during the time of her absence: the Jews except the rent of her house.
and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; at the time he came thither, where his palace was, and now a Mahometan temple; a very extraordinary building, according to Benjamin the Jew (e):
and it was told him, saying, the man of God is come hither; the famous prophet in Israel, Elisha, through whom Naaman his general had been cured of his leprosy, of whom he had heard so much.
(d) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 47. 1.((e) Itinerar. p. 55.
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.
even of every good thing of Damascus; which was a very fruitful place, and had abundance of gardens and orchards in it, which yielded excellent fruit, and of such it is probable the present consisted, and which was large:
even forty camels' burden: which, as they are strong creatures, will bear a great deal. Abarbinel thinks, bread, flesh, and wine, and fowls, were in the present, but not gold, silver, and raiment, which the prophet had refused to take of Naaman; the Jews have a fable, that there was a precious stone in it, worth all the good things of Damascus:
and came and stood before him, and said, thy son Benhadad, king of Syria, hath sent me to thee, saying, shall I recover of this disease? he calls him his son, in veneration of the prophet as a father, as such men were called.
howbeit or "for"
the Lord hath showed me, that he shall surely die; though not of that sickness, nor a natural death, but a violent one, and that by the hand of this his servant, though he does not express it.
until he was ashamed; that is, Hazael; the prophet looked him out of countenance:
and the man of God wept; at the thought of what calamities the man before him, he looked on, would be the cause of in Israel, as the following words show.
and he answered, because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel; which he foresaw by a spirit of prophecy; and Israel being his own people, he sympathized in their calamities before they came:
their strong holds wilt thou set on fire; which should be taken by him, see 2 Kings 10:32
and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword; in battle:
and wilt dash their children; against rocks and stones, or stone walls, or upon the ground, floor, or pavement, as was usual in war (g), see Psalm 137:9,
and rip up their women with child: which was the height of barbarity and cruelty. Ben Gersom and Ben Melech interpret this of breaking down the walls of fortified cities, built strong, like hills and mountains; but this is supposed in the first clause.
(g) Vid. Homer. Iliad. 22. ver. 63, 64.
and Elisha answered, the Lord hath showed me that thou shall be king over Syria; and that thou shalt have power enough to do this; this declaration, according to Ben Gersom, was the anointing of him, predicted 1 Kings 19:15.
who said to him, what said Elisha to thee? concerning his recovery, which was the thing uppermost in his mind, and he was eagerly desirous to know how it would be:
and he answered, he told me that thou shouldest surely recover; which was false; for he only said that he "might", and not that he should; and he concealed what he also declared, that though he might recover of his disease, yet that he should surely die in another way.
that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died; not that Benhadad took or ordered such a cloth to be dipped and laid on his own face, to allay the violent heat in him; but Hazael did this, and perhaps under such a pretence; but his real design was to strike in the heat, or suffocate him; for such a thick cloth, one of the bedclothes, made of goats' hair, as is supposed, being dipped in water, would suck in a great deal; and being laid on his face, would press hard, and he not able to throw it off, it would let in much water into his mouth and nostrils, and suffocate him, without leaving any marks of violence, which might render his death suspicious:
and Hazael reigned in his stead; having an interest in the army, of which he was general, and perhaps had done some exploits which had recommended him to the regard of the people.
Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah; as he continued to be two years more; for this must be in the twenty third year of his reign, and he reigned twenty five years, 1 Kings 22:42.
Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign; according to Dr. Lightfoot (h), there were three beginnings of his reign; "first", when his father went with Ahab to Ramothgilead, when be was left viceroy, and afterwards his father reassumed the kingdom; the "second" time was, when Jehoshaphat went with the kings of Israel and Edom against Moab; and this is the time here respected, which was in the fifth of Joram king of Israel; and the "third" time was, at the death of his father; but knew his father was living.
(h) Works, vol. 1. p. 84.
and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem; which ended in the twelfth year of Joram king of Israel, 2 Kings 8:25.
for the daughter of Ahab was his wife; whose name was Athaliah, 2 Kings 8:26, and by her he was drawn into idolatrous practices; of such bad consequence are marriages with idolaters; it is very much that so good a king as Jehoshaphat his father was should contract such an affinity; he suffered for it in more instances than one:
and he did evil in the sight of the Lord; was guilty of idolatry, than which nothing was more displeasing to the Lord; for he made high places, and compelled his subjects to commit idolatry, 2 Chronicles 21:11.
as he promised him to give to him always a light, and to his children; or a kingdom, as the Targum; therefore he would not utterly destroy the tribe, nor suffer the sceptre or government to depart from it till the Messiah came, see Psalm 132:11.
and made a king over themselves; for though they are said to have kings, those were only deputy kings, as in 1 Kings 22:47 and now the prediction of Isaac began to be accomplished, Genesis 27:40.
and all the chariots with him; all the chariots of war he had:
and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about; who came out of their cities in great numbers, and surrounded him, he having entered into their country in an hostile way, to subdue them:
and the captains of the chariots: which belonged to the Edomites; those he smote, 2 Chronicles 21:9.
and the people fled into their tents; the army being routed.
(i) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17.
then Libnah revolted at the same time; a considerable city in his own kingdom, a Levitical one; this revolt was occasioned, perhaps, by his idolatrous practices, and which he compelled his subjects to; of this city, see Joshua 10:29.
and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; but not in the sepulchres of the kings, and without any funeral pomp, and without any mourning and lamentation for him, he being not beloved, and his life not at all desirable, 2 Chronicles 21:19,
and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead; of whom more is said in the following verses.
and he reigned one year in Jerusalem; which was the whole of his reign:
and his mother's name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri king of Israel; that is, his granddaughter; for she was the daughter of Ahab the son of Omri, 2 Kings 8:18, it was usual for grandchildren to be called children, sons and daughters, and perhaps she might be educated in the family of Omri.
for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab; he was the son of Jehoram, who was son-in-law to Ahab, having married his daughter, which accounts for his being guilty of the same idolatrous practices.
to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramothgilead; which he went to recover out of the hands of the king of Syria, as his father Ahab had attempted in his time; in which he was assisted by Jehoshaphat, as now Joram was by a grandson of his:
and the Syrians wounded Joram; as they did his father Ahab at the same place, though his wound was not mortal, as his father's was.