Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
2 Kings 7
2 KINGS CHAPTER 7
Elisha prophesieth incredible plenty in Samaria; and the death of a great lord, who would not believe the prophecy, 2 Kings 7:1,2. Four lepers visit the camp of the Syrians, and bring tidings of their flight, being hasted away by God, 2 Kings 7:3-11. The king sendeth spies, who confirm this report; and he spoileth their tents. Great plenty. The lord on whose hand the king leaned is trodden upon by the people, and dieth, 2 Kings 7:12-20.
Elisha said; either to the messenger, to be reported to the king; or rather, to the king, being then come to him, as it is expressed, 1 Kings 7:18; and to his courtiers, who were come with him, 1 Kings 7:2. Thus saith the Lord: the Lord, whom you have so highly offended, and at present despise and refuse to wait upon, of his own mere grace and bounty hath sent you the glad tidings of your deliverance. A measure, Heb. seah; a measure containing 6 cabs, or 144 egg-shells, or about a peck and a pottle of our measure. Be sold for a shekel: compare this with 2 Kings 6:25.
On whose hand the king leaned, when he walked. See 2 Kings 5:18.
If the Lord would make windows, through which he could rain down corn, as once he did manna.
Shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof; a just punishment for such peremptory unbelief, whereby he made not only the prophet, but even God himself, (in whose name it was evident Elisha said and did this and other things,) a liar.
At the entering in of the gate, to wit, of the city, out of which they were shut by virtue of God’s law, Leviticus 13:46 14:3 either the the dwelling place of the lepers was near the gate, or they were come very near to the gate, for fear of the Syrians.
in the twilight; in the evening twilight, as appears from 2 Kings 7:9,12.
To hear a noise; either in the air; or rather, in their ears; otherwise the Samaritans had heard it.
The Hittites under which name (as elsewhere under the name of the Amorites) he seems to understand all or any of the people of Canaan. For though the greatest number of that people were destroyed, yet very many of them were spared, and many of them upon Joshua’s coming fled away, some to more remote parts, (which that famous and ancient inscription upon a pillar in Africa testifies,) and others to the lands bordering upon Canaan, where by reason of the scarcity of inhabitants there was in that age room enough for them; and there they seated themselves, and grew numerous and powerful and had (after their ancient and constant manner) kings over them. The kings also of Tyrus or Sidon may be here included.
The kings of the Egyptians; by which they may understand either the king of Egypt, the plural number being put for the singular, as it is elsewhere; of the princes and governors of the several nomi or provinces in Egypt, such being oft called kings in Scripture.
To save their lives; which they fancied to be in such present and extreme danger, that they durst not stay to take away any of their goods, but every man fled the next way before him.
We do not well; not well for our brethren, whom we should pity, and help; nor well for ourselves; for we may suffer for this neglect; either from the Syrians, who may lie lurking hereabouts; or from our king and people; or from God’s immediate hand.
They told them, to wit, the porter and his companies.
The porters; either his fellow porters of the city; or rather, the porters or guards of the gate of the king’s house.
So the sense is, We may well venture these horses, though we have no more, because both they and we are ready to perish through hunger; and therefore let us use them whilst we may for our common good, or to make the discovery. But the repetition of the phrase seems to imply something more emphatical and significant than the saving of four or five horses, for which it is not probable they would be so much concerned in their circumstances. The words therefore may be reordered otherwise, Behold, they are of a truth (the Hebrew prefix caph being not here a note of similitude, as the other translations make it, and as it is commonly used; but an affirmation of the truth and certainty of the things, as it is taken Numbers 11:1 Deuteronomy 9:10 Hosea 4:4 5:10 John 1:14)
all the multitude of the horses of Israel that are left in it (to wit, in the city); behold, I say, they are even all the multitude of the horses of the Israelites which (i.e. which multitude) are consumed, i.e. reduced to this small number, all consumed except these five. And thus the vulgar Latin, and some others, understand it. And this was indeed a memorable passage, and worthy of a double
behold, to show what mischief the famine had done both upon men and beasts, and to what a low ebb the king of Israel was come, that all his troops of horses, to which he had trusted, were shrunk to so small a number.
Two chariot horses, or, two chariots of horses; or rather, two chariot horses, as divers render the words, i.e. horses which belonged to the king’s chariots. For single horses seem much more proper for this service than chariots and horses. And whereas it was moved by the king’s servant, that all the five horses should be sent, it seems it was thought by the king and others that two were sufficient for that purpose.
In their haste, or, in their fear, or consternation, wherewith God struck them.
To have the charge of the gate; partly to prevent tumults and disorders and mischiefs amongst the people; and partly to take order about the shutting of the gates, if need were, and if the Syrians should happen to return upon them.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25