Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 1

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.

Then Moab rebelled. Subdued by David (2 Samuel 8:2), they had, in the partition of Israel and Judah, fallen to the share of the former kingdom. But they took advantage of the death of Ahab to shake off the yoke (see the notes at 2 Kings 3:5). The casualty that befell Ahaziah prevented his taking active measures for suppressing this revolt, which was accomplished as a providential judgment on the house of Ahab for all their crimes.

Verse 2

And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.

Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber [ hasªbaakaah (H7639), the net, or lattice; ba`ªliyaatow (H5944), in his loft-upper room] - (cf. Daniel 6:11.) A wooden parapet or fence, breasthigh, surrounds the flat roofs of houses; and sometimes, instead of a parapet, the terraces are guarded, like the galleries with balustrades only, or lattices - i:e., net or trellised work (Deuteronomy 22:8). The name seems to import that the roof of the royal palace in Samaria was surmounted on the roof in this fashion, and that it was over this trellis the king was carelessly leaning when it gave way; or, it might be an opening, like a skylight, in the roof itself, done over with lattice-work, which, being slender or rotten, the king stepped on and slipped through. This latter supposition is most probably the true one, as Ahaziah did not fall either into the street or the court, but "his upper chamber."

Enquire of Baal-zebub. Anxious to learn whether he should recover from the effects of this severe fall, he sent to consult Baal-zebub [ Ba`al-Zªbuwb (H1176)] - i:e., the god of flies, fly destroyer, who was considered the patron deity of medicine. This consultation of a pagan deity by the king openly, affords a deplorable example of the extent to which the Israelites were infected with the baneful influence of Philistine idolatry, and it was a direct violation of the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 18:13-14). Hengstenberg ('Pentateuch,' 1:, p.

89), following Selden ('De diis Syris,' 375), ridicules the idea that the Philistines believed they needed the divine aid to save them from flies, and considers it as a derisive name. [But, not to speak of the Greeks, who had Zeus Apomios at Elis, and of the Romans, who had their Myiagrus deus, or deus muscarum Aver runcus, there was a pressing cause to call forth the religious sentiment of the Philistine pagan in this particular direction at Ekron.] Flies have at all times swarmed in great abundance in that locality; and sometimes they have multiplied in such myriads as to amount to a plague.

Jurieu ('Hist. des Dogmes,' p. 631) identifies this god with Pluto of the Greeks and Romans. Hence, a temple to that idol was erected at Ekron, which was resorted to far and wide, though it afterward led to the destruction of the place (Zechariah 9:5; Amos 1:8; Zephaniah 2:4) 'After visiting Ekron, "the god of flies" is a name that gives me no surprise. The flies there swarmed, in fact, so innumerably, that I could hardly get any food without these troublesome insects getting into it' (Van de Velde, 1:, p. 170).

Other derivations have been given of the name of this idol. Dr. Hyde ('Vet. Persarum. Rel. Histor.,' cap. 8:,

p. 160) says that it comes from the Syriac Beeldebobo, or Beeldevovo - i:e., the god of enmity. Others trace it to an Arabia origin, meaning fecundity; and that Ahaziah consulted the idol at Ekron in preference to all others, in his anxiety for an heir. But the first derivation is the right one.

Verse 3

But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?

The angel of the Lord - not an angel, but the angel who carried on all communications between the invisible God and His chosen people. This angel commissioned Elijah to meet the kings' messengers, to stop them peremptorily on the idolatrous errand, and convey by them to the king information of his approaching death. This consultation of an idol being a breach of the fundamental law of the kingdom (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7), was a daring and deliberate rejection of the national religion. The Lord, in making this announcement of his death, designed that he should see in that event a judgment for his idolatry.

Verse 4

Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

Thou shalt not come down from that bed. On being taken up, he had probably been laid on the divan-a raised frame about three feet broad, extending along the sides of a room, covered with cushions and mattresses, serving, in short, as a sofa by day and a bed by night, and ascended by steps. (Genesis 49:4; Psalms 132:3: cf. 2 Kings 20:2; also 1 Kings 20:4).

Elijah departed - to his ordinary abode, which was then at mount Carmel (2 Kings 2:25; 2 Kings 1:0 Kin. 17:42 ).

Verse 5

And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back? The messengers turned back. They did not know the stranger; but his authoritative tone, commanding attitude, and affecting message, determined them at once to return.

Verse 6

And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 7

And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?

What manner of man was he which came up? [ Meh (H4100) Mishpat (H4941) haa'iysh (H376)] - What was the fashion, or appearance, or description, of the man? [Septuagint, tis hee krisis tou andros.]

Verse 8

And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

An hairy man, [ 'iysh (H376) ba`al (H1167) see`aar (H8181), a man, lord of hair; Septuagint, aneer dasus, a hairy, shaggy man (cf. Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 5:, ch. 2:, sec. 5)]. This was the description, not of his person, as in the case of Esau, but of his dress, which consisted either of unworked sheepskins or goatskins (Hebrews 11:37), or of camel's hair-cloth-the coarser manufacture of this material-like the rough hair-cloth we use as coverings for goods. The dervishes and Bedouins are attired in this wild, uncouth manner; while their hair flows loose on the head, their shaggy cloak is thrown over their shoulders, and tied in front on the breast, naked, except at the waist, round which is a skin girdle-a broad, rough, leather belt. The Soofees are supposed by some to derive their name from Soof (hair-cloth), for the members of this sect wear a uniform of this description (Joseph Wolff, 'Missionary Labours,' p. 75). Others, among whom is Dean Stanley (Smith's 'Dictionary,' article 'Elijah'), consider that the prophet was described as "an hairy man" because the hair of his head and beard was long, hanging down his neck and shoulders.-Similar to this was the girdle of the prophets, as in keeping with their coarse garments, and their stern, uncompromising office.

Verse 9

Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.

Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty - i:e., an officer with a body of 50 soldiers at his command. Any appearance of cruelty that there is in the fate of the two captains and their men will be removed on a full consideration of the circumstances. God being the king of Israel, Ahaziah was bound to govern the kingdom according to the divine law: to apprehend the Lord's prophet, for discharging a commanded duty, was the act of an impious and notorious rebel. The captains abetted the king in his rebellion; and they exceeded their military duty by contemptuous insults.

Man of God. In using this term they either spoke derisively, believing him to be no true prophet, or, if they regarded him as a true prophet, the summons to him to surrender himself bound to the king was a still more flagrant insult; the language of the second captain being worse than that of the first.

Verse 10

And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

If I be a man of God, then let fire come down, [ teered (H3381) 'eesh (H784), fire shall come down; and so the Septuagint, katabeesetai pur]. The "fire" was lighting (2 Kings 1:12). Not to avenge a personal insult of Elijah, but an insult upon God, in the person of His prophet; and the punishment was inflicted, not by the prophet, but by the direct hand of God.

Verses 11-14

Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 15

And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.

Arose, and went down with him. A marvelous instance of faith and obedience. Though he well knew how obnoxious his presence was to the king, yet on receiving God's command, he goes unhesitatingly, and repeats with his own lips the unwelcome tidings conveyed by the messengers.

Verse 16

And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 17

So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.

In the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat. [The Septuagint has: en etei oktookaidekatoo, in the 18th year (cf. 2 Kings 3:1).] The text is apparently corrupt, arising probably from the error of a transcriber, who wrote Jehoram twice. This is a more likely way of accounting for the statement than the hypothesis that Jehoram was associated in the government with his father Jehoshaphat, of which there is no direct evidence (see 'Introduction to Kings'). "Jehoram" - the brother of Ahaziah (see the notes at 2 Kings 3:1).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-kings-1.html. 1871-8.
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