2 Kings 6:1. Sons of the prophets. See on 2 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 2:5. Their number had evidently encreased, though in evil times. Their college was a plain home-built house.
2 Kings 6:5. Borrowed. שׂאל, this root, as in Exodus 11., will not bear any other sense than to borrow or to ask. The loss of an axe was almost irreparable, where steel forges were scarce and distant. The recovery of this axe by a miracle was a special mark of the divine favour, towards the new enlargement of the school. The people, though the times were hostile, secretly supported those schools, that glory might dwell in the land.
2 Kings 6:18. Blindness. The LXX read, αορασια, not seeing, or not seeing distinctly; seeing some things, and not seeing others, as might be the case with the men of Sodom.
2 Kings 6:25. An ass’s head. The shekels were of various weight and value; the lowest fifteenpense, and the highest something more than half a crown.— The cab, a small measure for grain. Bochart seems to be right in his assertion, that a species of pulse was called dove’s dung.
2 Kings 6:32. This son of a murderer. Jehoram bears a bloody hand on his coat of arms, because his mother Jezebel had murdered Naboth, and the prophets. The ghosts of martyrs and murdered men besiege the throne of heaven for the visitations of divine justice.
This passage, more than any other, opens to us the situation of the sons of the great and highly inspired prophets. They are sometimes called young men, candidates for the ministry. They lived in solitude and retirement, but we frequently find them assisting the higher prophets in their ministry; and as they went to deliver for them some of the important messages of heaven, they were evidently employed as prophets, though they still continued to live in or near their beloved retreat. Seminaries may introduce youth to language and literature, but they cannot make preachers. They must have the Spirit, and all the natural endowments of body and mind for the sanctuary, before they go, else education is misapplied. We have next a farther discovery of one of the greatest of Ahab’s errors and sins, in sparing the life of Benhadad, whom God had sentenced to die for twice invading Israel, immediately after the terrible drought. This man lived long to be the constant enemy and scourge of Israel. He was inveterately wicked, neither awed by judgments, nor softened by mercy. Let us then beware, for the sparing of one sin may occasion us calamities all our days.
In those evil times, when Israel was weak, and her enemies many, what a blessing were Elijah and Elisha to the land. They were the fathers of the church, and the guardians of their country. They stood alone like the tall monuments which overlook the hills, and singly brave the tempests. Elisha gave the king counsel and advice of the enemies’ plans; he struck the detachment with blindness who came to seize him, and there is no saying what he would have done, had the people followed the divine counsel. In Samaria he saved the city during the famine, by affrighting all the alien host; for God would deny no good thing to his prayers.
We see next the inveterate enmity of Ahab’s house against the Lord and his prophets. When the woman cried concerning the breach of covenant in hiding a son, a sad proof that Moses’s prediction of eating children during the straitness of the siege was in part come to pass, the king was deeply affected, and so far off his guard during the moment of passion, that he swore to destroy Elisha, and sent immediately to execute him, because he would not by another miracle relieve the city in its anguish. The ministers of Baal were busy enough, no doubt, in throwing all the blame on Elisha; but how could the prophet pray for them, till famine in all its horrors had driven them to cry to the Lord. Kindness shown to the righteous by the consummately wicked is merely because they are popular, or because they have an interest in their friendship; they still hate both God and his servants in their heart. Through the whole of those awful times we see a protecting hand is over the faithful. The shining host of angels protected Elisha and his people in Dothan; and now, fear of the people, and terror of conscience, protected him against the oath of the king. What then has a good man in calamities to fear? The Lord is able to deliver him; and if he abandon him to martyrdom, it is to serve some more glorious purpose in his church.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany