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2Ki 1:1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.
Ver. 1. Then Moab. ] Who, being subdued by David, had hitherto served Israel, and paid the yearly tribute of a hundred thousand rams, and a hundred thousand lambs, with their wool. 2Ki 3:4-5
Rebelled against Israel. ] Which was no small judgment upon wicked Ahaziah, whose reign was both short and troublous. So was our Queen Mary’s; - her conceptions failing, extreme dearths raging, harm done by thunder from heaven, and by fire in the royal navy, King Philip keeping from court, as not affecting her, the loss of Calais, as here of Moab, &c.
2Ki 1:2 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, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
Ver. 2. And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice. ] So the Suffragan of Dover broke his neck, falling down a pair of stairs in Cardinal Peele’s lodgings at Greenwich, presently after he had received the cardinal’s blessing. a The fall of Blackfriars slew about a hundred massmongers, bruised and lamed many more. By such mischances, besides diseases, men may be taken as a bird with a bolt, while he gazeth at the bow; which made Augustine say, that he would not for the gain of a million of worlds be an atheist for one half-hour, lest in that time death should seize him.
And was sick. ] And so disabled to attempt anything against Moab.
Inquire of Baalzebub. ] Which signifieth a fly lord. The Greeks called him Myiodes and Jupiter απομυιος , as driving away the flies that annoyed them b The Gentiles worshipped many strange gods, as Febris, Cloacina, Pavor and Pallor, &c. c These were devils, saith St Paul; and Beelzebub is called "the prince of devils." At Ekron he was chiefly worshipped; hence Acheron is taken for hell.
“ Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. ” - Virg.
Whether I shall recover. ] Answers to such questions these idolaters had sometimes from Aesculapius and other like devils, that they might be further deceived, as Martyr observeth.
a Act. and Mon., 1902.
b Pausan., lib. v. Plin., lib. xxix. cap. 6.
c Aug., De Civ. Dei.
2Ki 1:3 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 enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?
Ver. 3. Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, ] God scorneth that it should be thought that he had "said unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain": that is enough for dumb idols. Isa 45:16-19
That ye go to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? ] To their own Baal they sent not, belike, either because he had lately deceived his father Ahab to the loss of his life, or because men are apt to admire foreign things.
2Ki 1:4 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.
Ver. 4. Thou shalt surely die. ] Tempore non tuo Ecc 7:17 then, when it were better for thee to do anything else than to die.
And Elijah departed. ] Vanished, say some; and that so amazed the messengers that they presently returned. But whether he vanished or departed, they had their errand.
2Ki 1:5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?
Ver. 5. Why are ye now turned back? ] Re infecta, as he thought; but they returned unto him with heavy tidings, as 1 Kings 14:6 . "An evil man seeketh only rebellion, therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him." Pro 17:11
2Ki 1:6 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 enquire 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.
Ver. 6. There came a man up to meet us. ] Samaria stood on a hill. They were not gone far out of town, it seemeth, ere the prophet met them.
2Ki 1:7 And he said unto them, What manner of man [was he] which came up to meet you, and told you these words?
Ver. 7. What manner of man was he? ] What was his stature, habit, and shape?
2Ki 1:8 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.
Ver. 8. He was a hairy man. ] Hispidus et hirsutus. Either because Elijah had much hair on his head and face, or because, as a prophet, he wore a rough garment, Zec 13:4 as a pattern of repentance.
And girt with a girdle of leather. ] So was John Baptist, that second Elijah. That this girdle here mentioned was made of the pelt of that ram which Abraham offered up instead of his son Isaac, is a Jewish fable, scarce worth relating.
2Ki 1:9 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.
Ver. 9. Then the king sent. ] Stirred up thereto, likely, by his wicked mother Jezebel, who was his counsellor.
A captain of fifty with his fifty. ] To fetch him by force.
Behold, he sat on the top of a hill. ] Quia sibi timebat, saith Vatablus. "Elias was a man subject to like passion as we are." Jam 5:17
Thou man of God. ] This he seemeth to say as in a jeer; or, if otherwise, it is no better than a kind confession with a false heart, with bloody hands. The world is full of these windy courtesies, real cruelties.
2Ki 1:10 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.
Ver. 10. Then let fire come down from heaven. ] This he spake by a motion of God’s Spirit, in zeal of a just punishment to be inflicted on so proud and profane a person. Sed O quam hoc non est omnium! See Luke 9:54 .
And there came down fire from heaven. ] Mr Fox in his "Martyrology" telleth us that as Robert Balding and James Clark were going to carry William Seaman, martyr, - in Queen Mary’s days, - to their master, Sir John Tyrrell, in the night, there fell, it is credibly reported, a light between them out of the element, and parted them. This Balding, albeit he was then in his best age, after that time never enjoyed a good day, but pined away even to death. a
a Act. and Mon., 1846.
2Ki 1:11 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.
Ver. 11. And he answered, and said. ] This fellow was more impudent and obstinate than the former; he is therefore worthily made an example, seeing he would not take example.
Come down quickly. ] Or I will bring thee down. Satis hoc fuit pro imperio.
2Ki 1:12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I [be] a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
Ver. 12. And Elijah answered. ] See on 2 Kings 1:10 .
2Ki 1:13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.
Ver. 13. And he sent again a captain. ] Another pentacontarch; but of a better make than the former. Some think it was good Obadiah, whom be knew to be gracious with the prophet, and could prevail with him to come to the king.
2Ki 1:14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
Ver. 14. Therefore let my life be precious in thy sight. ] Say we the same to Almighty God, when we see so many fall on every hand of us, devoured by death.
2Ki 1:15 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.
Ver. 15. Be not afraid of him. ] See 2 Kings 1:9 . Cur timeat hominem homo in sinu Dei positus?
2Ki 1:16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, [is it] not because [there is] no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
Ver. 16. Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers. ] This if he had not done, but sought to God, though he were mortally bruised, yet he might have, through mercy, recovered, as Hezekiah did.
2Ki 1:17 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.
Ver. 17. So he died. ] Some wicked men live long, that they may aggravate their judgment: others die sooner, that they may hasten it.
In the second year of Jehoram. ] See on 1 Kings 22:50 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany