2 Kings 8:1-29. Elisha and the Shunammite. Hazael, King of Syria.—This chapter is somewhat varied as to composition. It opens with a short story about Elisha (2 Kings 8:1-6), of which we may presuppose (a) that it is earlier than 5, because Gehazi (2 Kings 8:4) is not a leper; (b) that the king of Israel is an admirer of the prophet, By Elisha's advice the Shunammite lady, whose husband is apparently dead, leaves her home to avoid a famine (cf. Ruth 1:1), and her lands were restored when the king ascertained who she was. 2 Kings 8:6-15 is a second narrative of the prophet. Jehoram must have been king of Israel at the time, as Hazael was contemporary with Jehu. The difficulty the story presents to us is that the prophet appears to suggest to Hazael the crime of which he was to become guilty. Elisha did not, as might have been supposed from 1 Kings 19:15*, anoint Hazael. This king's name is found in the inscription of Shalmaneser II, which contains the name of Jehu (842 B.C.). Elisha's visit to Damascus (2 Kings 8:7) implies a truce between Israel and Syria, and he was evidently highly honoured. 2 Kings 8:11 is a hard verse; Elisha evidently put Hazael to shame by the searching gaze with which he regarded him. The cruelties which Hazael was declared to be about to perpetrate were the ordinary excesses of a conqueror. Hazael did not regard the idea with horror, but doubted whether he would ever become great enough to perform such deeds. "What am I?" he says (2 Kings 8:13). "A mere dog. How can I ever do such famous acts?" The subject is not named in 2 Kings 8:15, and Ewald (see Cent. B) suggests that Ben-hadad may have been murdered by someone else, possibly his bath attendant. This seems unlikely. 2 Kings 8:16-29, with the exception of 2 Kings 8:20-22, comes from the annals which gave the regnal years of each king, etc. There was a king of the same name, Jehoram or Joram, on both thrones. Jehoram married the daughter of Ahab (2 Kings 8:18), who is called Athaliah, "daughter of Omri" (2 Kings 8:26). This is accounted for by the fact that Jehu is himself described as Omri's son, though no relative, and the destroyer of his family. But for inscriptions we could never have known how important Omri was. Jehoram of Judah is remarkable only for the revolt of Edom. This was a very serious blow to Judah, as it was thus deprived of the trade by the Red Sea (p. 71). Joram apparently won a victory at a place called Zair (2 Kings 8:21), otherwise unknown. The chronicler (2 Chronicles 21) says that the prophet Elijah wrote this king a letter of rebuke. The notice of the one-year reign of Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:25 ff.) is only an introduction to the momentous facts recorded in 2 Kings 8:9.
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany