We are here presented with some account of the reign of Jehoram, In an enquiry concerning a quarrel between Israel and Moab, Elisha is commissioned with a gracious message from the Lord to Israel. The Moabites are conquered.
The account of Jehoram is somewhat more favourable, than that of his father. He put away the image of Baal, it should seem, from his own house and family, but not out of Israel. What a strange thing this is? If he was convinced of the sin and folly in his own house: surely it must have been equally so in Israel. And we find that Jehu, as related in the after part of this history, found the kingdom, overrun with this idol. See 2 Kings 10:19. Moreover, it should seem that those sins which he followed of Jeroboam's were particularly the worship of the calves in Bethel. 1 Kings 12:28.
The rebellion of Moab became the cause of the renewal of the war. The Reader may perhaps not immediately be able to reconcile the idea of a king connected with that of a sheep-master in the same person. It would be so indeed in the present day. But he must be told that the revenues of princes in those ages of the world consisted more in the riches of agriculture and vineyards than either in extensive territories, or in gold and silver.
It is somewhat strange to find Jehoshaphat in league again after his former escape with Israel. - 1 Kings 22:4; 1Ki_22:32. But Reader! how often is it the case in a spiritual sense. Alas! though we never go among mere carnal men without being wounded by their company, yet we are too often found with them again. Well might the apostle say, Come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing. 2 Corinthians 6:17.
This was the very wilderness in which Israel more than 500 years before had wanted water; and where the Lord had miraculously provided them with water. See Numbers 20:1-11.
Observe the daring impiety of the king of Israel, in charging this plan of his own upon the Lord. Oh! how disposed the mind of man is to evil.
I pray the Reader to mark with me the astonishing goodness of the Lord. Surely here, in an eminent degree, that scripture was fulfilled, Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Romans 5:20. Is it not somewhat strange that the prophet Elisha should be upon this occasion with the amyl It would be so, had not the Lord been about to bestow a signal mercy upon his people, in the midst of all their undeservings. Reader! doth not God cause his holy word, as here he caused his servant the prophet, to be always near at hand for the consultation of his people. And Reader! do not fail to remark that though none of the kings knew Elisha was near them; yet a poor, despised, and overlooked servant did. So is it not unfrequently now. While Jesus and his precious gospel are hid from the wise and prudent, how often are they revealed to babes. It should seem from the answer of the prophet that it was for the salvation of Jehoshaphat, and the faithful followers of the Lord, which were in the army, that Elisha had it in commission to attend the camp. How sweet the thought! It is on account of Jesus's Church the world is upheld. Believers in Christ are the salt of the earth, which preserves it from universal putrefaction. There is somewhat very striking in the prophet's waiting for the Lord's presence, and in the mean season composing his mind with melody. Observe the Lord's mercies. Israel shall have abundant supply, and to show the Lord's hand in this supply, it shall be without the ordinary means. Moreover; Israel shall have a complete victory over her enemies; and this victory shall be of the Lord. But what I most particularly would beg the Reader not to overlook in those mercies is what is said as to the time in which the beginning of them was shown; namely, that it was in the morning when the meat-offering was offered; thereby evidently alluding to the season of sacrifice. If the Reader will consult the law of Moses on this grand subject, he will find that in the daily offering of the two lambs, one in the morning, and the other in the evening, this meat-offering with both formed a part in the solemn service. And as the Lord declared it to be a continual offering, in his sight of a sweet savor; and which was expressly commanded to be observed throughout their generations; and that there the Lord would meet them; would dwell among them; would be their God; and they should know him: I hope the Reader is led by the Holy Ghost, the great author of this appointment, to see so much of Jesus and his precious sacrifice, which he offered to God for a sweet smelling savour in all this, that he cannot need any observation from me for the pointing it out. What was the morning and evening lamb offered daily for, but to keep up a perpetual type of the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world? And what did the continual presentation of this sacrifice set forth, but that the efficacy of Christ's blood should be of perpetual duration, and his priesthood an increasing ministry? And wherefore was the promise of Jehovah to meet his people upon these occasions so solemnly assured, but to teach the church that the meeting place of Jehovah with his people is in Christ Jesus, and nowhere else Reader! let me beg of you to turn to the several scriptures I shall here mark at the close of these observations. And oh! that the Lord may make them most blessed to your meditations! Exodus 29:38-46; Daniel 9:21; Ephesians 5:2.
No doubt the Lord overruled the minds of the Moabites to this delusion, in supposing what they beheld of the water to be blood. And indeed as they knew no rain had fallen, such an idea was not, altogether improbable. The victory of Israel, which Elisha had promised in the Lord's name, certainly was well followed up. It is remarkable upon this occasion, that the Israelites were permitted to act different from a known law! Deuteronomy 20:19.
Observe the sad state of an idolatrous mind. Human sacrifices to devils are among the abominations. Thus the great enemy of souls to confound, as he thought, the divine institution of sacrifices in his church, which were all directed with an eye to Christ, tempted to this imitation among his vassals by such dreadful inventions. See an awful device of Satan to corrupt Israel: Numbers 25:2-3.
I stay not to remark all the interesting things which this chapter contains; otherwise I might charge it upon my soul to admire and adore, what I have read of grace and mercy transcending iniquity and undeservings. But I pass over; for the present; the consideration of all these, important as they are in themselves, to contemplate Jesus: most beautifully shadowed forth in the prophet's prayer, being answered in the time of the morning sacrifice. How sweetly was the prophet's mind prepared for the expectation of this mercy when the Holy Ghost; whose office it is to glorify Jesus, poured out of his blessed influences through the medium of this minstrel. But how glorious an object is it thus to behold in ages so remote from the hour of the Redeemer's sacrifice, its blessed efficacy in bringing down all needed blessings.
Pause, my soul; I charge thee pause, and say what upon earth can impress thy mind more in token of the infinite importance of the redemption by Jesus's sacrifice, than that Jehovah, in so many instances; made even the hour when in after ages that sacrifice was to be offered memorable, in the pouring out of his mercies. Did the Lord God appoint the morning lamb, and the evening lamb, a standing daily memorial of his lamb slain; and did all his faithful servants eye Jesus in their morning and evening oblation? And wilt not thou, my soul, now thy Jesus, thy God and Saviour, hath by that one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified; wilt thou not eye him in all thy poor presentations of the sacrifice of prayer and praise. Precious Jesus! grant me to look on thee continually. Thou art the only sacrifice for sin. Thou art the only lamb of God for a burnt-offering. The golden altar of thy divine nature, on which the sacrifice can alone be offered; and the everlasting High Priest by whom all can be presented. Thou, thou art the sum and substance of all. Oh! Holy Father! having boldness to enter into the holiest by his blood; behold I come in his name, making mention of his righteousness, even his righteousness only. Covered under his complete, all justifying robe, and washed from all impurities in his blood: let me enter into the sacred retirings of the Lord God. Yes! most gracious, indulgent Father! the remedy is of thy own providing; it is thou, blessed be thy glorious name, thou who hast reconciled all things to thyself by Jesus Christ. Look, holy Father, upon the face of thine anointed! and say, Canst thou deny me any mercy while I ask it in thy dear Son's name? And blessed, forever blessed, be God the Holy Ghost, for having left upon record that sweet scripture to confirm those well grounded assurances in Jesus's name and work; He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him freely give us all things?
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Lent