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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 7

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


Here is a very unhappy and unnatural separation of chapters, interrupting the narrative at a most interesting point.

Verse 1

1. Hear ye the word of the Lord The king had waited for the Lord, and the Lord now answers by his prophet. The Lord announces that he shall not wait longer than the morrow.

A measure A seah; a vessel containing about two gallons and a half, or a little more than a peck.

For a shekel About fifty-seven cents. A great change this from paying forty-five dollars for an ass’s head, or three dollars for a pint of dove’s dung.

Verse 2

2. A lord on whose hand the king leaned Rather, the lord. שׁלישׁ , third man, was the name of one of the highest officers of state, and one of the nearest attendants upon his person. He was to the king of Israel what Naaman was to the king of Syria prime minister. See 2 Kings 5:18.

If the Lord Literally, Behold, Jehovah making windows in heaven! Can this thing be? It is the language of scornful unbelief. The prime minister looks upon the thing foretold as a sheer impossibility, and treats the prophet’s words with contemptuous scorn. Only think, he says, of Jehovah opening the heavens and showering down meal and grain! Can such a thing be?

Thou shalt see… but shalt not eat How this came to pass is told in 2 Kings 7:17-20. Such scornful unbelief deserved a signal punishment.

Verse 6

6. To hear a noise of chariots This may have been the noise of the same host whose movements David was once permitted to hear in the tops of the trees, and which led him on to the conquest of the Philistines. 2 Samuel 5:24. Or the noise may have had no objective reality, but may have been a mere delusion produced in the minds of the Syrians. In either case it was caused by the Lord, and the Syrians were led to imagine that Jehoram had hired against them the armies of other nations.

Kings of the Hittites After the Israelitish conquest of Palestine, the Hittites seem to have retired into Syria. “They are found,” says Rawlinson, “among the Syrian enemies of the Egyptians, in the monuments of the nineteenth dynasty, and appear at that time to have inhabited the valley of the upper Orontes. In the early Assyrian monuments they appear as the most powerful people of northern Syria, and were especially strong in chariots.”

Kings of the Egyptians But, so far as we know, Egypt was always governed by a single ruler, and not, as the Canaanite races, by a number of petty kings. We need not assume, however, that these terrified Syrians used accurate language on this occasion.

Verse 13

13. They are as all the multitude Or, they will be as all the multitude That is, all of us in this city are about to perish with famine, and they who go forth to spy the camp of the enemy can fare no worse than we. In the worst that may befall them they will not be likely to suffer more than the rest of us who remain. This reasoning was like that of the lepers in 2 Kings 7:4.

Behold, I say This repetition is wanting in the Septuagint and Syriac versions, and in several Hebrew MSS, and some have thought it spurious, and to be omitted. But it seems to have been purposely inserted to intensify the thought of the deplorable and perishing condition of the inhabitants of Samaria.

Verse 14

14. Two chariot horses Literally, two chariot of horses; that is, two span of horses; horses enough to accompany two chariots. Instead of five, as the servants proposed, the king sent four.

Verse 17

17. Trode upon him in the gate He was overrun and trodden down in the rush and furor of the famished populace as they went forth to gather up the spoils of the enemy’s camp. Thus all the predictions of Elisha were literally and signally fulfilled.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-kings-7.html. 1874-1909.
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