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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Kings 7



Verse 1

Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.

Hear ye the word of the Lord . This prediction, though uttered first to the assembled elders, was intimated to the king's messengers, who reported it to Jehoram (2 Kings 7:18).

To-morrow, about this time, shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel ... This may be estimated at a peck of fine flour for 2 shillings 6d., and two pecks of barley at the same price.

In the gate of Samaria. Vegetables, cattle and all sorts of country produce, are still sold every morning at the gates of towns in the East.

Verse 2

Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.

A lord on whose hand the king leaned. When an Eastern king walks, or stands abroad in the open air, he always supports himself on the arm of the highest courtier present.

If the Lord would make windows in heaven , [ 'arubowt (Hebrew #699)] - windows closed by a lattice; but here "windows in heaven" denote sluices, floodgates, opened to let rain fall (cf. Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:2; Isaiah 24:18; Isaiah 60:8; Hosea 13:3). [The Septuagint renders it: kataraktas en ouranoo; that is, Should God rain down grain, as He had formerly done manna, this prediction might be verified.] The scoffing infidelity of this remark, which was a sneer against, not the prophet only, but the God he served, was justly and signally punished (see 2 Kings 7:20).

Verse 3

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?

There were four leprous men. The account of the sudden raising of the siege, and the unexpected supply given to the famishing inhabitants of Samaria, is introduced by a narrative of the visit and discovery, by these poor creatures, of the extraordinary flight of the Syrians.

At the entering in of the gate - living, perhaps, in some lazar-house there (Leviticus 13:4-6; Numbers 5:3).

Verse 4

If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.

They rose up in the twilight - i:e., the evening twilight (2 Kings 7:12).

The uttermost part of the camp of Syria - i:e., the extremity nearest the city.

Verse 6

For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.

The Lord had made the Syrians This ill sion of the sense of hearing hereb the besiegers (ho be it The Lord had made ... the Syrians. This illusion of the sense of hearing, whereby the besiegers (who, be it remembered, had not mediated assault, but only reducing the city by famine) imagined the tramp of two armies from opposite quarters, was a great miracle, which God performed directly for the deliverance of His people.

Verse 7

Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 8

And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.

These lepers ... did eat and drink . After they had appeased their hunger, and secreted as many valuables as they could carry, their consciences smote them for concealing the discovery, and they hastened to publish it in the city.

Verse 9

Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.

If we tarry until the morning light, some mischief will come upon us [ uwmtsaa'aanuw (Hebrew #4672) `aawown (Hebrew #5771)] - we shall find punishment.

Verse 10

So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.

Horses tied, and donkeys tied, and the tents as they were. The uniform arrangement of encampments in the East is, to place the tents in the center, while the cattle are picketted all around as an outer wall of defense; and hence, the lepers describe the cattle as the first objects they saw.

Verse 11

And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 12

And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.

I will now show you what the Syrians have done . Similar stratagems have been so often resorted to in the ancient and modern wars of the East (see 'History of the Revolt of Ali Bey' for a deception almost the same), that there is no wonder Jehoram's suspicions were awakened. But the scouts whom he despatched soon found unmistakeable signs of the panic that had struck the enemy, and led to a most precipitous flight.

Verse 13

And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see.

One of his servants answered and said ... The sentence which follows as it stands in our version is very One of his servants answered and said ... The sentence which follows, as it stands in our version, is very obscure. Literally rendered it is thus: 'Let, then, I pray thee, five of the horses remaining, which are left in it (namely, the city), behold them like all the multitudes in Israel left in it, behold them like all the multitudes in Israel which are consumed.' The meaning seems to be, that those horses which still survive will, in all likelihood, soon share the doom of all others in Israel; wherefore, if we should employ them in this inquiry, and they should be surprised and killed, their fate will be no harder, in being cut down by the sword, than if they remained here to die of famine. The Septuagint represents the five horses as the whole stock remaining, which the people in their extremities had not killed and eaten [Labetoosan dee pente toon hippoon toon hupoleleimmenoon hoi kateleiftheesan hoode, idou eisi pros pan to pleethos Israeel to ekleipon].

Verses 14-16

They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 17

And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.

The king appointed the lord ... The news, spreading like lightning through the city, was followed, as was natural, by a popular rush to the Syrian camp. To keep order at the gate, the king ordered his minister to keep guard; but the impetuosity of the famishing people could not be resisted. The lord was trodden to death, and Elisha's prophecy, in all respects, accomplished.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 7:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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