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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
2 Kings 7

 

 

Verses 1-20

GOD INTERVENES

(vv.1-20).

The prophet whom Jehoram wanted to kill then gave a wonderful message of grace from God. What a response to the callous folly of the king of Israel! Elisha tells them, "Hear the word of the Lord: Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria" (v.1). This was the word of the Lord, yet an officer of the king answered derisively, "If the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" (v.2). He was like many today who mock at the message of God's grace. But Elisha told him solemnly that he would see with his eyes the food being sold so cheaply, but he would not eat of it. How sad for one to see others greatly blessed by the grace of God, and he himself having no share in it!

Now we are told of four lepers at the gate of Samaria. They were outside the city, where lepers were always put to isolate them from others. Being also without food, they reasoned that they might as well surrender to the Syrians, who might give them food. If not, the worst they could do was kill them, which was preferable to dying by starvation (vv.3-4).

They went to the camp of the Syrians and were astonished to find no one there (v.5). The Lord had intervened, to cause the Syrians to hear a great noise as of a huge army, so that they thought Israel must have hired the Hittites and the Egyptians to fight against Syria. As well as the great noise, no doubt it was God's work to put such fear in the minds of the Syrians that they decided to flee, leaving all their equipment and provisions behind (vv.6-7).

The lepers immediately found food and drink to satisfy their hunger and thirst, and also carried from the tents silver and gold and clothing, taking this away to hide it (v.8).

However, they were soon awakened in heart to realise they were not right in concealing from Samaria the fact chat food was available for them right now. If they waited even till morning, they feared the Lord might punish them (v.9). So they called the gatekeepers of the city to tell them of the surprising flight of the Syrians, leaving such great provisions behind them (v.10). We who are believers in the Lord Jesus might well take a serious lesson from this. We have been infinitely blessed by the gospel of God's salvation. Are we doing right if we conceal it from others?

When the King of Israel heard this he was suspicious that the Syrians had gone only a short distance away to trick Israel into coming out of the city so as to catch them with the gate open (v.12). But one of his servants made a sensible suggestion that several men go with horses to find out what the situation really was (v.13).

Taking two chariots with horses, the messengers found the evidence that the Syrian army had indeed fled, for the road was full of garments and weapons that the Syrians had thrown away in their haste to escape. The messengers then returned with this surprising yet welcome news (vv.14-15). The people then went gladly out to plunder the tents of the Syrians. The amount of plunder they took was so great that Samaria was well supplied with food. As Elisha had foretold, a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel (v.6).

The officer who had mocked Elisha saw this, for he was appointed by the king to take charge of the gate. But the excited people trampled him in the gate so that he died (v.17). Probably he was trying to restrain the crush of the people and they swarmed over him. The words of Elisha and of the officer are recalled in verses 18 and 19, to impress on us the truth of the prophecy of God and the sad defeat of the unbeliever, for his words against the Lord were proven vain.

This history has shown the folly and pride of King Jehoram, but the contrasting grace of God in relieving the condition of the people in spite of Jehoram's opposition to God and to Elisha. God did not at this time repay Jehoram for his evil in attempting to murder Elisha, though He did quickly recompense the officer just for his haughty words in reply to Elisha. We do not hear at all of how King Jehoram responded to the way in which Elisha's prophecy was fulfilled, though he partook of the blessing that resulted. But such men are not changed by the great goodness of the Lord.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Kings 7:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-kings-7.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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