Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 5:7

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Elisha;   Intercession;   Joram;   Miracles;   Motive;   Naaman;   Readings, Select;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Benhadad;   Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Leprosy;   Prophets;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Syria;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Descent into Hell (Hades);   Easton Bible Dictionary - Dress;   Leprosy;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jehoram;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   King, Kingship;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Damascus;   Elisha;   Naaman;   Quarrel;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Naaman ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Abana;   Naaman;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elisha;   Gehazi;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eli'sha;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Death;   Epistle;   Leper;   Naaman;   Quarrel;   Reading;   Recover;   Text of the Old Testament;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Am I God, to kill and to make alive - He spoke thus under the conviction that God alone could cure the leprosy; which, indeed, was universally acknowledged: and must have been as much a maxim among the Syrians as among the Israelites, for the disorder was equally prevalent in both countries; and in both equally incurable. See the notes on Leviticus 13 (note) and Leviticus 14 (note). And it was this that led the king of Israel to infer that the Syrian king sought a quarrel with him, in desiring him to do a work which God only could do; and then declaring war upon him because he did not do it.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He rent his clothes - The action indicated alarm and terror quite as much as sorrow 2 Samuel 13:19; Ezra 9:3; 2 Chronicles 34:27; Jeremiah 36:22.

Consider, I pray you - Jehoram speaks to his chief officers, and bids them mark the animus of the Syrian monarch. Compare the conduct of Ahab 1 Kings 20:7.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-5.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes,.... As one in great distress, being thrown into perplexity of mind by it, not knowing what to do; or, as some think, at the blasphemy he supposed to be in it, requiring that of him which only God could do:

and said, am I God, to kill and to make alive; or have the power of life and death, which only belongs to the Supreme Being:

that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy; for a leper was reckoned as one dead, his disease incurable, his flesh upon him being mortified by it, see Numbers 12:12 and therefore not supposed to be in the power of man, only of God, to cure; and therefore, in Israel, none had anything to do with the leper but the priest, in the name of God:

wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me; to pick a quarrel with him, in order to go to war with him as he supposed. This seems to have been spoken to his lords and courtiers about him.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes — According to an ancient practice among the Eastern people, the main object only was stated in the letter that was carried by the party concerned, while other circumstances were left to be explained at the interview. This explains Jehoram‘s burst of emotion - not horror at supposed blasphemy, but alarm and suspicion that this was merely made an occasion for a quarrel. Such a prince as he was would not readily think of Elisha, or, perhaps, have heard of his miraculous deeds.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 5:7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, [Am] I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

Ver. 7. He rent his clothes.] As apprehending it to be blasphemy, and deeply detesting such an impiety. Meanwhile he never thought of Elisha, who was better known and more regarded abroad than at home.

See how he seeketh a quarrel.] This troubled Jehoram more than the blasphemy, whatever he pretended. This Benhadad who wrote the letter, was he who slew Ahab at Ramothgilead, [1 Kings 22:35; 1 Kings 22:37] who besieging Samaria, brought it to that extreme famine, [2 Kings 6:24-25] and afterwards at Ramothgilead wounded this Jehoram. [2 Kings 8:28-29]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He rent his clothes; either in detestation of his blasphemy, in giving God’s perfections to him; or rather, for grief arising from a suspicion and fear that the Syrian made this only a pretence for the war which he designed against him.

I God, to kill and to make alive? he expresseth it thus, because leprosy is a kind or degree of death, Numbers 12:12, and he thought it as impossible to cure it as to raise the dead.

See how he seeketh a quarrel against me, for not doing what he requires, which he knows impossible for me to do.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Am I God — As much as to say: Who but God can cure the leprosy? Who but He who has all power over human life? In his unbelief and carelessness Jehoram had forgotten that there was a man in his kingdom through whom God worked miracles.

Seeketh a quarrel — Jehoram fails to see the hand of God in all this; his worldly spirit discerns only a stratagem to break the peace between the two nations. He imagines Ben-hadad will ask an impossible thing of him, and then, because he cannot work a miracle for him, will war against him. His obtuseness is equal to Ben-hadad’s ignorance.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-5.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 5:7. The king of Israel rent his clothes — Either as one in great affliction and trouble, or because he looked upon it as blasphemy, to ascribe that power to him which belonged to God alone. Am I God, to kill and make alive? — He expresses himself thus, because the leprosy is a kind or degree of death, Numbers 12:12; and he thought it as impossible to cure it as to raise the dead. Every body can kill; but when a person is killed, to make him alive again is the work only of the Almighty. See how he seeketh a quarrel against me — For not doing what he requires, which he knows to be impossible for me to do. Though he had seen what miracles Elisha had done, yet he either had forgot them, or thought this to be beyond his power. Or, it may be, he was loath to see still further demonstration of his power with God, and therefore did not send to him on this occasion.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Leprosy. The cure was deemed very difficult; as it generally kept gaining ground, and destroyed the constitution. See Numbers xii. 12., and Isaias liii 4. (Calmet) --- Me. The letter was, in effect, written in a haughty style, (Menochius) and the king might naturally infer that war would be the consequence. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Am I God . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

God. Hebrew. Elohim.(the Creator). App-4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

When the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes. According to an ancient practice among the Eastern people, the main object only was stated in the letter that was carried by the party concerned, while other circumstances were left to be explained at the interview. This accounts for Jehoram's burst of emotions-not horror at supposed blasphemy, but alarm and suspicion that this was merely made an occasion for a quarrel.

Am I God, to kill and to make alive? All this show of offended piety was only a pretence, for Jehoram himself was an idolater, and he assumed a zeal for the divine glory merely to excite a fiercer rage against a monarch whom he supposed to be meditating his ruin. But how did he not think of Elisha? A moment's reflection on the character, association, and habits of this king of Israel will suffice to convince any one that such a prince as he was would not readily think of Elisha, or, perhaps, have heard of his miraculous deeds.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) He rent his clothes.—As if he had heard blasphemy. (Comp. Matthew 26:65.)

Am I God, to kill and to make alive?—Deuteronomy 32:39, “I kill, and I make alive;” 1 Samuel 2:6, “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive.” Leprosy was a kind of living death. (Comp. Numbers 12:12, Heb., “Let her not become as the dead, who, when he cometh forth of his mother’s womb, hath half his flesh consumed.”)

Wherefore.—Heb., For only know (i.e., notice), and see. Plural verbs are used, because the king is addressing his grandees, in whose presence the letter would be delivered and read.

He seeketh a quarrel.—This form of the verb (hithpael) occurs here only. (Comp. the noun, Judges 14:4.) Jehoram was hardly in a position to renew the war, after the severe defeat of his father (1 Kings 22:30, seq.).

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
that he rent
11:14; 18:37; 19:1; Numbers 14:6; Jeremiah 36:24; Matthew 26:65; Acts 14:14
Am I God
Genesis 30:2; Deuteronomy 32:29; 1 Samuel 2:6; Daniel 2:11; Hosea 6:1
see how
1 Kings 20:7; Luke 11:54
Reciprocal: Genesis 50:19 - for am I;  Exodus 4:8 - that they;  Leviticus 14:3 - be healed;  Deuteronomy 32:39 - 1kill;  1 Samuel 28:9 - wherefore;  2 Kings 5:8 - rent his clothes;  2 Kings 6:30 - he rent his clothes;  Ecclesiastes 3:7 - time to rend;  Isaiah 36:22 - with their;  Joel 2:13 - your garments;  Matthew 8:4 - for;  Matthew 11:5 - the lepers;  Mark 1:40 - if thou;  John 5:21 - as

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-5.html.