Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 8:10

Then Elisha said to him, "Go, say to him, ‘You will surely recover,' but the Lord has shown me that he will certainly die."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ben-Hadad;   Elisha;   Falsehood;   Hazael;   Thompson Chain Reference - Death;   Deaths Foretold;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Hazael;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ben-hadad;   Elisha;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Elijah;   Elisha;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Damascus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Damascus;   Elisha;   Hazael;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Benhadad ;   Hazael ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ramothgilead;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Benbadad;   Elisha;   Hazael;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ben-Ha'dad;   Haz'a-El;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Hazael;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Benhadad;   Elijah;   Elisha;   Prophecy;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Benhadad;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ben-Hadad;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die - That is, God has not determined thy death, nor will it be a necessary consequence of the disease by which thou art now afflicted; but this wicked man will abuse the power and trust thou hast reposed in him, and take away thy life. Even when God has not designed nor appointed the death of a person, he may nevertheless die, though not without the permission of God. This is a farther proof of the doctrine of contingent events: he might live for all his sickness, but thou wilt put an end to his life.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Translate - “Go, say unto him, Thou shalt certainly live: howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall certainly die.” i. e.,” Say to him, what thou hast already determined to say, what a courtier is sure to say (compare 1 Kings 22:15), but know that the fact will be otherwise.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-8.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Kings 8:10

Thou mayest certainly recover.

Ignorance of the future

The subject which I propose to discuss is the moral effect of ignorance of the future.

I. The avidity with which men seek to know the future. People are almost always ready to believe that something unusually good is to befall them; that their lot is to be exceptional; that their future is somewhere to be discovered by divination, by the lines on their hands, by the courses of the heavenly bodies. Take your stand by the fortune-teller, to whom has betaken herself a young girl, who, in her ignorance and simplicity, wants to know what human lot is coming to her; whether she is to marry or not; whether her husband is to be rich or poor; what is his complexion, the colour of his hair and eyes, his occupation, and all those minutiae about him with which her teeming fancy busies itself. Recall the little simple devices, such as pulling in pieces a daisy as certain sentences are repeated, to which children and young folks resort; they all arise from a curiosity about the future, and an impression that lodged somewhere in the earth, or air, in daisy or constellation, is the secret that we wish to know. There is no doubt about the influence of good and evil supernatural agencies in our lives; there is no doubt, too, that the events of our lives are closely watched by the inhabitants of two worlds. If good spirits, why not bad? There are two ways in which a man may confront the future; one, looking into God’s face, trusting in God’s promises, asking the support of the Everlasting Arms; and the other, turning to invoke the spirits of darkness; making a league with the devil to get counsel and help from the infernal world. And I look upon all this desire to penetrate the veil of mystery which encompasses the future--except as we walk by faith with the Invisible One, as we believe in God and link our destiny with God by keeping His laws--as immoral and unchristian.

II. Ignorance of the future, if that future is to be disastrous, is always a blessing to us; while, if it is to be advantageous, it is an inspiration. And it is between this possible disaster and advantage that men make all the progress, whether intellectual or spiritual. In all motion which is artificially produced, such as the movement of a carriage or land, or on rails, or the movement of a vessel through the water, there are always two elements; two forces acting and reacting. There is that which propels--the motive power; and that which resists it, and the result is motion. When the driving-wheels of a locomotive do not take hold of the rail--that is, when the rail is covered with frost or ice so that there is no resistance to their revolution--there can be no progress: the great iron sinewed horse is but a plaything, whirling his wheels like a top. These two elements are in the flight of the bird: the stroke of the wing and the resistance of the air. When inventors are making efforts to find some machine which will navigate the air, they seek first lightness. But it is the weight of the bird, as well as the stroke of the wing, that gives it power to make such beautiful evolutions in the air. The air is to the body of the bird what the water is to the hull of the vessel--a medium of resistance. As the wheels of the steamer, as the screw of the propeller, as the oar or the paddle of the rower is resisted by the water, progress is made. It is just so in human life. The patriarch Job says: “What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” It is encountering a mixture of good and evil that makes character. It is the contingency of good and evil; the uncertainty whether it shall be one or the other, that is the mainspring of human action. People ask, why did not God make man so that he could not sin? It is like asking why God did not make matter so that an object could move without meeting resistance; why God did not make the bird so that it could fly without breasting the powers of the air. Walking is only falling forward and regaining one’s self. The regaining prevents the accident. The babe begins with the first motion, but is not yet competent to the second. And no man walks with God without finding a leverage for his soul in the evil that is in the world; only he wants none of it in him. In one sense we are forewarned respecting the future. We have general principles given us. These principles are often cast into the form of maxims. For example, we say that “Honesty is the best policy,” with primary reference to business; that let a man make ever so much money by dishonest dealing, he is injuring his business all the time; he is only getting rope to hang himself. The young lad who is studying at school hears this; he does not think it applies to his relations to his teacher and his books, but it does. When, in after life, he confronts business questions or business interests, and finds he cannot solve queries which were solved by his neglected text-books, or his faithful teacher, he discovers it. It is no time to dismount and tighten the saddle-girth when the battle is on us. There is not one of us who would not have been a sadder man in life to know beforehand the calamities that came to him the last twelvemonths. Let him take up his cross daily, it is not to-morrow’s cross that we can take up to-day, even if we would take it up. And what is called borrowing trouble is taking up to-morrow’s cross--always an imaginary one--before to.morrow comes. The Saviour says, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” meaning that if we manage to grapple with the evil of to-day and overcome that, it is all God expects of us; it is victory. And then, on the other hand, the certainty of good fortune is always enervating. God helps the men who help themselves. They fall into the line of His purposes; they see the tide which, taken at its flood, leads on to fortune. Tell a young man that at the age of forty he will be worth a million dollars, and you have done him an injury.

III. Ignorance of the future is a protection against temptation to employ indirect and sinful methods of securing what we have been assured will take place. Take this case of Hazael to illustrate the temptation that comes to a man who knows that he is to occupy a high position. You would say he would argue in this manner: Well, if I am to be King of Syria, let the God, whose prophet predicts it, make me king; I will not lift a finger; least of all will I try to find a short cut to the throne. This was the way Macbeth deliberated:--

“If chance will make me king,

why chance may crown me,

Without my stir.”

A man’s aspirations and capacities are often prophecies of what God means to do by him. If he should say to himself, “I deserve such and such position, and it matters not how I get it”; if then he should address himself to the work of supplanting such another occupant of the place, or aspirant for it, he may secure the position indeed, but he has introduced into his cup of life that which will embitter it for ever. There is no moral greatness in having place. Place without fitness for it; place with the recollection of dishonour or misdirection in seeking it, is really a disgrace to a man. Hazael became King of Syria as Macbeth became King of Scotland, by attempting to accomplish by crime what was already written down in the future. But what was Hazael as King of Syria, what was Macbeth as King of Scotland, with the predecessor of each assassinated to make open the path to the throne? The very night of Duncan’s death, while he still lay there, the murder undiscovered, and there came some one knocking at the castle gate, Macbeth says:--

“Wake Duncan with thy knocking;

I would thou could’st!”

For example: there is an achievement, a possession that I wish, I think I deserve it, have fitness for it, could honour my Maker if I were gratified in my desire, could benefit my fellow-men. Now comes the test of my character. If I am willing to fulfil the conditions of merit, to serve God where He has placed me, up to my best ability; to wait His time for recognition and promotion; if promotion should come, then it has sought me; I have entered into no unholy alliances, I have not broken the golden rule. I have coveted no man’s silver, gold, or place. If, on the other hand, I say to myself, God intended this for me, and I mean to have it, and I begin to clamber over the heads of people, as men sometimes try to get out of a crowd, I carry with me the sense of my own unworthiness.

IV. Ignorance of the future on our part does not interfere with God’s certainty respecting it. It should bring us to confide in that certainty. Only certainty somewhere can bring us security. It is usual to put this in the other way, as though God’s certainty respecting a future event might possibly prevent the exercise of our freedom when putting out our force to compass or defeat it. But in man’s sphere, man is just as free as God is in His sphere. And without some certainty, what is the use of freedom? Hazael is to be King of Syria. This should content him, But being an unscrupulous man, and the King of Syria being sick, and in that particular to him, his confidential servant, an easy victim, as Duncan came conveniently--the devil’s opportunity--to the castle of Macbeth, Hazael spreads a wet cloth over the king’s face, smothers him, and he dies, and the vacant throne is ready for himself. The certainty that he was to be King of Syria did not affect his conduct. Mark that. His knowledge of the certainty did. It tempted him to compass, by foul means, that which, if he had waited, would have happened so, as we express it. God is no less in the future events of this nation than he was in the future events of the Syrian kingdom, or the kingdom of Israel; Hazael was no more certain, historically certain, certain in the mind of God to succeed Ben-hadad than some man is to succeed the present President. But the certainty of God is on another plane from the contingency that is in the affairs of men. The storm of rain and sleet which encases the woods as with armour of silver, which makes every branch like a spear which the winds poise and tilt as though for some encounter in knight-errantry, was predicted by the weather bureau twenty-four hours before it came; was fore-known and fore-recorded and published to the nation. But the certainty did not affect the action of the atmosphere combinations needful to produce the storm. The atmospheric forces north, south, east, west, were held in hand or let loose according as was needful to the result. Up in His own sphere God presides, insuring human freedom, touching the springs of action, carrying out His own plans, making all things work together for the good of His children and for His own glory. Our ignorance of the future does not disturb His affairs. God makes the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He restrains. He lets wicked men go just as far as they need to prove their freedom, and then He stops them and takes the advantage, not of what they thought to do, but of what they did. This is the most wonderful kind of alchemy. (J. E. Rankin, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Kings 8:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-kings-8.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ELISHA'S ANSWER TO BENHADAD THROUGH HAZAEL

"And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him. Thou shalt surely recover; howbeit Jehovah hath showed me that he shall surely die. And he settled his countenance stedfastly upon him, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept. And Hazael said, Why weepeth my Lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash in pieces their little ones, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what is thy servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, Jehovah hath showed me that thou shalt be king over Syria."

We find some of the comments scholars have made about this reply of Elisha to the question of Benhadad very disgusting. Snaith declared that, "The purpose of the oracle (the prophecy) was to lure Benhadad into false confidence," and that, "Elisha at once took steps to insure the death of Benhadad."[15] "Some even attribute Hazael's foul crime to Elisha's instigation."[16] Such opinions are wrong and sinful.

Harold Stigers gives us the proper understanding of what is written here. "Thou mayest certainly recover (2 Kings 8:10). This means, Go, say to the king, as you have already intended to do, `Thou shalt surely live'; however, the Lord has shown me that he shall surely die (by your hand)."[17]

The very thing overlooked by those who miss the true interpretation here is, that Elisha did NOT say that, "Jehovah says the king will recover," because the Lord did not say that, nor did Elisha declare that God did say it. He merely told Hazael, the cruel assassin who stood in front of him, "Go ahead and assure him of his recovery as you have already decided to do, but God has revealed to me that HE WILL DIE." Those who speak of the prophet's "apparent lie" in this passage have simply failed to read what is written.

The prophet gave only one answer to Benhadad through Hazael, namely, that he would die, but Hazael concealed that answer from Benhadad, and then went ahead and lied to him about his recovery just exactly as Elisha had said he would do. The proof of this is evident in the shame of Hazael as he could not stand before the withering gaze of God's prophet. "Elisha's fixed gaze upon Hazael surely revealed to Hazael that his guilty purpose of usurping Benhadad's throne was certainly known to Elisha."[18]

Hazael lied to his lord, promising him recovery, when Elisha had plainly told him, "Thus saith the Lord, he shall surely DIE." The promise of recovery was never a part of what the Lord said through Elisha. That lie originated entirely in the evil heart of Hazael, as detected and exposed by Elisha.

"I know the evil that thou wilt do to the children of Israel" (2 Kings 8:12). The terrible crimes mentioned here, which Elisha stated that Hazael would commit, were in no sense offensive to that evil usurper. Hazael even referred to them as "a great thing" (2 Kings 8:13).

"What is thy servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing" (2 Kings 8:13). "Hazael here should not have maligned the more noble brute than himself (the dog), suggesting that any creature except man was capable of such villainy."[19] This remark by Hazael should not be misunderstood. He was merely saying that he was only a SLAVE of Benhadad and that he had no power to do such things as Elisha had mentioned. Then Elisha plainly told him of the Divine prophecy of his accession to the throne of Syria.

The horrible atrocities which Elisha here prophesied would mark Hazael's actions against Israel are very similar to those terrible deeds mentioned by Amos in the first two chapters of his prophecy. Such deeds were characteristic of the warfare of all nations in that era; and we might add that, even today, there is no such thing as a "kind" war.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-8.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Elisha said unto him, go, say unto him, thou mayest certainly recover,.... That is, of the disease; and there was not only a probability that he might recover of it, it not being a mortal one, but a certainty that he should not die of it, as he did not, but die a violent death, which the prophet predicts in the next clause; though some take these words not as a command, what he should say, but as a prediction of what he would say; that he would go and tell him he should certainly recover, because he would not discourage him, though the prophet assures him in the next clause that he should die: there is a various reading of these words; we follow the marginal reading, but the textual reading is, "say, thou shall not certainly recover", or "in living live"; which agrees with what follows:

howbeit or "for"

the Lord hath showed me, that he shall surely die; though not of that sickness, nor a natural death, but a violent one, and that by the hand of this his servant, though he does not express it.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly f recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.

(f) Meaning that he would recover of this disease: but he knew that this messenger Hazael would slay him to obtain the kingdom.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Thou mayest certainly recover — There was no contradiction in this message. This part was properly the answer to Ben-hadad‘s inquiry [2 Kings 8:9 ]. The second part was intended for Hazael, who, like an artful and ambitious courtier, reported only as much of the prophet‘s statement as suited his own views (compare 2 Kings 8:14).

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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 8:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-8.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

According to the Chethמb חיה לא, Elisha's answer was, “Thou wilt not live, and (for) Jehovah has shown me that he will die;” according to the Keri חיה לו, “tell him: Thou wilt live, but Jehovah,” etc. Most of the commentators follow the ancient versions, and the Masoretes, who reckon our לא among the fifteen passages of the O.T. in which it stands for the pronoun לו (vid., Hilleri Arcan. Keri, p. 62f.), and some of the codices, and decide in favour of the Keri . (1) because the conjecture that לו was altered into לא in order that Elisha might not be made to utter an untruth, is a very natural one; and (2) on account of the extreme rarity with which a negative stands before the inf. abs. with the finite verb following. But there is not much force in either argument. The rarity of the position of לא before the inf. abs. followed by a finite verb, in connection with the omission of the pronoun לו after אמר, might be the very reason why לא was taken as a pronoun; and the confirmation of this opinion might be found in the fact that Hazael brought back this answer to the king: “Thou wilt live” (2 Kings 8:14). The reading in the text לא ( non ) is favoured by the circumstance that it is the more difficult of the two, partly because of the unusual position of the negative, and partly because of the contradiction to 2 Kings 8:14. But the לא is found in the same position in other passages (Genesis 3:4; Psalms 49:8, and Amos 9:8), where the emphasis lies upon the negation; and the contradiction to 2 Kings 8:14 may be explained very simply, from the fact that Hazael did not tell his king the truth, because he wanted to put him to death and usurp the throne. We therefore prefer the reading in the text, since it is not in harmony with the character of the prophets to utter an untruth; and the explanation, “thou wilt not die of thine illness, but come to a violent death,” puts into the words a meaning which they do not possess. For even if Benhadad did not die of his illness, he did not recover from it.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-kings-8.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.

Howbeit — Here is no contradiction: for the first words contain an answer to Benhadad's question, shall I recover? To which the answer is, thou mayest, notwithstanding thy disease, which is not mortal. The latter words contain the prophet's addition to that answer, which is, that he should die, not by the power of his disease, but by some other cause.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 8:10 And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.

Ver. 10. Thou mayest certainly recover:] Responsum ειρωνικον, saith one: Vult Propheta impium illum vana spe deludi, saith another; that is, the prophet mocketh this wicked king, and deludeth him with vain hopes of health again. But Tremellius rendereth it, Non omnino revalesces, Thou shait in no wise recover: so that Hazael manifestly lied, saith Lyra, in returning his answer. Others make this the sense, Thy disease is not deadly; howbeit thou shalt die at this bout by another mean. [2 Kings 8:15]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 8:10. Go say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover, &c.— Go say, Thou shalt certainly not live, &c. See Kennicott's first Dissert. p. 163.; but Houbigant thinks that ours is the just translation, and that the words contain a silent reproof from Elisha, who well knew that a courtier like Hazael would certainly flatter his king; and therefore the meaning, according to this interpretation, is, "Go THOU, and, courtier-like, say to him, you will certainly recover; howbeit, the Lord hath shewn me very much the contrary; he will surely die, and die by your traitorous hand." See 2 Kings 8:15 and Waterland's Script. Vind. part 2: p. 122.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-8.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Here is no contradiction; for the first words contain an answer to Ben-hadad’s question, 2 Kings 8:8,

Shall I recover of this disease? To which the answer is, Thou mayest or shalt recover, i.e. notwithstanding thy disease, which is not mortal, and shall not take away thy life. The latter words contain the prophet’s explication of or addition to that answer, which is, that he should die, not by the power of his disease, but by some other cause. But it is observable, that in the Hebrew text it is lo, the adverb, which signifies not; which though most affirm to be put for to, the pronoun, signifying to him; yet others take it as it lies, and translate the words thus, Say, Thou shalt not recover; for the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die. Or, according to the former reading, the first words may be taken interrogatively, Say unto him, Shalt thou indeed recover? (as thou dost flatter thyself:) no; (which negation is implied in the very question, and gathered from the following words;) for the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-8.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Thou mayest certainly recover — The Hebrew text, in accordance with a majority of Hebrew MSS., reads thus: Go, say, thou certainly shalt not live; or more literally, living thou shalt not live. Instead of לא, not, the Keri has לו, to him, and this reading our English translators, as well as the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, Arabic, and Chaldee versions, have followed. The external evidence would seem to favour this latter reading, but the internal is certainly against it. In the very next sentence Elisha says, The Lord has shown me that he shall certainly die. The howbeit of the English version is in the Hebrew simply the copulative ו, and. The translation, thou mayest certainly recover, (that is, as some explain, it is possible for thee to recover from thy sickness, this disease shall not cause thy death,) is only a lame effort to escape the obvious inconsistency and contradiction that exists in the reading adopted by most of the versions. How unnatural and inexplicable that Elisha should order Hazael to go, and, in a matter of so solemn moment as death, deceive his king by uttering a positive falsehood! It is much more natural to suppose that Hazael, informed that he is destined to be king, went and deceived Ben-hadad by misconstruing Elisha’s words. See on 2 Kings 8:14. We therefore adopt the reading of the Hebrew text, and translate Elisha’s words thus: Go, say, Thou surely shalt not live. And Jehovah has shown me that he shall surely die. These words were doubtless uttered with much emotion, and this fact sufficiently explains the change from the second to the third person in the two sentences, and the insertion of the copulative and.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-8.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 8:10. Say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit, &c. — Here is no contradiction: for the first words contain an answer to Ben- hadad’s question, Shall I recover? To which the answer is, Thou mayest, notwithstanding thy disease, which is not mortal. The latter words contain the prophet’s addition to that answer, which is, that he should die, not by the power of his disease, but by some other cause. But it must be observed, that this is according, not to the Hebrew text, but the marginal reading of the Jewish rabbins, who have substituted the pronoun לו, lo, to him, for the adverb לא, lo, not. In the text it is, Go say, Thou shalt not recover; or, as Dr. Waterland renders it, Thou shalt certainly not live; for the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die. Dr. Kennicott is clearly of opinion that this is the true reading and sense of the passage. See his first Dissert., p. 163. Houbigant, however, prefers our translation, and thinks that the words contain a silent reproof from Elisha, who well knew that a courtier, like Hazael, would certainly flatter his king: he therefore understands the meaning to be, “Go thou, and, courtier-like, say to him, Thou wilt certainly recover; howbeit, the Lord hath, shown me very much the contrary; he will surely die, and die by thy traitorous hand.”

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Tell him: Thou shalt recover. By these words the prophet signified that the king's disease was not mortal: and that he would recover, if no violence were used. Or he might only express himself in this manner, by way of giving Hazael to understand that he knew both what he would say and do; that he would indeed tell the king he should recover, but would be himself the instrument of his death. (Challoner) -- The imperative is often used for the future tense. (Gloss iii. 3.) (John ii. 19.) The present Hebrew reads, "Thou shalt not live: for," &c., which removes the difficulty. But the Chaldean, Septuagint, Syriac, &c., agree with the Vulgate, (Calmet) as the Protestant version also does. "Thou mayst certainly recover, howbeit the Lord," &c. (Haydock) --- Lo, "not," in the Hebrew text, seems however preferable to the marginal reading, lu, "to him." This mistake has been sometimes made elsewhere, and ought to be carefully examined. (Kennicott, 1 Paralipomenon xi. 20.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

mayest certainly recover, &c. = "so far as re-covering goes, thou wilt recover. And [yet] Jehovah hath made me plainly see that he will surely die. "

surely die. Figure of speech Polyptoton. See notes on Genesis 2:17 with Genesis 26:28.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.

Go, say ... Thou mayest certainly recover. There was no contradiction in this message. This part was properly the answer to Ben-hadad's inquiry. The second part was intended for Hazael, who, like an artful and ambitious courtier, reported only as much of the prophet's statement as suited his own views (cf. 2 Kings 8:14). Waterland ('Scripture Vindicated,' part 2:, p. 122), however, translates Elisha's words, 'Go, say, thou shalt certainly not live; for the Lord hath shown me,' etc.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Unto him.—The reading of some Hebrew MSS., of the Hebrew margin, and of all the versions, as well as of Josephus.

The ordinary Hebrew text has “not” (lô’, instead of lô), so that the meaning would be, “Thou shalt not recover.” But (1) the position of the negative before the adverbial infinitive is anomalous; and (2) Hazaeľs report of Elisha’s words, in 2 Kings 8:14, is without the negative particle. (See the Note there.) The Authorised Version is, therefore, right.

Thou mayest certainly recover.—Rather. Thou wilt certainly live. Elisha sees through Hazaeľs character and designs, and answers him in the tone of irony which he used to Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:26, “Go, tell thy lord—as thou, the supple and unscrupulous courtier wilt be sure to do—he will certainly recover. I know, however, that he will assuredly die, and by thy hand.” Others interpret, “Thou mightest recover” (i.e., thy disease is not mortal); and make the rest of the propheťs reply a confidential communication to Hazael. But this is to represent the prophet as deceiving Benhadad, and guilty of complicity with Hazael, which agrees neither with Elisha’s character nor with what follows in 2 Kings 8:11-12. The Syriac and Arabic, with some MSS., read, “thou wilt die” for “he will die.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.
Thou mayest
1 Kings 22:15
the Lord
13; Genesis 41:39; Jeremiah 38:21; Ezekiel 11:25; Amos 3:7; 7:1,4,7; 8:1; Zechariah 1:20; Revelation 22:1
he shall surely die
15; 1:4,16; Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:13
Reciprocal: Genesis 3:4 - Ye;  2 Kings 8:14 - He told me;  Romans 3:7 - if the truth

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-8.html.