Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 8:21

Then Joram crossed over to Zair, and all his chariots with him. And he arose by night and struck the Edomites who had surrounded him and the captains of the chariots; but his army fled to their tents.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Chariot;   Edomites;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Jehoram;   Zair;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Chariots;   Edomites, the;   Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Joram or Jehoram;   Tent;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Chariot;   Edom;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jehoram;   Zair;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Jehoram;   Zair;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Ezion-Geber;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Zair;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Edom, Edomites;   Jehoram;   Zair;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Esau ;   Hazael ;   Joram, Jehoram;   Zair ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ramothgilead;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ahaziah;   Elisha;   Idumaeans;   Jehoram;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Jo'ram;   Za'ir;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jehoram;   Joram;   Obadiah, Book of;   Zair;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Amaziah, King of Judah;   Chariot;   Jehoram (Joram);   Kings, Books of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Joram went over to Zair - This is the same as Seir, a chief city of Idumea. So Isaiah 21:11; : The burden of Dumah (Idumea). He calleth to me out of Seir.

Smote the Edomites - It appears that the Israelites were surrounded by the Idumeans; and that in the night Joram and his men cut their way through them, and so got every man to his tent, for they were not able to make any farther head against these enemies; and therefore it is said, that Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Zair - Perhaps Seir, the famous mountain of Edom Genesis 14:6.

The people - i. e., The Edomites. Yet, notwithstanding his success, Joram was forced to withdraw from the country, and to leave the natives to enjoy that independence 2 Kings 8:22, which continued until the time of John Hyrcanus, who once more reduced them.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-8.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So Joram went over to Zair,.... A city in Edom, the same with the Zaara of PtolemyF9Geograph. l. 5. c. 17. ; some take it to be the same with Seir, the mountain or country of that name:

and all the chariots with him; all the chariots of war he had:

and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about; who came out of their cities in great numbers, and surrounded him, he having entered into their country in an hostile way, to subdue them:

and the captains of the chariots: which belonged to the Edomites; those he smote, 2 Chronicles 21:9.

and the people fled into their tents; the army being routed.

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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 8:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-8.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 8:21 So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.

Ver. 21. So Joram went over to Zair.] That is, To Idumea, then a flourishing country; now it liveth by fame only, being wholly swallowed up, as very many other countries are, in the greatness of the Turkish empire.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-8.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. The common soldiers of the Edomites, herein following the example of their captains.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". 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

21.Zair — This some have thought identical with Zoar, others a corruption of Seir, and others an erroneous reading of שׂריו, his princes, which is found in the parallel passage. 2 Chronicles 21:9. But these are all conjectures. It was doubtless the name of a place in the borders of Edom, which is now unknown.

Smote the Edomites which compassed him about — He was victorious in this particular night engagement, but he failed to subdue the rebellion or subjugate the country.

And the captains of the chariots — The captains of the enemies’ chariots; from which it appears that on this occasion the Edomites, as well as the Hebrews, fought with chariots.

The people fled into their tents — That is, the Jewish people, the warriors of Joram. The whole passage is obscure from its brevity, but the general meaning is: Joram went with a great host, particularly strong in war-chariots, to subdue the revolt of the Edomites. Having arrived in their country, he is suddenly surrounded by the enemy, and makes a night attack upon them; smites many of them, especially the captains of their chariots, and succeeds in breaking through their ranks, when his whole army give over the battle and run away to their homes. The Edomites thus threw off the yoke of Judah, and fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Isaac. Genesis 27:40.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "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 8:21. Joram went over to Zair — This word is written differently from Seir, and therefore, it seems, does not signify any part of the country of Edom, but some city near to it. And smote the Edomites which compassed him about — The Edomites were not wanting in their own defence, but had surrounded him with an army; through which he broke in the night, and routed them. And the people fled, &c. — The common soldiers of the Edomites herein following the example of their captains. Yet Edom revolted — Notwithstanding this victory, Joram could not recover his dominion over this country; probably because he was recalled by the revolt of some of his own subjects, who had taken the occasion of his absence to rebel, and he feared that others would follow their example if they had the like opportunity. So that Edom continued a kingdom under its own king. Unto this day — When this record was written. Indeed, they were not brought again under the power of the Jews till after their return from the captivity of Babylon. Then Libnah revolted — A considerable city in Judah belonging to the priests. For the reason why they revolted, see 2 Chronicles 21:10-11. It is probable they returned to their obedience, because those words, unto this day, which are added to the former clause, are omitted here.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Seira, or Idumea, Genesis xiv. 6. --- Defeated. The Syriac and Arabic explain it in a contrary sense, as the Hebrew may well signify, and the sequel seems to prove, as the Edomites became independent. Hebrew, "He rose....and attacked Edom that surrounded him, (with superior numbers) and the princes... and the people (of Israel) fled." But the text will also bear the sense of the Vulgate, which is conformable to 2 Paralipomenon xxi. 9., which does not say the people, &c., though these words may be understood of the Edomites. Joram could not derive such advantage from his victory, as to reduce the nation under his obedience. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the people: i.e. of Judah.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-8.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) So Joram went over to Zair.—No town called Zair is otherwise known. Hitzig and Ewald would read Zoar, but Zoar lay in Moab, not in Edom. (Jeremiah 48:34; Isaiah 15:5; Genesis 19:30; Genesis 19:37.) The Vulg. has Seira, and the Arabic Sâ‘îra, which suggest an original reading, “to Seir,” the well-known mountain chain which was the headquarters of the Edomite people. Perhaps the reading of the text Çâ‘îrâh represents a dialectic pronunciation. (Comp. the forms Yishâq and Yiçhâq for Isaac.)

And he rose by night.—There may be a lacuna of a few lines in the text here, or the compiler, in his desire to be brief, may have become obscure. Jehoram appears to have been hemmed in by the Edomites in the mountains, and to have attempted escape under cover of night.

Smote the Edomites which compassed him about.—Cut his way through their ranks.

And the captains of the chariots.—Part of the object of the verb “smote.” Jehoram smote (cut his way through) the Edomites—that is to say, the captains of the Edomite war-chariots which hemmed him and his army in.

And the people fled into (unto) their tents.—That is to say, the army of Jehoram was glad to escape from the scene of its ill success, and made its way homeward as best it could. (Comp. for the proverbial expression, “to their tents,” 1 Samuel 20:1; 1 Kings 8:66.) From Joel 3:19 (“Edom shall be a desolate wilderness for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land”) it has been conjectured that when the Edomites revolted they massacred the Jews who had settled in the country in the time of subjection. (Comp. Genesis 27:40.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.
Zair
Zair is supposed by Calmet and others to be the same as Seïr, the country of Seir the Horite, inhabited by the Edomites or Idumeans. Probably the former was a dialectical pronunciation of the latter.
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-8.html.