Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 8:7

Then Elisha came to Damascus. Now Ben-hadad king of Aram was sick, and it was told him, saying, "The man of God has come here."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ben-Hadad;   Elisha;   Falsehood;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Syria;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Hazael;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Syria;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Elijah;   Elisha;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ben-Hadad;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Damascus;   Elisha;   Hazael;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Elijah;   Elisha;   Hazael;   Medicine;   Poverty;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Benhadad ;   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;   Eli'sha;   Haz'a-El;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Hazael;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Benhadad;   Elijah;   Elisha;   Hazael;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Benhadad;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ben-Hadad;   Elijah;   Rezin;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Elisha came to Damascus - That he might lead Gehazi to repentance; according to Jarchi and some others.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The hour had come for carrying out the command given by God to Elijah (marginal reference “e”), and by him probably passed on to his successor. Elisha, careless of his own safety, quitted the land of Israel, and proceeded into the enemy‘s country, thus putting into the power of the Syrian king that life which he had lately sought so eagerly 2 Kings 6:13-19.

The man of God - The Damascenes had perhaps known Elisha by this title from the time of his curing Naaman. Or the phrase may be used as equivalent to “prophet,” which is the title commonly given to Elisha by the Syrians. See 2 Kings 6:12. Compare 2 Kings 5:13.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-8.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ELISHA IN DAMASCUS; THE KING INQUIRED OF HIM

"And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither. And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thy hand, and go, meet the man of God, and inquire of Jehovah by him, saying, Shall I recover of this sickness? So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover from this sickness?"

That Elisha was honorably received in Damascus at that time might have been due to his fame that resulted from the healing of Naaman. Certainly, something had changed from that situation in which Benhadad sought to capture him (2 Kings 6:13ff). "Not only in Israel, but also in the neighboring nations, Elisha was well known and respected as God's man."[8]

"And the king said unto Hazael" (2 Kings 8:8). This character should not be confused with the father of Benhadad, who was called the son of Hazael (2 Kings 13:3). This Hazael was the "son of a nobody,"[9] who murdered Benhadad and seized his throne.

"Hazael ... took a present with him ... forty camels' burden ... Shall I recover of this sickness?" (2 Kings 8:9). "One camel's burden is six hundred pounds";[10] but, "This affair must be judged according to Oriental custom of making a grand display with the sending of presents, employing as many men or beasts of burden as possible to carry them, each one of them carrying only a single article."[11]

"Shall I recover of this sickness?" That the king of Syria would bring such a question before Elisha is a strong indication that the Gentiles, generally, throughout that whole era, were aware of the True God's existence and of the worthlessness of the pagan deities of the peoples.

The exact date of this event is not known; however, "The inscriptions of Shalmanezer III, record his victory over Benhadad in 846 B.C. and another victory over Hazael, whom he described as `a nobody who seized the throne,' in the year 842 B.C. This would have been during the reign of Jehoram in Judah, about three years before Jehu seized the throne of Israel."[12]

A number of scholars suppose that Elisha anointed Hazael king over Syria on this trip, but there is nothing here to support such a view. God had commanded Elijah at Horeb to anoint Hazael (1 Kings 19:15); and there are two ways of understanding what happened: (1) Either Elijah went to Damascus and anointed him without any Scriptural record of it being recorded, or (2) Elijah transferred the obligation to Elisha who anointed him without any record of it being placed in the Bible. LaSor assumed that, "Elisha's doing so was the purpose of this visit."[13] Honeycutt also wrote that, "The anointings, both of Hazael and of Jehu, were fulfilled by Elisha."[14] The Lord has not revealed to us everything that happened, because such information, if we had it, would be of no value. The purpose of the sacred author was that of revealing the manner of God's triumph over paganism.

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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 8:7". "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 came to Damascus,.... On what account, and when, is not certain, whether to convert Gehazi, as say the JewsF4T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 47. 1. ; or to confirm Naaman in the true religion he professed, for which he might be dismissed from his office, since another man was made general of the Syrian army; or on account of the famine; or rather it may be to anoint, or, however, to declare that Hazael would be king of Syria; see 1 Kings 19:15,

and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; at the time he came thither, where his palace was, and now a Mahometan temple; a very extraordinary building, according to Benjamin the JewF5Itinerar. p. 55. :

and it was told him, saying, the man of God is come hither; the famous prophet in Israel, Elisha, through whom Naaman his general had been cured of his leprosy, of whom he had heard so much.

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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 8:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-8.html. 1999.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

BENHADAD

‘Benhadad the king of Syria was sick.’

2 Kings 8:7

The life and death of Benhadad has much to say to us—

I. Let us look at one of the two men who took part in that bedside scene which no eye beheld but the all-seeing eye of God.—Benhadad was a man of vast power, ruling over a wealthy and warlike country, a man who loved pleasure, and did not know what it was to be obliged to deny himself in any luxury on which he set his heart. He was a bitter enemy of God’s people; and as licentious as he was cruel. He had as little belief in God as he had in virtue, for he was not only a scoffer at God’s existence—he openly and daringly defied him. There can be no doubt of it—he had by a long course of sin and self-indulgence become a hardened and thoroughly depraved man: insomuch that God sent to tell him that for his persevering iniquity he was ‘appointed to utter destruction.’

II. It is not in that light he appears in the chapter before us.—We do not see him in his pride and reckless dissipation: we see him laid upon the bed of sickness—fearing the approach of death. His uneasy mind turned for some help and comfort to the man of God who was at that time in Damascus. His infidelity failed him then, as it does so often fail in that awful moment.

III. It is indeed an affecting scene, and one that brings home to us some solemn truths which none can deny, and yet all are prone to forget.—Benhadad had everything that heart could wish of this world: he was not only a king, but a king of kings, for he was lord over thirty-two vassal kings; he had tens of thousands of soldiers in his armies—everything was at his service that power and wealth could procure. Yet all these things could not keep off from him the day of sickness, nor save him from the bed of pain and weakness. He had an enemy who was able to steal through all his sentinels, and lay hands on him in the midst of all his luxurious surroundings. He lived as if he were a god who could know neither weakness nor pain; but he learnt that there are messengers of God who, like God Himself, are no respecters of persons. Every one knows this, but how few seem to be influenced by it!

IV. Another no less important truth unveiled to us in Benhadad’s sick-room is the different view men take of religion when they feel death near at hand, from the view they take of it often when they are well.—There was a time when Benhadad thought he could do no better than scoff at God and at the people of God; but he was sick and weak, and ready to die, so he felt that to have God’s man near him when he was dying would be a good thing for him now he was going into God’s awful presence. How often it is so! There are those who shun religious people when they are well as if they were either fools or hypocrites, who are glad enough to see them when the gates of Eternity are opening before them. Benhadad never thought of sending when he was sick to the thirty-two kings who used to get drunk with him at midday, and join him in what he then thought to be a jovial life. Nay, he bethought him of the poor wandering prophet whom he had then despised and scoffed at. Wonderful to say, he even thought that he could be the better for such a man’s prayer! He had hated the sight of him while he was well and strong. If he had only attended to what Elisha said to him in God’s name when he was living, he would have had something better than Elisha’s prayers when he was dying—he would have had the Presence of God.

V. For we learn from that death-bed scene that a change of view about religion, when the end is near, may mean anything but a change of heart towards God.—Benhadad’s anxiety was more about the recovery of his health than about his soul. His was not the cry of the jailer, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ but the concern of one clinging to the world—Shall I recover of this disease? He could not bear to think that he was going to die. He would beguile himself with the prospect of recovery rather than prepare himself for the prospect of eternity. So it is generally in their sickness with those who have lived for this world and lived in pleasure. The real comfort they crave is the comfort of thinking they will get well again—a kind of comfort which those around them are too often ready enough to impart, like Hazael, who, to lull Benhadad’s fears, put a lie into Elisha’s lips, ‘Thou shalt surely recover!’

—Rev. G. Despard.

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-kings-8.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 8:7 And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.

Ver. 7. Benhadad the king of Syria was sick.] Ex terrore et moerore: he was so vexed at the late shameful flight of his host from the siege of Samaria, occasioned by a causeless fear, that it made him sick, saith Josephus. Philip of Spain bore his great loss in 1588 much better.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". 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

To Damascus; either to the city, or rather to the kingdom, of Damascus, by comparing 2 Kings 8:9; as Samaria, which properly was the name of the city, is sometimes the name of the kingdom; of which See Poole "1 Kings 13:32". Hither he came by the special direction of the Spirit, and under God’s protection, upon the errand here following.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". 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

HAZAEL MADE KING OF SYRIA, 2 Kings 8:7-15.

7.Elisha came to Damascus — To fulfil the word of the Lord spoken long before to Elijah. See 1 Kings 19:15, and note there.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "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 8:7. Elisha came to Damascus — Either to the city so called, or rather, as it seems from 2 Kings 8:9, to the kingdom of Damascus; as Samaria, which properly was the name of a city, sometimes means the kingdom of which that city was the capital. Some have thought that Elisha went thither to avoid the famine; but it is more probable that he was sent by God, on the errand following. Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, was sick — For neither honour, wealth, nor power will secure men from the common diseases and disasters of human life: palaces and thrones lie as open to the arrests of death as the meanest cottage. It was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither — Which doubtless had rarely, if ever, been the case before; and his having cured Naaman had raised a great opinion of his power with God in that country.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Damascus, the territory, (ver. 8.) to announce the king's death, and to anoint Hazael, as God had ordered Elias, 3 Kings xix. 15. (Calmet) --- Sick, at the ill success of his late expedition. (Josephus) (Tirinus)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-8.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Elisha came to Damascus; and Ben-ha'dad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.

Elisha came to Damascus - being directed there by the Spirit of God in pursuance of the mission formerly given to his master in Horeb (1 Kings 19:15), to anoint Hazael king of Syria.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "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

(7) And Elisha came to Damascus.—In the fragmentary condition of the narrative, why he came is not clear. Rashi suggests that it was to fetch back Gehazi, who had fled to the Syrians (!), an idea based upon 1 Kings 2:39, seq. Keil and others think the prophet went with the intention of anointing Hazael, in accordance with a supposed charge of Elijah’s. (Comp. 1 Kings 19:15, where Elijah himself is bidden to anoint Hazael). Ewald believes that Elisha retreated to Damascene territory, in consequence of the strained relations existing between him and Jehoram, owing to the latter’s toleration of idolatry. Obviously all this rests upon pure conjecture. It is clear from 2 Kings 8:7 that Elisha’s visit was not expected in Damascus, and further, that there was peace at the time between Damascus and Samaria. We do not know how much of Elisha’s history has been omitted between 2 Kings 7:20 and 2 Kings 8:7; but we may fairly assume that a divine impulse led the prophet to Damascus. The revelation, of which he speaks in 2 Kings 8:10; 2 Kings 8:13, probably came to him at the time, and so was not the occasion of his journey.

Ben-hadad . . . was sick.—According to Josephus, on account of the failure of his expedition against Samaria (?).

The man of God.—As if Elisha were well known and highly esteemed in Syria.

Is come hither.—This certainly implies that Elisha had entered Damascus itself.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.
Damascus
Genesis 14:15; 1 Kings 11:24; Isaiah 7:8
Ben-hadad
6:24; 1 Kings 15:18; 20:1,34
The man of God
1:9,10; 2:15; 6:12; Deuteronomy 33:1; 1 Kings 13:1
is come
Judges 16:2; Acts 17:6
Reciprocal: Joshua 14:6 - the man;  1 Kings 14:3 - And take;  1 Kings 19:15 - wilderness of Damascus;  2 Kings 1:2 - whether;  Jeremiah 40:5 - gave him;  Amos 1:4 - Hazael

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 8:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-8.html.