Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 9:1

Now Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, "Gird up your loins, and take this flask of oil in your hand and go to Ramoth-gilead.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Anointing;   Box;   Church and State;   Elisha;   Enthusiasm;   Jehu;   Prophets;   Ramoth-Gilead;   Thompson Chain Reference - Elisha;   Ramoth-Gilead;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Oil;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jehu;   Jezebel;   King, Kings;   Ramoth;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Gilead;   Jehu;   Ramoth-gilead;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Box;   Elijah;   Prophet;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Box;   Ecstasy;   Elisha;   Esdraelon;   Flask;   Jehu;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Loins;   Ramoth-Gilead;   Sons of the Prophets;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Box;   Elisha;   Government;   Jehu;   Oil;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Ramoth-Gilead, Ramoth in Gilead;   Vial;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Box;   Jehu ;   Ramoth Gilead ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jehu;   Ramothgilead;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Jeho'ram;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jehu;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Box;   Cruse;   Jehu;   Oil;   Potter;   Ramoth-Gilead;   Vial;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Anointing;   Jehu;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

One of the children of the prophets - The Jews say that this was Jonah the prophet, the son of Amittai.

Gird up thy loins - What thou hast to do requires the utmost despatch.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Box - Rather, “flask,” or “vial” 1 Samuel 10:1. Oil and ointment were commonly kept in open-mouthed jars, vases, or bottles made of glass, alabaster, or earthen-ware. Many such vessels have been found both in Egypt and Assyria. The “oil” was the holy oil, compounded after the receipt given in Exodus Exodus 30:23-25.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-9.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE BLOODY END OF OMRI'S DYNASTY

"This narrative comes from the school of the prophets; and it is an objective and highly dramatic political history, with which criticism can find little fault."[1] This is in line with what this writer believes to be true regarding the entire group of historical books. No "Deuteronomist" had anything to do with any of them. As Josephus declared, "Only the prophets have written the original and earliest accounts."[2]

The bloody violence of this chapter, in the long run, proved to be about as ineffective as the dramatic confrontation on Carmel. The incurable cancer of Baal worship was threatening the very existence of the true religion, and the wiping out of the Jezebel-dominated dynasty that, in a large degree, composed that cancer, checked, but did not destroy it.

Jehu's wholesale murders resulted in many enemies of his reign. The Sidonian kings would have fiercely resented the treatment of Jezebel. Many in the kingdom of Judah would have hated the murderer of Ahaziah. And, during his very first year as king, Jehu was forced to pay tribute to the Assyrian, Shalmanezer III. In the British Museum today, one may see the Black Obelisk from Nimrod which shows Jehu kneeling before the Assyrian monarch.[3] That, of course, indicates a serious weakening of Israel. It is of interest that this inscription refers to Jehu as The Son of Omri, which is inaccurate and raises a word of caution with regard to the foolish trust which some commentators seem to place in the bragging inscriptions of ancient kings.

Still, one must deplore the terrible slaughter that marked Jehu's reign. As Martin said, "Here we have violence that judges but does not heal. Only at Calvary did fierce judgment of sin bring restoration and health for sinners."[4]

It is a gross error to attribute the warfare against Baalism to God's prophets. Snaith and others have fallen into that error. He wrote:

"These prophets were determined to destroy the dynasty of Omri, and they were prepared to go to any length to bring it to pass. Elisha encouraged Hazael to murder Benhadad, and now he raises up Jehu to be an enemy within Israel itself."[5]

The prophets were NOT the ones determined to destroy Baalism and the dynasty that advocated and promoted it. It was the GOD of heaven and earth who did so, and the holy prophets were merely the human instruments of God's campaign against paganism. In such a comment as that just quoted, there seems to be both sympathy and approval of Omri's evil dynasty.

In answer to the question, "Why was such a destruction necessary"? we have an excellent answer from Stigers:

Because idolatry threatened to destroy all remaining good influences in Israel and thence to invade Judah and so destroy the whole nation, the house of Ahab was marked for extinction.[6]

ELISHA COMMISSIONED A PROPHET TO ANOINT JEHU AS KING

"And Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this vial of oil in thy hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber. Then take the vial of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith Jehovah, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not."

The commandment of God to anoint Jehu king over Israel was first given to Elijah (1 Kings 19:16), which Elijah obeyed by commissioning his servant (at the time) Elisha to do so; and here we find Elisha commissioning his servant (one of the sons of the prophets) to carry out the command originally given to Elijah. The eternal principle that a man is in fact doing whatever he commands a servant to do is evident in what happened here.

"Take this vial of oil in thy hand" (2 Kings 9:1). "The oil here was the holy oil compounded after the receipt given in Exodus (Exodus 30:23-25)."[7]

It is not clear why the prophet was commanded to flee after the anointing, but it might have been for his safety. Any partisan of Joram might have slain him for anointing Jehu king. His flight also was consistent with the behavior expected of prophets, and it prevented the asking of any questions.

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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 9:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets,.... Who the Jews generally sayF11Seder Olam Rabba, c. 18. p. 47. was Jonah the son of Amittai:

and said, gird up thy loins; his loose and long garments about his loins, for quicker dispatch in travelling:

and take this box of oil in thine hand; for an use after directed to:

and go to Ramothgilead; where Joram had left his army with his captains, to keep the city from the Syrians.

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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 9:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, a Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:

(a) Prepare yourself to go diligently about your business for in those countries they used long garments which they tucked up when they went about earnest business.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2 Kings 9:1-23. Jehu is anointed.

Ramoth-gilead — a city of great importance to the Hebrew people, east of Jordan, as a fortress of defense against the Syrians. Jehoram had regained it (2 Kings 8:29). But the Israelitish army was still encamped there, under the command of Jehu.

Elisha  …  called one of the children of the prophets — This errand referred to the last commission given to Elijah in Horeb (1 Kings 19:16).

box of oil — (See 1 Samuel 10:1).

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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 9:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-9.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This chapter contains the anointing of Jehu: his slaughter of Joram: the death of Jezebel, and the relation of her being eaten by dogs.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-kings-9.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:

Ramoth — The kings of Israel and Judah were both absent, and Jehu, as it seems, was left in chief command.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-9.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE SONS OF THE PROPHETS

‘One of the children of the prophets.’

2 Kings 9:1

I. The Jewish prophet was not primarily or characteristically a foreteller.—The sole power which the prophet possessed of declaring that which should be arose from his knowledge of that which had been and which was. He meditated in the law of the Lord, and in that law did he exercise himself day and night. The fruits of revolt his inward monitor enabled him to foresee and to predict. Everything that was sudden in his utterances bore witness to previous trains of thought and habits of reflection.

II. Supposing the habitual belief and work of the prophet to have been of this kind, it does not seem very strange that he should have been an educator of others, or that one main object of his education should have been to fit them for functions like his own. God had given His law to the whole nation. All were under it; therefore all might study it and delight themselves in it; and since light is given that it may be communicated, there was no reason why any of the Lord’s people should not be prophets.

III. The sons of the prophets were a continual witness to the Israelites against certain errors into which they were apt to fall respecting the prophetical office.—The man of God might have been looked upon as a mere separate being, cut off by the awfulness of his character and dignity from the rest of his countrymen, an object of distant admiration and dread, not an example of what they should be. These men, taken from among themselves and associated with him, declared that he was only withdrawn from their communion that he might the better claim privileges for them which they were in hazard of losing, that he was only chosen out by the Lord God of Israel that he might the more clearly understand and help them to understand their national calling.

IV. Jehu, the son of Nimshi, had been declared to Elijah as the joint successor with Elisha in the work that he had left unperformed.—No two men in Israel could have been more unlike. Yet Jehu had the kind of faith which might be expected in a soldier, somewhat reckless, but with his sense of right not quenched by religious falsehood. Esteeming himself a scourge of God and rejoicing in the office, he gave full play to all his bloody instincts. We meet such characters in the world, characters with something devilish lying close beside something which is really Divine; and though the devilish is the obtrusive, and may become the pervading, part of the man’s soul, you cannot help feeling that the other is in the very depth of it, and marks out what he is meant to be and can be.

—Rev. F. D. Maurice.

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-kings-9.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 9:1 And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:

Ver. 1. And Elisha the prophet.] Now the time was come for the utter extirpation of Ahab’s house by Jehu, God’s executioner. When wickedness is ripe in the field, God will not let it shed to grow again, but cutteth it up by a just and seasonable vengeance.

Called one of the children of the prophets.] The Hebrews say this was Jonah, whom they make to be the widow of Zarephath’s son, the same that was raised from the dead; (a) but that is uncertain. Elisha went not himself haply, because aged, and for privacy’s sake.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 9:1. Elisha—called one of the children of the prophets Some of the Jewish doctors have been of opinion, that this messenger was the prophet Jonah, who, upon this supposition, must have been a very young man, because Jeroboam the second, in whose reign Jonah prophesied, did not ascend the throne till about fifty years after this appointment of Jehu to the kingdom of Israel. However this be, it is reasonable to think that Elisha did not go himself to perform this office, either because he was now grown old, and unfit for such a journey, or because he was a person too well known, and not so proper to be employed in an affair which required secrecy.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-9.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

2 KINGS CHAPTER 9

Elisha sendeth a young prophet with instructions to anoint Jehu king over Israel; whom he chargeth to destroy the house of Ahab, and fleeth, 2 Kings 9:1-10. Jehu is made king by the soldiers; killeth Joram in the field of Naboth, 2 Kings 9:11- 26; killeth also Ahaziah king of Judah, 2 Kings 9:27-29; causeth Jezebel to be thrown out of a window; who is devoured by dogs, 2 Kings 9:30-37.

Gird up thy loins; for haste, to take this opportunity when the kings of Israel and Judah were both absent, 2 Kings 8:29, and Jehu, as it seems, was left in chief command. Partly that the work may not be hindered, and partly for the security of thy own person. See 2 Kings 9:3.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-9.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1.Called one of the children of the prophets — Elisha was now, perhaps, too old and infirm to go himself to Ramoth-gilead, or else he deemed it better for some reason to send another in his place.

Gird up thy loins — So as to be expeditious in thy mission.

This box of oil — Or, flask of oil. See on 1 Samuel 10:1.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-9.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 9:1. And Elisha the prophet called, &c. — The Prophet Elijah was commanded to anoint Jehu about twelve years before this time; but, because of Ahab’s humiliation, the execution of the judgment pronounced upon him and his family was deferred. The office of anointing Jehu therefore, it seems, was left to be performed by Elisha; who did not go himself, either because he was grown old and unfit for such a journey, or because he was a person too well known to be employed in an affair that required secrecy. Go to Ramoth-gilead — The kings of Israel and Judah were both absent, and Jehu, it is probable, was left commander-in-chief of the king’s army which lay there.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-9.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

One. The Rabbins say Jonas; who at this rate, must have been very young, as he prophesied 50 years afterwards, under Jeroboam II. (Calmet) --- Eliseus did not go himself, to avoid giving umbrage, and in obedience to God's order. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

children = sons.

box of oil = oil flask.

oil. For its use in consecration see 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:13.

Ramoth-gilead. Israelite army on guard here. Compare 2 Kings 9:14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead:

Elisha ... called one of the children or the prophets. This errand referred to the last commission given to Elijah in Horeb (1 Kings 19:16). Box of oil, [ pak (Hebrew #6378), called a "vial," 1 Samuel 10:1, and "horn," 1 Samuel 16:1; Septuagint, ton fakon, the vessel, in the shape of a lentil.]

Ramoth-gilead - a city of great importance to the Hebrew people, east of Jordan, as a fortress of defense against the Syrians. Jehoram had regained it (2 Kings 8:29); but the Israelite army was still encamped there, under the command of Jehu.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-9.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

IX.

JEHU ANOINTED BY ELISHA’S MESSENGER AS KING OF ISRAEL. HE SLAYS JEHORAM. AHAZIAH AND JEZEBEL. (Comp. 2. Chron. .)

(1) And Elisha the prophet called.—Rather, meanwhile Elisha had called—i.e., while Joram was lying ill of his wounds. The Hebrew construction again indicates not so much succession as contemporaneousness.

One of the children (sons) of the prophets.—Rashi says it was Jonah, who is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25.

Box.—The same word occurs again only in 1 Samuel 10:1. Render, phial.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:
one
The Jews say that this was Jonah, the prophet, the son of Amittai.
the children
4:1; 6:1-3; 1 Kings 20:35
Gird up thy loins
As the upper garments of the Orientals were long and flowing, it was indispensably necessary to tuck up the skirts with a girdle about their loins, in order to use any expedition in their work or on a journey.
4:29; 1 Kings 18:46; Jeremiah 1:17; Luke 12:35-37; 1 Peter 1:13
box of oil
1 Samuel 10:1; 16:1; 1 Kings 1:39
Ramoth-gilead
8:28,29; Deuteronomy 4:1,3; 1 Kings 22:4,20
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 4:13 - Ramothgilead;  1 Kings 19:16 - Jehu;  2 Kings 2:3 - And the sons;  1 Chronicles 6:80 - Ramoth;  2 Chronicles 18:2 - Ramothgilead;  2 Chronicles 22:7 - the Lord had

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-9.html.