Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 9:17

Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel and he saw the company of Jehu as he came, and said, "I see a company." And Joram said, "Take a horseman and send him to meet them and let him say, ‘Is it peace?'"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ahaziah;   Church and State;   Conspiracy;   Decision;   Jehu;   Jezreel;   Joram;   Tower;   Usurpation;   Watchman;   Thompson Chain Reference - Towers;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Horse, the;   Kings;   Towers;   Watchmen;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ahaziah;   Jehoram;   Jehu;   Jezreel;   Phoenicia;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jezebel;   Jezreel;   Jezreel, Tower of;   Watches;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Fenced Cities;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Kings, 1 and 2;   Watchman;   Watchtower;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Fortification and Siegecraft;   Government;   Jehu;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ahaziah ;   Jehu ;   Jezebel ;   Jezreel ;   Joram, Jehoram;   Tower;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jehu;   Ramothgilead;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Jezreel;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Fenced Cities,;   Jo'ram;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jehu;   War;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Company;   Jehoram;   Jezreel;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A watchman on the tower - These watchmen, fixed on elevated places and generally within hearing of each other, served as a kind of telegraphs, to communicate intelligence through the whole country. But, in some cases, it appears that the intelligence was conveyed by a horseman to the next stage, as in the case before us. At this time, when the armies were at Ramoth-gilead, they were, no doubt, doubly watchful to observe the state of the country, and to notice every movement. See on 2 Samuel 13:34; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-9.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

JORAM AND AHAZIAH WERE TAKEN COMPLETELY BY SURPRISE

"Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace? So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not back. Then he sent out a second on horseback, who came to them and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, he came even unto them, but he cometh not back: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously."

Joram should have heeded the failure of the first messenger to return. It could have saved him a little time and perhaps enabled him to resist the attack of Jehu; but it was a fault of Ahab and his whole family that they repeated actions which had already proved to be futile. One messenger who did not return was all the warning Joram needed, but he paid no attention to it, but sent another one. Joram's brother, another son of Ahab, sent fifty men to arrest Elijah; and when fire from heaven fell upon them, he sent another captain with his fifty; and the same thing happened again! Could one believe it? He did it the third time! It was evidently a family trait (2 Kings 1:9-13). Here Joram himself became the third attempt to meet Jehu before he arrived in Jezreel.

"The driving is like the driving of Jehu; ... for he driveth furiously" (2 Kings 9:20). "The last clause here has become an amusing proverb in our times referring to reckless drivers of automobile."[13]

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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 9:17". "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 there stood a watchman on the tower of Jezreel,.... Who could see afar off when an enemy was coming, and his business was to give notice of it; and especially he was now on his watch tower, because the king was there, and this was necessary for his safety:

and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company; a troop of soldiers, though he did not know who they were, and to whom they belonged, whether they were Syrians or Israelites; which was reported to the king:

and Joram said, take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, is it peace? he might fear some ill had befallen his army at Ramothgilead, and the Syrians had got the advantage of them; or they had made an irruption into his country, and were coming to attack him at Jezreel; or there was an insurrection among his own people.

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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 9:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-9.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 9:17 And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, [Is it] peace?

Ver. 17. Is it peace?] This was ever the great question; 2 Kings 9:11, Is all well? Heb., Is it peace? This their guiltiness asketh. All would be well but for their sins. They fear not these; they fear all others, as Cain did, who to them, like comets, are seldom seen without the portendment of a mischief.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". 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 9:17. There stood a watchman on the tower In times of peace as well as war, it was usual to have watchmen set on high and eminent places wherever the king was, to prevent his being surprised. Thus David at Jerusalem was informed by the watchmen, that his sons were escaped from the slaughter of Absalom, when he thought them all lost, 2 Samuel 13:34.; and therefore Jehoram, who had an armor lying before Ramoth-gilead, had good reason to keep a watchful eye upon every motion, especially from that quarter. See Calmet.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". 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

Inquire who it is comes, and if he come upon peaceable terms. For he feared, lest either the Syrians had prevailed there, or some sedition or rebellion was raised against him; which the example of Libnah, and his own guilty conscience, made him fear.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". 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

17.A watchman on the tower — “There was usually in ancient times a watchtower over the royal residence, where a man was always stationed, night and day, to keep a good look out in all directions, but especially in that direction from which any sort of tidings could be expected. What he beheld, which he deemed of any consequence, he declared below in the courts of the palace. In the present case the frequency of reports from the seat of war, and the king’s anxiety for intelligence, naturally kept the attention of the watchman much in that direction.” — Kitto. Dr. Robinson, describing the modern village of Jezreel, mentions “a square tower of some height, partly in ruins, from the several windows of which we enjoyed a splendid view of the adjacent country in all directions.”

I see a company — A vast multitude. Jehu had not come alone; probably a large part of the army followed him.

Take a horseman — Jehu’s company were yet a great way off, and the position of Jezreel — the modern Zerin — (see note on 1 Kings 18:45,) commanded a wide view both to the east and west.

Jehu and his company must have approached Jezreel from the east, through the deep broad valley of the Wady Jalud. From the heights of Jezreel one can see the acropolis of Beth-shean, some ten miles down this valley, and also the mountains beyond the Jordan.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-9.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Watchman. Such were very common, (2 Kings xviii. 24., and 1 Machabees xii. 26.) and as the army was at Ramoth, the attention of the people would be drawn that way. (Calmet) --- Troop. Septuagint, "the dust of the," &c. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

an horseman, or a charioteer.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "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 there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?

A watchman on the tower in Jezreel, [ `al (Hebrew #5921) hamigdaal (Hebrew #4026)]. The Migdol was distinguished by its elevation; and not only was it frequently connected with towers, but in the East with royal residences. The Hebrew palaces, besides being situated on hills, had usually towers attached to them, not only for the pleasure of a fine prospect, but as posts of useful observation. A sentinel was always stationed there, not only as a guard of honour to the king in time of peace, but to prevent his being surprised in time of war. The ancient watch-tower of Jezreel mast have commanded a view of the whole region eastward, nearly down to the Jordan. Beth-shan stands on a rising-ground about six or seven miles distant below it, in a narrow part of the plain; and when Jehu and his retinue reached that point between Gilboa and Beth-shan, they would be fully descried by the watchman on the tower, a report being made to Joram in his palace below. A messenger on horseback is quickly despatched down into the plain to meet the ambiguous host, and question the object of their approach.

Is it peace? The appearance of an officer from the camp at Ramoth naturally caused anxiety. We may safely assume that this messenger would meet Jehu at the distance of three miles or more. On the report made of his being detained, and turned into the rear of the still advancing troops, a second messenger is in like manner despatched, who would naturally meet Jehu at the distance of a mile or a mile and a half down on the plain. He also being turned into the rear, the watchman now distinctly perceived 'the driving to be like the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously' [ b

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "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

(17) And there stood a watchman.—Literally, and the watchman was standing. The tower was attached to the palace, and the latter was, perhaps, near the eastern wall of the town.

The company of Jehu.—The word (shiph‘âh) literally means overflow, and so a multitude of waters (Job 22:11), of camels (Isaiah 60:6), of horses (Ezekiel 26:10). Jehu was accompanied, therefore, by a considerable force.

Joram said.—Not to the watchman, but to one of his courtiers. The narrative is very concise.

Is it peace?—This hardly represents the force of the original. Joram is not yet apprehensive. His question merely means, “What is the news?” He expects news from the army at Ramoth. Thenius, however, explains “Come ye with friendly or hostile intention?” In that case, would the king have sent a single horseman to ascertain the truth?

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
a watchman
2 Samuel 13:34; 18:24; Isaiah 21:6-9,11,12; 56:10; 62:6; Ezekiel 33:2-9; Acts 20:26-31
Take an horseman
7:14
Is it peace
19; 1 Samuel 16:4; 17:22; 1 Kings 2:15; Luke 10:5,6
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 5:21 - Is all well;  2 Kings 9:11 - Is all well;  2 Kings 9:22 - Is it peace;  Habakkuk 2:1 - tower

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-9.html.