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The passages of the story recorded in this chapter oblige us to look back. (1.)
We have read before of a Shunamite woman that was a kind benefactor to Elisha, now here we are told how she fared the better for it afterwards in the advice Elisha gave her, aud the favour the king shewed her for his sake, ver. 1-6. (2.) We read before of the designation of Hazael to be king of Syria, 1 Kings xix. 15. and here we have an account of his elevation to that throne, and the way he forced for hiinself to it, by killing his master, ver. 7-15. (3.) We read before of Jehorani's reigning over Judah in the room of his father Jelioshaphat, 1 Kings xxii. 50. now here we have a short and sad bistory of his short and wicked reign, ver. 16–24. and the beginning of the history of the reign of his son Ahaziah, ver. 25-29.
VER. 10. “Go, say unto him, Tbou mayest certainly recover: howbeit, the Lord hath shewed me, that he shall surely die.”]-That is, Ben-hadad might recover of his present sickness, but the prophet saw that he would surely die by other means, namely, by the hand of Hazael, ver. 15.
Ver. 13. “And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing ?"]-Hazael seemed astonished that the prophet could think that he should do such things, for he could not think it could ever be in his nature to do them : in wbich respect it may be figurative of a young christian, when he is told, tbat he will prove un. grateful, froward, perverse, and that he will find his heart bent to every evil, and inclined to all manner of abomina. tions; then, like Hazael, he stands astonished, as one amazed, and ready to say, “ Is thy servant a doy?" Sure, it cannot be. But in after-experience he finds, like Paul, that " when he would do good, evil is present with him," and says, “ What I hate, that do I: I find a law in my members warring against the law of my mind.”
Hazael and Jehn were the men that were designed to be the instruments of
God's justice in punishing and destroying the house of Ahab: Elijah was bidden to appoint them to his service; but upon Ahab's humiliation a reprieve was granted, and so it was left to Elisha to acquaint them. Hazael's elevation to the throne of Syria we read of in the foregoing chapter: and we must now attend Jehu to the throne of
Israel; for he that escapeth the sword of Hazael, as Joram and Aha.
VER. 11. " And one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee?"-As though he had said, What business has he with thee? And why wouldst thou humour him so far as to retire for conversation with bim ? Are prophets company for captains ? They call him a mad fellow, because he was one of those that would not “run with them to an excess of riot," 1 Peter iv. 4. that lived a life of self-denial, mortification, and contempt of the world, and spent their time in devotion ; for these things they thought ihe prophets were fools, and the “spiri. tual men were mad,” Hos. ix. 7. Those that have no reli. gion commonly speak with disdain of those that are relia gious, and look upon them as cracked-brained. They said of our Saviour, “he is beside himself;" of John Baptist, he “bas a devil,” is a poor melancholy man; of St. Paul, that " much learning had made him mad;" the bighest wisdom is thus represented as folly.
We have in this chapter, 1. A farther account of Jehu's execution of his
commission. He cut off (1.) All Ahab's sons, ver. 1–10. (2.) AU Ahab's kindred, ver. 11, 12, 13, 14, 17. (3.) Ahab's idolatry: his zeal against that lie took Jonadab to be witness to, ver. 15, 16. summoned all the worshippers of Baal to attend, ver. 18—23, and slew them all, ver. 24, 25, and then abolished that idolatry, ver, 26–28. 2. A short account of the administration of his government. (1.) The old idolatry of Israel was retained, the worship of the calves, ver. 29-31. (2.) This brought God's judgments upon them by Hazael, with which his reign concludes, ver. 32-36.
VER. 16. “And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.”]-That Jehu was zealous in fulfilling the will of God, and the prophecies of Elijah, is evident; but whether his zeal did spring from true love to God, is to be questioned, for it seems to bave proceeded from selfish motives and ends.
The revolution in the kingdom of Israel was soon perfected in Jehy's settle
ment; we must now enqnire into the affairs of the kingdom of Judah, which lost its head (such as it was) at the same time, and by the same band as Israel did; but things continned longer there in distraction than in Israel, yet after some years, were brought into a good posture, as we find in this chapter. 1. Athaliah usurps the government, and destroys all the seed royal, ver. 1. 2. Joash, a child of a year old, is wonderfully preserved, ver. 2, 3. 3. At six years end he is produced, and by the agency of Jehoiada made king, ver. 4-12. 4. Athaliah is slain, ver. 13-16. 5. Both the civil and religious interests of the kingdom are well settled in the hands of Joash, ver. 17-21. And thus, after some interruption, things returned with advantage into the old channel.
VER. 12. 66 And be brought forth the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made bim king, and anointed him.”]-It was great joy to Judab to be delivered from the tyranny of this wicked woman Atbaliah, 2 Chron. xxiv. 7. Jehoida, the priest, had fixed the guards for the security of the king, and the king, though young, was brought forth to be crowned, for which there was great joy and gladness. First, in token of his being invested with kingly power, he“ put the crown upon bim," though it was yet too heavy for his head; the regalia, it is probable, were kept in the temple, and so the crown was ready at hand. Secondly, in token of his obligation to govern by law, and to make the word of God his rule, he gave him the testimony, put the bible into his hand, which he must “read in all the days of his life,” Deut. xvii. 18, 19. Thirdly, in token of his receiving the Spirit, to qualify bim for this great work to which he was called, he anointed him; though notice is taken of their anointing of kings only in case of interruption, as here, and in Solomon's case, yet I know not but the ceremony might be used to all their kings, at least those of the house of David, because their royalty was typical of Christ's, who was to be anointed above his fellows, above all the sons of David. Fourthly, in token of tbe people's acceptance of him, and subjection to his government, they clapt their hands for joy, and expressed their bearty good wisbes to him, “Let the king live;" and thus they made bim king, made bim their king, consented to and concurred with the divine appointment; they had reason to rejoice in the period now put to Athaliah's tyranny, and the prospect they had of the restora
tion and establishment of religion, by a king under the tuition of so good a man 'as Jeboida; they bad reason to bid him welcome to the crown whose right it was, and to pray, let bim live, who came to them as life from the dead, and in whom the house of David was to live: with such acclamations of joy and satisfaction will the kingdom of Christ be welcomed into our bearts when his throne is set up there, and Satan the usurper is deposed; “ Hosanna, blessed is he that comes ;" clap hands and say, Let king Jesus live, for ever live and reign in my soul, and in all the world; it' is promised, Psalm lxxii. 15. “ He shall live, and prayer shall be made for him, and his kingdom) continually,"
This chapter gives us the history of the reign of Joash, which doth not an.
swer that glorious beginning of it, which we liad an account of in the foregoing Chapter ; he was not so illustrious at forty years old as he was at seven, yet his reign is to be reckoned one of the better sort, and appears much worse in Chronicles than it doth here, 2 Chron. xxiv. for there we find the blood of one of God's prophets laid at his door ; here we are only told, (1.) That he did well while Jehoiada lived, ver. 1-3. (2.) That he was careful and active to repair the temple, ver. 4-16. (3.) That after a sueaking composition with Hazael, ver. 17, 18. he died ingloriously, ver. 19—91.
VER. 2. “And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all bis days, wherein Jehoida, the priest, instructed bim."]-King Jeboash was blessed with the counsel of Jehoida, the priest, who was a good guide and instructor in the ways of the Lord, and the Lord gave him wisdom to hearken to him, and to be directed by him. And it seems Jehoash became well acquainted with what related to the worship of God, as appears from ver. 4, &c. Note, It is a great mercy to young people, and more especially to young princes, to be under the tuition and guardianship of those that instruct them “ to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.”
This chapter brings us again to the history of the kings of Israel, and partipe cularly of the family of Jebu. We have here an account of the reign
1. Of his son Jehoabaz, which continued seventeen years. His bad character in general, ver. 1, 2. The trouble he was brought into, ver. 3. and the low ebh of his affairs, ver. 7. His bumiliation before God, and God's compassion towards him, ver. 4, 5. again, ver. 23. His continuance in his idolatry notwithstanding, ver. 6. His death, ver. 8,9. 2. Of his grandson Joash, which continued sixteen years. Here is a general account of his reign in the usual form, ver. 11-13. but a particular account of the death of Elisha in his time. The kind visit
the king made him, ver. 14. and the encouragement he gave the king on in his wars with Syria, ver. 15-19. His death and burial, ver. 20.
and a miracle wrought by his bones, ver. 21. And lastly, the advanLe tages Joasb gained against the Syrians according to his predictions,
VER. 21. And when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.”]-Tbis shews how highly God honoured the proplet; and it is a proof of the resurrection, for God is not ibe " God of the dead but of the living." And this man coming to life may be figurative to Israel of their revival mentioned in ver. 23.
This chapter continues the history of the succession in the kingdoms
both of Judah and Israel. (1.) In the kingdom of Judah, here is
VER. 26. “ For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel."] - They were in great distress and misery, and God delivered them from the oppression of their enemies; which may be figurative of the Lord's seeing, with bowels of love and commiseration, the distresses of his children, who are his