Sivut kuvina


thither, and he turned into the chamber, 27 And when she came to the man of God and lay there.

to the hill, she caught "him by the feet: but 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And Call this Shunammite. And when he had the man of God said, Let her alone; for her called her, she stood before him.

soul is vexed within her: and the LORD 13 And he said unto him, Say now unto hath hid it from me, and hath not told her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for 28 Then she said, Did I desire a son of thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the my lord ? did I not say, Do not deceive me? king, or to the captain of the host? And she 29 Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy answered, I dwell among mine own people. loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and

14 And he said, What then is to be done go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she him not; and if any salute thee, answer him hath no child, and her husband is old. not again: and lay my staff on the face of

15 And he said, Call her. And when he the child had called her, she stood in the door.

30 And the mother of the child said, As 16 And he said, 'About this 'season, ac- the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I cording to the time of life, thou shalt em- will not leave thee. And he arose, and fol. brace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, lowed her. thou man of God, do not lie unto thine hand- 31 And Gehazi passed on before them, maid.

and laid the staff upon the face of the child; 17 And the woman conceived, and bare a but there was neither voice nor "hearing: son at that season that Elisha had said unto Wherefore he went again to meet him, and her, according to the time of life.

told him, saying, The child is not awaked. 18 1 And when the child was grown, it

32 And when Elisha was come into the fell on a day, that he went out to his father house, behold, the child was dead, and laid to the reapers.

. 19 And he said unto his father, My head, 33 He went in therefore, and shut the my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him door upon them twain, and prayed unto the to his mother.

LORD. 20 And when he had taken him, and 34 And he went up, and lay upon the brought him to his mother, he sat on her child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, knees till noon, and then died.

and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands 21 And she went up, and laid him on the upon his hands: and he stretched himself bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon the child; and the flesh of the child upon him, and went out.

waxed warm. 22 And she called unto her husband, and 35 Then he returned, and walked in the said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young house 'to and fro; and went up, and stretchmen, and one of the asses, that I may run to ed himself upon him: and the child sneezed the man of God, and come again.

seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 23 And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go

36 And he called Gehazi, and said, Call to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor

this Shunammite. So he called her. And sabbath. And she said, It shall be 'well. when she was come in unto him, he said,

24 Then she saddled an ass, and said to Take up thy son. her servant, Drive, and go forward ; 8slack 37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. and bowed herself to the ground, and took

25 So she went and came unto the man of up her son, and went out. God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass,

38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: when the man of God saw her afar off, that and there was a dearth in the land; and the he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yon- sons of the prophets were sitting before him . der is that Shunammite:

and he said unto his servant, Set on the 26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well of the prophets. with thy husband ? is it well with the child ? 39 And one went out into the field to And she answered, It is well.

gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and

upon his bed.

5 Gen. 18. 10.

6 Heb. set time.

7 Heb. peace. 11 Heb, atiention.

8 Heb. restrarn not for me to ride. • Heb, by his feet.

1% Heb. once hither, and once thither.

10 Heb. ditter

gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, shalisha, and brought the man of God bread and came and shred them into the pot of of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and pottage: for they knew them not.

full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And 40 So they poured out for the men to eat. he said, Give unto the people, that they may And it came to pass, as they were cating of eat. the pottage, that they cried out, and said, o 43 And his servitor said, What, should I thou man of God, there is death in the pot. set this before an hundred men? He said And they could not eat thereof.

again, Give the people, that they may eat: 41 But he said, Then bring meal. And for thus saith the LORD, 'They shall eat, and he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour shall leave thereof. out for the people, that they may eat. And 44 So he set it before them, and they did there was no "harm in the pot.

eat, and left thereof, according to the word 42 | And there came a man from Baal- | of the LORD.

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Verse 10. “Let us make a little chamber...on the wall." Not build a little chamber, but make one ready and keep it in constant readiness for him. « On the wall," directs our attention to the situation of the chamber, as belonging to the outer tenement, one side of which is formed by the wall towards the street. Modern English commentators explain this with a reference to Dr. Shaw's description of an Oriental house. The description is very good, and perfeetly intelligible to those who have an actual knowledge of the East; but as the details seem to be strangely misunderstood by those who have not had that advantage, the present writer will volunteer, with reference to the present text, such an explanation as long residence in Oriental houses may enable him to furnish. It will be observed that the Hebrew word here used is , thy aleeah, the same which is rendered “summer parlour” in Judg. iii. 23. 25 ; *loft," in 1 Kings xvii. 19. 23; and “ little chamber” here. Now the Arabic version employs here a precisely equivalent word in sound and orthography, which word fixes the signification with great propriety to the part of a mansion still thus denominated, and which is not, as some misunderstand Dr. Shaw to mean, a separate building standing apart like a summer-house in a garden, but such an annexed and communicating tenement as we have already slightly referred to in the note to 2 Sam. xviii. 2, and which may be loosely described as being to an Oriental house what the porch of a church, with its vestry or

Chamber on the Wall, near Alexandria. other rooms, is to the church itself. As a general idea, we may state that the principal part of an Oriental mansion occupies one, two, three, or even all four sides of an interior court or garden, none of the buildings of which have either the front or back towards the street: for, interposed between this and the street is another smaller court, with its distinct rooms, forming a smaller house or tenement. The entrance from the street is, through a passage, into this court, from which another passage conducts to the large interior court. This is the ground communication ; besides which the first floor of both the houses has a communicating door, so that a person on the first floor of the one house need not descend to the court to enter the other. Now, in this small outer house there are seldom more than two or three “little chambers," besides that larger one which serves the owner as a divan or receiving room (see the note on 2 Sam. xviii.), and which is usually built against the exterior front wall, over the outer entrance passige, except when peculiar circumstances render it more desirable that this apartment should be on the opposite side. or even on one of the lateral sides, of this outer court. If the writer has made this general description intelligible, the reader will comprehend his meaning, when he states his impression that the "little chamber" prepared for Elisha was one of the little chambers of this small outer tenement. A person accommodated here can go in and out with perfect independence of the main building of the inner court, into which he probably never enters, and does not in the least interfere with the arrangement of the family. A visiter or friend is almost never accommodated any where else--and certainly never in the interior court. Usage is against it; and no one expects, or would even accept it. A European who settles in an Oriental house, and does not care for or attend to this distinction of outer and inner, is soon reminded of it by the difficulty he finds in persuading a native visiter to proceed beyond the outer court, particularly if there are females in the family, and in the end he finds it convenient to adopt their custom, and receive or accommodate them in a room of the outer court. Whether, therefore, we refer to the use of the word aleeah, or to the arrangement of Oriental buildings, or to the manners of the East, we have not the least doubt that Elisha's "little chamber on the wall,” and other such chambers mentioned in Scripture, were such as we have described. Our woodeut represents the kiosk or balcony, projecting into the street, of such chambers on the wall as this note has in view.

19. * My head, my head.”—This was doubtless what is called a "stroke of the sun.” Mr. Madden, who speaks of it as a medical man, witnessed instances of it in the desert between Palestine and Egypt, two of which terminated fatally within forty-eight hours. He calls it "the real inflammatory fever, or synocha of Cullen ;” and adds: “This fever in the desert arises, I imagine, from sudden exposure to the rays of the sun. One of my camel-drivers was attacked during the journey. He complained suddenly of intense pain in the back of his head; he laid his finger on the spot, and from the moment of this seizure he had a burning fever....All the symptoms of this complaint are thuse of coup de soleil in an aggravated form." ("Travels,' vol. ii. p. 190.). The sun of Palestine is strong enough to produce this effect, according to the testimony of various travellers. This is particularly the case in the plains, such as those of Jericho and Esdraelon. In or on the borders of the latter, Shunem was situated ; and in a battle which was fought by the army of Baldwin IV. near Tiberias, on its eastern border, William of Tyre relates, that more soldiers were slain by the sun than by the sword.


24. Drive, and go forward.”—She had required but one ass and a servant-the ass for herself to ride upon, and the servant to run behind and drive it. Some commentators, out of compassion to the servant, have supposed that he also was mounted; which is a most gratuitous supposition, equally disproved by the text and by the existing usages of the East. Without such an explanation, the description, as it stands in the text, exhibits a circumstance which a traveller in the East has continual occasion to witness.' Women usually ride on asses, and are commonly followed by a man on foot, whose business it is to drive or goad the animal forward, at such a pace as the lady may desire. If the lady be of high consideration, perhaps one man goes before to lead the animal, while another follows to drive it on. The leader may be dispensed with, but the driver very seldom. The men do not feel it a very arduous duty to follow an ass; as will be easily apprehended after what we have on former occasions said concerning those who run before or beside even a horse. Saddled asses are let out for hire in all Oriental towns; and when one is hired, the owner or some person employed by him, always runs behind to drive it on, whether the rider be a man or a woman.

39. “Wild vine," or literally, “vine of the field.”. This was perhaps the colocynth, or Cucumis colucynthis, which was called a wild vine from the shape of its leaves and the climbing, nature of its stem, just as the Spanish call every climbing plant Yedra, because in that particular it resembles the ivy. The fruit of the colocynth is yellow when ripe, and about the size of a golden pippin. The whole plant is noted among the ancients for its bitter taste, and its violently purgative qualities. Gourds of different kinds form a common ingredient in the varieties of pottage so frequent in warm climates. When travelling, one of the most agreeable messes set before us, owed its savour to the gourds that had been shred into it. The hypo pakkoolh, or gourds, which the young men put into the pot indicated their nature by the bitter taste they communicated to the preparation. The addition of Aour commanded by the prophet, was merely a continuation of the process; hence the wonderful change was to be ascribed, not to the method pursued, but to the faith entertained by the prophet and his disciples.


Naaman my servant to thee, that thou may

est recover him of his leprosy. 1 *Naaman, by the report of a captive maid, is sent to Samuria to be cured of his leprosy. 8 Elisha, 7 And it came to pass, when the king of sending him to Jordan, cureth him. 15 He re- Israel had read the letter, that he rent his fusing Naaman': gifts granteth him some of the clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to earth. 20 Gehazi, abusing his master's name

make alive, that this man doth send unto unto Naaman, is smitten with leprosy.

me to recover a man of his leprosy? whereNow Naaman, captain of the host of the fore consider, I pray you, and see how he king of Syria, was a great man 'with his seeketh a quarrel against me. master, and 'honourable, because by him 8 | And it was so, when Elisha the man the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: of God had heard that the king of Israel had he was also a mighty man in valour, but he rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, was a leper.

saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? 2 And the Syrians had gone out by com- let him come now to me, and he shall know panies, and had brought away captive out of that there is a prophet in Israel. the land of Israel a little maid; and she 9 So Naaman came with his horses and 'waited on Naaman's wife.

with his chariot, and stood at the door of the 3 And she said unto her mistress, Would house of Elisha. God my lord were with the prophet that is 10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto in Samaria! for he would 'recover him of him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven his leprosy.

times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, 4 And one went in, and told his lord, say- and thou shalt be clean. ing, Thus and thus said the maid that is of 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went the land of Israel.

away, and said, Behold, I thought, He 5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, will surely come out to me, and stand, and and I will send a letter unto the king of Is- call on the name of the Lord his God, and rael. And he departed, and took with him 'strike his hand over the place, and recover ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces the leper. of gold, and ten changes of raiment.

12 Are not "Abana and Pharpar, rivers 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Damascus, better than all the waters of of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is Israel? may I not wash in them, and be come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. Heb. before. 2 Or, gracious. 3 Heb. lifted up, or, accepted in countenance. * Or, victory. 5 Feb, was before. 6 Heh before. 7 Xeba gather in. 8 Heb. in his hand.

10 Or, I said with myself, He will surely come out, &c.

9 Heb. I said. il Heb, move up and down.

1 Or, Amuna.

13 And his servants came near, and spake ceiving at his hands that which he brought: unto him, and said, My father, if the pro- but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after phet had bid thee do some great thing, him, and take somewhat of him. wouldest thou not have done it? how much 21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, And when Naaman saw him running after and be clean ?

him, he lighted down from the chariot to 14 Then went he down, and dipped him- meet him, and said, "Is all well ? self seven times in Jordan, according to the 22 And he said, All is well. My master saying of the man of God: and his flesh hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now came again like unto the flesh of a little there be come to me from mount Ephraim child, and she was clean.

two young men of the sons of the prophets : 15 | And he returned to the man of God, give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, he and all his company, and came, and stood and two changes of garments. before him : and he said, Behold, now I 23 And Naaman said, Be content, take know that there is no God in all the earth, two talents. And he urged him, and bound but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, two talents of silver in two bags, with two take a blessing of thy servant.

changes of garments, and laid them upon 16 But he said, Ås the LORD liveth, be- two of his servants; and they bare them before whom I stand, I will receive none. fore him. And he urged him to take it: but he refused. 24 And when he came to the 16tower, hè

17 And Naaman said, Shall there not took them from their hand, and bestowed then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant them in the house: and he let the men go, two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant and they departed. will henceforth offer neither burnt offering 25 But he went in, and stood before his nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence LORD.

comest thou, Gehazi ? And he said, Thy ser18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy vant went "no whither. servant, that when my master goeth into the 26 And he said unto him, Went not mine house of Rimmon to worship there, and he heart with thee, when the man turned again leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time the house of Rimmon : when I bow down to receive money, and to receive garments, myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, pardon thy servant in this thing.

and oxen, and menservants, and maidser19 And he said unto him, Go in


vants ? So he departed from him "a little way. 27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall

20 q But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. the man of God, said, Behold, my master And he went out from his presence a leper hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not re

as white as snow. 14 Heb. a little piece of ground.

18 Or, secret place.

13 Lake 4. 97.

15 Heb. Is there peace ?

17 Heb. not hither, or thither.

Verse 11. “ Strike his hand over the place.”—This is a curious and a most ancient instance of a very prevalent superstition, which ascribed extraordinary healing powers to the touch of persons of high rank, or of real or reputed sanctity. The touch was in fact everywhere the established mode by which a person was expected to exhibit whatever healing tower he possessed or pretended to. At this day it is not unusual in the East for a European physician to be expected to heal a patient merely by stroking his hand over the ailing part; and still more is this the case, when the person applied to is supposed to be endowed with supernatural powers. We can find illustrations of this in England. Even to late as the reign of Queen Anne, our sovereigns were supposed to possess the power of healing the king's evil by their touch ; and as it was found a convenient instrument of state for confirming the loyalty of the ignorant, the virtue thus liberally conceded to the touch of royalty, was not, until after the above-named reign, left unexercised. On stated occasions, the touch of the royal hand was bestowed on the afflicted, during a religious service appropriate to the occasion. Edward the Confessor and Charles II. are even reported to have healed the blind by the same process, as the emperor Vespasian was said to have done long before. This notion still lurks among us, as there may still, in our remote towns and villages, be found certain old women who are believed to have the power of curing warts and such things, by simply stroking the affected parts with their hands. The leading idea which assigns to the hands the faculty of transmitting spiritual powers, or of communicating healing virtues, is clearly taken from the common use of the same members in communicating or bestowing temporal benefits; and in conformity with it, the lame, the blind, and the deaf, who sought help from the Son of David,” often received it through the imposition of his hands upon the parts affected. 12. “ Abana and Pharpar.”—Neither of these names can now be recognised at Damascus, though the "waters of Damascus” are still mentioned with rapture by the inhabitants. Maundrell, and others after him, speak but of one stream at Damascus—the river Barrady. It is true there is but this river immediately at the city ; but before it teaches it, it receives another stream, which may be cousidered one of its sources, and was probably one of the two which in the partial eyes of Naaman eclipsed all the waters of Israel. The Barrady rises in the mountains of AntiLibanus, to the north-west of the town ; and, at a considerable distance therefrom, receives the river Zebdeni, after which it rolls with increased volume its diversified and picturesque stream through the city and its surrounding gardens and orchards ; in its passage through which, in four principal streams, it is made to supply those innumerable rills and fountains which render Damascus, perhaps, the most luxuriously watered city of the East, and cause it to be considered the site of Eden, by the natives of those usually dry and sultry regions. In this service the waters of the Barrady are nearly exhausted. The remains however are again united on leaving the town and its suburbs, and the weakened stream contrives to struggle on till it is finally lost in the bog of El Mardj. The river Barrady, before its division into the four streams, which are considered the four rivers of Eden by those who here fix the site of Paradise, is a rapid and broad stream, not generally fordable, and although not, as a whole or in part, at all comparable to the Jordan for size and importance, is in some respects more interesting to the traveller from the alternate circumstances of the confining cliff, the cascade, the broad valley, or the rich cultivation which it exhibits. There can be no question this river was either the Abana or Pharpar; but which was the other is very difficult to determine. If it was one of the many rivulets that enter the Barrady before it arrives at Damascus, the Zebdeni seems the most likely to be intended ; but if not, probability would decide in favour of the Nahr el Berde, which, like the Barrady, rises in Anti-Libanus, and proceeding nearly due west, passes nearly three miles to the south of Damascus, and joins the Barrady as its attenuated stream advances, after having supplied the city, to the Bahar el Mardj. Perhaps the similarity between the names Barrady and Berde indicates such a correlative reference as fits them to be mentioned together, like the Abana and Pharpar. Certain it is that the rivers of Damascus are not less extolled by the present inhabitants than they were by Naaman of old.

17.Two mules' burden of earth.—The proceedings and requests of Naaman are throughout very remarkable for the illustration which they furnish of the great antiquity of many still existing usages and ideas. However the present application be interpreted, it must still intimate that the Syrian attributed a particular sanctity to the earth of the country in which the true God, whose power he had experienced, was known and worshipped. He might have taken as much earth as he pleased without troubling the prophet ; but he probably thought, that whatever virtue it might possess, would be the greater if it were received from, or with the consent of, so holy a person. It is generally understood, that he intended with the earth to raise an altar of earth (according to the law) in his own country; and although the law does not direct any particular earth to be preferred for the purpose, it was perhaps excusable in so young a convert as Naaman, to conclude that the earth of Palestine would be preferable. But by the law of Mohammed, earth is allowed for the performance of ceremonial ablutions when water cannot be obtained : a person rubs himself with earth, as he would with water, and he is clean. Is it not conceivable that Naaman, having so lately experienced so much benefit through the waters of Jordan, might have desired, in his distant home, to use the waters of the land thenceforth in his ablutions; and being unable to secure this benefit directly, sought to do so representatively, by means of the earth of the same land? But the Mohammedans also use the soil of their holy land Mecca in their devotions. They carry continually about with them a small quantity of it, in a little bag; and when they pray, they deposit this so upon the ground, that whenever their devotional ceremonies require them to lay their head to the ground, it may be placed upon this consecrated earth. But there is still another use for the earth of reputed holy places. He is considered particularly happy who can obtain interment in the land itself; but if this be impracticable, he is in the next degree happy who, in his own country, can secure such interment representatively, by being laid upon a bed of the sacred earth, or his head being placed upon a pillow of it, or some portion of it being in some way or other associated with his mortal remains. Mohammedanism affords examples enough of this ; but we need not go so far, for to this day the same practice prevails among the Jews in England and elsewhere. He is the happiest of men, who, in the evening of his days can go to Jerusalem, and die and be buried there; he is happy in the next degree who dies and is buried in some country near the sacred land. The happiness diminishes with distance. But he is not unhappy in any country, however distant, with whose remains the smallest quantity of Jerusalem earth may be associated in the grave. In countries not remote from Palestine, a pillow of it may sometimes be laid under the head ; but the general practice, here and elsewhere, is only for a very small quantity-as much as will lie upon a shilling—to be placed upon each eye. Hyam Isaacs ("Ceremonies of the Jews,' 1836) says that during the late war, when the sea was infested by French privateers, which prevented the supplies of earth from coming in regular time, Jerusalem earth was often so scarce, that only half the usual quantity was employed. The earth is sent in barrels by the Rabbies at Jerusalem ; and to prevent deception on the road, they deposit in each barrel certain articles, carefully distributed, which are mentioned in the invoice ; so that on the arrival of the barrel, the identity of its contents is established by a careful comparison of the character and situation of the various articles there found with the indications of the invoice, which states, for instance, that, four inches from the top, there is a knife ; a foot below, a piece of cloth, &c. For which of all these purposes the Syrian soldier desired to possess two mules' load of earth, the reader will determine according to the impression which the narrative makes upon his mind.

18. “Rimmon.”—This name does not elsewhere occur in the Bible, nor is it mentioned by any ancient writer. It is therefore wholly uncertain what idol it denotes; but there has been no want of conjecture, which, in the absence of more certain data, has proceeded chiefly on the meanings which might be etymologically extorted from the name. The usual and proper signification of the word is that of a “ pomegranate,” though, by breaking it up, and speculating on its component syllables, other meanings may be found. A meaning implying" elevation," or "exaltation," in some form or other, is that which is usually elicited by this process. of all the opinions, the most probable seem to be those which make Rimmon to have been either the sun, or the planetary system collectively taken; and, in either case, the pomegranate may have heen the sacred and denominating symbol. Its figure-that of an orb surmounted by a star-with the peculiarities of arrangement and appearance exhibited by its granulated contents, offered good materials for such a symbolization as the ancient idolaters were accustomed to employ.

27. The leprosy...cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever."— The Rev. Mr. Osborn, Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, sent a letter to Maundrell, to ask him if he knew what was become of Gehazi's leprous posterity. Maundrell gave the best answer that could be given to this rather curious question. “When I was in the Holy Land, I saw several that laboured under Gehazi's distemper ; but none that could pretend to derive his pedigree from that person. Some of them were poor enough to be his relations. Particularly at Sichem (now Naplosa), there were no less than ten (the same number that was cleansed by our Saviour not far from the same place) that came a begging to us at one time. Their manner is to come with small buckets in their hands, to receive the alms of the charitable, their touch being still held infectious, or at least unclean.” He then describes the distemper, but we do not quote his description, because we do not think it refers to (iehazi's leprosy, which, from what follows-“ a leper as while as snow”—was clearly

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