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prosis lepriasis candida, described in the note to Levit. xiii. 5. Maundrell then concludes: “'Tis no wonder if the m. nt from him be by this time obscured ; seeing the best of the Jews, at this time of day, are at a loss to make out
genealogies. But besides, I see no necessity in Scripture for his line being perpetuated. The term (for ever) is, know, often taken in a limited sense in holy writ; of which the designation of Phineas's family to the priesthood 2 xxv. 13) may serve for an instance. His posterity was, you know, cut entirely off from the priesthood, and that ferred to Eli (who was of another line) about three hundred years after.”
that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel isha, giving leave to the young prophets to en
the words that thou speakest in thy bedge their duellings, causeth iron to swim. 8 chamber.
discloseth the king of Syriu's counsel. 13 13 | And he said, Go and spy where he e army, which was sent to Dothan to appre is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was nd Elisha, is smitten with blindness. ,79 Being told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. ught into Samaria, they are dismissed in peace. The famine in Samaria causeth women to eat 14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and ir own children. 30 The king sendeth to slay chariots, and a 'great nost: and they came isha,
by night, and compassed the city about. the sons of the prophets said unto 15 And when the 'servant of the man of ha, Behold now, the place where we God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, il with thee is too strait for us.
an host compassed the city both with horses Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and chariots. And his servant said unto take thence every man a beam, and let him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? jake us a place there, where we may 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they I And he answered, Go ye.
that be with us are more than they that be And one said, Be content, I pray thee, with them. go with thy servants. And he answered, 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I 1 go.
pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. So he went with them. And when they And the LORD opened the eyes of the young I to Jordan, they cut down wood. man; and he saw: and, behold, the moun· But as one was felling a beam, the 'ax tain was full of horses and chariots of fire
fell into the water: and he cried, and round about Elisha. Alas, master! for it was borrowed. 18 And when they came down to him, And the man of God said, Where fell Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said,
Ind he shewed him the place. And he Smite this people, I pray thee, with blind* own a stick, and cast it in thither; and And he smote them with blindness on did swim.
according to the word of Elisha. * Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. 19 | And Elisha said unto them, This is
he put out his hand, and took it. not the way, neither is this the city: 'follow 1 Then the king of Syria warred against me, and I will bring you to the man whom hand took counsel with his servants, ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. g, In such and such a place shall be my 20 And it came to pass, when they were
come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, And the man of God sent unto the open the eyes of these men, that they may of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass
And the LORD opened their eyes, and ich a place; for thither the Syrians are they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst down.
of Samaria. And the king of Israel sent to the 21 And the king of Israel said unto Eliwhich the man of God told him and sha, when he saw them, My father, shall I ed him of, and saved himself there, not smite them ? shall I smite them? nor twice.
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not Therefore the heart of the king of smite them : wouldest thou smite those whom : was sore troubled for this thing; and thou hast taken captive with thy sword and ulled his servants, and said unto them, with thy bow? set bread and water before ye not shew me which of us is for the them, that they may cat and drink, and go of Israel?
to their master. ; And one of his servants said, 'None, 23 And he prepared great provision for ord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet them : and when they had eaten and drunk, ? Or, encamping. • Heb, hrary.
! Heb. irun
5 Or, minister.
& Hob. No.
7 Hel. come ye aflet me.
62 Chron. 39.7
he sent them away, and they went to their thy son, that we may eat him. and she hath master. So the bands of Syria came no more
hid her son. into the land of Israel.
30 | And it came to pass, when the king 24 | And it came to pass after this, that heard the words of the woman, that he rent Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. and the people looked, and, behold, he had
25 And there was a great famine in Sa- sackcloth within upon his flesh. maria : and, behold, they besieged it, until 31 Then he said, God do so and more an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of silver, and the fourth part of a cah of dove's Shaphat shall stand on him this day. dung for five pieces of silver.
32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the 26 And as the king of Israel was passing elders sat with him; and the king sent a man by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto from before him: but ere the messenger him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. came to him, he said to the elders, See
ye 27 And he said, If the LORD do not help how this son of a murderer hath sent to take thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the away mine head? look, when the messenger barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at 28 And the king said unto her, What the door: is not the sound of his master's aileth thee? And she answered, This wo- feet behind him ? man said unto me, Give thy son, that we 33 And while he yet talked with them, may eat him to day, and we will eat my son behold, the messenger came down unto him: to morrow.
and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; 29 So 'we boiled my son, and did eat him: what should I wait for the Lord any and I said unto her on the lonext day, Give | longer?
Verse 25. “ An ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver."— As the ass was not allowed for food by the law of Moses, there have been some ingenious attempts to prove that the corn measure called homer, and not the head of an ass (hamor), is intended. But besides the liberty taken with the usual exhibition of the word, how are we to read " the head of a corn measure ?" or how account for the absence of the usual specification of the kind of corn intended ? The uncleanness of the animal could be no objection when mothers were reduced to such extremity as to eat their own children, The price paid (if shekels be intended, as the Targum explains) was nearly equal to about ten pounds of our money—which shows very strikingly the melancholy condition of the besieged town with respect to food. The case is not without example. Plutarch, in his life of Artaxerxes, notices a famine which happened in the army of that monarch, in the country of the Cadusii (near the Caspian). This vast army could find nothing fit to eat in so poor a country, nor could supplies be brought to them from a distance; whence they were obliged to live upon their horses and beasts of burden; and this kind of provision sold at a very high price, so that the head of an ass could not be obtained for less than sixty silver drachmæ, equal to nearly two pounds sterling, which, however, was a low price, compared with what the unhappy Israelites in Samaria paid. This food was lawful among the Persians. We wish here to mention, that in stating corresponding values in English money, our own price for the same weight of gold or silver only is given, without taking into account the real value of money as influenced by the cost of commodities in different ages and countries.
“ – the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.”—This was about half a pint for 12s. 6d. There has been much diversity of opinion about this “ dove's dung.” Some of the Rabbins inform us that it was used for fuel; Josephus says that it was purchased for its salt; some think it means grain taken from the crops of pigeons, which could of course get out of the besieged town and feed in the open country; many believe that it was wanted for manure; and Bochart, followed by most modern commentators, contends that the name, though literally “ dove's dung," :3 means an article of vegetable food. As he observes, the Arabs give the name of “ dove's dung” to a kind of moss that grows on trees and stony ground, and also to a sort of pulse or pea which appears to have been very common in Judea, and which may be the article here indicated. Large quantities of it are parched and dried, and stored in magazines at Cairo and Damascus. It is much used during journeys, and particularly by the great pilgrim caravan to Mecca; and if the conjecture be correct, it may be supposed to have been among the provisions stored up in the besieged city, ani sold at the extravagant price mentioned in the text. It is clear that, if doves' dung be really intended, it could not be used as an article of food ; and then we are thrown upon its use as manure. This use is best exemplified in Persia, where it is highly valued for quickening the growth and improving the quality of melons and other esculent vegetables. These form such essential articles of food in some warm climates, that vast quantities are consumed ; and, in besieged towns, persons who have been rather delicately brought up have been known to pine away, and die, for the want of such essential provision, even when corn was abundant. On this point Mr. Morier observes: "The dung of doves is the dearest manure which the Persians use; and as they apply it almost entirely to the rearing of melons, it is probably on that account that the melons of Ispahan are so much finer than those of other cities. The revenue of a pigeon-house is about a hundred tomauns per annum; and the great value of this dung, which rears a fruit that is indispensable to the existence of the natives during the great heats of summer, will probably throw some light on that passage of Scripture, where, in the famine of Samaria, the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung was sold for five pieces of silver.” (“Second Journey, p. 141.) We think that the alternatives lie between this explanation and that which Bochart has given, although neither of them seems entirely free from grounds of objection.
29. “We boiled my son, and did eat him.”—This was foretold by Moses (see Deut. xxviii. 53); and similar things happened at the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek. v. 10), and again, when the same city was besieged by the Romans under Titus, as foretold by Christ. As illustrating the present text, nothing more expressive could be adduced
than what Josephus relates concerning that most horrible and fatal siege, with all its fearful circumstances of famine, demoralization, and despair. The instance to which we more particularly refer is that of a woman of superior station, who “when the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow,” slew her son, roasted the body, and had devoured part of it, when the fearful deed was discovered by others who were going about like wolves ravening for food. Happy are they who, in the enjoyment of the too lightly prized blessings of peace and satisfied appetite, cannot comprehend the induration of heart and savageness of feeling which are produced, even in the most refined and delicate, under cir cumstances of general calamity, whether of famine or pestilence! Individual calamity may relax and soften the heart; but, in a general calamity, all the softening sympathies of society are very soon lost;—there is no condolence, no pity, no love, no hope. The ties of life are broken, one after another, until even those which were most dear and cherished give way also, and every human being stands isolated in fierce or gloomy misery, after the first tender impressions of the rising sorrow have passed away. Pitiable as are the miseries which make the heart ache, they are light indeed compared with those long and general calamities in which the heart becomes so hardened-brutalized--that it can ache no more. The writer states the effects which he has witnessed, and with which he has struggled, in famine and pestilence; and his statement is true, for it is no other than that which the Sacred Writings gave when they foretold, that, under such circumstances, “The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter....for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.” (Deut, xxviii. 56, 57.)
king of Israel hath hired against us the 1 Elisha prophesieth incredible plenty in Samaria. kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the 3 Four lepers, venturing on the host of the Sy: Egyptians, to come upon us. rians, bring tidings of their flight. 12 The king,
7 Wherefore they arose and fled in the finding by spies the news to be true, spoileth the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, tents of the Syrians. 17 The lord, who would not and their asses, even
as it was, and believe the prophecy of plenty, having the charge fled for their life. of the gate, is trodden to death in the press.
8 And when these lepers came to the Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the uttermost part of the camp, they went into LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried about this time shall a measure of fine thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and flour be sold for a shekel, and two mea- went and hid it; and came again, and ensures of barley for a shekel, in the gate oftered into another tent, and carried thence Samaria.
also, and went and hid it. 2 Then 'a lord on whose hand the king 9 Then they said one to another, We do leaned answered the man of God, and said, not well: this day is a day of good tidings, Behold, if the LORD would make windows and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the in heaven, might this thing be? And he morning light, 'some mischief will come upon said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine us: now therefore come, that we may go and eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
tell the king's houshold. 3 [ And there were four leprous men at 10 So they came and called unto the the entering in of the gate: and they said porter of the city: and they told them, sayone to another, Why sit we here until we ing, We came to the camp of the Syrians, die?
and, behold, there was no man there, neither 4 If we say, we will enter into the city, voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, then the famine is in the city, and we shall and the tents as they were. die there : and if we sit still here, we die 11 And he called the porters; and they also. Now therefore come, and let us fall told it to the king's house within. unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us 12 I And the king arose in the night, alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we and said unto his servants, I will now shew shall but die.
you what the Syrians have done to us. They 5 And they rose up in the twilight, to go know that we be hungry; therefore are they unto the camp of the Syrians: and when gone out of the camp to hide themselves in they were come to the uttermost part of the the field, saying, When they come out of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man city, we shall catch them alive, and get into
the city. 6 For the Lord had made the host of the 13 And one of his servants answered and Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the noise of horses, even the noise of a great horses that remain, which are left sin the host: and they said one to another, Lo, the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude
Heb. a lord which belonged to the king leaning upon his hand. % Heb. we shall find punishment.
3 Hleb, in it.
of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, the gate: and the people trode upon him in they are even as all the multitude of the Is- the gate, and he died, as the man of God raelites that are consumed :) and let us send had said, who spake when the king came
down to him. 14 They took therefore two chariot 18 And it came to pass as the man of horses; and the king sent after the host of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two the Syrians, saying, Go and see.
measures of barley for a shekel, and a mea15 And they went after them unto Jor- sure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to dan: and, lo, all the way was full of gar- morrow about this time in the gate of Saments and vessels, which the Syrians had maria: cast away
in their haste. And the messen- 19 And that lord answered the man of gers returned, and told the king.
God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD 16 And the people went out, and spoiled should make windows in heaven, might such the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not measures of barley for a shekel, according to eat thereof. the word of the LORD.
20 And so it fell out unto him: for the 17 | And the king appointed the lord on people trode upon him in the gate, and he whose hand he leaned to have the charge of 1 died.
Verse 1. " A measure of fine four...for a shekel, and fuo measures of barley for a shekel.”—That is, roughly stated, a peck of fine flour for 28. 6d. ; and two pecks of barley for the same.
3. “ Four leprous men.”—The Jews think these were Gehazi and his three sons; and this is not impossible, though we see no evidence either for or against this opinion. The law of Moses excluded lepers from the camp; and it is probable that they were afterwards, in like manner, excluded from the towns. It is difficult to understand otherwise than as hypothetical, the statement in verse 4, which seems to imply that these leprous persons were at liberty to have re-entered the town if they had so pleased. It seems that they had been recently expelled, whether on account of their leprosy, or to relieve the town from the charge of their maintenance, or else, that they had for some time been living without the town as lepers, and now ceased to receive from the besieged that scanty provision with which it is probable that they had hitherto been supplied. In either case, as the enclosing lines of the Syrian army shut them in between the besiegers and the town, and prevented them from seeking their living elsewhere, there seemed no other alternative than to throw themselves upon the compassion of the Syrians.
10. “Horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were."—Here the lepers, in describing what they found in the camp when they approached it, mention the cattle first; whereas the description of the flight of the Syrians from their camp (verse 7), mentions the horses and asses last. This is therefore one of many circumstances which we find in the Scripture to intimate that the ancient Oriental camps were arranged much on the same principle as at present - with the cattle outside the whole, tied by their halters to ropes or chains, extended on the ground and fastened to it by means of pegs of wood or iron. Thus the cattle form a sort of outer border to the camp; and this arrangement enables them to be taken abroad for forage or water, without interfering with the order of the camp, while they are the more in readiness to be mounted and ridden off on any sudden occasion that may arise. That the Syrians were afraid to lose even the few moments necessary to unslip the halters of their horses and ride them off, expresses strongly the dreadful nature of the panic with which they were inspired, and how imminent their danger appeared to themselves.
12. “I will now shew you what the Syrians have done.”—Here we have a stratagem of war attributed to the Syrians, several examples of which might be adduced from the ancient and modern history of the East. The best perhaps is that quoted by Harmer, from the history of the revolt of Ali Bey; and it is the more interesting from its having been practised upon the Syrians. The pasha of Damascus found his enemy, the sheikh Daher, encamped near the sea of Tiberias. The engagement was deferred to the next day, but duriug the night the sheikh divided his forces into three troops, and silently moved from his camp, leaving the fires burning, with all the tents and stores as they were, including plenty of provisions and strong liquors. At midnight the pasha, thinking to surprise the sheikh, marched in silence to his camp, and, to his great astonishment, found it completely abandoned, and that too in such haste, that the baggage and stores had been left behind. Rejoicing in his bloodless success, the pasha determined to stay there and refresh his soldiers. They soon fell to plunder, and drank so freely of the liquors, that, overcome by the fatigue of the day's march and the fumes of the spirits, it was not long before they were all in a sound sleep. Then the supposed fugitives, who were well informed of these proceedings, marched back silently to the camp, and rushing suddenly from all sides upon the confused and sleeping enemy, obtained an easy victory over them. They slew eight thousand of their number, and the remainder, with the pasha at their head, escaped with great difficulty to Damascus, leaving all their own baggage behind them. This was what the king of Israel feared.
16 Jehoram's vicked reign in Judah. 20 Edom
and Libnah revolt. 23 Ahaziah succeedeth Jeho i The Shunammite, having left her country seven
ram. 25 Ahaziah's wicked reign. 28 He visiteth years, to avoid the forewarned famine, for Elisha's
Jehoram wounded, at Jezreel. miracle sake hath her land restored by the king. 7 Hazael, being sent with a present by Ben-hadad to Elisha at Damascus, after he had heard the Then spake Elisha unto the woman, 'whose prophecy, killeth his master, and succeedeth him. son he had restored to life, saying, Arise,
1 Chap. 4. 35.
and go thou and thine houshold, and sojourn | evil that thou wilt do unto the children of wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall fire, and their young men wilt thou slay also come upon the land seven years. with the sword, and wilt dash their children,
2 And the woman arose, and did after and rip up their women with child. the saying of the man of God: and she went 13 And Hazael said, But what, is thy with her houshold, and sojourned in the servant a dog, that he should do this great land of the Philistines seven years.
thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD 3 And it came to pass at the seven years' hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over end, that the woman returned out of the land Syria. of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry 14 So he departed from Elisha, and came unto the king for her house and for her to his master; who said to him, What said land.
Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told 4 And the king talked with Gehazi the me that thou shouldest surely recover. servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, 15 And it came to pass on the morrow, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in hath done.
water, and spread it on his face, so that he 5. And it came to pass, as he was telling died: and Hazael reigned in his stead. the king how he had restored a dead body 16 | And in the fifth year of Joram the to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat he had restored to life, cried to the king for being then king of Judah, "Jehoram the son her house and for her land. And Gehazi of Šehoshaphat king of Judah began to said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, reign. and this is her son, whom Elisha restored 17 Thirty and two years old was he when to life.
he began to reign; and he reigned eight 6 And when the king asked the woman, years in Jerusalem. she told him. So the king appointed unto 18 And he walked in the way of the kings her a certain 'officer, saying, Restore all that of Israel, as did the house of Ahab : for the was her's, and all the fruits of the field daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did since the day that she left the land, even evil in the sight of the LORD.
19 Yet the LORD would not destroy Ju7 | And Elisha came to Damascus; and dah for David his servant's sake, 'as he
proBen-hadad the king of Syria was sick; and mised him to give him alway a "light, and to it was told him, saying, The man of God is his children. come hither.
20 In his days Edom revolted from 8 And the king said unto Hazael, Take under the hand of Judah, and made a king a present in thine hand, and go, meet the over themselves. man of God, and enquire of the Lord by 21 So Joram went over to Zair, and all him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease the chariots with him: and he rose by night,
9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took and smote the Edomites which compassed a present 'with him, even of every good thing him about, and the captains of the chariots : of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and the people fled into their tents. and stood before him, and said, Thy son 22 Yet Edom revolted from under the Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah thee, saying, Shall I recover of this dis. revolted at the same time. ease?
23 And the rest of the acts of Joram, and 10 And Elisha said unto him, Go, say all that he did, are they not written in the unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover:
book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? howbeit the Lord hath shewed me that he 24 And Joram slept with his fathers, and shall surely die.
was buried with his fathers in the city of 11 And he settled his countenance 'sted- David : and 'Ahaziah his son reigned in his fastly, until he was ashamed: and the man stead.
25 In the twelfth year of Joram the 12 And' Hazael said, Why weepeth my son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the lord? And he answered, Because I know the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.
of God wept.
Heb. In his hand.
4 Heb. and set it, 8 Heb, candle, or lamp.
52 Chron. 21. 4.
92 Chron. 22. 1.
7 2 Sam. 7. 13.