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without immediate inspiration, to declare to the king's messenger, that he was not the author of the calamity, for the thing was from the LORD, Elisha appears to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit immediately on the arrival of the king's messenger, for he addressed him. self to him in that solemn form of words which prophets made use of as an introduction to their predictions when they spake by Divine authority : Hear ye the word of the LORD! Thus saith the LORD!
It is needless to enlarge on the miraculous deliverance which it pleased God to grant to the Samaritans, because we have had occasion to consider others of a simi. Iar nature. The terror of the Syrians was caused by some supernatural noise, which we cannot possibly describe ; and therefore it is best not to indulge our minds in fruitless conjectures, on a point of no immediate concern to us, We must, however, remark the wonderful deliverance of the lepers, and the importance of their in. telligence. They were cast out and left by their country. men to perish, because they were considered as useless, and infeetious; but the LORD, whose mercy is over all his works, took compassion on these miserable creatures, and made them instrumental to the relief of those who had despised them.
We may understand from the king's suspicions of a stratagem to betray the city, that he did not believe the prediction of the prophet, otherwise he would have acted as Jehoshaphat did, when the Moabites invaded Judah. It appears that the Samaritans had been under the necessity either of starving their horses for want of forage, or of eating them to satisfy their hunger; and that there were no more than five left in the city, two only of which were able to go out to the Syrian camp. It was not for the righteousness of the king, or the peo
ple in general, but for the sake of God's faithful servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in remembrance of his covenant that Israel was delivered. The proud noble. man, who, disbelieved the word of the LORD, had rea. son to repent his infidelity. God's justice was glorified, and the prediction of Elisha was fulfilled, for the nobleman saw the plenty, but did not live to taste it.
Though the city of Samaria, which had been so particularly distressed, was plentifully relieved, there seems to have been a general scarcity in the land of Israel ; for we are told of a famine which lasted seven years ; and there is reason to suppose, that Ben-hadad was permitted of the LORD to besiege the capital city at this time, in order to humble Jehoram, and bring him to a sense of his crimes, that he might put away idols, and use his endeavours to reform his people from those sims for which the famine was inflicted. We have an account
seve. ral miracles performed through Elisha, most of which seem to have been wrought in this time of scarcity.
G. JI it
THE WIDOW'S OIL MULTIPLIED, AND OTHER MIRACLES.
From 2 Kings, Chap. iv. vi. and yili.
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead : and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD ; and the creditor is come lo take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me: what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house save a
pot of oil.
Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours even empty vessels ; borrow not a few.
And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shall pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sóns, who brought the vessels to her, and she poured out.
And it came to pass when the vessels were full, that she said anto her son, Bring nie yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
Then she came and told the map of GOD: and he said Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunam, where was a great woman : and she constrained him to eat bread." And-90 it was, that, as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.
And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God which passeth by us continually.
Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool and a candlestick': and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
And it fell on a day that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. :
And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunam. mite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care, what is “to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king or to the captain of the host ? And he answered, 'I dwell among mine own people.
And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her hus. band is old.
And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door.
And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.
And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine hand. maid.
And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
And when the child was grown, it fell on a day that he'went out to his father to the reapers.
And he said unto his father, My head, head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.
And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray
thee one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day ! it is neither new moon nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive and go forward ; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her ; and say unto her,
Is it well with thec? is it well with thy husband ? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: bùt Gebázi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone ; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord ? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not ; and if any salute thee, answer him not again : and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
And the mother of the child said, As the LORD li. veth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child ; but there was neither voice nor hearing : wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon
his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them iwain, and prayed unto the LORD.
And he went up and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his
and his hands
his hands, and he stretched himself upon the child, and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro ; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her; and when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.