Page images

And he said unto the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it; And Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.

And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD's deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek till thou

have consumed them.

And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground, And he smote thrice, and stayed.

And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.

And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.

And it came to pass as they were burying a man, that behold they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha; and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.

And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his as yet.


So Hazael king of Syria died; and Ben-hadad his son reigned in his stead.

And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, the cities R 3 which



which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war, three times did Jehoash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.

4 And Jehoash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne; and Jehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

And the rest of the acts of Jehoash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?


Jehoash continued the abominations which Jeroboam had fatally introduced into Israel, and in that particular he did evil in the sight of the LORD yet he had a great personal respect for the prophet Elisha, and he reverenced the LORD in some degree, though he did not serve Him with a perfect heart.

Elisha lived to an advanced age. It was about sixty years since he had been called to the prophetic office by Elijah; and though we do not read of his having been employed of GoD in any particular service for a long time, it is most likely he continued his admonitions, and had performed some good offices for Israel, or Jehoash would not have addressed him in those endearing words which Elisha himself made use of when Elijah was taken from him: My father! my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof! Perhaps Elisha was the saviour whom the LORD is said to have raised up to deliver them, by his intercessions and prayers, out of the hands of the Syrians; this opinion is confirmed by Elisha's last action in the character of a prophet. He gave the king great assurances of success against the Syrians, and encouraged him to prosecute the war with vigour; and to animate

[ocr errors]



him, gave him a sign that he was commissioned to attack them with a promise of success. "It is," said Elisha, "the arrow of the LORD's deliverance, even the arrow of deliverance from Syria." The prophet having, in GoD's name, assured him of victory over the Syrians, proved him by another sign whether he would pursue, them with more zeal than Ahab had done: this was the meaning of his bidding him “strike with the arrow on the ground;" as much as to say, "believe them brought to the ground by the arrow of the LORD, given ino your hand; now let see how you will improve these advantages." The king shewed not that cagerness and warmth that might have been expected, but smote thrice and no more. Perhaps he contemned the sign, and distrusted the prophet; and there is reason to suppose, that it was to confirm the truth of Elisha's being divinely inspired, that the miracle we read of after the account of his death was performed: many of the Israelites might have represented Elisha as an impostor, and thrown aspersions on his memory; this miracle served to establish his reputation as a PROPHET, and to give the people confidence in respect to the conquest of the Syrians, which he had predicted. Elijah was honoured by the translation of his BODY to heaven: Elisha was filled ed with the same HOLY SPIRIT that had before inspired his master, and followed the example of his fidelity to GOD; therefore the LORD honoured his BODY also in the sight of the world, but in a different way, by making it (after his own soul was departed from it) an instrument of DiVINE POWER, in restoring life to a dead man. We must not suppose, that there was an inherent virtue in the remains of Elisha, more than in those of another man: Divine Inspiration did not alter the nature of prophets, their bodies were still subject to diseases and decay, and their minds liable to passions and sin; excepting when



*Henry's Annotations.

R 4


they were miraculously sustained and illuminated by the particular interposition of the SUPREME BEING, what they said or did in the name of the LORD was entirely unpremeditated: they were no farther holy than as they were sacred, or set apart for the service of God, and lived agreeably to their holy appointment; yet on these accounts they were justly reverenced, and for the good offices they performed for the world they were entitled to esteem. The miracle of raising the dead man may be considered as a proof of the immortality of the soul; but this truth we need not attend to here, as we shall find still better evidence for it as we proceed.

We have already read in the history of the king's of JUDAH, that Hazael invaded that country, and even thought to attempt the conquest of Jerusalem; but he was diverted from his purpose by gifts of the treasures of the LORD'S House, which Joash the king, who at that time reigned over Judah, was induced to make him through fear.

Hazael, having thus subdued and tyrannized over the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, died, and his infatuated people paid divine honours to his memory.

Though Hazael was a great monarch, he must have been an unhappy man; for it is impossible that a mind like his, perpetually hurried by tumultuous passions should know the invaluable blessing of inward peace and satisfaction.

? He left behind him a son and successor, named Benhadad, who suffered a total reverse of his father's fortune. Jehoash king of Israel defeated him thrice, as Elisha had predicted, and recovered from him all that Hazael had taken from Israel. Jehoash is supposed to have divided the government of the kingdom with his son Jeroboam for the last ten years of his reign.

* Universal History.

[ocr errors][merged small]



From 2 Chronicles, Chap. xxv..

AMAZIAH was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.


Now it came to pass when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father but he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.

Moreover, Amaziah gathered Judah together; and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield.

He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.

But there came a man of GoD to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee, for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.

But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: GOD shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.

And Amaziah said to the man of GoD, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the R 5 army

« PreviousContinue »