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Elijah's Sacrifice.

I. KINGS, XVIII.

Death of the Prophets.

I Hel)., rcent.

Darrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. (34) And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. (35) And the water Iran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

(36) And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, 2 Or, apprehend. LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. (37) Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. (38) Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice,

1 and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

(39) And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. (40) And Elijah said unto them, ?Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

(1l) And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is sa sound of abundance of rain. (12) So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he east himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, (+3) and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he

3 Or, a sound of a

noise of mult.

speculation. A ready surmise, by those unacquainted Law. (See, for example, Deut. xiii. 6—18, xvii. 2–7.) with the country, was that the water was taken from The law was adapted (as in the terrible crucial example the sea flowing at the base of Carmel; but a glance of the slaughter of the Canaanites) to the “ hardness of at the position and the height of the mountain puts men's hearts.” In the imperfect moral and religious this not unnatural surmise out of the question, as dif- education of those times, it did not recognise the differficult, if not impossible. Examination of the locality ence between moral and political offences punishable has discovered a perennial spring in the neighbourhood by human law, and the religious sin or apostasy which of the traditional scene of the sacrifice, which is never we have been taught to leave to the judgment of God known to fail in the severest drought. From this, no alone; and it enjoined an unrelenting severity in the doubt (as indeed Josephus expressly says), the water execution of righteous vengeance, which would be was drawn, with, of course, the object of precluding morally impossible to us, who have been taught to all idea of fraud or contrivance, and bringing out hate the sin, and yet spare, as far as possible, the strikingly the consuming fierceness of the fire from sinner. The frequent quotation of such examples heaven, so emphatically described in verse 38.

by Christians-of which Luke ix. 54 is the first example (36) Lord God of Abraham.-In this solemn -is a spiritual anachronism. In this particular case, and earnest invocation of God, as in Exod. iii. 15, vi. however, it is also to be remembered that those slain 2, 3, the namo JEHOVAH, describing God as He is in were no doubt implicated in the persecution headed by Himself—the One eternal self-existent Being—is united Jezebel, and that the Baal-worship was a licentious and with the name which shows His special covenant with perhaps bloody system. Elijah, presiding over the “Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel.” * In His own nature slaughter which dyed the waters of the Kishon with incomprehensible to finite being, He yet reveals Him- blood, felt himself the avenger of the slaughtered self in moral and spiritual relations with His people, prophets, as well as the instrument of the judgment of through which they know that which passeth know- God. ledge.” The prominence of the name“ Jehovah," thrice (41) Get thee up, eat and drink.-There seems a repeated in this short prayer of Elijah, is significant touch of scorn in these words. Ahab, remaining passive as of the special mission, symbolised in his very name, throughout, had descended to the place of slaughter in so also of his immediate purpose. He desires to efface the valley, looking on silent-if not unmoved-while the himself. The God of Israel is to show Himself as the priests, whose worship he had openly or tacitly sanctrue worker, not only in the outer sphere by miracle, tioned, were slain by hundreds. Now Elijah bade him but in the inner sphere by that conversion of the hearts get up to his palace, taking it for granted that, fresh of the people, which to the prophet's eye is already from that horrible sight, he is yet ready to feast, and effected. Like his antitype in the New Testament, rejoice over the approaching removal of the judgment, Elijah is but a voice calling on men “to prepare the which alone had told on his shallow nature. The king way of the Lord.”

goes to revel, the prophet to pray. (39) They fell on their faces.-Exactly as in (42) Put his face between his knees.-The Lev. ix. 24, at the inauguration of the sacrifices attitude is, of course, one of prayer, but is a peculiar of the new Tabernacle by the fire from heaven, with attitude distinct from the ordinary postures of the characteristic addition of the cry, “ Jehovah ; He, standing and kneeling – which has been noted as and He only, is God.”

existing still among the modern dervishes. Possibly (49) Slow them.-This ruthless slaughter of Baal's it is characteristic of the vehement excitement of the prophets, as a judgment on their idolatry and perversion moment, and of the impulsive nature of Elijah. of the people, belongs alike to the fierce righteousness (43) Go again seven times.-From this delay of of the character of Elijah, and to the spirit of the old the answer to prayer Elijah's example became pro.

The Ruin comes.

I. KINGS, XIX.

Fliylt of Elijah.

Bind.

went up, and looked, and said, There is

withal how he bad slain all the prophets nothing. And he said, Go again seven

with the sword. (2) Then Jezebel sent times. (44) And it came to pass at the

a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let seventh time, that he said, Behold, there

the gods do to me, and more also, if I ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like 1 t., Tie, or, make not thy life as the life of one of a man's hand. And he said, Go up,

them by to morrow about this time. say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot,

(3) And when he saw that, he arose, and and get thee down, that the rain stop

went for his life, and came to Beerthee not. (45) And it came to pass in the

sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and mean while, that the heaven was black

left his servant there. with clouds and wind, and there was a

(4) But he himself went a day's journey great rain. And Ahab rode, and went

into the wilderness, and came and sat to Jezreel. (46) And the hand of the Lord

down under a juniper tree: and he rewas on Elijah; and he girded up his

quested 3 for himself that he might die; loins, and ran before Ahab ? to the

and said, It is enough ; now, O LORD, entrance of Jezreel.

3 Hen., for his life. take away my life; for I am not better

than my fathers. (5) And as he lay and CHAPTER XIX.-(1) And Ahab told

slept under a juniper tree, behold, then Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and

an angel touched him, and said unto

2 Heb., till thon

Come to Jezreel.

verbial for intensity and perseverance in supplication prophet (see chap. xviii. 46) had not ventured to enter (James v. 17). The contrast is remarkable between Jezreel till he should know how his deadly foe would the immediate answer to his earlier prayer (see verses receive the news of the great day at Carmel. 36, 37) and the long delay here. The one was for the sake of the people; the other for some lesson-perhaps (3) He arose, and went for his life.-The sudden of humility and patience—to Elijah himself. When the reaction of disappointment and despondency, strange answer does come, it fulfils itself speedily. The “ little as it seems to superficial observation, is eminently cloud” becomes all but immediately (for so " in the characteristic of an impulsive and vehement nature. mean while” should be rendered) a storm blackening the

His blow had been struck, as he thought, triumphantly. whole heavens, borne by a hurricane from the west. Now the power of cool unrelenting antagonism makes

(45) Jezreel.- This is the first mention of the city itself felt, unshaken and only embittered by all that had Jezreel, a city of Issachar (Josh. xix. 18), as a royal passed. On Ahab and the people he knows that he city. The name (signifying

“ Jehovah hath sown”) cannot rely; so once more he fees for his life. was applied to the whole of the rich plain, the Beer-sheba. (See Gen. xxi. 14, 33, xxii. 19, xxviii. garden and battlefield of northern Palestine.

(See

10, xlvi. l, &c.)—This frontier town of Palestine Judges vi. 33: 1 Sam. xxix. 1; 2 Sam. ii. 9.) The to the south is little mentioned after the patriarchal city was made a royal residence by Ahab, as Samaria time. The note that “ it belonged to Judah ” is, by Omri. It stands in a position of some strength and perhaps, significant. Judah was now in half-dependent great beanty, supplied by unfailing springs of water, alliance with Israel; even under Jehoshaphat, Elijah visible from Carmel, and commanding views east and might not be safe there, though his servant-trawest far over the plain.

ditionally the son of the widow of Zarephath-might (16) The hand of the Lord was on Elijah- stay without danger. in a striking reaction of enthusiastic thankfulness after (4) Juniper tree.-A sort of broom, found abunthe stern calmness of his whole attitude throughout dantly in the desert. It has been noted that its roots the great controversy, and his silent earnestness of were much prized for charcoal, the “ coal” of verse 6. prayer. At the head of the people he brings the king, I am not better than my fathers.-The ex. conquered, if not repentant, home in triumph. To our clamation is characteristic. Evidently he had hoped conception of a prophet this frenzied excitement seems that he himself was * better than his fathers strange. Nor could it have belonged to a Samuel, an a servant of God-singled out beyond all those that Elisha, or an Isaiah. In the simple and enthusiastic went before him, to be the victorious champion of a warrior of God it is natural enough.

great crisis, “he, and he alone” (chaps. xviii. 22, xix.

10—14). Now he thinks his hope vain, and sees no XIX.

reason why he should succeed when all who went (1, 2) There is a certain grandeur of fearlessness and before have failed. Why, he asks, should he live when ruthlessness in the message of Jezebel, which marks the rest of the prophets have died ? her character throughout, and places it in striking con- (5) An angel touched him.-The word may signify trast with the vacillating impressibility of Ahab, simply a messenger,” human or super-human; but whom she treats with natural scorn. (See xxi. 7.) the context suggests a miraculous ministration of some Ahab, as before, remains passive; he has no courage, unearthly food. It is notable that, except as ministers perhaps no wish, to attack Elijah, before whom he had of God in the physical sphere (as in 2 Sam. xxiv. 16, 17; quailed; but he cares not, or dares not, to restrain 2 Kings xix. 35), the angels, whose appearances are so Jezebel. She disdains to strike secretly and without often recorded in earlier days, hardly appear during Warning: in fact, her message seems intended to give the prophetic period, as though the place of their spiritual the opportunity for a flight, which might degrade ministry, as messengers of God, to the people had been Elijah in the eyes of the people. We note that the supplied by the prophetic mission. Here, and in 2 Kings

as

Elijah in the Wilderness,

I. KINGS, XIX.

and on Mount Horeb.

him, Arise and eat. (6) And he looked,
and, behold, there was a cake baken on
the coals, and a cruse of water at his
head. And he did eat and drink, and
laid him down again. (7) And the angel
of the LORD came again the second time,
and touched him, and said, Arise and
eat; because the journey is too great 1 Heb., volster.
for thee. (8) And he arose, and did eat
and drink, and went in the strength of
that meat forty days and forty nights
unto Horeb the mount of God.

(9) And he came thither unto a cave,
and lodged there; and, behold, the word
of the LORD came to him, and he said
unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah ? Rom. 11. 3.
(10) And he said, I have been very jealous
for the LORD God of hosts : for the
children of Israel have forsaken thy
covenant, thrown down thine altars, and
slain thy prophets with the sword; and
I, even I only, am left; and they seek

my life, to take it away. (11) And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the LORD was not in the wind : and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake : (12) and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire : and after the fire a still small voice. (13) And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (14) And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts : because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets

vi. 17, the angel is but auxiliary to the prophet, simply people, the slaughter of His prophets, the persecution ministering to him in time of danger and distress, as to death of the one solitary champion left. What use the angel of the Agony to the Prophet of prophets. is there in further striving, if he is left unsupported

(6) And laid him down. There is a pathetic and alone ? The complaint is like that of Isaiah touch in the description of the prophet, wearied and (lxiv. 1), “ ( that thou wouldest rend the heavens and disheartened, as caring not to eat sufficiently, and glad, come down!” The zeal for God's glory, as imperilled after a morsel eaten, to forget himself again in sleep. by His long-suffering, is like that of Jonah (iv. 1–3);

(8) Forty days and forty nights.-Unless this the impatience of the mysterious permission of evil, time includes, as bas been supposed by some, the like that rebuked in the celebrated story of Abraham whole journey to and from Horeb, and the sojourn and the Fire-worshipper. In the Elias of the New there, it is far in excess of what would be recorded for Testament there is something of the same despondent a journey of some two hundred miles. It may, therefore, impatience shown in the message from prison to our be thought to imply an interval of retirement for rest Lord : •Art Thou He that should come, or look we for and solitary meditation, like the sojourn of Moses in another” Horeb, and the sojourn of our Lord in the wilderness (11) And, behold. In the LXX., the whole of this (Exod. xxiv. 18; Matt. iv. 2) during which the spirit verse, couched in the future, is made part of the "word of the prophet might be calmed from the alternations of the Lord.” But our version is probably correct. of triumph and despondency, to receive the spiritual The whole of the vision, which is left to speak for lesson which awaited him. During all that time he itself, without any explanation or even allusion in the went " in the strength" of the Divine food, that he subsequent message to Elijah, is best understood by might know that man doth not live by bread alone, comparison with two former manifestations at Horeb, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth to the people and to Moses (Exod. xix. 16–18; xxxiv. of God” (Deut. viii. 3).

5–8). To the people the Lord had then been mani. (9) A cave.- This is properly, “the cave”-perhaps fested in the signs of visible power, the whirlwind, the a reference to some cave already well known, as con- earthquake, and the fire-first, because these were the nected with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, natural clothing of the terrors of the Law, which or perhaps only an anticipatory reference to the cave is the will of God visibly enforced; next, because which Elijah's sojourn was to make famous.

for such visible manifestations of God, and perhaps The word of the Lord came to him.-The for these alone, the hearts of Israel were then connection suggests that this message came to him in vision or dream at night. The LXX. implies this impossible vision of the glory of the Lord face to distinctly by inserting in verse 11 the word “to-morrow,” face, the manifestation granted was not of the Divine which is also found in the rather vague and prosaic majesty, but of the “ Name of the Lord,” “the paraphrase of the passage in Josephus. What Elijah Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and replies in imagination in the vision, he repeats next abundant in goodness and truth ;” for this higher conday in actual words.

ception of the majesty of God, as shown in righteous(10) And he said.—The reply to the implied ness and mercy, Moses, as being the greatest of prophets, reproof is one of impatient self-exculpation and even could well understand. The vision of Elijah stands out remonstrance. He himself (it says) had been very in contrast with the one and in harmony with the other. jealous for the Lord; yet the Lord had not been It disclaims the visible manifestation in power and jealous for Himself, suffering this opeu rebellion of the vengeance, for which he had by implication craved; it

Elijah on Mount Horeb.

I. KINGS, XIX.

He meets Elisha.

Eliseus.

Ecclus 4N. H.

with the sword; and I, even I only, am |« Luke 4. 27, called which have not bowed unto Baal, and left; and they seek my life, to take it

every

mouth which hath not kissed him. away. (15) And the LORD said unto him,

(19) So he departed thence, and found Go, return on thy way to the wilderness

Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was of Damascus : and when thou comest, Kings 2.1, 3; plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before anoint Hazael to be king over Syria :

him, and he with the twelfth: and (16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou

Elijah passed by him, and cast his anoint to be king over Israel: and « Elisha

mantle upon him. (20) And he left the the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah

oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy

me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my room. (17) And \it shall come to pass,

mother, and then I will follow thee. that him that escapeth the sword of

And he said unto him, 'Go back again: Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that

for what have I done to thee? (21) And escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall

he returned back from him, and took a Elisha slay. (18) C Yet I have left me

yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled seven thousand in Israel, all the knees : Heb., Go, i etuin. their flesh with the instruments of the

c Rom. ll. 4.

I Or, I cill leate.

implies in “ the still small voice "_" the voice (as the LXX. has it) of a light breath”-a manifestation like that expressed plainly to Moses, of the higher power of the Spirit, penetrating to the inmost soul, which the terrors of external power cannot reach. The lesson is simply, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. iv. 6). The prophet so far reads it that he acknowledges, by veiled face of reverence, the presence of the Lord in “ the still small voice,” yet, with singular truth to nature, he is recorded as repeating, perhaps mechanically, his old complaint.

(15) Go, return.-The charge conveys indirectly a donble rebuke. His cry of disappointment, “Lord. I am not better than my fathers,” implying that he stood out beyond all others, to meet the stern requirements of the time, is met by the charge to delegate the task of vengeance for God to others; the complaiut, “I, even I alone, am left,” by the revelation of the faithful remnant-the seven thousand who had not bowed to Baal- unknown to him, perhaps to one another, but known and loved by God.

(16) And Jehu.-Of this charge Elijah fulfilled in person but one part, in the call of Elisha: for the fulfilment of the other two parts, see 2 Kings viii. 8 -13; ix. 1–6. This apparently imperfect correspondence of the event to the charge, is a strong indication of the historical character of the narrative.

The history, indeed, records no actual anointing of Elisha; and it is remarkable that in no other place is any such anointing of a prophet referred to, unless Ps. cv. 15 be an exception. The anointing, signifying the gift of grace, was first instituted for the priests (Exod. xl, 15; Num. iii. 3); next it was extended to the royal office, and became, in common parlance, especially attached to it. The prophetic office, as the third great representative of the power of Jehovah, might well be hallowed by the same ordinance, especially as the prophets dispensed it to the kings; but, whether the prophets were always consecrated with the sacred oil, or whether, as in the Prophet of prophets, the “ anointing with the Holy Ghost and with power” sometimes superseded the outward sign, we do not know. Abel. meholah (“ the meadow of the dance," see chap. iv. 12) lay in the rich country near the Jordan valley and the plain of Esdraelon; it was therefore on Elijah's way.

(17) Him that escapeth the sword of Hazael. - The vengeance wrought by Hazael and Jehu on the faithlessness of Israel speaks for itself; it is marked in bloody letters on the history (2 Kings x.). But

Elisha's mission was obviously not one of such vengeance. He had to destroy enmity, but not to slay the enemies of God. The difficulty, such as it is, is one of the many marks of historic accuracy in the whole passage. Probably Elisha's mission is here described in the terms in which Elijah would best understand it. His spirit was for war; he could hardly have conceived how the completion of his mission was to be wrought out by the weapons of peace in the hand of his suc. cessor. (Comp. 2 Cor. x. 3—6.)

(18) I have left.-It should be “I leave, or “will leave," through all this vengeance, the seven thousand faithful; like the faithful remnant sealed in the visions of Ezekiel and St. John in the day of God's judgment (Ezek. ix. 4–6; Rev. vii. 3—8).

Kissed him.-See Job xxxi. 26, 27; Hos. xiii. 2.) The passage is vividly descriptive of the worshipper on the first approach bowing the knee, on nearer access kissing the image, or the altar, or the threshold of the temple.

(19) Twelve yoke of oxen, or (as Ewald renders it) of land, indicate some wealth in Elisha's family, which he has to leave to follow the wandering life of Elijah. The character and mission of Elisha will appear hereafter: but the contrast between the prophets is marked in the difference of their home and origin; even the quiet simplicity of Elisha's call stands contrasted with the sudden, mysterious appearance of Elijah.

Cast his mantle-i.e., the rough hair-mantle characteristic of the ascetic recluse. The act is said to have been a part of the form of adoption of a child; hence its spiritual significance here, which, after a moment's bewilderment, Elisha seems to read.

(20) Let me, I pray thee.-It is impossible not to compare this with the similar request made to our Lord (Luke ix. 61, 62) by one who declared readiness to follow Him. The comparison suggests that the answer of Elijah is one of half-ironical rebuke of what seemed hesitation—"Go back, if thou wilt; what have I dono to constrain thee!” In both cases we have the stern but necessary rejection of half-hearted service, even if the heart be distracted by the most natural and sacred love. But Elijah sees that Elisha means simply farewell, and he apparently waits till it is over.

(21) And he returned.-Like Matthew in Luke ix. 27—29, Elisha, probably after sacrifice, makes a feast of farewell to his home, and of homage to his new master. The hasty preparation is made by the use of the

Ben-hadad sends

I. KINGS, XX.

Messengers to Ahab.

B.C. 901.

I Heb., desirable.

oxen, and gave unto the people, and

servants unto thee to morrow about this they did eat. Then he arose, and went

time, and they shall search thine house, after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

and the houses of thy servants; and it

shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in CHAPTER XX. (1) And Ben-hadad

thine eyes, they shall put it in their the king of Syria gathered all his host

hand, and take it away.

(7) Then the together: and there were thirty and two

king of Israel called all the elders of the kings with him, and horses, and chariots:

land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and and he went up and besieged Samaria,

see how this man seeketh mischief: for and warred against it. (2) And he sent

he sent unto me for my wives, and for messengers to Ahab king of Israel into

my children, and for my silver, and for the city, and said unto him, Thus saith

my gold; and 'I denied him not. (8) And Ben-hadad, (3) Thy silver and thy gold is

all the elders and all the people said mine; thy wives also and thy children,

unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor even the goodliest, are mine.

(4) And

consent. (9) Wherefore he said unto the the king of Israel answered and said,

messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord My lord, O king, according to thy saying, a much front enti not the king, All that thou didst send for to I am thine, and all that I have.

thy servant at the first I will do: but (5) And the messengers came again,

this thing I may not do. And the mesand said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad,

sengers departed, and brought him word saying, Although I have sent unto

again. thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy

(10) And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and

said, The gods do so unto me, and more thy children; (6) yet I will send my

also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice

wooden implements for fuel, as in the sacrifice at the (2-4) And he sent.-This message and the answer threshing-floor of Araunah (2 Sam. xxiv. 22). Hence- of Ahab (“ My lord, O king”) are the assertion and forth from a master he became a servant, ministering to acceptance of Syrian sovereignty over Israel : all the Elijah, and willing to be known, even when he became possessions and the family of the vassal are acknowhimself the prophet of God, as “he that poured water ledged to be the property of his superior lord. Ahab on the hands of Elijah” (2 Kings iii. 11).

surrenders, but not at discretion. “Ben-hadad refuses

all qualified submission. XX.

(6) Whatsoever is pleasant. The demand, which This chapter, evidently drawn from a different source, is virtually for the plunder of Samaria, probably neither is interposed in the middle of the record of the pro- expects uor desires acceptance, and is therefore a rephetic career of Elijah. The history evidently belongs fusal of all but unconditional surrender. It is notable to the latter years of Ahab's reign, probably some time that in the last extremity Ahab falls back on an ex. after the events of the previous chapter. The exis- ceptional appeal to the patriotism of the people. tence of the schools of the prophets, and the prophetic The "elders of the land” (evidently present in Samaria authority exercised, appear to indicate that for some at this time) were the representatives in the northern reason Jezebel's influence on behalf of Baal had been

kingdom of the ancient assembly of the “elders of reduced to impotence, and the worship of God restored. Israel,” existing from the time of Moses downwards as (Comp. xxii. 5--28.) It touches mainly on the external a senate, having power not only of advice, but of conhistory of the reign, and shows it to have been one of currence, in relation to the Judge or King. (See Exod. no inconsiderable prosperity.

iii. 16, xii. 21, xxiv. 1; Deut. xxvii. 1, xxxi. 9; Josh.

vii. 6; 2 Sam. v. 3; 1 Kings viii. 3). The solemn ap(1) Ben-hadad.-This is the inherited title of the pointment of the seventy in Numb. xi. 24, 25 seems to Syrian kings. (See Amos i. 4; Jer. xlix. 27.) From be simply the re-constitution and consecration of the the allusion in verse 34 it appears that this Ben- original body. Each tribe and each town had also its hadad was the son of a king who had been victorious lesser body of elders. (See 1 Sam. xxx. 26, “the against Omri-possibly pushing_still further the ad. elders of Judah ;" Dent. xix. 12, xxi. 3, &c., “ the elders Vantage gained in the time of Baasha. It is evident of the city.”) The anthority of all these assemblies that he assumed, perhaps by inheritance, a sovereignty must have been at all times largely overborne by the over Israel.

royal power (see chap. xxi. 11), and must have raried Thirty and two kings.-All the notices of Syria according to time and circumstance. show it as divided into small kingdoms, confederated (10) The dust of Samaria-when razed to the from time to time under some leading power. In the ground. The phrase probably implies a threat of dedays of David this leading power was that of Hadad- struction, as well as a boast of overwhelming strength. ezer of Zobah (2 Sam. vii. 3–13; x. 19), although Josephus (Ant. viii. 14, 2) has a curious explanationHamath was apparently independent. Now Damascus, that, if each of the Syrians took only a handful of dust, under the dynasty of Hadad, assumes a most formid- they could raise a mound against the city, higher than able predominance. Ahab cannot stand before it, but the walls of Samaria. shuts himself up, probably after defeat, within the The historian, with a touch of patriotic scorn, paints strong walls of Samaria.

Ben-hadad as a luxurious and insolent braggart. He

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