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Battle between

I. KINGS, XX.

Ahab and Ben hadad.

for handfuls for all the people that 1 Heb., are at my the kings, the thirty and two kings that 1 follow me. (11) And the king of Israel

helped him. (17) And the young men of answered and said, Tell him, Let not

the princes of the provinces went out him that girdeth on his harness boast

first, and Ben-hadad sent out, and they himself as he that putteth it off. (12) And

told him, saying, There are men come it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard 2 Heb., word. out of Samaria. (18) And he said, this ? message, as he was drinking, he

Whether they be come out for peace, and the kings in the 3 pavilions, that he

take them alive; or whether they be said unto his servants, Set yourselves in

come out for war, take them alive. array. And they set themselves in array 3 or, tents. (19) So these young men of the princes of against the city.

the provinces came out of the city, and (13) And, behold, there 5 came a prophet

the army which followed them. (20 And unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus

they slew every one his man : and the saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this

Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them : great multitude ? behold, I will deliver ons Pelica the and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped it into thine hand this day; and thou

on an horse with the horsemen. (21) And shalt know that I am the LORD. (14) And

the king of Israel went out, and smote Ahab said, By whom? And he said,

the horses and chariots, and slew the Thus saith the Lord, Even by the

Syrians with a great slaughter. 6young men of the princes of the pro- steb,approached

.

(22) And the prophet came to the king vinces. Then he said, Who shall 'order

of Israel, and said unto him, Go, the battle? And he answered, Thou.

strengthen thyself, and mark, and see (15) Then he numbered the young men

what thou doest: for at the return of of the princes of the provinces, and they

the year the king of Syria will come up were two hundred and thirty two: and 6 Or, serrants.

against thee. after them he numbered all the people,

(23) And the servants of the king of even all the children of Israel, being

Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods seven thousand. (16) And they went out

of the hills; therefore they were stronger at noon. But Ben-hadad was drinking

than we; but let us fight against them himself drunk in the pavilions, he and

2.D.bind, or in the plain, and surely we shall be

pluced engines.

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receives the message at a feast, “drinking himself (20) And they slew .-The attack of this drunk,” and, stung by its tone of sarcasm, does not con- handful of men, supported by a sally of the whole descend to bestir himself, but orders his servants to an garrison, is not uulike the slaughter of the Philisinstant attack. The command is given, with a haughty tine garrison and host in the days of Saul (1 Sam. brevity, in a single word ("Set ”), which may be " Ar- xiv.), or the still earlier rout of the army of Midian ray troops,” or “Place engines,” as in the margin. The by the night attack of Gideon (Judg. vii. 16-23). LXX. translates, “ Build a stockade” (for attack on Probably, as in these cases, the Israelites may have the walls).

risen from various lurking-places to join in the pur(13) There came a prophet.-The appearance of suit and slaughter. It does not necessarily follow this unknown prophet evidently shows (see also chap. that the event was miraculous. Such dispersions of xxii. 6, 7) that Ahab's enmity to the prophetic order vast Oriental armies are not uncommon in history. was over since the great day at Carmel, and that the The lesson is that drawn with noble simplicity by Jonaschools of the prophets were forming themselves again than : “There is no restraint to the Lord to save by perhaps not free from connection with the idolatry many or by few” (1 Sam. xiv. 6). of Jeroboam, but safe from all attacks from the wor- (22) The return of the year.-The early part of shippers of Baal. It is notable that in all these political the next year, after the winter was over, “when kings functions of prophecy Elijah does not appear, reserving go out to battle” (2 Sam. xi. 1). himself for the higher moral and religious mission from (23) Gods of the hills.-The idea of tutelary gods, God. Ahab receives the prophet's message with perfect whose strength was greatest on their own soil, is naturally confidence and reverence; he has returned in profession common in polytheistic religions, which, by the very to the allegiance to Jehovah, which he had, perhaps, multiplication of gods, imply limitation of the power of never wholly relinquished.

each. Now the greater part of the territory where (14) Who shall order the battle?–The marginal Jehovah was worshipped, was a hill-country. Samaria reading seems right, “ Who shall give battle?” “Who in particular, the scene of recent defeat, lay in the mounshall begin the fray ?”

tain region of Ephraim. The Israelite armies, more(15) The young men-i.e., the attendants or armour- over, being mostly of infantry-having, indeed, few or bearers of the territorial chiefs, no doubt picked men no cavalry, except in the time of Solomon-naturally and well armed. The whole garrison is stated as seven encamped and fought, as far as possible, on the hills ; thousand-enough, perhaps, to man the walls, but as Barak on Mount Tabor (Judges iv. 6—14), Saul on wholly unfit to take the field. The sally is made at Mount Gilboa (1 Sam. xxxi. 1), and Ahab himself (in noon, when (as Josephus relates) the besiegers were verse 27). Perhaps the worship of Jehovah in the resting unarmed in the heat of the day.

“high places” may have also conduced to this belief

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over the Syrians.

fullen,

? Heb., to the war

wille Lorel.

B.C.200.

stronger than they. (24) And do this ch, that was the other seven days.

And so it was, thing, Take the kings away, every man

that in the seventh day the battle was out of his place, and put captains in

joined : and the children of Israel slew their rooms : (25) and number thee an

of the Syrians an hundred thousand ariny, like the army Ithat thou hast

footmen in one day. (30) But the rest lost, horse for horse, and chariot for

fled to Aphek, into the city; and there chariot : and we will fight against them

a wall fell upon twenty and seven thouin the plain, and surely we shall be

sand of the men that were left. stronger than they. And he hearkened

And Ben-hadad fled, and came into unto their voice, and did so. (26) And it

the city, 45 into an inner chamber. came to pass at the return of the year,

(31) And his servants said unto him, Bethat Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians,

hold now, we have heard that the kings and went up to Aphek, 'to fight against

of the house of Israel are merciful kings: Israel. (27) And the children of Israel

let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our were numbered, and 3 were all present,

loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go and went against them: and the children

out to the king of Israel: peradventure of Israel pitched before them like two

he will save thy life. (32) So they girded little flocks of kids; but the Syrians

sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes filled the country.

on their heads, and came to the king of (28) And there came a man of God, and

Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad spake unto the king of Israel, and said,

saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he Thus saith the LORD, Because the

said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother. Syrians have said, The Lord is God of

(33) Now the men did diligently observe the hills, but he is not God of the valleys,

whether any thing would come from him, therefore will I deliver all this great

and did hastily catch it: and they said, multitude into thine hand, and

Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then he said, know that I am the LORD.

Go ye, bring him. Then Ben-hadad (29) And they pitched one over against

came forth to him; and he caused him

cic

3 Or, icere

tuuled.

4 Or, from cham

ber to chamber,

ye shall

5 Heb., into a chom

bir within
chamber.

that the “gods of Israel were gods of the hills,” whose and also with such prophetic declarations as those of power vanished in the plains ; where, of course, the Ezek. xx. 9, “ I wrought for my Name's sake, that it Syrian armies of chariots and horsemen would naturally should not be polluted before the heathen."

It is a fight at advantage. Shrewd policy might, as so often foreshadowing of that view of all nations, as in some is the case, lurk in the advice of Ben-hadad's counsellors degree having knowledge of God and probation before under the cover of superstition; as, indeed, it seems also Him, which is afterwards worked out fully in the pro. to show itself in seizing the opportunity to increase the phetic writings. The intense and powerful Monotheism central power, by organising the troops of the tributary of the religion of Israel, in spite of all its backslid. kings under officers of his own.

ings, could hardly have been without influence over the (26) A phek.-The name, signifying simply a “for- neighbouring nations (see 2 Kings v. 15), especially tress," as applied to several different places. There at a time when the remembrance of Solomon's vast are two places which suit well enough with the Aphek empire, and still wider influence, would yet linger of this passage and 2 Kings xiii. 17, as being a battle- through the tenacious traditions of the East. field in the plain country between Israel and Syria. (30) A wall-properly, the wall of the city, whether One is the Aphek of 1 Sam. xxix. 1, evidently in the falling by earthquake, or in the storming of the place, plain of Esdraelon; the other a place on the road to by Israel. The numbers in the text are very large, as Damascus, about six miles east of the Sea of Galilee. in many other instances. It is possible (see Introduc

(27) Were all present. - The marginal reading tion) that there may be corruption, although the same were victualled,” or, perhaps, more generally,

numbers are found in the ancient versions. But the supplied,” with all things necessary for war, seems massing in small space of Oriental armies, and the extracorrect. The comparatively small number of the ordinary slaughter consequent on it, are well illustrated Israelite forces, even after the great victory of the year in history; as, for instance, in the Greek wars with before, appears to show that, previous to the siege of Persia, or even our own experience in India. Samaria, Ahab had suffered some great defeats, which (31) Ropes upon our heads -- like “ the ropes had broken the strength of Israel.

round the necks of the burghers of Calais, in the (28) A man of God-apparently not the same as days of Edward III. The envoys offer themselves as before. We see from verse 35 that the prophetic order naked, helpless criminals, to sue for mercy. was now numerous. The vindication of the majesty of (33) Now the men.-There has been much discus. God before the Syrians, as well as before Israel-like sion of the meaning here, and some proposals of slight the more celebrated case of the rebuke of the blasphemy emendations of the reading. But the general sense of Sennacherib (2 Kings xix. 16—34)—is in accordance seems accurately rendered by our version.

• The men with the prayer of Solomon, or the similar utterances in watched” (“as for augury,” says the LXX.), “and the Psalms (Pss. lxvii. 2, cii

. '15, exxxviii

. 4)," That all the hasted, and caught up (so as to make it sure) " what people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee; fell from him."" What follows may be a question,

were

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2 Heb., weigh.

Denouncement of
I. KINGS, XX.

God's Judgment on Ahab. to come up into the chariot.

(31) And

way, and disguised himself with ashes Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities,

upon

his face. (39) And as the king passed which my father took from thy father,

by, he cried unto the king: and he said, I will restore; and thou shalt make

Thy servant went out into the midst of streets for thee in Damascus, as my 14.b.smiting and the battle; and, behold, a man turned father made in Samaria. Then said

aside, and brought a man unto me, and Ahab, I will send thee away with this

said, Keep this man: if by any means covenant. So he made a covenant with

he be missing, then shall thy life be for him, and sent him away.

his life, or else thou shalt ’ pay a talent (35) And a certain man of the sons of

of silver. (10) And as thy servant was the prophets said unto his neighbour in

busy here and there, he was gone. And the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray

the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thee. And the man refused to smite

thy judgment be; thyself hast decided him. (36) Then said he unto him, Because

it. (41) And he hasted, and took the thou hast not obeyed the voice of the

ashes away from his face; and the king LORD, behold, as soon as thou art de

of Israel discerned him that he was of parted from me, a lion shall slay thee.

the prophets. (42) And he said unto him, And as soon as he was departed from

Thus saith the LORD, Because thou him, a lion found him, and slew him.

hast let go out of thy hand a man whom (37) Then he found another man, and said,

I appointed to utter destruction, thereSmite me, I pray thee. And the man

fore thy life shall go for his life, and smote him, I so that in smiting he

thy people for his people. (43) And the wounded him. (38) So the prophet de

king of Israel went to his house heavy parted, and waited for the king by the

and displeased, and came to Samaria.

3 Heb., he was not.

a ch. 22. 38.

66

“ Is Ben-hadad thy brother ? ” but probably the simple schools of the sons of the prophets were places of acceptance of the title is better. The whole descrip- higher religious education, including many who did tion is graphic. The Syrians speak of “thy slave not look for the prophetic vocation ; although the well. Ben-hadad." Ahab, in compassion or show of mag- known words of Amos (Amos vii. 14), “ I was no pronanimity, says,

my brother.”

Eagerly the ambas- phet, neither was I a prophet's son,” clearly indicate sadors catch up the word, which, according to Eastern that from their ranks, generally though not invariably, custom, implied a pledge of amity not to be recalled; the prophets were called. Probably the institution and Ahab accepts their inference, and seals it publicly had fallen into disuse, and had been revived to seal by taking the conquered king into his chariot. (Comp. and to secure the prophetic victory over Baal-worship. 2 Kings x. 15, 16.)

To Elijah the “sons of the prophets” look up with (34) Make streets-properly, squares, or quarters awe and some terror; to Elisha, with affectionate of a city. This concession implies a virtual acknow. respect and trust. ledgment of supremacy; for the right to have certain (36) A lion shall slay thee.-It is obvious to quarters for residence, for trade, perhaps even for compare the example of chap. xiii. 24. garrison, in the capital of a king, belongs only to (38) Ashes upon his face.- It should be a "bandone who has sovereignty over him.

Hence it goes

age over his head," to cover his face, and to accord beyond the significance of the restoration of the with the appearance of a wounded soldier. Unless the cities-conquered, it would seem, from Omri, unless, wound had some symbolic significance in application to indeed, taking " father” in the sense of predecessor, Ahab or Israel, it is difficult to see what purpose it the reference is to the Syrian victories in the

could serve. days of Baasha. (See chap. xv. 20.) The narrative (39) Thy servant.-The parable is, of course, deseems to convey an idea that the covenant was made signed (like those of 2 Sam. xii. 1-4, xiv. 5-11) to hastily, on insufficient security. The great point, how. make Ahab condemn himself. In Ahab, however, it ever, was that a war, victoriously conducted under excites not compunction, but characteristic sullenness prophetic guidance, should not have been concluded of displeasure, like that of chap. xxi. 4. without prophetic sanction.

(42) A man whom I appointed--properly, a (35) A certain man according to Josephus, man under my curse. The rash action of Ahab, like Micaiah, the son of Imlah. This tradition, or conjec- the deliberate disobedience of Saul (1 Sam. xv.), may ture, agrees well with the subsequent narrative in chap. have been due partly to compassion, partly to weakness. xxii.

In either case it had no right to stand unauthorised The sons of the prophets. This phrase, con- between God's judgment and him on whom it was prostantly recurring in the history of Elijah and Elisha, nounced; for even soft-heartedness, as in the case of first appears here. But the thing designated is ap- Eli, may be treason to the cause of righteousness. The parently as old as the days of Samuel, who is evi- prophet (like Elisha, in 2 Kings xiii. 19) speaks partly dently surrounded by “a company” of disciples. (See as a patriot, jealous—and, as the event proved, with a 1 Sam. x. 5, 10, xix. 20.) The prophetic office seems sagacious jealousy-of the lenity which left the deadly never to have been, like the priesthood or kingship, enemy of Israel unsubdued; but he speaks also as the hereditary. “Sonship,” therefore, no doubt means representative of God's stern and righteous judgment, simply discipleship; and it is likely enough that the which Ahab, after signal deliverance, had treated as of Ahab desires

I. KINGS, XXI.

Naboth's Vineyard.

B.C. 899.

CHAPTER XXI.-(1) And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. () And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it I seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. (3) And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.

(1) And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him : for he had said, I will not give

1 Heb., be good in

thine eyes.

thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.

(5) But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread ? (6) And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. (7) And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry : I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. (8) So she

no account. (For the fulfilment of his words, see chap. side, however, we have the reading of the text, the xxii. 34–36.)

more obvious interpretation of the words “ his city” in

verses 8, 11; and the reference to the prophecy of XXI.

Elijah, in connection with the casting of the body of The narrative of this chapter, clearly drawn once Jehoram into the plot of ground at Jezreel (2 Kings more from the prophetic record of Elijah's life and mis- ix. 25, 26). It is, perhaps, impossible to clear up the sion, returns to the same vividness of style and lofty discrepancy entirely with our present knowledge. spiritual teaching perceptible in chaps. xviii., xix. It (2–4) And Ahab spake.-The whole history is describes the turning point of Ahab's probation, which, singularly true to nature. At first, as the desire of like the great crisis of David's history, is an act of un. Ahab was natural, so his offer was courteous and liberal. righteous tyranny, so common in Eastern despotism, The refusal of Naboth-evidently grounded on the that it would hardly be recorded by an ordinary historian. illegality, as well as the natural dislike, of alienation So in the prophetic writings moral evils, especially pro- of " the inheritance of his fathers” (see Lev. xxv. 13 fligacy and bloodshed and oppression of the weak, are -28; Num. xxxvi. 7), and therefore not only allowable, denounced at least not less severely, and even more but right-has nevertheless about it a certain tone of frequently, than religions unfaithfulness. The whole harshness, perhaps of unnecessary discourtesy, imply. description is strikinglyillustrative of Ahab's character, ing condemuation, as well as rejection, of the offer in its essential weakness and, subservience, more fatal of the king. It is characteristic of the weak and petuin high place of authority than resolute wickedness. It lant nature of Ahab, that he neither recognises the might be painted in the well-known description of Felix legality and justice of Naboth's action, nor dares to by Tacitus, as “swaying the power of a king with the resent the curt defiance of his refusal. Like a spoilt temper of a slave" (jus regium servili ingenio exercuit). child, he comes back sullen and angry, throws himself

on his bed, and will eat no bread. All that he has is (1) Which was in Jezreel.-The LXX. omits as nothing, while the little plot of ground is refused ; these words, and makes the vineyard to be

as to Haman all was worthless, while Mordecai the Jew the threshing-floor of Ahab, king of Samaria ”—the sat in the king's gate (Esth. v. 13). This temper word being the same as that rendered " void place” in of sullen, childish discontent is the natural seedplot chap. xxii. 10—apparently near the palace of Ahab in of crime, under the instigation of more determined Samaria, not in Jezreel. The Vulgate renders “ who wickedness. was " instead of “ which was” in Jezreel. The ques- (7) Dost thou now.-The scorn of Jezebel is, like tion of the position of the vineyard, apparently the the impatience of Lady Macbeth, expressed in a strikscene of Naboth's murder, is difficult. The “plot of ing boldness of emphasis. First comes the bitter irony ground” of Naboth, referred to in 2 Kings ix. 25, 26 of the question, “Dost thou govern the kingdom of -not, however, called "a vineyard "-is clearly at Israel, and yet suffer a subject to cross thy will ?” Jezreel, where, as a native of the place, Naboth would expressing her scornful wonder at one who “lets I dare be likely to hold land. But the vineyard may have not, wait upon I would.” Then in the invitation, “ eat been an outlying property near Samaria, which Ahab bread, and let thine heart be merry,” there seems the might naturally suppose Naboth, even for that reason, same half-contemptuous recognition of a self-indulgent likely to sell. In favour of this supposition—which is, weakness of nature, which may be traced in Elijah's perhaps, on the whole the more probable--is the very words in chap. xviii. 41, “Get thee up, eat and drink, emphatic prediction of verse 19, which in chap. xxii. 38 for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” Ahab is is declared to have been fulfilled at the pool of Sa- fit only to desire and to revel ; it is for bolder spirits maria. Moreover, the whole action of the chapter, as to act for good or for evil. far as Ahab is concerned, seems to have been at (8) Sealed them with his seal-with the name, Samaria; and, indeed, if we take verse 18 literally, or token, of the king, engraved on stone, and impressed this is actually declared to be the case. On the other (see Job xxxviii. 14) on a lump of clay attached to the

hard by

Naboth is charged with

I. KINGS, XXI.

Blasphemy and Stoned.

wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed

men of Belial witnessed against him, them with his seal, and sent the letters

even against Naboth, in the presence of unto the elders and to the nobles that

the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.

God and the king. Then they carried (9) And she wrote in the letters, saying,

him forth out of the city, and stoned Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth lon

him with stones, that he died. (14) Then high among the people : (10) and set two

they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear

stoned, and is dead. witness against him, saying, Thou didst

(15) And it came to pass, when Jezebel blaspheme God and the king. And then

heard that Naboth was stoned, and was carry him out, and stone him, that he wrote in pile top dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise,

take possession of the vineyard of Na(il) And the men of his city, even the

both the Jezreelite, which he refused to elders and the nobles who were the in

give thee for money : for Naboth is not habitants in his city, did as Jezebel had

alive, but dead. (16) And it came to pass, sent unto them, and as it was written in

when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, the letters which she had sent unto

that Ahab rose up to go down to the them. (12) They proclaimed a fast, and

vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to set Naboth on high among the people.

take possession of it. (13) And there came in two men, children

(17) And the word of the LORD came to of Belial, and sat before him: and the

Elijah the Tishbite, saying, (18) Arise, go

of the people.

may die.

or

letter. The sealing (as the modern sense of “ signa- organised Eastern despotism-not venturing to take ture

implies) was the pledge of authenticity and life by simple violence without some cause apparently authority. (See Gen. xxxviii. 18; Neh. ix. 38, X. 1; shown, and yet always able to poison the springs of Esth. ii. 10, 12, viii. 28; Dan. vi. 17, &c.) The use of justice, and do murder under form of law. În Israel, the seal—ordinarily worn or carried on the person-im- where the king was held to be but a vicegerent of plies Ahab's knowledge that something is being done God, subject, in theory, under the old constitution in his name, into which he takes care not to inquire.

manner of the kingdom” (1 Sam. x. 25), to the In his city.-This would be most naturally inter- supreme law, the need of clothing crime with legal preted as Jezreel; but if Naboth dwelt or sojourned form would be especially felt. at Samaria, it may be Samaria. Jezebel naturally (13) Carried him forth-as usual, in order to desires that neither Ahab nor she herself, though close avoid polluting the city with blood-possibly to his own at hand, should appear in the matter; but gives the ground, the coveted vineyard itself. necessary authority in writing, because without it the (15) Take possession.-Naboth's sons (see 2 Kings deed could pot be done.

ix. 26) were murdered with him, so that there was noue (9) Proclaim a fast.

This might be only to cover to claim the inheritance. Even had this not been so, all that was to be so foully done with a cloak of reli- the property of executed traitors would naturally fall gious observance, or, perhaps more probably, to imply to the king, although no enactment to this effect is that some secret sin had been committed, which would found in the Law. draw down vengeance on the whole city, and so to prepare (16) When Ahab heard.-It is characteristic of for the false accusation. There is a like ambiguity as Ahab that he takes care to ask no question about to the explanation of the command, “ set Naboth on Naboth's death, desirous "to be innocent of the knowhigh,” as either an exaltation of pretended honour, or ledge,” and yet tacitly to "applaud the deed.” The the “ lifting up his head ” (Gen. xl. 20) for accusation. guilt is Jezebel's; the fruit, his own. In the LXX. It may be noted that the whole scheme implies a return there is here a curious and striking insertion : “he rent of the people to at least the ontward observance of the his clothes and put on sackcloth,” representing Ahab Law of the Lord.

as struck with momentary horror, and then, after thus ; (10) Two mon-in accordance with Num. xxxv. 30; salving his conscience, still resolving to carry

ont his Dent. xvii. 6.

desire for the coveted vineyard. The picture is equally Sons of Belial.-See Judges xix. 22, xx. 13; 1 Sam. true to nature, especially to such a nature as his. But i. 16, ii. 12, x. 27, xxv. 17, 25, xxx. 22; 2 Sam. xvi. 7, the insertion has little authority, and is probably a xx. 1, &c.; properly, “ children of lawlessness, or worth. mistaken interpolation from verse 27. lessness.''

(17) Elijah. -We have heard nothing of him since Blaspheme. The word is the same used in Job the call of Elisha, as though he had once more retired i. 5, 11, ii. 5, there rendered “curse.” It properly to solitude. In the mere political service of the preced. signifies “ to bless ;” thence, to “part from with bless. ing chapter, important in the eyes of the world, he ing;" finally to part from, or " disown.” It is, rather, takes no part; but emerges now for the higher moral therefore, "to renounce than “ to blaspheme.” The duty of rebuking crime, and avenging innocent blood, punishment, however, was stoning, as for positive in what Eastern tyranny would deem a very trivial blasphemy. (See Lev. xxiv. 16; Deut. xiii. 9, 10.) matter. Ahab's address to him seems to imply wonder (IÎ) And the men of his city

did.- at his unusual appearance among men. The pains taken in the invention of this foul plot, (18) Which is in Samaria.-These words are and the ready acquiescence of the rulers of the city in almost unmeaning, unless they literally signify that Ahab carrying it ont, are characteristic of the baser forms of was then in Samaria, not in Jezreel. To interpret them as

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