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And Elisha said unto them, This is not the
neither is this the city, follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom
seek. But he led them to Samaria. And it came to pass when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold they were in the midst of Samaria,
And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father shall I smite them ; shall I smite them ? and he answered, Thou shalt not smite them : wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? Set bread and water before them that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
There is reason to suppose that Naaman was removed from the command of the army, either for refusing to attend his sovereign into the temple of Rimmon, or from a suspicion that he would favour a people, in whose land he had received so extraordinary a mercy. The fame of Elisha was doubtless spread amongst the Syrians by Naaman, and those who had been witnesses of his cure; and it was natural for them to imagine, that this prophet was endued with such a degree of knowledge as to be able to disconcert all the secret designs of Ben.hadad.
Elisha at this time resided at Dothan, which was not far from Samaria. Though he knew by Divine in
spiration, spiration, that the king of Syria was resolved to seize him, and had sent out a great army to encompass the city, Elisha continued quite calm and serene, knowing that he was guarded by that heavenly host who, we are told in Scripture, encamp about those that fear the Lord to deliver them*. Mortal eyes, indeed, cannot behold these heavenly guardians, unless opened by the mira. culous power of God, as in the case of Elisha and his servant; but as it is recorded in holy writ that they have been made visible to such chosen witnesses, we may safely believe the truth of their existence and ministry.
The same Almighty Being who enlightened the eyes of the prophet and his attendant, darkened those of Ben-hadad's army: not that they were seized with actual blindness, but their senses and understandings were so confused, that they were unable to distinguish one thing from another. These persons had received command to go to the city where Elisha was, not merely to Dothan, but without doubt to pursue him if he should escape to another place: the prophet therefore told them no falsity, when he said that was not the city, because he whom they sought was not then in it; and as the event proves that he had no ill design against them, he, is acquitted of sin in leading them out to Samaria; if he had commanded the inhabitants to put them to the sword, he might perhaps have been accused of treachery; though the practice of all nations towards their enemies, will justify his policy in thus deluding those who came with a design to destroy hin, as a preparation to the destruction of his country.
It must have greatly surprised the king of Israel, to behold the Syrian host thus conducted by Elisha into the midst of his capital; but as he perceived it was * Psalm xxxiv, 7.
miraculous, he restrained his desire of cutting them off, and considering the prophet as his father and protector, he gladly submitted to his direction.
Thus Elisha, by the providence of God, gained a glorious triumph over his persecutors, and enployed his advantage even like a christian. His behaviour had a natural tendency to turn their hatred against Israel into esteem, and to convert them to the worship of Israel's God. And it answered the purpose of putting an end to the intended war; for Ben-hadad was intimidated from pursuing his design, and made no more attempts to seize the person of Elisha in the land of Israel.
THE CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF JEHORAM
(OR JORAM) KING OF ISRAEL.
And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his hosts, and went up and besieged Samaria.
And there was a great famine in Samaria : and behold, they besieged it until an ass's, head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.
And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him saying, Help, my lord, O king.
And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barn-floor, or out of the wine-press? And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to-day, and we will oat my son to-morrow..
So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him : and she hath hid her son.
And it came to pass when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes ; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and behold he had sackcloth within
his flesh. The he said, God do so, and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
But Elisha sat in his house; and the elders sat with him : and the king sent a man from before him : but ere the messenger came to hiin, Elisha said to the elders, See
how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away
mine head! look, when the messenger com. eth shut the door, and hold him fast at the door : is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?
And while he yet talked with them, behold the mes. senger came down unto him: and he said, Behold this evil is of the LORD : what! should I wait for the LORD any longer ?
Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; thus saith the LORD, To-morrow about this time shall a mea. sure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
Then a lord, on whose hand the king leaned, answer. ed the man of God, and said, Behold if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
And there were four leprous men at the entering in at the gate ; and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die ? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there :
and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, let us fall unto the host of the Syrians; and if they save us alive, we shall live: and if they kill us we shall but die.
And they rose up in the twilight to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there:
For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to come upon us.
Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp, as it was, and fled for their life.
And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence, also, and went and hid it.
Then they said one to another, We do not well : this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace ; if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's houshold.
So they came, and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.
And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within.