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Nebat, which made Israel to sin: he departed not therefrom

And the anger of the Lord was kindled agaiust Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.

And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.

Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz, but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen: for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.

And the Lord gave Israel a Saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before-time.

Nevertheless, they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, but walked therein : and there remained the grove also in Samaria.

And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers : and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoash his son reigned in his stead,

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

How shocking it is to read of the degeneracy of Israel! When we compare their abject condition in the days of Jehoahaz, with their glory and eminence in the reigns of David and Solomon, we can scarcely believe them to be the same pation which was chosen as the peculiar people of God. Whilst they continued faith. ful to him, the LORD himself was their defence, and their help, and the sword of their excellency: when they for sook him they were stripped of their honour, and exposed to the insults of their neighbours ; yet did not

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the LORD forget His Covenant, for when they returned unto Him with true contrition, He never rejected their prayers; a remarkable instance of which we have in the history of Jehoahaz, who was rescued from utter destruction by a miraculous deliverance, at a time when Hazael had gained such advantages, that, had he not been restrained by omnipotent power, he would have entirely extirpated the kingdom of Israel: but though he was permitted to succeed against this people, on account of their sins ; yet could the same ALMIGHTY Being, who ruleth the raging of the ocean, restrain the turbulent passions of this haughty monarch, and say to him, Hitherto shalt thou go, and no farther.

Let this instance encourage those who have forsaken the LORD, to turn unto Him, and He will have mercy upon them.

SECTION LXXVIII.

THE REIGN OF JEHOASH (CALLED ALSO JOASH) KING

OF ISRAEL.

From 2 Kings, Chap. xii. In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah, began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned with his father.

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; but he walk. ed therein.

Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died; and Jehoash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.

And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

And

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 presence 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

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

And Jehoash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboan 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?

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. 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 & 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

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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 deliverunce, even the arrow of deliverance from Syria." The prophet having, in God's name, assured bim 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, "helieve them brought to the ground by the arrow of the Lord, given into your hand; now let mc see how you will improve these advantages."

"The king shewed not that eagerness and warnıth that might have been e pected, 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 perforined: many of the Israelites might have representes Llisha 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. Elijalı was honoured by the translation of his body to heaven: Elisha was filled 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 discases and decay, and their minds liable to passions

* Henry's Annotations.
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