2 Kings 6
In this chapter we have,
I. A further account of the wondrous works of Elisha.
1. His making iron to swim,
2 Kings 6:1-7.
2. His disclosing to the king of Israel the secret counsels of the king
2 Kings 6:8-12.
3. His saving himself out of the hands of those who were sent to
2 Kings 6:13-23.
II. The besieging of Samaria by the Syrians and the great distress the
city was reduced to,
2 Kings 6:24-33.
The relief of it is another of the wonders wrought by Elisha's word,
which we shall have the story of in the next chapter. Elisha is still a
great blessing both to church and state, both to the sons of the
prophets and to his prince.
|Iron Made to Swim.
||B. C. 893.|
1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now,
the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every
man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell.
And he answered, Go ye.
3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy
servants. And he answered, I will go.
4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the
water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the
place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the
iron did swim.
7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his
hand, and took it.
Several things may be observed here,
I. Concerning the sons of the prophets, and their condition and
character. The college here spoken of seems to be that at Gilgal, for
there Elisha was
(2 Kings 4:38),
and it was near Jordan; and, probably, wherever Elisha resided as many
as could of the sons of the prophets flocked to him for the advantage
of his instructions, counsels, and prayers. Every one would covet to
dwell with him and be near him. Those that would be teachers should lay
out themselves to get the best advantages for learning. Now
1. Their number increased so that they wanted room: The place is too
strait for us
(2 Kings 6:1)--
a good hearing, for it is a sign many are added to them. Elisha's
miracles doubtless drew in many. Perhaps they increased the more now
that Gehazi was cashiered, and, it is likely, an honester man put in
his room, to take care of their provisions; for it should seem (by that
2 Kings 4:43)
that Naaman's case was not the only one in which he grudged his
2. They were humble men and did not affect that which was gay or great.
When they wanted room they did not speak of sending for cedars, and
marble stones, and curious artificers, but only of getting every man a
beam, to run up a plain hut or cottage with. It becomes the sons of the
prophets, who profess to look for great things in the other world, to
be content with mean things in this.
3. They were poor men, and men that had no interest in great ones It
was a sign that Joram was king, and Jezebel ruled too, or the sons of
the prophets, when they wanted room, would have needed only to apply to
the government, not to consult among themselves about the enlargement
of their buildings. God's prophets have seldom been the world's
favourites. Nay, so poor were they that they had not wherewithal to
hire workmen (but must leave their studies, and work for themselves),
no, nor to buy tools, but must borrow of their neighbours. Poverty then
is no bar to prophecy.
4. They were industrious men, and willing to take pains. They desired
not to live, like idle drones (idle monks, I might have said),
upon the labours of others, but only desired leave of their president
to work for themselves. As the sons of the prophets must not be so
taken up with contemplation as to render themselves unfit for action,
so much less must they so indulge themselves in their ease as to be
averse to labour. He that must eat or die must work or starve,
2 Thessalonians 3:8,10.
Let no man think an honest employment either a burden or
5. They were men that had a great value and veneration for Elisha;
though they were themselves prophets, they paid much deference to him.
(1.) They would not go about to build at all without his leave,
2 Kings 6:2.
It is good for us all to be suspicious of our own judgment, even when
we think we have most reason for it, and to be desirous of the advice
of those who are wiser and more experienced; and it is especially
commendable in the sons of the prophets to take their fathers along
with them, and to act in all things of moment under their direction,
permissu superiorum--by permission of their superiors.
(2.) They would not willingly go to fell timber without his company:
"Go with thy servants
(2 Kings 6:3),
not only to advise us in any exigence, but to keep good order among us,
that, being under they eye, we may behave as becomes us." Good
disciples desire to be always under good discipline.
6. They were honest men, and men that were in care to give all men
their own. When one of them, accidentally fetching too fierce a stroke
(as those that work seldom are apt to be violent), threw off his
axe-head into the water, he did not say, "It was a mischance, and who
can help it? It was the fault of the helve, and the owner deserved to
stand to the loss." No, he cries out with deep concern, Alas,
master! For it was borrowed,
2 Kings 6:5.
Had the axe been his own, it would only have troubled him that he could
not be further serviceable to his brethren; but now, besides that, it
troubles him that he cannot be just to the owner, to whom he ought to
be not only just but grateful. Note, We ought to be as careful of that
which is borrowed as of that which is our own, that it receives no
damage, because we must love our neighbour as ourselves and do as we
would be done by. It is likely this prophet was poor, and had not
wherewithal to pay for the axe, which made the loss of it so much the
greater trouble. To those that have an honest mind the sorest grievance
of poverty is not so much their own want or disgrace as their being by
it rendered unable to pay their just debts.
II. Concerning the father of the prophets, Elisha.
1. That he was a man of great condescension and compassion; he went
with the sons of the prophets to the woods, when they desired his
2 Kings 6:3.
Let no man, especially no minister, think himself too great to stoop to
do good, but be tender to all.
2. That he was a man of great power; he could make iron to swim,
contrary to its nature
(2 Kings 6:6),
for the God of nature is not tied up to its laws. He did not throw the
helve after the hatchet, but cut down a new stick, and cast it into the
river. We need not double the miracle by supposing that the stick sunk
to fetch up the iron, it was enough that it was a signal of the divine
summons to the iron to rise. God's grace can thus raise the stony iron
heart which has sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up
affections naturally earthly, to things above.
|The Syrians Ensnared; the Syrians Generously Liberated.
||B. C. 893.|
8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took
counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place
shall be my camp.
9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying,
Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians
are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of
God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled
for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them,
Will ye not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but
Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of
Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.
Here we have Elisha, with his spirit of prophecy, serving the king, as
before helping the sons of the prophets; for that, as other gifts, is
given to every man to profit withal; and, whatever abilities any man
has of doing good, he is by them made a debtor both to the wise and
unwise. Observe here,
I. How the king of Israel was informed by Elisha of all the designs and
motions of his enemy, the king of Syria, more effectually than he could
have been by the most vigilant and faithful spies. If the king of
Syria, in a secret council of war, determined in which place to make an
inroad upon the coasts of Israel, where he thought it would be the
greatest surprise and they would be least able to make resistance,
before his forces could receive his orders the king of Israel had
notice of them from Elisha, and so had opportunity of preventing the
mischief; and many a time,
2 Kings 6:8-10.
1. That the enemies of God's Israel are politic in their devices, and
restless in their attempts, against him. They shall not know, nor
see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them,
2. All those devices are known to God, even those that are deepest
laid. He knows not only what men do, but what they design, and has many
ways of countermining them.
3. It is a great advantage to us to be warned of our danger, that we
may stand upon our guard against it. The work of God's prophets is to
give us warning; if, being warned, we do not save ourselves, it is our
own fault, and our blood will be upon our own head. The king of Israel
would regard the warnings Elisha gave him of his danger by the Syrians,
but not the warnings he gave him of his danger by his sins. Such
warnings are little heeded by the most; they will save themselves from
death, but not from hell.
II. How the king of Syria resented this. He suspected treachery among
his senators, and that his counsels were betrayed,
2 Kings 6:11.
But one of his servants, that had heard, by Naaman and others, of
Elisha's wondrous works, concludes it must needs be he that gave this
intelligence to the king of Israel,
2 Kings 6:12.
What could not he discover who could tell Gehazi his thoughts? Here a
confession of the boundless knowledge, as before of the boundless
power, of Israel's God, is extorted from Syrians. Nothing done, said,
thought, by any person, in any place, at any time, is out of the reach
of God's cognizance.
13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and
fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great
host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and
gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses
and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how
shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are
more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his
eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young
man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses
and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD,
and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he
smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither
is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man
whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
20 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.
21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them,
My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
22 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.
23 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
1. The great force which the king of Syria sent to seize Elisha. He
found out where he was, at Dothan
(2 Kings 6:13),
which was not far from Samaria; thither he sent a great host, who were
to come upon him by night, and to bring him dead or alive,
2 Kings 6:14.
Perhaps he had heard that when only one captain and his fifty men were
sent to take Elijah they were baffled in the attempt, and therefore he
sent an army against Elisha, as if the fire from heaven that
consumed fifty men could not as easily consume 50,000. Naaman could
tell him that Elisha dwelt not in any strong-hold, nor was attended
with any guards, nor had any such great interest in the people that he
needed to fear a tumult among them; what occasion then was there for
this great force? But thus he hoped to make sure of him, especially
coming upon him by surprise. Foolish man! Did he believe that Elisha
had informed the king of Israel of his secret counsels or not? If not,
what quarrel had he with him? If he did, could he be so weak as to
imagine that Elisha would not discover the designs laid against
himself, and that, having interest enough in heaven to discover them,
he would not have interest enough to defeat them? Those that fight
against God, his people, and prophet, know not what they do.
II. The grievous fright which the prophet's servant was in, when he
perceived the city surrounded by the Syrians, and the effectual course
which the prophet took to pacify him and free him from his fears. It
seems, Elisha accustomed his servant to rise early, that is the way to
bring something to pass, and to do the work of a day in its day. Being
up, we may suppose he heard the noise of soldiers, and thereupon looked
out, and was aware of an army compassing the city
(2 Kings 6:15),
with great assurance no doubt of success, and that they should have
this troublesome prophet in their hands presently. Now observe,
1. What a consternation he was in. He ran straight to Elisha, to bring
him an account of it: "Alas, master!" (said he) "what shall
we do? We are undone, it is to no purpose to think either of
fighting or flying, but we must unavoidably fall into their hands." Had
he but studied David's Psalms, which were then extant, he might have
learnt not to be afraid of 10,000 of people
no, not of a host encamped against him,
Had he considered that he was embarked with his master, by whom God had
done great things, and whom he would not now leave to fall into the
hands of the uncircumcised, and who, having saved others, would no
doubt save himself, he would not have been thus at a loss. If he had
only said, What shall I do? it would have been like that of the
disciples: Lord, save us, we perish; but he needed not to
include his master as being in distress, nor to say, What shall we
2. How his master quieted him,
(1.) By word. What he said to him
(2 Kings 6:16)
is spoken to all the faithful servants of God, when without are
fightings and within are fears: "Fear not with that fear which has
torment and amazement, for those that are with us, to protect
us, are more than those that are against us, to destroy
us--angels unspeakably more numerous--God infinitely more powerful." When
we are magnifying the causes of our fear we ought to possess ourselves
with clear, and great, and high thoughts of God and the invisible
world. If God be for us, we know what follows,
(2.) By vision,
2 Kings 6:17.
[1.] It seems Elisha was much concerned for the satisfaction of his
servant. Good men desire, not only to be easy themselves, but to have
those about them easy. Elisha had lately parted with his old man, and
this, having newly come into his service, had not the advantage of
experience; his master was therefore desirous to give him other
convincing evidence of that omnipotence which employed him and was
therefore employed for him. Note, Those whose faith is strong ought
tenderly to consider and compassionate those who are weak and of a
timorous spirit, and to do what they can to strengthen their hands.
[2.] He saw himself safe, and wished no more than that his servant
might see what he saw, a guard of angels round about him; such as were
his master's convoy to the gates of heaven were his protectors against
the gates of hell--chariots of fire, and horses of fire. Fire is
both dreadful and devouring; that power which was engaged for Elisha's
protection could both terrify and consume the assailants. As angels are
God's messengers, so they are his soldiers, his hosts
his legions, or regiments,
for the good of his people.
[3.] For the satisfaction of his servant there needed no more than the
opening of his eyes; that therefore he prayed for, and obtained
for him: Lord, open his eyes that he may see. The eyes of his
body were open, and with them he saw the danger. "Lord, open the eyes
of his faith, that with them he may see the protection we are under."
Note, First, The greatest kindness we can do for those that are
fearful and faint-hearted is to pray for them, and so to recommend them
to the mighty grace of God. Secondly, The opening of our eyes
will be the silencing of our fears. In the dark we are most apt to be
frightened. The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of
heaven the less we shall fear the calamities of this earth.
III. The shameful defeat which Elisha gave to the host of Syrians who
came to seize him. They thought to make a prey of him, but he made
fools of them, perfectly played with them, so far was he from fearing
them or any damage by them.
1. He prayed to God to smite them with blindness, and they were all
struck blind immediately, not stone-blind, nor so as to be themselves
aware that they were blind, for they could see the light, but their
sight was so altered that they could not know the persons and places
they were before acquainted with,
2 Kings 6:18.
They were so confounded that those among them whom they depended upon
for information did not know this place to be Dothan nor this person to
be Elisha, but groped at noon day as in the night
their memory failed them, and their distinguishing faculty. See the
power of God over the minds and understanding of men, both ways; he
enlightened the eyes of Elisha's friend, and darkened the eyes of his
foes, that they might see indeed, but not perceive,
For this twofold judgment Christ came into this world, that
those who see not might see, and that those who see might be made
a savour of life to some, of death to others.
2. When they were thus bewildered and confounded he led them to Samaria
(2 Kings 6:19),
promising that he would show them the man whom they sought, and he did
so. He did not lie to them when he told them, This is not the way,
nor is this the city where Elisha is; for he had now come out of
the city; and if they would see him, they must go to another city to
which he would direct them. Those that fight against God and his
prophets deceive themselves, and are justly given up to delusions.
3. When he had brought them to Samaria he prayed to God so to open
their eyes and restore them their memories that they might see where
(2 Kings 6:20),
and behold, to their great terror, they were in the midst of
Samaria, where, it is probable, there was a standing force
sufficient to cut them all off, or make them prisoners of war. Satan,
the god of this world, blinds men's eyes, and so deludes them into
their own ruin; but, when God enlightens their eyes, they then see
themselves in the midst of their enemies, captives to Satan and in
danger of hell, though before they thought their condition good. The
enemies of God and his church, when they fancy themselves ready to
triumph, will find themselves conquered and triumphed over.
4. When he had them at his mercy he made it appear that he was
influenced by a divine goodness as well as a divine power.
(1.) He took care to protect them from the danger into which he had
brought them, and was content to show them what he could have done; he
needed not the sword of an angel to avenge his cause, the sword of the
king of Israel is at his service if he please
(2 Kings 6:21):
My father (so, respectfully does the king now speak to him,
though, soon after, he swore his death), shall I smite them?
And, again, as if he longed for the assault, Shall I smite them?
Perhaps, he remembered how God was displeased at his father for
letting go out of his hands those whom he had put it in his
power to destroy, and he would not offend in like manner; yet such a
reverence has he for the prophet that he will not strike a stroke
without his commission. But the prophet would by no means suffer him to
meddle with them; they were brought hither to be convinced and shamed,
not to be killed,
2 Kings 6:22.
Had they been his prisoners, taken captive by his sword and bow,
when they asked quarter it would have been barbarous to deny, and, when
he had given it to them, it would have been perfidious to do them any
hurt, and against the laws of arms to kill men in cool blood. But they
were not his prisoners; they were God's prisoners and the prophet's,
and therefore he must do them no harm. Those that humble themselves
under God's hand take the best course to secure themselves.
(2.) He took care to provide for them; he ordered the king to treat
them handsomely and then dismiss them fairly, which he did,
2 Kings 6:23.
[1.] It was the king's praise that he was so obsequious to the prophet,
contrary to his inclination, and, as it seemed, to his interest,
1 Samuel 24:19.
Nay, so willing was he to oblige Elisha that, whereas he was ordered
openly to set bread and water before them (which are good fare
for captives), he prepared great provision for them, for the
credit of his court and country and of Elisha.
[2.] It was the prophet's praise that he was so generous to his
enemies, who, though they came to take him, could not but go away
admiring him, as both the mightiest and kindest man they ever met with.
The great duty of loving enemies, and doing good to those that hate us,
was both commanded in the Old Testament
If thy enemy hunger, feed him,
and practised, as here by Elisha. His predecessor had given a specimen
of divine justice when he called for flames of fire on the heads of his
persecutors to consume them, but he have a specimen of divine mercy in
heaping coals of fire on the heads of his persecutors to melt them. Let
not us then be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
IV. The good effect this had, for the present, upon the Syrians. They
came no more into the land of Israel
(2 Kings 6:23),
namely, upon this errand, to take Elisha; they saw it was to no purpose
to attempt that, nor would any of their bands be persuaded to make an
assault on so great and good a man. The most glorious victory over an
enemy is to turn him into a friend.
|The Siege of Samaria.
||B. C. 891.|
24 And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria
gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
25 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.
26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall,
there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I
help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
28 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 eat my son to morrow.
29 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
30 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
upon his flesh.
31 Then 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.
32 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 him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a
murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the
messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door:
is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?
33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger
came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the
LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?
This last paragraph of this chapter should, of right, have been the
first of the next chapter, for it begins a new story, which is there
continued and concluded. Here is,
I. The siege which the king of Syria laid to Samaria and the great
distress which the city was reduced to thereby. The Syrians had soon
forgotten the kindnesses they had lately received in Samaria, and very
ungratefully, for aught that appears without any provocation, sought
the destruction of it,
2 Kings 6:24.
There are base spirits that can never feel obliged. The country, we may
suppose, was plundered and laid waste when this capital city was
brought to the last extremity,
2 Kings 6:25.
The dearth which had of late been in the land was probably the occasion
of the emptiness of their stores, or the siege was so sudden that they
had not time to lay in provisions; so that, while the sword devoured
without, the famine within was more grievous
for, it should seem, the Syrians designed not to storm the city, but to
starve it. So great was the scarcity that an ass's head, that has but
little flesh on it and that unsavoury, unwholesome, and ceremonially
unclean, was sold for five pounds, and a small quantity of fitches, or
lentiles, or some such coarse corn, then called dove's dung, no
more of it than the quantity of six eggs, for five pieces of silver,
about twelve or fifteen shillings. Learn to value plenty, and to be
thankful for it; see how contemptible money is, when, in time of
famine, it is so freely parted with for anything that is eatable.
II. The sad complaint which a poor woman had to make to the king, in
the extremity of the famine. He was passing by upon the wall to
give orders for the mounting of the guard, the posting of the archers,
the repair of the breaches, and the like, when a woman of the city
cried to him, Help, my lord, O king!
2 Kings 6:26.
Whither should the subject, in distress, go for help but to the prince,
who is, by office, the protector of right and the avenger of wrong? He
returns but a melancholy answer
(2 Kings 6:27):
If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I? Some think it was
a quarrelling word, and the language of his fretfulness: "Why
dost thou expect anything from me, when God himself deals thus hardly
with us?" Because he could not help her as he would, out of the floor
or the wine-press, he would not help her at all. We must take heed of
being made cross by afflictive providences. It rather seems to be a
quieting word: "Let us be content, and make the best of our
affliction, looking up to God, for, till he help us, I cannot help
1. He laments the emptiness of the floor and the wine-press. These
were not as they had been; even the king's failed. We read
(2 Kings 6:23)
of great provisions which he had a command, sufficient for the
entertainment of an army, yet now he has not wherewithal to relieve one
poor woman. Scarcity sometimes follows upon great plenty; we cannot be
sure that to-morrow shall be as this day,
2. He acknowledges himself thereby disabled to help, unless God would
help them. Note, Creatures are helpless things without God, for every
creature is that, all that, and only that, which he makes it to be.
However, though he cannot help her, he is willing to hear her
(2 Kings 6:28):
"What ails thee? Is there anything singular in thy case, or dost
thou fare worse than thy neighbours?" Truly yes; she and one of her
neighbours had made a barbarous agreement, that, all provisions
failing, they should boil and eat her son first and then her
neighbour's; hers was eaten (who can think of it without horror?) and
now her neighbour hid hers,
2 Kings 6:28,29.
See an instance of the dominion which the flesh has got above the
spirit, when the most natural affections of the mind may be thus
overpowered by the natural appetites of the body. See the word of God
fulfilled; among the threatenings of God's judgments upon Israel for
their sins this was one
that they should eat the flesh of their own children, which one would
think incredible, yet it came to pass.
III. The king's indignation against Elisha upon this occasion. He
lamented the calamity, rent his clothes, and had sackcloth upon his
(2 Kings 6:30),
as one heartily concerned for the misery of his people, and that it was
not in his power to help them; but he did not lament his own iniquity,
nor the iniquity of his people, which was the procuring cause of the
calamity; he was not sensible that his ways and his doings had
procured this to himself; this is his wickedness, for it is bitter. The
foolishness of man perverteth his way, and then his heart
fretteth against the Lord. Instead of vowing to pull down the
calves at Dan and Beth-el, or letting the law have its course against
the prophets of Baal and of the groves, he swears the death of
2 Kings 6:31.
Why, what is the matter? What had Elisha done? his head is the most
innocent and valuable in all Israel, and yet that must be devoted, and
made an anathema. Thus in the days of the persecuting emperors, when
the empire groaned under any extraordinary calamity, the fault was laid
on the Christians, and they were doomed to destruction. Christianos
ad leones--Away with the Christians to the lions. Perhaps Jehoram
was in this heat against Elisha because he had foretold this judgment,
or had persuaded him to hold out, and not surrender, or rather because
he did not, by his prayers, raise the siege, and relieve the city,
which he though he could do but would not; whereas till they repented
and reformed, and were ready for deliverance, they had no reason to
expect that the prophet should pray for it.
IV. The foresight Elisha had of the king's design against him,
2 Kings 6:32.
He sat in his house well composed, and the elders with him, well
employed no doubt, while the king was like a wild bull in a net, or
like the troubled sea when it cannot rest; he told the elders there was
an officer coming from the king to cut off his head, and bade them stop
him at the door, and not let him in, for the king his master was just
following him, to revoke the order, as we may suppose. The same spirit
of prophecy that enabled Elisha to tell him what was done at a distance
authorized him to call the king the son of a murderer, which,
unless we could produce such an extraordinary commission, it is not for
us to initiate; far be it from us to despise dominion and to speak evil
of dignities. He appealed to the elders whether he had deserved so ill
at the king's hands: "See whether in this he be not the son of a
murderer?" For what evil had Elisha done? He had not desired
the woeful day,
V. The king's passionate speech, when he came to prevent the execution
of his edict for the beheading of Elisha. He seems to have been in a
struggle between his convictions and his corruptions, knew not what to
say, but, seeing things brought to the last extremity, he even
abandoned himself to despair
(2 Kings 6:33):
This evil is of the Lord. Therein his notions were right and
well applied; it is a general truth that all penal evil is of the Lord,
as the first cause, and sovereign judge
and this we ought to apply to particular cases: if all evil, then this
evil, whatever it is we are now groaning under, whoever are the
instruments, God is the principal agent of it. But his inference from
this truth was foolish and wicked: What should I wait for the Lord
any longer? When Eli, and David, and Job, said, It is of the
Lord, they grew patient upon it, but this bad man grew outrageous
upon it: "I will neither fear worse nor expect better, for worse cannot
come and better never will come: we are all undone, and there is no
remedy." It is an unreasonable thing to be weary of waiting for God,
for he is a God of judgment, and blessed are all those that wait for