2 Kings 1

THE

SECOND BOOK OF THE KINGS,

OTHERWISE CALLED

THE FOURTH BOOK OF THE KINGS

-Year from the Creation, according to the English Bible, 3108.

-Year before the birth of Christ, 892.

-Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity 896.

-Year since the Deluge, according to Archbishop Usher and the

English Bible, 1452.

-Year of the Cali Yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 2206.

Chronologers vary very considerably in their calculations of

the time which elapsed between the flood and the birth of

Abraham, the difference of the two extremes amounting to nine

hundred years! Archbishop Usher's computation is from the

common Hebrew text, with the single exception of fixing the

birth of Abraham in the one hundred and thirtieth year of the

life of his father, instead of the seventieth, in order to

reconcile Ge 11:26, 32, with Ac 7:4. But these passages

are better reconciled, in the opinion of Dr. Kennicott, by

stating (with the Samaritan Pentateuch) the whole life of Terah

to have been one hundred and forty-five years, instead of two

hundred and five, as in our common Bibles.

-Year from the destruction of Troy, according to Dionysius of

Halicarnassus, 289.

-Year from the foundation of Solomon's temple, 115.

-Year since the division of Solomon's monarchy into the kingdoms

of Israel and Judah, 79.

-Year before the era of Iphitus, who re-established the Olympic

Games, three hundred and thirty-eight years after their

institution by Hercules, or about eight hundred and eighty-four

years before the commencement of the Christian era, 12.

-Year before the conquest of Coroebus at Elis, usually styled

the first Olympiad, (being the 28th Olympiad after their

re-establishment by Iphitus,) 120.

-Year before the Varronian or generally received era of the

building of Rome, 143.

-Year before the building of Rome, according to Cato and the

Fasti Consulares, 144.

-Year before the building of Rome, according to Polybius, the

historian, 145.

-Year before the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor,

who lived about two hundred and twenty-five years before the

Christian era, 149.

-Year before the commencement of the Nabonassarean era, 149.

The years of this epoch contained uniformly 365 days, so that

1461 Nabonassarean were equal to 1460 Julian years. This era

commenced on the fourth of the calends of March, (Feb. 26,)

B.C. 747; which was the year in which Romulus laid the

foundation of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor.

-Year of the Julian Period, 3818.

-Year of the Dionysian Period, 94.

-Cycle of the Sun, 10.

-Cycle of the Moon, 18.

-Year of Megacles, the sixth perpetual archon of the Athenians,

26.

-Ocrazeres, the immediate predecessor of Sardanapalus, was king

over the Assyrians about this time, according to Strauchius:

but when this king reigned is very uncertain, Scaliger fixing

the fall of Sardanapalus, which ended the Assyrian empire, in

the year of the Julian Period, 3841; Langius, in 3852 of the

same epocha; and Eusebius, in the year before Christ, 820.

-Year of Agrippa Silvius, the eleventh king of the Latins, 20.

-Year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, 18.

-Year of Ahaziah, king of Israel, 2.

-Last year of the Prophet Elijah.

-Tenth year of Elisha.

CHAPTER I

Ahaziah, being hurt by a fall, sends messengers to Baal-zebub

to inquire whether he shall recover, 1, 2.

They are met by Elijah, who sends them back with the

information that he shall surely die, 3-8.

The king sends a captain and fifty men, to bring Elijah to

Samaria, on which fire comes down from heaven, and destroys

both him and his men, 9, 10.

Another captain and fifty men are sent, who are likewise

destroyed, 11, 12.

A third is sent, who behaves himself humbly, and Elijah is

commanded to accompany him; he obeys, comes to the king,

reproves his idolatry, and announces his death, 13-16.

Ahaziah dies and Jehoram reigns in his stead, 17, 18.

In the preface to the First Book of Kings, I have spoken at

large concerning both these books, the author, time of writing,

&c., &c., to which I must refer my readers, as that preface is

common to both. See Clarke on 1Ki 1:1.

The Second Book of Kings contains the history of three hundred

and eight years, from the rebellion of Moab, A.M. 3108, to the

ruin of the kingdom of Judah, A.M. 3416.

The history, on the whole, exhibits little less than a series of

crimes, disasters, Divine benefits, and Divine judgments. In the

kingdom of Judah we meet with a few kings who feared God, and

promoted the interests of pure religion in the land; but the major

part were idolaters and profligates of the highest order.

The kingdom of Israel was still more corrupt: all its kings were

determined idolaters; profligate, vicious, and cruel tyrants.

Elijah and Elisha stood up in the behalf of God and truth in

this fallen, idolatrous kingdom, and bore a strong testimony

against the corruptions of the princes, and the profligacy of the

people: their powerful ministry was confined to the ten tribes;

Judah had its own prophets, and those in considerable number.

At length the avenging hand of God fell first upon Israel, and

afterwards upon Judah. Israel after many convulsions, torn by

domestic and foreign wars, was at length wholly subjugated by the

king of Assyria, the people led away into captivity, and the land

re-peopled by strangers, A.M. 3287.

The kingdom of Judah continued some time longer, but was at last

overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar; Zedekiah, its last king, was taken

prisoner; his eyes put out; and the principal part of the people

were carried into captivity, which lasted about seventy years. The

captivity began under Jehoiakim, A.M. 3402, and ended under

Belshazzar, A.M. 2470 or 3472. There was after this a partial

restoration of the Jews, but they never more rose to any

consequence among the nations; and at last their civil polity was

finally dissolved by the Romans, and their temple burnt, A.D. 70;

and from that time until now they became fugitives and vagabonds

over the face of the earth, universally detested by mankind. But

should they not be loved for their fathers' sake? Are they not men

and brothers? Will persecution and contempt convert them to

Christianity, or to any thing that is good?

NOTES ON CHAP. I

Verse 1. Moab rebelled] The Moabites had been subdued by David,

and laid under tribute, 2Ki 3:4, and 2Sa 8:2. After the division

of the two kingdoms, the Moabites fell partly under the dominion

of Israel, and partly under that of Judah, until the death of

Ahab, when they arose and shook off this yoke. Jehoram

confederated with the king of Judah and the king of Edom, in order

to reduce them. See this war, 2Ki 3:5.

Verse 2. Fell down through a lattice] Perhaps either through the

flat root of his house, or over or through the balustrades with

which the roof was surrounded.

Go, inquire of Baal-zebub] Literally, the fly-god, or master of

flies. The Septuagint has βααλμυιαν, Baal the fly. He was

the tutelary god of Ekron, and probably was used at first as a

kind of telesm, to drive away flies. He became afterwards a very

respectable devil, and was supposed to have great power and

influence. In the New Testament Beelzebub is a common name for

Satan himself, or the prince of devils.

See Clarke on Mt 10:25.

Verse 4. But shalt surely die.] The true God tells you this; he

in whose hands are both life and death, who can kill and make

alive. Baal-zebub can do nothing; God has determined that your

master shall die.

Verse 8. He was a hairy man] That is, he wore a rough garment,

either made of camels' hair, as his successor John Baptist's was,

or he wore a skin dressed with the hair on. Some think that the

meaning is, he had very long hair and a long beard. The ancient

prophets all wore rough garments, or upper coats made of the skins

of beasts: They wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, says

the apostle, Heb 11:37.

Verse 9. A captain of fifty with his fifty.] It is impossible

that such a man as Ahaziah, in such circumstances, could have had

any friendly designs in sending a captain and fifty soldiers for

the prophet; and the manner in which they are treated shows

plainly that they went with a hostile intent.

And he spake unto him, Thou man of God] Thou prophet of the Most

High.

Verse 10. And there came down fire] Some have blamed the prophet

for destroying these men, by bringing down fire from heaven upon

them. But they do not consider that it was no more possible for

Elijah to bring down fire from heaven, than for them to do it.

God alone could send the fire; and as he is just and good, he

would not have destroyed these men had there not been a sufficient

cause to justify the act. It was not to please Elijah, or to

gratify any vindictive humour in him, that God thus acted; but

to show his own power and justice. No entreaty of Elijah could

have induced God to have performed an act that was wrong in

itself. Elijah, personally, had no concern in the business. God

led him simply to announce on these occasions what he himself had

determined to do. If I be a man of God, i.e., as surely as I am a

man of God, fire SHALL come down from heaven, and SHALL consume

thee and thy fifty. This is the literal meaning of the original;

and by it we see that Elijah's words were only declarative, and

not imprecatory.

Verse 15. And the angel of the Lord said-Go down with him] This

is an additional proof that Elijah was then acting under

particular inspirations: he had neither will nor design of his

own. He waited to know the counsel, declare the will, and obey the

command, of his God.

And he arose, and went down] He did not even regard his personal

safety or his life; he goes without the least hesitation to the

king, though he had reason to suppose he would be doubly irritated

by his prediction, and the death of one hundred of his men. But

with all these consequences he had nothing to do; he was the

ambassador of the King eternal, and his honour and life were in

the hands of his Master.

Verse 17. And Jehoram reigned in his stead] The Vulgate,

Septuagint, and Syriac say, Jehoram HIS BROTHER reigned in his

stead, in the second year of Jehoram. There were two Jehorams who

were contemporary: the first, the son of Ahab, brother to Ahaziah,

and his successor in the kingdom of Israel; the second, the son of

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who succeeded his father in Judah. But

there is a difficulty here: "How is it that Jehoram the brother of

Ahaziah began to reign in the second year of Jehoram son of

Jehoshaphat, seeing that, according to 2Ki 3:1, he

began his reign in the eighteenth year of the reign of

Jehoshaphat; and, according to 2Ki 8:16,

Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began to reign in the fifth year of

Jehoram king of Israel?" Calmet and others answer thus: "Jehoram

king of Israel began to reign in the eighteenth year of

Jehoshaphat king of Judah, which was the second year after this

same Jehoshaphat had given the viceroyalty to his son Jehoram; and

afterwards Jehoshaphat communicated the royalty to Jehoram his

successor, two years before his death, and the fifth year of

Jehoram, king of Israel." Dr. Lightfoot takes another

method:-"Observe," says he, "these texts, 1Ki 22:51:

Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria

the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two

years; and 2Ki 1:17:

And Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah

had spoken, and Jehoram reigned in his stead, in the second gear

of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; and 2Ki 3:1:

Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in

Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. By these

scriptures it is most plain, that both Jehoram the son of

Jehoshaphat, and Ahaziah the son of Ahab, began to reign in the

seventeenth of Jehoshaphat; for who sees not in these texts that

Jehoshaphat's eighteenth, when Jehoram the son of Ahab began to

reign, is called the second year of Jehoram the son of

Jehoshaphat? Now Jehoshaphat's reign was not yet expired by

eight or nine years, for this was in his seventeenth year, and

he reigned twenty-five years, 1Ki 22:42; nor was Ahab's reign

expired by two or three years, for this was in his twentieth year,

and he reigned twenty-two years. 1Ki 16:29. But the reason why

both their sons came thus into their thrones in their lifetime,

and both in the same year, was because their fathers, Jehoshaphat

and Ahab, were both engaged in the war against the Syrians about

Ramoth-gilead: and while they were providing for it, and carrying

it on, they made their sons viceroys, and set them to reign in

their stead, while they were absent or employed upon that

expedition." This is very probable, and seems well supported by

the above texts, and would solve all the difficulties with which

many have been puzzled and not a few stumbled, had we sufficient

evidence for the viceroyalty here mentioned.

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