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So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? and he an. swered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Hazael took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on the king's face, so that he died. And Hazael reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We are not told for what purpose Elisha went to Damascus, but may conclude it was by divine appointment, It appears strange, that Ben-hadad, who had hitherto been so inveterate against Elisha, should wish to consult him in his illness ; but the honour and respect he paid the prophet at this time shew, that he was convinced his late defeat was an act of omnipotent power, and his illness another judgment from the same Almighty hand; and, it is likely, he imagined the prophet could inform him what would be the event of his disease.
Hazael, who was sent with the present to Elisha, is supposed to have succeeded Naaman in the command of the army.
person whom Elijah had received command to anoint king of Syria ; but for some reason, with which we are not acquainted, he did not do so ; nor does it appear to have been done by Elisha.
The prophet knew, by divine inspiration, not only that Hazael would be sovereign of Syria, and in course of time bring miseries upon Israel ; but he seems to have been acquainted also with the means by which he would ascend the throne ; for when he had informed Hazael, that Ben-hadad might recover, but would surely die, he fixed his eye stedfastly on him, till Hazacl, confounded with the thoughts that his treacherous designs against his king were known to the prophet, was ashamed ; and
Elisha, shocked with the view which the Lord gaye him of the future calamities that would fall upon Israel, weh!, which occasioned Hazael to enquire the meaning of the extraordinary emotion : It is because I kuoru (replied the holy man, the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel!
Hazael was not only offended at the prophet's suggestions, but furprised that he should think him such a mon. ster: for though he might intend to prevent his king's recovery, he did not then suppose that he should ever be capable of committing such horrid barbarities as can only be practised by those who have lost every principle of humanity. Elisha then informed him, this wickedness would be the consequence of his being king of Syria. Happy would it have been for Hazael, as well as for Israel, if this prediction had induced him to examine his owo heart, and endeavour to nip in the bud that fatal ambition which already tempted him to lift his murderous hand against his sovereiga ! But we find he informed Ben-hadad that Elisha said, he should certainly recover, and then seized the first opportunity of putting him to death, in so private a manner, that it was never even suspected by the Syrians; for they would scarcely have raised to the throne one whom they knew to be the assassin of a monarch, worthy, in their opinion, to be worshipped as a deity after his death.
In this passage of sacred history, we have two remark. able instances of the influence which affliction and prosperity have on the mind. Ben-hadad, who when he supposed himself able to coinmand the prophet of the Lord, and conquer all nations, treated Elisha with insult, oppression, and contempt ; reduced now to the bed of languishment, found himself a poor helpless creature ; and (recollecting, we may suppose, the cure of Naaman) humbled himself, to court the favour of the prophet by Q3
Valuable presents, in hopes that he might be induced to restore him also, or at least to acquaint him with his fate ; but' as Ben-hadad did not discover any signs of repentance and conversion, he had no right to expect comfort or intercession from the inan of God, and the time was now come when he was to receive the reward of his own arrogance and impiety, by falling a victim to the ambition of another.
Hazael, whilst he was a subject, seems to have been generally esteemed : for we learn, that he was honoured with the confidence of his prince ; and it appears that he was a favourite of the people, since he was, without opposition, chosen to be king of Syria. From whence we may conclude, his conduct had been just and upright ; and à sense of rectitude remained strongly impressed on his mind, even when Elisha warned him of the danger of aspiring to the throne : but it is plain he did not know himself, for when he became possessed of power he verified the predictions of the prophet in every particular.
This history teaches us, that it is very dangerous to indulge ambitious views, since none can possibly foresee the guilt they may incur in the execution of them. It instructs us also to be contented in that station wherein God has placed us, since we'have reason to suppose it is the most proper for us. We are likewise adñonished to commit our ways unto the Lord, and intreat him to assist us by his grace in the government of our passions, since they are too apt to lead us into danger and sin *
* Sce a Sermon on this subject by Dr. Blair.'
THE REIGN OF JEHORAM KING
From 2 Chronicles, Chap. xxi. AND Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat reigned in Judah after his father.
And he had brethren the sops of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah. All these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.
And their father gave them great gifts of silver and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah : but the kingdom gave her to Jehoram ;- because he was the first-borne, vi Juho
Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of bis father, he strengthened bimself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel. i Howbeit, the LORD would not destroy the house, of David, because of the covenant that he had nade with, David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. 1
Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him, and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the charicts.
So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Juq. dah unto this day. The same zime also did Libnah revolt from under his hand is because he had forsaken the LORD God of his faciers. Moreover, he made high places in the mountains of
Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit idolatry, and compelled Judah thereto.
And there came à writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast' made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem like the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself:
Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods.
And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.
Moreover; the Lord stirred up against Tehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians.
And they eame up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also and his wives ; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz the youngestof his sons.
And after all this the Lord mote him in his bowele with an incurable disease. 1 And it came to pass that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: 80 he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers.
Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years,
and departed without being desired. Howbeit, they buried