|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:20-25 God has many ways to chastise a provoking people. Trouble comes sometimes from that point whence we least feared it. The mention of this invasion on the death of Elisha, shows that the removal of God's faithful prophets is a presage of coming judgments. His dead body was a means of giving life to another dead body. This miracle was a confirmation of his prophecies. And it may have reference to Christ, by whose death and burial, the grave is made a safe and happy passage to life to all believers. Jehoash was successful against the Syrians, just as often as he had struck the ground with the arrows, then a stop was put to his victories. Many have repented, when too late, of distrusts and the straitness of their desires.
Verse 20. - And Elisha died, and they buried him. There had been no burial of Elijah, who" went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11). All the more anxious, therefore, would the Israelites be to bury their second great prophet with due honor. They prepared him, no doubt, one of those excavated sepulchers which were usual at the time and in the country - a squared or vaulted chamber cut in the native rock. St. Jerome says that the place of his sepulture was near Samaria ('Epitaph. Paulae'), and this is sufficiently probable; but in the Middle Ages his grave was shown at Ruma, in Galilee (Ewald, 'Hist. of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 122, note 3). According to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 6), his funeral was magnificent. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. It seems to be implied that this was a usual occurrence. Just as the Syrians in the days of Naaman made marauding raids into the land from time to time (2 Kings 5:2), so now the Moabites each spring made an incursion. The weakness of Israel is strongly marked by this fact, and still more by the penetration of the Moabites so deep into their country. Amos 2:1 perhaps glances at these incursions of Moab.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Elisha died, and they buried him,.... In Samaria. Epiphanius says (n), in Sebastopolis of Samaria, Samaria itself was called Sebaste in later times; though the Jews say (o) he was buried in Mount Carmel, in the cave of Elijah; according to the Jewish chronology (p), he died in the tenth year of Joash, and he prophesied more than sixty years; sixty six, as Abarbinel, since he began to prophesy in the nineteenth year of Jehoshaphat; and, according to Clemens (q) of Alexandria, when he was forty years of age; but it seems rather, as Kimchi observes, that he died in the beginning of the reign of Joash, and even before his father's death, when he was a partner with him in the throne, and before any salvation or deliverance from the Syrians was wrought:
and the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year; at the spring of the year, when there was fruit on the earth, those troops of robbers came to plunder and spoil; several of the Jewish writers observe, that in the word for "coming", is instead of and so may be rendered "in that year", in that selfsame year that Elisha died; and so read the Syriac, Arabic, and the Vulgate Latin versions.
(n) De Vitis Prophet. c. 6. (o) Cippi Heb. p. 46. (p) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 19. (q) Stromat. l. 1. p. 326.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20, 21. Elisha died—He had enjoyed a happier life than Elijah, as he possessed a milder character, and bore a less hard commission. His rough garment was honored even at the court.
coming in of the year—that is, the spring, the usual season of beginning campaigns in ancient times. Predatory bands from Moab generally made incursions at that time on the lands of Israel. The bearers of a corpse, alarmed by the appearance of one of these bands, hastily deposited, as they passed that way, their load in Elisha's sepulchre, which might be easily done by removing the stone at the mouth of the cave. According to the Jewish and Eastern custom, his body, as well as that of the man who was miraculously restored, was not laid in a coffin, but only swathed; so that the bodies could be brought into contact, and the object of the miracle was to stimulate the king's and people of Israel's faith in the still unaccomplished predictions of Elisha respecting the war with the Syrians. Accordingly the historian forthwith records the historical fulfilment of the prediction (2Ki 13:22-25), in the defeat of the enemy, in the recovery of the cities that had been taken, and their restoration to the kingdom of Israel.
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