|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:19-25 Observe the miracle of healing the waters. Prophets should make every place to which they come better for them, endeavouring to sweeten bitter spirits, and to make barren souls fruitful, by the word of God, which is like the salt cast into the water by Elisha. It was an apt emblem of the effect produced by the grace of God on the sinful heart of man. Whole families, towns, and cities, sometimes have a new appearance through the preaching of the gospel; wickedness and evil have been changed into fruitfulness in the works of righteousness, which are, through Christ, to the praise and glory of God. Here is a curse on the youths of Bethel, enough to destroy them; it was not a curse causeless, for it was Elisha's character, as God's prophet, that they abused. They bade him go up, reflecting on the taking up of Elijah into heaven. The prophet acted by Divine impulse. If the Holy Spirit had not directed Elisha's solemn curse, the providence of God would not have followed it with judgment. The Lord must be glorified as a righteous God who hates sin, and will reckon for it. Let young persons be afraid of speaking wicked words, for God notices what they say. Let them not mock at any for defects in mind or body; especially it is at their peril, if they scoff at any for well doing. Let parents that would have comfort in their children, train them up well, and do their utmost betimes to drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts. And what will be the anguish of those parents, at the day of judgment, who witness the everlasting condemnation of their offspring, occasioned by their own bad example, carelessness, or wicked teaching!
Verse 25. - And he went from thence to Mount Carmel. Ewald thinks that Carmel was, on the whole, the main residence of Elijah, and "through him became a special prophetic locality" ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 68). If so, we may account for Elisha's visiting it on this occasion by his desire to communicate the facts of Elijah's removal from earth to those who had been his intimates in that quarter. And from thence he returned to Samaria. Elisha does not imitate the wild, half-savage life and almost constant seclusion of his master. He "prefers from the first the companionship of men," fixes his home in the capital of his country, Samaria (2 Kings 5:9; 2 Kings 6:32); is a friendly counselor of the king (2 Kings 6:9), and highly honored by him (2 Kings 8:4); his whole life, indeed, is, compared with that of Elijah, one of ease and tranquility. But, though living "in the world," he is not "of the world." As Ewald says, "In spite of all the seductions to which he was abundantly exposed through the great consideration in which he was held, he retained at every period of his life the true prophetic simplicity and purity, and contempt for worldly wealth and advantages" ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 83). He is thus, far more than Elijah, a pattern for Christian ministers, especially for such as are highly placed, who will do well to follow his example.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he went from thence to Mount Carmel,.... Where Elijah used to frequent, and where also there might be a school of the prophets; this, according to Bunting (a), was fifty six miles from Bethel:
and from thence he returned to Samaria; the capital of the kingdom of Israel; there to bear his testimony against idolatry, to reprove for it, and reclaim from it; this, as the same writer says (b), was thirty two miles from Carmel.
(a) Travels, &c. p. 206. (b) Ibid.
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