|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:3-11 God can, when he pleases, make the stoutest heart to tremble; and as for those who will not fear God, he can make them fear at the shaking of a leaf. Providence ordered it, that the lepers came as soon as the Syrians were fled. Their consciences told them that mischief would befall them, if they took care of themselves only. Natural humanity, and fear of punishment, are powerful checks on the selfishness of the ungodly. These feelings tend to preserve order and kindness in the world; but they who have found the unsearchable riches of Christ, will not long delay to report the good tidings to others. From love to him, not from selfish feelings, they will gladly share their earthly good things with their brethren.
Verses 3-16. - The mode in which Elisha's prophecy of relief and deliverance was fulfilled is now set forth. Four lepers, excluded from the city, and on the point of perishing of hunger, felt that they could be no worse off, and might better their condition, if they deserted to the Syrians. They therefore drew off from the city at nightfall, and made for the Syrian camp. On arriving, they found it deserted. The entire host, seized with a sudden panic, had fled, about the time that they began their journey. The lepers' first thought was to enrich themselves by plunder, but after a while it occurred to them that, unless they hastened to carry the good news to Samaria, inquiry would be made, their proceedings would be found out, and they would be severely punished. So they returned to the capital, and reported what they had discovered. Jehoram, on receiving the news, feared that the Syrians had prepared a trap for him, and declined to move. He consented, however, to send out scouts to reconnoiter. The scouts found evident proof that the entire army had actually fled and was gone, whereupon there was a general raid upon the camp and its stores, which were so abundant that Elisha's prophecy was fulfilled ere the day ended. Verse 3. - And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate; or, at the entrance to the gate-house. Lepers were forbidden by the Law to reside within cities (Leviticus 13:46; Numbers 5:3). They were thrust out when the disease developed itself, and forced to dwell without the walls. No doubt their friends within the city ordinarily supplied them with food; and hence they congregated about the city gates. And they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? In the extreme scarcity, it is probable that no food was brought to them, the inmates of the city having barely enough wherewith to sustain themselves (2 Kings 6:25). Thus they were on the point of perishing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate,.... Of the city of Samaria; lepers, according to the law, being obliged to be without the city and camp, Leviticus 13:46 these might have a dwelling assigned them near the gate; or they might get as near to it as they could, partly to obtain relief from the city, and partly for fear of the Syrians; these, the Jews say (x), were Gehazi and his three sons, see 2 Kings 5:27.
and they said one to another, why sit we here until we die? being ready to perish with hunger.
(x) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 47. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 107. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. there were four leprous men—The account of the sudden raising of the siege and the unexpected supply given to the famishing inhabitants of Samaria, is introduced by a narrative of the visit and discovery, by these poor creatures, of the extraordinary flight of the Syrians.
leprous men at the entering in of the gate—living, perhaps, in some lazar house there (Le 13:4-6; Nu 5:3).
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