Then Pharaoh said to him, But what have you lacked with me, that, behold, you seek to go to your own country? And he answered, Nothing: however, let me go in any wise.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 11:16. The inability of refugees to depart from an Oriental court without the king's leave, and his unwillingness ordinarily to grant leave, are illustrated by many passages in the history of Persia.
14-25. the Lord stirred up an adversary—that is, permitted him, through the impulse of his own ambition, or revenge, to attack Israel. During the war of extermination, which Joab carried on in Edom (2Sa 8:13), this Hadad, of the royal family, a mere boy when rescued from the sword of the ruthless conqueror, was carried into Egypt, hospitably entertained, and became allied with the house of the Egyptian king. In after years, the thought of his native land and his lost kingdom taking possession of his mind, he, on learning the death of David and Joab, renounced the ease, possessions, and glory of his Egyptian residence, to return to Edom and attempt the recovery of his ancestral throne. The movements of this prince seem to have given much annoyance to the Hebrew government; but as he was defeated by the numerous and strong garrisons planted throughout the Edomite territory, Hadad seems to have offered his services to Rezon, another of Solomon's adversaries (1Ki 11:23-25). This man, who had been general of Hadadezer and, on the defeat of that great king, had successfully withdrawn a large force, went into the wilderness, led a predatory life, like Jephthah, David, and others, on the borders of the Syrian and Arabian deserts. Then, having acquired great power, he at length became king in Damascus, threw off the yoke, and was "the adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon." He was succeeded by Hadad, whose successors took the official title of Ben-hadad from him, the illustrious founder of the powerful kingdom of Damascene-Syria. These hostile neighbors, who had been long kept in check by the traditional fame of David's victories, took courage; and breaking out towards the latter end of Solomon's reign, they must have not only disturbed his kingdom by their inroads, but greatly crippled his revenue by stopping his lucrative traffic with Tadmor and the Euphrates.
that, behold, thou seekest to go into thine own country? as if not well used where he was, or would be better provided for there:
and he answered, nothing; he wanted nothing at all, had all he could wish for:
howbeit, let me go in any wise: he had such an extreme desire to go, that he begged it might not be denied him on any account; whether he acquainted Pharaoh with his view in this request is not said, but it is probable he did, and it is certain Pharaoh gave him leave to go, see 1 Kings 11:25.Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. And he answered, Nothing] The Hebrew has for the last word only the simple negative ‘Not.’ (See A.V. marg.) The verb ‘I have lacked’ is to be supplied.
let me go in any wise] The verb is not the same as that translated ‘go’ in the former part of the verse. The R.V. marks the difference by rendering depart here, as the word corresponds to that so translated in 21.
Here the LXX. (Vat.) has in addition ‘And Hadad (Ἄδερ) returned to his own land. This is the evil which Hadad: and he was indignant against Israel, and reigned in the land of Edom.’ Then 1 Kings 11:23-25 are omitted, having been partly represented by the additions to 1 Kings 11:14 noticed above.Verse 22. - Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? [The natural inquiry of Eastern courtesy.] And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise. [Heb. thou shalt surely send me away. Rawlinson says, "There is a remarkable abruptness in this termination." But we must remember how unfinished, to our eyes, Scripture narratives constantly seem. There is no need, consequently, to suspect any accidental omission from the Hebrew text. The LXX., it is true, adds, "and Ader departed," etc., but this may be inferred from vers. 14, 25. And Hadad's persistent desire to depart, for which he assigns no reason, is suggestive of the thoughts which were stirring in his soul. "The keen remembrance of his native land, his lost kingdom, and the slaughter of all his house, gathered strength within him; and all the ease and princely honour which he enjoyed in Egypt availed not against the claims of ambition, vengeance, and patriotism" (Kitto).] 1 Kings 11:16 form explanatory circumstantial clauses. On the circumstance itself, compare 2 Samuel 8:13-14, with the explanation given there. "The slain," whom Joab went to bury, were probably not the Israelites who had fallen in the battle in the Salt valley (2 Samuel 8:13), but those who had been slain on the invasion of the land by the Edomites, and still remained unburied. After their burial Joab defeated the Edomites in the valley of Salt, and remained six months in Edom till he had cut off every male. "All Israel" is the whole of the Israelitish army. "Every male" is of course only the men capable of bearing arms, who fell into the hands of the Israelites; for "Hadad and others fled, and the whole of the Idumaean race was not extinct" (Clericus). Then Hadad fled, while yet a little boy, with some of his father's Edomitish servants, to go to Egypt, going first of all to Midian and thence to Paran. The country of Midian cannot be more precisely defined, inasmuch as we meet with Midianites sometimes in the peninsula of Sinai on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf, where Edrisi and Abulfeda mention a city of Madian (see at Exodus 2:15), and sometimes on the east of the Moabitish territory (see at Numbers 22:4 and Judges 6:1). Here, at any rate, we must think of the neighbourhood of the Elanitic Gulf, though not necessarily of the city of Madian, five days' journey to the south of Aela; and probably of the country to which Moses fled from Egypt. Paran is the desert of that name between the mountains of Sinai and the south of Canaan (see at Numbers 10:12), through which the Haj route from Egypt by Elath to Mecca still runs. Hadad would be obliged to take the road by Elath in order to go to Egypt, even if he had taken refuge with the Midianites on the east of Moab and Edom.
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