And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armor; according to the word of the LORD which he spoke.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They washed his armour.—There seems little doubt that this is a mistranslation, and that the LXX. rendering (supported also by Josephus) is correct: “And the harlots bathed in it,” that is, in the bloodstained pool, the usual public bathing-place of their shamelessness. The dog and the harlot are the animal and human types of uncleanness.
According unto the word of the Lord.—The reference to the emphatic prophecy of Elijah is unmistakable, and the context fixes its fulfilment plainly as having taken place in Samaria. The difficulty is, of course, the notice in 2Kings 9:25, where the dead body of Jehoram is cast “in the portion of the field of Naboth,” evidently at Jezreel; with quotation of the “burden of the Lord laid upon him,” “I will requite thee in this plot, saith the Lord.” The reconcilement is, with our knowledge, difficult, if not impossible. But the reference in the text is so much clearer, that it must outweigh the other. Naboth, in any case, is likely to have had land in his native place, which would be forfeited to the king; and there would still be an appropriate judgment in making it also the scene of the dishonoured death of the last king of Ahab’s house. We may notice, moreover, that the quotation in 2 Kings 9 is not taken from Elijah’s words against Ahab, nor does it contain the characteristic notice of the “dogs licking the blood;” though it is noticed as a fulfilment of the subsequent prophecy of chapter 21:24 against Ahab’s house.1 Kings 22:38. The dogs licked up his blood — Together with the water wherewith it was mixed. This circumstance is noticed because it was the accomplishment of one part of Elijah’s prophecy concerning him. Now Naboth’s blood was avenged!The dogs licked up his blood, together with the water wherewith it was mixed.
According unto the word of the Lord; of which See Poole "1 Kings 21:19".
and the dogs licked up his blood; mixed with the water of the pool; the Septuagint adds, "the swine", which is not probable, such creatures not being bred in the land of Israel:
and they washed his armour; his coat of mail, through the joints of which the blood issued, and ran upon it. The word is sometimes used for whores, and is so translated here in the Greek version, and by Munster and Castalio; and both Ben Gersom and Abarbinel say, that women, who were harlots, washed here in his blood, mixed with water; and so Josephus (u) writes, that afterwards it was a custom for whores to wash in this pool; though some say (w) two whores were painted on Ahab's chariot, by the order of Jezebel, to inflame his lust, and these were what were washed; but the word signifies armour, or rather ornaments, clothes, jewels, &c.
and now all this was according to the word of the Lord which he spake; both by Elijah, that as the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, so they should his, as they now did, though not in the same place; nor was it necessary to fulfil the prophecy; see Gill on 1 Kings 21:19, though some have thought (x) that his blood, mixed with the water of the pool of Samaria, was carried in a stream down to Jezreel, and there licked by the dogs, where Naboth's was; but chiefly what was spoken by Micaiah is here respected, that thus Ahab fell at Ramothgilead, as he had prophesied, 1 Kings 22:17 and his life went for the life of Benhadad, as he had before declared, 1 Kings 20:42.And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armor; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)38. And one [R.V. they] washed the chariot in [R.V. by] the pool of Samaria] The first change substitutes an English for a Hebrew idiom; the second renders more exactly the preposition of the original. It was necessary in the East to provide large reservoirs outside each town that the supplies of water in the rainy season might be kept for times of drought. Many such pools are mentioned in Scripture, and some, for example those at Bethlehem, remain to the present day. To the side of such a tank the royal equipage was brought to be washed. Thus Ahab’s blood came to be licked up by the dogs in the same sort of spot, outside the city walls, as that where Naboth’s blood was licked up near Jezreel.
and the dogs licked, &c.] Here as above in 1 Kings 21:19 the LXX. adds ‘the swine’ to the dogs.
and they washed his armour] R.V. Now the harlots washed themselves there. This change, which is the rendering of the LXX., is no doubt correct. The Hebrew word זנות occurs often in the O. Test. and means nothing else but ‘harlots,’ while the verb in the sentence is not one applied to washing articles that need cleaning but to bathing the body. Cf. Exodus 30:19; Exodus 30:21; Exodus 40:12; Exodus 40:31; Leviticus 16:4; Leviticus 16:24; Leviticus 16:26; Leviticus 16:28, and in Numbers 19:19 another verb is used for ‘wash his clothes’ and the present verb rendered ‘bathe himself,’ and in the verse before us another verb is employed to describe the washing of the chariot.
The R.V. by placing this clause in a parenthesis seems to treat it as a subsidiary feature in the description. This was the place to which they usually came to bathe. Some have however suggested that the women alluded to were those attached (as such persons were) to the temples of Baal and Ashtoreth, and that thus a greater indignity still was offered to this fosterer of idolatrous worship. This interpretation however reads a good deal into the text which is not there. And surely it was indignity enough for the royal blood to be washed into the waters of the harlots’ bath. It should be mentioned that Josephus, and, among the Fathers, Theodoret, support the rendering of R.V. The A.V. is derived from the Chaldee and the Syriac versions.Verse 38. - And one washed the chariot in [or at; Heb. עַל] the pool of Samaria. [Nearly all Eastern cities had their tanks or pools, often outside the city gate. Jerusalem has several of these, and we read of one at Hebron (2 Samuel 14:12) and Gibeon (2 Samuel 2:13). Cf. Song of Solomon 7:4. The Hebrew word בְּרֵכָה is preserved in the modern Arabic Birkeh]; and the dogs [The LXX. has the swine and the dogs. The mention of swine is hardly likely to have been omitted, had it formed part of the original text] licked up his blood [cf. 1 Kings 21:19, note. According to Josephus, the chariot was washed "in the fountain of Jezreel." The alteration would appear to have been made to avoid the difficulty occasioned by the discrepancy between the statement of the text, and that of 1 Kings 21:19], and they washed his armour [So the Chaldaic and the Syriac. But this translation is now abandoned,
(1) because it is contrary to the usage of the language to make זֹנות the object; and
(2) because that word occurs in the Old Testament only in the sense of harlots (Bahr). The true meaning is that given by the LXX., καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐλούσαντο. רָחַץdoes not require any object such as "chariot," or "corpse," for it is found in the sense of bathe (intrans.) in Exodus 2:5; Numbers 19:19; Ruth 3:3; 2 Kings 5:10. Bahr reminds us that harlots are elsewhere associated with dogs (Deuteronomy 23:19; Revelation 22:15). This fact is mentioned as a proof of the just judgment of God. Even if these harlots were not prostitutes devoted to the service of the Phoenician deities, whose cultus Ahab had sought to establish in Israel, still the result of his religious policy had been the spread of prostitution. It is a fine example of the lex tolionis. "He which is filthy, let him be filthy still"]; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake [the reference is to 1 Kings 21:19]. 1 Kings 20:39. How far Jehoshaphat was saved by his crying out, is not precisely stated. He probably cried out to his followers to come to his aid, from which the Syrians discovered that he was not the king of Israel, whom they were in search of. The chronicler adds (1 Kings 2:18, 1 Kings 2:31): "and the Lord helped him and turned them off from him;" thus believingly tracing the rescue of the king to its higher causality, though without our having any right to infer from this that Jehoshaphat cried aloud to God for help, which is not implied in the words of the Chronicles.
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