And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn your hand, that you may carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Drew a bow.—With the bow.
At a venture.—See margin, and comp. 2Samuel 15:11, where a similar phrase occurs, which Gesenius interprets “without thought of evil design.” The LXX. εὐστόχως, “with good aim,” is a bad guess. Syriac, “innocently straight before him.” But the explanation of Rashi seems best: “without knowing why he chose that particular man to shoot at.”
And smote.—See on 2Chronicles 18:23.
Between the joints of the harness.—Or, breastplate. So Syriac, “between the division of his mail”; the LXX. has “in the midst of the lungs and breast:; Vulgate, “between the neck and shoulders”; both mere guesses.
That thou mayst carry (literally, bring) me out.—Kings, and bring me out.1 Kings 22:2,
he went down to Ahab to Samaria; to pay him a visit upon the alliance, civil and matrimonial, contracted between them:
and Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him; entertained him and his retinue in a very grand and liberal manner:
and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead; from hence, to the end of the chapter, it is the same with 1 Kings 22:4.And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)33. And a certain man drew a bow] Render, But a certain man had drawn a bow. God had already brought about that which the Syrians were labouring to perform.
at a venture] Better, as mg., in his simplicity, i.e. without knowing that he was aiming at Ahab. Cp. 2 Samuel 15:11.
between the joints of the harness] Probably between the breastplate (or coat of mail) and the appendages to it; the wound would be in the lower part of the body.
that thou mayest carry me] R.V. and carry me (so 1 Kin.).
wounded] R.V. sore wounded (so 1 Kin., R.V.).Verse 33. - At a venture; Hebrew, לְתֻמּו; i.e. "in his innocence." The root is the familiar root expressive of uprightness, perfectness, simplicity, and the meaning here is that the shooter was innocent of what a distinguished deed he was doing, of the personality of the man at whom he aimed (for it is not necessary to suppose his shot was quite at random), and of the skill that gave the arrow to reach its ultimate destiny. Between the joints of the harness; literally, between the joints and the harness, i.e. that part called the breastplate. The arrow went through, or by the side of one of the actual articulations of the armour-mail worn. Ahab's direction to the chariot-driver at the spur of the first wounded moment to turn and carry him out of the host, was evidently qualified, when he found that the wound was not immediately fatal. As the heat of the battle grew, and victory did not at once turn one way or the other, he was the more anxious to give the moral support of his presence to the last to his army, and, unable to stand by himself, he was supported by his own orders (so our rendering is not inconsistent with that in the parallel "was stayed" (1 Kings 22:35) in the chariot till he died in the evening. Although the spirit of Ahab, and his fidelity to his own army, kingdom, and self, cannot but appear to advantage in these last incidents of his unworthy life, yet it is probable that they find their record here for the sake of giving clear statement to the fact, that in the chariot his life-bleed collected according to the saying of the parallel (ver. 35 compared with ver. 38). Note, therefore, particularly the truncated history of the writer of Chronicles in this instance. He, no doubt, consciously omitted, and with a purpose, his own usual purpose; but light is lost, and the cross light tends rather to misleading, except for that only correct user of Scripture, which teaches us to compare one Scripture with another, and balance one part against another - a thing easy to do in matters of fact, but too often forgotten in the weightier matter of doctrine. Here our eighteenth chapter closes, less the mention of the proclamation for the self-disbanding of Ahab's army (ver. 36 of the parallel chapter) which should fulfil the prophecy of our ver. 16, and less any mention of Ahab's burial, of the washing of his chariot in the pool of Samaria, of the dogs licking up of the blood there, and of his ivory house, etc. (vers. 37-40 of the parallel chapter). All of which omittings accord well with the one clear ecclesiastical and religious intent of the Chronicles, in place of the pursuit of matters of general and merely graphic historic interest, however charged with instruction they too might be.
1 Kings 22:1-3 it is remarked, in connection with the preceding wars of Ahab with the Syrians, that after there had been no war for three years between Aram and Israel, in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah came up to the king of Israel; and the latter, when he and his servants had determined to snatch away from the Syrians the city Ramoth in Gilead, which belonged to Israel, called upon Jehoshaphat to march with him to the war against Ramoth. In the Chronicle the more exact statement, "in the third year," which is intelligible only in connection with the earlier history of Ahab, is exchanged for the indefinite שׁנים לקץ, "at the end of years;" and mention is made of the festal entertainment which Ahab bestowed upon his guest and his train (עמּו אשׁר העם), to show the pains which Ahab took to induce King Jehoshaphat to take part in the proposed campaign. He killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, ויסיתהוּ ,ecnadn, and enticed, seduced him to go up with him to Ramoth. הסית, to incite, entice to anything (Judges 1:14), frequently to evil; cf. Deuteronomy 13:7, etc. עלה, to advance upon a land or a city in a warlike sense. The account which follows of the preparations for the campaign by inquiring of prophets, and of the war itself, vv. 4-34, is in almost verbal agreement with 1 Kings 22:5-35. Referring to 1 Kings or the commentary on the substance of the narrative, we will here only group together briefly the divergences. Instead of 400 men who were prophets, 2 Chronicles 18:5, in 1 Kings 22:5 we have about 400 men. It is a statement in round numbers, founded not upon exact enumeration, but upon an approximate estimate. Instead of אהדּל אם...הנלך, 2 Chronicles 18:5, in Kings, 1 Kings 22:6, we have אהדּל אם...האלך, both verbs being in the same number; and so too in 2 Chronicles 18:14, where in Kings. 1 Kings 22:15, both verbs stand in the plural, notwithstanding that the answer which follows, והצלח עלה, is addressed to Ahab alone, not to both the kings, while in the Chronicle the answer is given in the plural to both the kings, והצליחוּ עלוּ. in 2 Chronicles 18:7, "he prophesies me nothing good, but all his days (i.e., so long as he has been a prophet) evil," the meaning is intensified by the כּל־ימיו, which is not found in 1 Kings 22:8. In 2 Chronicles 18:9, the ויושׁבים, which is introduced before the בּגרן, "and sitting upon the threshing-floor," is due to difference of style, for it is quite superfluous for the signification. In 2 Chronicles 18:15, the ambiguous words of Micah,' and Jahve will give into the hand of the king" (1 Kings 22:15), are given in a more definite form: "and they (the enemy) shall be given into your hand." In 2 Chronicles 18:19, in the first כּכה אמר זה, the אמר after the preceding ויּאמר is not only superfluous, but improper, and has probably come into the text by a copyist's error. We should therefore read only בּכה זה, corresponding to the כּכה זה of 1 Kings 22:20 : "Then spake one after this manner, and the other spake after another manner." In 2 Chronicles 18:23, the indefinite אי־זה of 1 Kings 22:24, is elucidated by הדּרך זה אי, "is that the manner" (cf. 1 Kings 13:12; 2 Kings 3:8)., and the verb. עבר follows without the relative pronoun, as in the passages cited. In 2 Chronicles 18:30, only הרכב שׂרי of the king are mentioned, without any statement of the number, which is given in 1 Kings 22:31, with a backward reference to the former war (1 Kings 20:24). In 2 Chronicles 18:31, after the words, "and Jehoshaphat cried out," the higher cause of Jehoshaphat's rescue is pointed out in the words, "and Jahve helped him, and God drove them from him," which are not found in 1 Kings 22:32; but by this religious reflection the actual course of the event is in no way altered. Bertheau's remark, therefore, that "the words disturb the clear connection of the events," is quite unwarrantable. Finally, in 2 Chronicles 18:34, מעמיד היה, he was holding his position, i.e., he held himself standing upright, the Hiph. is more expressive than the Hoph. מעמד (1 Kings 22:35), since it expresses more definitely the fact that he held himself upright by his own strength. With Ahab's death, which took place in the evening at the time of the going down of the sun, the author of the Chronicle concludes his account of this war, and proceeds in 2 Chronicles 19:1-11 to narrate the further course of Jehoshaphat's reign. In 1 Kings 22:36-39, the return of the defeated army, and the details as to Ahab's death and burial, are recorded; but these did not fit into the plan of the Chronicle.
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