2 Chronicles 21:20
Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. However, they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchers of the kings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Thirty and two years.—The word “years” has fallen out of the Hebrew text; but some MSS. contain it. The repetition of his age, &c, is curious. (See 2Chronicles 21:6.) It seems to indicate that the writer was here transcribing from another source.

And departed without being desired.And he departed without regret, died unregretted. Hemdāh answers to the Latin desiderium. The LXX. and Vulg. render: “And he walked not in approbation,” or “rightly.” Comp. Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the end of king Jehoiakim: They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah, my brother!” &c. (Jeremiah 22:18-19). So Syriac and Arabic.

Howbeit.And.

They buried him.—LXX., Syriac, and Arabic: “He was buried.”

But not in the sepulchres of the kings.2Chronicles 24:25; 2Chronicles 26:23. Another circumstance of dishonour. It is not mentioned in 2Kings 8:17. Thenius asserts that in these additions to the history of Jehoram there is traceable, not only a traditional or legendary element, but also pure embellishment on the part of the chronicler. The grounds he alleges, however, by no means necessitate his conclusion, being themselves misinterpretations of the statements of Kings.

2 Chronicles 21:20. And departed — Hebrew, went, namely, the way of all the earth, as it is more fully expressed Joshua 23:14. Or, to the land of darkness, Job 10:21-22. Or, to his long home, Ecclesiastes 12:5. Or, went away, namely, out of this world, as the word הלךְ, halack, used here and Job 14:20; Ecclesiastes 5:15; Ecclesiastes 6:4, signifies. And there are many such phrases used concerning death, in the Old and New Testaments, which all signify that death is not an annihilation, but only a translation into another place and state. See Genesis 15:15; Php 1:23. Without being desired — Hebrew, without desire, which may be referred, 1st, To himself. He had no desire of living longer, nor any pleasure in life, but was heartily weary of it, through his excessive pains. Or rather, it belongs, 2d, To his people, who did not desire that he should live longer, but oft and heartily wished that he had died sooner: which contempt of him they showed both by making no burning for him, as they used to do for good kings, and by denying him burial among the kings. The expression is emphatical: for it is usual with men to desire the death of some persons, whom afterward they lament, and heartily wish they were alive again. But for this ungodly and unhappy prince, his people did not only in his life-time wish his death, but afterward did not repent of those desires. 21:12-20 A warning from God was sent to Jehoram. The Spirit of prophecy might direct Elijah to prepare this writing in the foresight of Jehoram's crimes. He is plainly told that his sin should certainly ruin him. But no marvel that sinners are not frightened from sin, and to repentance, by the threatenings of misery in another world, when the certainty of misery in this world, the sinking of their estates, and the ruin of their health, will not restrain them from vicious courses. See Jehoram here stripped of all his comforts. Thus God plainly showed that the controversy was with him, and his house. He had slain all his brethren to strengthen himself; now, all his sons are slain but one. David's house must not be wholly destroyed, like those of Israel's kings, because a blessing was in it; that of the Messiah. Good men may be afflicted with diseases; but to them they are fatherly chastisements, and by the support of Divine consolations the soul may dwell at ease, even when the body lies in pain. To be sick and poor, sick and solitary, but especially to be sick and in sin, sick and under the curse of God, sick and without grace to bear it, is a most deplorable case. Wickedness and profaneness make men despicable, even in the eyes of those who have but little religion.Not in the sepulchres of the kings - Compare the similar treatment of Joash 2 Chronicles 24:25 and Ahaz 2 Chronicles 28:27. 13-19. hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem … like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab—that is, introduced the superstitions and vices of Phœnician idolatry (see on [444]De 13:6-14). On this account, as well as for his unnatural cruelties, divine vengeance was denounced against him, which was soon after executed exactly as the prophet had foretold. A series of overwhelming calamities befell this wicked king; for in addition to the revolts already mentioned, two neighboring tribes (see 2Ch 17:11) made hostile incursions on the southern and western portions of his kingdom. His country was ravaged, his capital taken, his palace plundered, his wives carried off, and all his children slain except the youngest. He himself was seized with an incurable dysentery, which, after subjecting him to the most painful suffering for the unusual period of two years, carried him off, a monument of the divine judgment. To complete his degradation, his death was unlamented, his burial unhonored by his subjects. This custom, similar to what obtained in Egypt, seems to have crept in among the Hebrews, of giving funeral honors to their kings, or withholding them, according to the good or bad characters of their reign. Departed, Heb. went, to wit, the way of all the earth, as it is more fully expressed, Joshua 23:14. Or, to the land of darkness, as Job 10:21,22. Or, to his long home, Ecclesiastes 12:5. Or, went away, to wit, out of this world; as this word is used, Job 14:20 Ecclesiastes 5:15 6:4; there being many such words and phrases used concerning death in the Old and New Testament, signifying that death is not an annihilation, but only a translation into another place and state. See Genesis 15:15 Philippians 1:23.

Without being desired, Heb. without desire; which may belong either,

1. To himself; he had no desire of living longer, nor any pleasure in life, but was heartily weary of it, through his excessive pains: or rather,

2. To his people, who did not desire that he should live longer, but oft and heartily wished that he had died sooner; which contempt of him they showed both by making no burning for him, as they used to do for good and laudable kings, 2 Chronicles 16:14, and by denying him burial among the kings, as it here follows. Desire is here put for a person or thing whose life or continuance is desirable or desired by others, as Isaiah 2:16 Ezekiel 24:16,18,21,25 Da 9:23 10:11,19. And this is an emphatical expression, because it is usual with men to desire the deaths of some persons, whom afterward they lament and heartily wish that they were alive again, as they may have cause to do. But for this ungodly and unhappy prince, his people did not only in his lifetime wish his death, but afterwards they did not repent of those desires, nor wish him alive again, but rejoiced that they were delivered from so great a plague as he was to them. Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years,.... See 2 Kings 8:17,

and departed without being desired; to live, either by himself, being weary of life through the pain he endured; or by his people, he being so wicked a prince, and so ill beloved by them, that nobody wished to have him live, but were glad to hear of his death; the meaning is, he died unlamented; his death is expressed by a departing out of this world into another, a phrase more than once used for death in the New Testament, see John 13:1,

howbeit, they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings; they showed him some respect for the sake of his father, by burying him in the city of David, but denied him the honour of lying in the royal sepulchres, see 2 Kings 8:24.

Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, {l} and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.

(l) That is, as some write, he was not regarded but deposed for his wickedness and idolatry so that his son reigned 22 years (his father yet living) without honour, and after his father's death he was confirmed to reign still, as in 2Ch 22:2.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. and departed without being desired] Render, he lived so that none desired him (or “delighted in him”). Cp. LXX., ἐπορεύθη οὐκ ἐν ἐπαίνῳ, lit. “he walked without praise.”

Howbeit] R.V. and.

but not in the sepulchres of the kings] According to Kings he “was buried with his fathers.” Cp. 2 Chronicles 24:25.Verse 20. - Departed without being desired; literally, without desire. The closing commentary, so quietly written, becomes the more pathetically mournful The "desire" spoken of is the desiderium of Horace, of nearly nine centuries later ('Odes,' L 24). But there was now no "desiderium... tam cari capitis," for want of room for this latter description. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings (see again our note on 2 Chronicles 16:14; and comp. 2 Chronicles 24:25; 2 Chronicles 28:27).



The prophet Elijah's letter against Joram, and the infliction of the punishments as announced. - 2 Chronicles 21:12. There came to him a writing from the prophet Elijah to this effect: "Thus saith Jahve, the God of thy father David, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat, ... but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, ... and also hast slain thy brethren, the house of thy father, who were better than thyself; behold, Jahve will send a great plague upon thy people, and upon thy sons, and thy wives, and upon all thy goods; and thou shalt have great sickness, by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day." מכתב, writing, is a written prophetic threatening, in which his sins are pointed out to Joram, and the divine punishment for them announced. In regard to this statement, we need not be surprised that nothing is elsewhere told us of any written prophecies of Elijah; for we have no circumstantial accounts of his prophetic activity, by which we might estimate the circumstances which may have induced him in this particular instance to commit his prophecy to writing. But, on the other hand, it is very questionable if Elijah was still alive in the reign of Joram of Judah. His translation to heaven is narrated in 2 Kings 2, between the reign of Ahaziah and Joram of Israel, but the year of the event is nowhere stated in Scripture. In the Jewish Chronicle Seder olam, 2 Chronicles 17:45, it is indeed placed in the second year of Ahaziah of Israel; but this statement is not founded upon historical tradition, but is a mere deduction from the fact that his translation is narrated in 2 Kings 2 immediately after Ahaziah's death; and the last act of Elijah of which we have any record (2 Kings 1) falls in the second year of that king. Lightfoot, indeed (Opp. i. p. 85), Ramb., and Dereser have concluded from 2 Kings 3:11 that Elijah was taken away from the earth in the reign of Jehoshaphat, because according to that passage, in the campaign against the Moabites, undertaken in company with Joram of Israel, Jehoshaphat inquired for a prophet, and received the answer that Elisha was there, who had poured water upon the hands of Elijah. But the only conclusion to be drawn from that is, that in the camp, or near it, was Elisha, Elijah's servant, not that Elijah was no longer upon earth. The perfect יצק אשׁר seems indeed to imply this; but it is questionable if we may so press the perfect, i.e., whether the speaker made use of it, or whether it was employed only by the later historian. The words are merely a periphrasis to express the relationship of master and servant in which Elijah stood to Elisha, and tell us only that the latter was Elijah's attendant. But Elisha had entered upon this relationship to Elijah long before Elijah's departure from the earth (1 Kings 19:19.). Elijah may therefore have still been alive under Joram of Judah; and Berth. accordingly thinks it "antecedently probable that he spoke of Joram's sins, and threatened him with punishment. But the letter," so he further says, "is couched in quite general terms, and gives, moreover, merely a prophetic explanation of the misfortunes with which Joram was visited;" whence we may conclude that in its present form it is the work of a historian living at a later time, who describes the relation of Elijah to Joram in few words, and according to his conception of it as a whole. This judgment rests on dogmatic grounds, and flows from a principle which refuses to recognise any supernatural prediction in the prophetic utterances. The contents of the letter can be regarded as a prophetic exposition of the misfortunes which broke in, as it were, upon Joram, only by those who deny priori that there is any special prediction in the speeches of the prophets, and hold all prophecies which contain such to be vaticinia post eventum. Somewhat more weighty is the objection raised against the view that Elijah was still upon earth, to the effect that the divine threatenings would make a much deeper impression upon Joram by the very fact that the letter came from a prophet who was no longer in life, and would thus more easily bring him to the knowledge that the Lord is the living God, who had in His hand his breath and all his ways, and who knew all his acts. Thus the writing would smite the conscience of Joram like a voice from the other world (Dchsel). But this whole remark is founded only upon subjective conjectures and presumptions, for which actual analogies are wanting.

For the same reason we cannot regard the remark of Menken as very much to the point, when he says: "If a man like Elias were to speak again upon earth, after he had been taken from it, he must do it from the clouds: this would harmonize with the whole splendour of his course in life; and, in my opinion, that is what actually occurred." For although we do not venture "to mark the limits to which the power and sphere of activity of the perfected saints is extended," yet we are not only justified, but also bound in duty, to judge of those facts of revelation which are susceptible of different interpretations, according to the analogy of the whole Scripture. But the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments know nothing of any communications by writings between the perfected saints in heaven and men; indeed, they rather teach the contrary in the parable of the rich man

(Note: "Neque enim," says Ramb., "ulla ratione credibile est, Deum in gratiam impii regis ejusmodi quid fecisse, cujus nullum alias exemplum exstat; immo quod nec necessarium erat, quum plures aliae essent rationes, quibus Deus voluntatem suam ei manifestare poterat; coll. Luc. 16:27, 29." And, still more conclusively, Calov. declares: "Non enim triumphantium in coelis est erudire aut ad poenitentiam revocare mortales in terra. Habent Mosen et prophetas, si illos non audiant, neque si quis ex mortius resurrexerit, nedum si quis ex coelis literas perscripserit, credent Luc. 16:31.")

(Luke 16:31)

There are consequently no sufficient grounds for believing that the glorified Elijah either sent a letter to Joram from heaven by an angel, or commissioned any living person to write the letter. The statement of the narrative, "there came to him a writing from Elijah the prophet," cannot well be understood to mean anything else than that Elijah wrote the threatening prophecy which follows; but we have no certain proof that Elijah was then no longer alive, but had been already received into heaven. The time of his translation cannot be exactly fixed. He was still alive in the second year of Ahaziah of Israel; for he announced to this king upon his sick-bed that he would die of his fall (2 Kings 1). Most probably he was still alive also at the commencement of the reign of Joram of Israel, who ascended the throne twenty-three years after Ahab. Jehoshaphat died six or seven years later; and after his death, his successor Joram slew his brothers, the other sons of Jehoshaphat. Elijah may have lived to see the perpetration of this crime, and may consequently also have sent the threatening prophecy which is under discussion to Joram. As he first appeared under Ahab, on the above supposition, he would have filled the office of prophet for about thirty years; while his servant Elisha, whom he chose to be his successor as early as in the reign of Ahab (1 Kings 19:16), died only under Joash of Israel (2 Kings 13:14.), who became king fifty-seven years after Ahab's death, and must consequently have discharged the prophetic functions for at least sixty years. But even if we suppose that Elijah had been taken away from the earth before Jehoshaphat's death, we may, with Buddaeus, Ramb., and other commentators, accept this explanation: that the Lord had revealed to him Joram's wickedness before his translation, and had commissioned him to announce to Joram in writing the divine punishment which would follow, and to send this writing to him at the proper time. This would entirely harmonize with the mode of action of this great man of God. To him God had revealed the elevation of Jehu to the throne of Israel, and the extirpation of the house of Ahab by him, together with the accession of Hazael, and the great oppressions which he would inflict upon Israel, - all events which took place only after the death of Joram of Judah. Him, too, God had commissioned even under Ahab to anoint Jehu to be king over Israel (1 Kings 19:16), which Elisha caused to be accomplished by a prophetic scholar fourteen years later (2 Kings 9:1.); and to him the Lord may also have revealed the iniquity of Joram, Jehoshaphat's successor, even as early as the second year of Ahaziah of Israel, when he announced to this king his death seven years before Jehoshaphat's death, and may have then commissioned him to announce the divine punishment of his sin. But if Elijah committed the anointing of both Hazael and Jehu to his servant Elisha, why may he not also have committed to him the delivery of this threatening prophecy which he had drawn up in writing? Without bringing forward in support of this such hypotheses as that the contents of the letter would have all the greater effect, since it would seem as if the man of God were speaking to him from beyond the grave (O. v. Gerlach), we have yet a perfect right to suppose that a written word from the terrible man whom the Lord had accredited as His prophet by fire from heaven, in his struggle against Baal-worship under Ahab and Ahaziah, would be much better fitted to make an impression upon Joram and his consort Athaliah, who was walking in the footsteps of her mother Jezebel, than a word of Elisha, or any other prophet who was not endowed with the spirit and power of Elijah.

Elijah's writing pointed out to Joram two great transgressions: (1) his forsaking the Lord for the idolatrous worship of the house of Ahab, and also his seducing the people into this sin; and (2) the murder of his brothers. For the punishment of the first transgression he announced to him a great smiting which God would inflict upon his people, his family, and his property; for the second crime he foretold heavy bodily chastisements, by a dreadful disease which would terminate fatally. ימים על ימים, 2 Chronicles 21:15, is accus. of duration: days on days, i.e., continuing for days added to days; cf. שׁנה על שׁנה ספוּ, Isaiah 29:1. ימים Berth. takes to mean a period of a year, so that by this statement of time a period of two years is fixed for the duration of the disease before death. But the words in themselves cannot have this signification; it can only be a deduction from 2 Chronicles 21:18. These two threats of punishment were fulfilled. The fulfilment of the first is recorded in 2 Chronicles 21:16. God stirred up the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabians (רוּח את העיר, as in 1 Chronicles 5:26), so that they came up against Judah, and broke it, i.e., violently pressed into the land as conquerors (בּקע, so split, then to conquer cities by breaking through their walls; cf. 2 Kings 25:4, etc.), and carried away all the goods that were found in the king's house, with the wives and sons of Joram, except Jehoahaz the youngest (2 Chronicles 22:1). Movers (Chron. S. 122), Credner, Hitz., and others on Joel 3:5, Berth., etc., conclude from this that these enemies captured Jerusalem and plundered it. But this can hardly be the case; for although Jerusalem belonged to Judah, and might be included in בּיהוּדה, yet as a rule Jerusalem is specially named along with Judah as being the chief city; and neither the conquest of Judah, nor the carrying away of the goods from the king's house, and of the king's elder sons, with certainty involves the capture of the capital. The opinion that by the "substance which was found in the king's house" we are to understand the treasures of the royal palace, is certainly incorrect. רכוּשׁ denotes property of any sort; and what the property of the king or of the king's house might include, we may gather from the catalogue of the אוצרות of David, in the country, in the cities, villages, and castles, 1 Chronicles 27:25., where they consist in vineyards, forests, and herds of cattle, and together with the המּלך אוצרות formed the property (הרכוּשׁ) of King David. All this property the conquering Philistines and Arabians who had pressed into Judah might carry away without having captured Jerusalem. But המּלך בּית denotes here, not the royal palace, but the king's family; for המּלך לבית הנּמצא does not denote what was found in the palace, but what of the possessions of the king's house they found. נמצא with ל is not synonymous with בּ נמצא, but denotes to be attained, possessed by; cf. Joshua 17:16 and Deuteronomy 21:17. Had Jerusalem been plundered, the treasures of the palace and of the temple would also have been mentioned: 2 Chronicles 25:24; 2 Chronicles 12:9; 2 Kings 14:13. and 1 Kings 14:26; cf. Kuhlmey, alttestl. Studien in der Luther. Ztschr. 1844, iii. S. 82ff. Nor does the carrying away of the wives and children of King Joram presuppose the capture of Jerusalem, as we learn from the more exact account of the matter in 2 Chronicles 22:1.

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