2 Kings 1:9
Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spoke to him, You man of God, the king has said, Come down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Then the king sent.—Heb., And he sent. With hostile intentions, as is proved by his sending soldiers, and by the words of the angel in 2Kings 1:15. (Comp. 1Kings 18:8; 1Kings 22:26, seq.)

He sat.Was sitting. The LXX. has “Elias was sitting,” which is probably original.

A captain of fifty.—The army of Israel was organised by thousands, hundreds, and fifties, each of which had its “captain” (sar). (Comp. Numbers 31:14; Numbers 31:48; 1Samuel 8:12.)

On the top of an hill.—Rather, the hill, i.e., above Samaria. Others think, Carmel, from 1Kings 18:42; 2Kings 2:25.

He spake.—LXX., “the captain of fifty spake.”

Thou man of God.—Heb., man of the god, i.e., the true God. (So in 2Kings 1:11; 2Kings 1:13, infra.)

The king.—In the Hebrew emphatic, as if to say, the king’s power is irresistible, even by a man of God. The true God was thus insulted in the person of His prophet.

Come down.—Or, Pray come down—in a tone of ironical politeness (rēdāh‚ precative).

2 Kings 1:9. The king sent unto him a captain of fifty, with his fifty — Undoubtedly with a design to apprehend him, and take away his life: for neither the untimely death of Ahab his father, nor his own late dangerous fall, and his sickness in consequence of it, nor the thoughts of death, had made any good impression on his mind, or possessed him with the fear of God: and he was so far from making any good improvement of the warning now given him, that he was evidently enraged against the prophet for giving it. But how inconsistent was the king’s conduct on this occasion. “Did he think Elijah a prophet,” says Henry, “a true prophet? Why then did he dare to persecute him? Did he think him a common person? What need then was there of such a force to seize him?” Behold, he sat on the top of a hill — Elijah was now so far from absconding, as formerly, in the close recesses of a cave, that he makes a bold appearance on an elevated place. His repeated experience of the divine protection has made him more bold. Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down — He would not be at the pains to go up to the top of the hill, but thought it sufficient to require him in the king’s name to come down and surrender himself. 1:9-18 Elijah called for fire from heaven, to consume the haughty, daring sinners; not to secure himself, but to prove his mission, and to reveal the wrath of God from heaven, against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Elijah did this by a Divine impulse, yet our Saviour would not allow the disciples to do the like, Lu 9:54. The dispensation of the Spirit and of grace by no means allowed it. Elijah was concerned for God's glory, those for their own reputation. The Lord judges men's practices by their principles, and his judgment is according to truth. The third captain humbled himself, and cast himself upon the mercy of God and Elijah. There is nothing to be got by contending with God; and those are wise for themselves, who learn submission from the fatal end of obstinacy in others. The courage of faith has often struck terror into the heart of the proudest sinner. So thunderstruck is Ahaziah with the prophet's words, that neither he, nor any about him, offer him violence. Who can harm those whom God shelters? Many who think to prosper in sin, are called hence like Ahaziah, when they do not expect it. All warns us to seek the Lord while he may be found.Then the king sent unto him - i. e., in order to seize and punish him. Compare 1 Kings 18:10; 1 Kings 22:27. 2Ki 1:9-16. Elijah Brings Fire from Heaven on Ahaziah's Messengers.

9. Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty—Any appearance of cruelty that there is in the fate of the two captains and their men will be removed, on a full consideration of the circumstances. God being the King of Israel, Ahaziah was bound to govern the kingdom according to the divine law; to apprehend the Lord's prophet, for discharging a commanded duty, was that of an impious and notorious rebel. The captains abetted the king in his rebellion; and they exceeded their military duty by contemptuous insults.

man of God—In using this term, they either spoke derisively, believing him to be no true prophet; or, if they regarded him as a true prophet, the summons to him to surrender himself bound to the king was a still more flagrant insult; the language of the second captain being worse than that of the first.

Thou man of God; so he calls him in way of scorn and contempt: q.d. Thou that vauntest as if thou wast more than a mere man.

The king hath said, Come down; the king commands thee to come to him; which if thou refusest, I am here to carry thee to him by force. Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty,.... Not in honour to him, but to bring him by force if he refused to come willingly:

and he went up to him, and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill; generally supposed to be Mount Carmel:

and he spake unto him; at the bottom of the hill, so loud that he might hear him:

thou man of God; or the prophet of the Lord, as the Targum, as thou callest thyself; for this was said in a sneering, flouting, manner:

the king hath said, come down; and in the king's name he ordered him to come down, signifying, if he would not, he would send his men to fetch him down.

Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top {f} of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.

(f) That is, Carmel.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Then the king sent unto him] Clearly Ahaziah’s design was to arrest and punish Elijah, but considering that the prophet had appeared alone, the number of men sent out against him seems excessive. It may be, however, that in the brevity of the narrative we are not told of Elijah’s movements, and that he had already retired to some centre of the prophetic body; and if so, the king may have apprehended that resistance would be offered to his arrest.

a captain of fifty] One of the subdivisions of the Jewish army was into ‘fifties’. See 1 Samuel 8:12. Greater bodies were ‘hundreds’ and ‘thousands’ (Numbers 31:14).

he sat on the top of a [R.V. the] hill] The word rendered ‘sat’ may also be translated ‘dwelt’ (see marg. of R.V.) and the definite article indicates that some particular hill is intended, therefore the suggestion that Elijah had already withdrawn to Carmel, and that the soldiers followed him thither, is most likely correct.

Thou [R.V. O] man of God] The original is precisely as in verse 13. But in the two first addresses the title was given no doubt in mockery. In the mouth of one who really felt the force of the words there could have followed them no such sentence as ‘the king hath said, Come down’. For a contrast see 1 Kings 17:18; 1 Kings 17:24.Verse 9. - The king sent unto him a captain of fifty. "Captains of fifties" were first instituted in the wilderness by the advice of Jethro (Exodus 18:21-25). Though not expressly mentioned in the military organization of David, they probably formed a part of it, and so passed into the institutions of the kingdom of Israel. With his fifty. Some recognition of Elijah's superhuman power would seem to have led Ahaziah to send so large a body. His doing so was a sort of challenge to the prophet to show whether Ahaziah or the God whom he represented was the stronger. The circumstances recall those of the "band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees" (John 18:3), which was sent, "with swords and staves," to arrest another righteous Person. He sat on the top of a hill; literally, on the top of the hill (ἐπὶ τῆς κορυφῆς τοῦ ὄρους, LXX.). The high ground where Elijah had met the messengers (ver. 3) seems to be intended. When they were gone, the prophet took his seat on the highest point, conspicuous on all sides, so avoiding any attempt at concealment, and awaiting the next step that the king would take, calmly and quietly. He spake unto him; Thou man of God. The captain is thought by some to have spoken ironically; but there is no evidence of this. The address is respectful, submissive. The miraculous powers of Elijah (1 Kings 17:22; 1 Kings 18:38) were probably known to the officer, who hoped by the tone of his address to escape the prophet's anger. In the same spirit he avoids issuing any command of his own, and prefers simply to deliver the king's command - The king hath said, Come down. But the angel of the Lord, the mediator of the revelations made by the invisible God to the covenant nation (see Comm. on the Pentateuch, vol. i. pp. 185-191, transl.), had spoken to Elijah to go and meet the king's messengers, who were going to inquire of Baalzebub, and to ask them whether it was from the want of a God in Israel (אין מבּלי as in Exodus 14:11; see Ewald, 323, a.) that they turned to Baalzebub, and to announce to them the word of Jehovah, that Ahaziah would not rise up from his bed again, but would die. "And Elijah went," sc. to carry out the divine commission.
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