Now as soon as this letter comes to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armor;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now as soon as this letter cometh.—Rather, And now when this letter cometh. Only the conclusion of the letter, containing the gist of it, is reported here. (Comp. 2Kings 5:6.)
Seeing your master’s sons . . . look even out (2Kings 10:3).—Rather, there are with you both your master’s sons, and the chariots and the horses,and a fenced city, and the armoury: so look out the best, &c.
A fenced city.—All the versions but the Arabic have “fenced cities;” and so Josephus. There is a tone of mocking irony in Jehu’s challenge to the nobles of Samaria, who were probably as luxurious and cowardly now as in the days of Amos, a few years later (Amos 3:12; Amos 6:3-6). (Comp. also Isaiah 28:1-10.) By his careful enumeration of their resources, he as good as says that his defiance is not the fruit of ignorance.
2Ki 10:1-17. Jehu Causes Seventy of Ahab's Children to Be Beheaded.
1-4. Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria—As it appears (2Ki 10:13), that grandsons are included it is probable that this number comprehended the whole posterity of Ahab. Their being all assembled in that capital might arise from their being left there on the king's departure for Ramoth-gilead, or from their taking refuge in some of the strongholds of that city on the news of Jehu's conspiracy. It may be inferred from the tenor of Jehu's letters that their first intention was to select the fittest of the royal family and set him up as king. Perhaps this challenge of Jehu was designed as a stroke of policy on his part to elicit their views, and to find out whether they were inclined to be pacific or hostile. The bold character of the man, and the rapid success of his conspiracy, terrified the civic authorities of Samaria and Jezreel into submission.
and there are with you chariots and horses; military ones:
a fenced city also: as Samaria was, well walled and fortified, and able to hold out a long siege:Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armor;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. Now [R.V. And now] as soon as this letter cometh to you] Only an extract from the letter is here given, which the Hebrew correctly represents, and which R.V. has shewn by its translation. See a similar instance before, chap. 2 Kings 5:6.
a fenced city] This must refer to the city of Samaria, which probably was better fortified than Jezreel, and which had been especially cared for by the family of Omri by whom it was built.Verse 2. - Now as soon as this letter cometh to you. In the East at this time, and in most parts of it to the present day, letters can only be sent by special messengers. There is no public post. Kings and private individuals must equally find persons who will undertake to carry and deliver their despatches. Even the post organized by Darius Hystaspis was not one that went daily, but only one kept ready for the king to use when he had occasion for it. Seeing your master's sons are with you. "Your master's sons" must mean Joram's sons; by which we learn that, unlike his brother Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:17), Joram had male offspring who survived him, and were now with the rest of Ahab's descendants, at Samaria. And there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armor; literally, the chariots, and the horses, a fenced city also, and the armor. The main chariot force of the country, and the chief arsenal, containing both armor and arms, were naturally at Samaria, the capital, and might thus be regarded as at the disposition of the Samaritan municipality. Jehu scornfully challenges them to make use of their resources against him. He is quite ready for a contest. Let them do their worst. The LXX. have "fenced cities" (πόλεις ὀχυραί) instead of "a fenced city;" but the existing Hebrew text is probably right Samaria was the only fortified town in their possession.
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