2 Kings 13:15
And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
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(15) Take bow and arrows.—From one of the royal attendants.

2 Kings 13:15-17. Take bow and arrows — This was to represent the wars he was to have with the Syrians. Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands — To signify to him, that in all his expeditions against the Syrians, he must look up to God for direction and strength; must reckon his own hands insufficient for him, and must go on in dependance on the divine aid. Open the window eastward — Toward Syria, which lay north-eastward from the land of Israel: the Syrians had also possessed themselves of the land of the Israelites beyond Jordan, which lay eastward from Canaan: this arrow is shot toward these parts, as a token of what God intended to do against the Syrians. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance — It is God that commands deliverance, and when he will effect it, who can hinder? Thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek — Where they were now encamped, or where they were to have a general rendezvous of their forces. Till thou have consumed them — Those of them that are vexatious and oppressive to thee and thy kingdom.

13:10-19 Jehoash, the king, came to Elisha, to receive his dying counsel and blessing. It may turn much to our spiritual advantage, to attend the sick-beds and death-beds of good men, that we may be encouraged in religion by the living comforts they have from it in a dying hour. Elisha assured the king of his success; yet he must look up to God for direction and strength; must reckon his own hands not enough, but go on, in dependence upon Divine aid. The trembling hands of the dying prophet, as they signified the power of God, gave this arrow more force than the hands of the king in his full strength. By contemning the sign, the king lost the thing signified, to the grief of the dying prophet. It is a trouble to good men, to see those to whom they wish well, forsake their own mercies, and to see them lose advantages against spiritual enemies.The closing scene of Elisha's life. It was now at least sixty-three years since his call, so that he was at this time very possibly above ninety. He seems to have lived in almost complete retirement from the time he sent the young prophet to anoint Jehu king 2 Kings 9:1. And now it was not he who sought the king, but the king who sought him. Apparently, the special function of the two great Israelite prophets (Elijah and Elisha) was to counteract the noxious influence of the Baalistic rites; and, when these ceased, their extraordinary ministry came to an end.

The chariot of Israel ... - See the marginal reference. Joash must have known the circumstances of Elijah's removal, which were perhaps already entered in the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel;" and he must have intended to apply to Elisha his own words on that solemn occasion; "Thou too art about to leave us, and to follow Elijah - thou who hast been since his departure, that which he was while he remained on earth, the true defense of Israel."

15-18. Take bow and arrows—Hostilities were usually proclaimed by a herald, sometimes by a king or general making a public and formal discharge of an arrow into the enemy's country. Elisha directed Joash to do this, as a symbolical act, designed to intimate more fully and significantly the victories promised to the king of Israel over the Syrians. His laying his hands upon the king's hands was to represent the power imparted to the bow shot as coming from the Lord through the medium of the prophet. His shooting the first arrow eastward—to that part of his kingdom which the Syrians had taken and which was east of Samaria—was a declaration of war against them for the invasion. His shooting the other arrows into the ground was in token of the number of victories he was taken to gain; but his stopping at the third betrayed the weakness of his faith; for, as the discharged arrow signified a victory over the Syrians, it is evident that the more arrows he shot the more victories he would gain. As he stopped so soon, his conquests would be incomplete. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Elisha said unto him, take bow and arrows,.... The usual instruments of war in those days: and he took unto him bow and arrows; which though they might not be had in the house of the prophet, he could have some from his guards that attended him. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
15. Take bow and arrows] It is as if the prophet by this significant action directed and encouraged the king to enter on the war against Syria.

Verse 15. - And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. The prophet was moved, no doubt, by a sudden inspiration he was bidden to assure the weeping king of victory - speedy victory-over Syria. The defense of Israel would not fail because he - a mere weak instrument by whom God had been pleased to work - was taken from the earth. God would bless the king's own efforts. "Take bow and arrows," he exclaims under the prophetic afflatus. "Take them at once into thine hands, and do my bidding." Words would not have been enough; greater assurance and conviction was produced when prophecy took the shape of a symbolical action (comp. 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Kings 11:30; Isaiah 20:3; Jeremiah 13:1-11; Jeremiah 18:3, 4, etc.). So the Spirit of the Lord moved the prophet to the performance of a symbolical act, or set of acts, which the historian now proceeds to describe. And he took unto him how and arrows. Joash would take these from the hands of his attendants, who might be carrying his own special weapons after him, as was the practice in Persia ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 4. p. 161), or who would at any rate have arms of their own, since they would wait upon him not merely as attendants, but as guards. 2 Kings 13:15"Take-said Elisha to Joash-bow and arrows, ... and let thy hand pass over the bow" (הרכּב), i.e., stretch the bow. He then placed his hands upon the king's hands, as a sign that the power which was to be given to the bow-shot came from the Lord through the mediation of the prophet. He then directed him to open the window towards the east and shoot, adding as he shot off the arrow: "An arrow of salvation from the Lord, and an arrow of salvation against the Syrians; and thou wilt smite the Syrians at Aphek (see at 1 Kings 20:26) to destruction." The arrow that was shot off was to be a symbol of the help of the Lord against the Syrians to their destruction. This promise the king was then to appropriate to himself through an act of his own. Elisha therefore directed him (2 Kings 13:18) to "take the arrows;" and when he had taken them, said: ארצה הך, "strike to the earth," i.e., shoot the arrows to the ground, not "smite the earth with the bundle of arrows" (Thenius), which neither agrees with the shooting of the first arrow, nor admits of a grammatical vindication; for הכּה, when used of an arrow, signifies to shoot and to strike with the arrow shot off, i.e., to wound or to kill (cf. 2 Kings 9:24; 1 Kings 22:34). The shooting of the arrows to the earth was intended to symbolize the overthrow of the Syrians. "And the king shot three times, and then stood (still)," i.e., left off shooting.
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