2 Kings 13:20
And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
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(20) And the bands of the Moabites invaded.—Rather, And troops of Moabites used to invade. They took advantage of the weakened condition of Israel to revenge the devastation of their country described in 2Kings 3:25.

At the coming in of the year.—So the Targum and the LXX. The Syriac, Vulg., and Arabic understand,” in that (or, ‘the same’) year.” The preposition has probably fallen out of the Hebrew text: read, běbô shānāh, “when the year came in”—i.e., in the spring. (Comp. 2Samuel 11:1.)

2 Kings 13:20. Elisha died, and they buried him — In or near Samaria. The spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha, and yet he is not conveyed to heaven in a fiery chariot as Elijah was, but goes the common way of all flesh out of the world, and is visited with the visitation of all men. If God honour some above others, who yet are not inferior to them in gifts or graces, who shall find fault? May he not do what he will with his own? The bands of the Moabites invaded the land — The mentioning this, immediately on the death of Elisha, intimates, that the removal of God’s faithful prophets is a presage of judgments approaching.

13:20-25 God has many ways to chastise a provoking people. Trouble comes sometimes from that point whence we least feared it. The mention of this invasion on the death of Elisha, shows that the removal of God's faithful prophets is a presage of coming judgments. His dead body was a means of giving life to another dead body. This miracle was a confirmation of his prophecies. And it may have reference to Christ, by whose death and burial, the grave is made a safe and happy passage to life to all believers. Jehoash was successful against the Syrians, just as often as he had struck the ground with the arrows, then a stop was put to his victories. Many have repented, when too late, of distrusts and the straitness of their desires.The bands of the Moabites invaded the land - The Moabites had been increasing in strength ever since their revolt from Ahaziah 2 Kings 1:1. The defeat which they suffered at the hands of Jehoram and Jehoshaphat 2 Kings 3:24 did not affect their subjugation. They spread themselves into the country north of the Arnon Isaiah 16:2, and thence proceeded to make plundering expeditious year by year into Samaria, in Spring. This was the natural season for incursions, as then in Palestine the crops began to be ripe. 20, 21. Elisha died—He had enjoyed a happier life than Elijah, as he possessed a milder character, and bore a less hard commission. His rough garment was honored even at the court.

coming in of the year—that is, the spring, the usual season of beginning campaigns in ancient times. Predatory bands from Moab generally made incursions at that time on the lands of Israel. The bearers of a corpse, alarmed by the appearance of one of these bands, hastily deposited, as they passed that way, their load in Elisha's sepulchre, which might be easily done by removing the stone at the mouth of the cave. According to the Jewish and Eastern custom, his body, as well as that of the man who was miraculously restored, was not laid in a coffin, but only swathed; so that the bodies could be brought into contact, and the object of the miracle was to stimulate the king's and people of Israel's faith in the still unaccomplished predictions of Elisha respecting the war with the Syrians. Accordingly the historian forthwith records the historical fulfilment of the prediction (2Ki 13:22-25), in the defeat of the enemy, in the recovery of the cities that had been taken, and their restoration to the kingdom of Israel.

They buried him, in or near Samaria.

At the coming in of the year; in the spring, when the fruits of the earth grew ripe.

And Elisha died, and they buried him,.... In Samaria. Epiphanius says (n), in Sebastopolis of Samaria, Samaria itself was called Sebaste in later times; though the Jews say (o) he was buried in Mount Carmel, in the cave of Elijah; according to the Jewish chronology (p), he died in the tenth year of Joash, and he prophesied more than sixty years; sixty six, as Abarbinel, since he began to prophesy in the nineteenth year of Jehoshaphat; and, according to Clemens (q) of Alexandria, when he was forty years of age; but it seems rather, as Kimchi observes, that he died in the beginning of the reign of Joash, and even before his father's death, when he was a partner with him in the throne, and before any salvation or deliverance from the Syrians was wrought:

and the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year; at the spring of the year, when there was fruit on the earth, those troops of robbers came to plunder and spoil; several of the Jewish writers observe, that in the word for "coming", is instead of and so may be rendered "in that year", in that selfsame year that Elisha died; and so read the Syriac, Arabic, and the Vulgate Latin versions.

(n) De Vitis Prophet. c. 6. (o) Cippi Heb. p. 46. (p) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 19. (q) Stromat. l. 1. p. 326.

And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
20. And [R.V. Now] the bands of the Moabites invaded the land] If Elisha died in Samaria, and was buried in that neighbourhood, we must suppose Moab to have made great inroads upon Israel if the bands of plunderers could advance close to the royal city. Probably the great devastations of the Syrians on the east of Jordan (2 Kings 10:32-33) made it easier for the Moabites to cross the Jordan and to ravage the lands of Israel to the west of the river.

at the coming in of the year] We can see from such passages as 2 Samuel 11:1; 1 Kings 20:22; 1 Kings 20:26; 1 Chronicles 20:1; 2 Chronicles 36:10, that there was a season of the year at which alone it was usual, and perhaps, on account of the climate, possible, for an army to take the field. The general expression is ‘when the year was expired’: but this is very much the same as ‘at the coming in of another year’.

Verse 20. - And Elisha died, and they buried him. There had been no burial of Elijah, who" went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11). All the more anxious, therefore, would the Israelites be to bury their second great prophet with due honor. They prepared him, no doubt, one of those excavated sepulchers which were usual at the time and in the country - a squared or vaulted chamber cut in the native rock. St. Jerome says that the place of his sepulture was near Samaria ('Epitaph. Paulae'), and this is sufficiently probable; but in the Middle Ages his grave was shown at Ruma, in Galilee (Ewald, 'Hist. of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 122, note 3). According to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:8. § 6), his funeral was magnificent. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. It seems to be implied that this was a usual occurrence. Just as the Syrians in the days of Naaman made marauding raids into the land from time to time (2 Kings 5:2), so now the Moabites each spring made an incursion. The weakness of Israel is strongly marked by this fact, and still more by the penetration of the Moabites so deep into their country. Amos 2:1 perhaps glances at these incursions of Moab. 2 Kings 13:20Elisha then died at a great age. As he had been called by Elijah to be a prophet in the reign of Ahab and did not die till that of Joash, and forty-one years elapsed between the year that Ahab died and the commencement of the reign of Joash, he must have held his prophetical office for at least fifty years, and have attained the age of eighty. "And they buried him must as marauding bands of Moabites entered the land. And it came to pass, that at the burial of a man they saw the marauding bands coming, and placed the dead man in the greatest haste in the grave of Elisha," for the purpose of escaping from the enemy. But when the (dead) man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life again, and rose up upon his feet. וגו מואב וּגדוּדי is a circumstantial clause. The difficult expression שׁנה בּא, "a year had come," can only have the meaning given by the lxx and Chald.: "when a year had come," and evidently indicates that the burial of Elisha occurred at the time when the yearly returning bands of Moabitish marauders invaded the land. Ewald (Krit. Gramm. p. 528) would therefore read בּוא, a coming of the year, in which case the words would be grammatically subordinate to the main clause. Luther renders it "the same year," in ipso anno, after the Vulgate and Syriac, as if the reading had been שׁנה בּהּ. הם, they, the people who had just buried a man. ישׁליכוּ, not threw, but placed hastily. ויּגּע ויּלך: and the man went and touched. ויּלך serves as a pictorial delineation of the thought, that as soon as the dead man touched the bones of Elisha he came to life. הלך is not only applied to the motion of inanimate objects, but also to the gradual progress of any transaction. The conjecture of Thenius and Hitzig, ויּלכוּ, "and they went away," is quite unsuitable. The earlier Israelites did not bury their dead in coffins, but wrapped them in linen cloths and laid them in tombs hewn out of the rock. The tomb was then covered with a stone, which could easily be removed. The dead man, who was placed thus hurriedly in the tomb which had been opened, might therefore easily come into contact with the bones of Elisha. The design of this miracle of the restoration of the dead man to life was not to show how even in the grave Elisha surpassed his master Elijah in miraculous power (Ephr. Syr. and others), but to impress the seal of divine attestation upon the prophecy of the dying prophet concerning the victory of Joash over the Syrians (Wis. 48:13, 14), since the Lord thereby bore witness that He was not the God of the dead, but of the living, and that His spirit was raised above death and corruptibility. - The opinion that the dead man was restored to life again in a natural manner, through the violent shaking occasioned by the fall, or through the coolness of the tomb, needs no refutation.
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