2 Kings 13:7
Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.
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(7) Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz.—Rather, For he had not left to Jehoahaz (any) people (i.e., war folk; 1Kings 16:15). The subject appears to be Jehovah. The narrative returns, after the long parenthesis, to the statement of 2Kings 13:4, “and Jehoahaz besought Jehovah (for he had not left, &c.).” Or we might render, “one had not left,” i.e., “there was not left.”

Fifty horsemen, and ten chariots.—The mention of so small a number appears to indicate the result of the Israelite losses in some great battle, or in successive engagements. The destruction of these particular kinds of forces was equivalent to complete disarmament, and rendered further resistance hopeless, as the Syrians were especially strong in chariots and horsemen. (See Note on 2Kings 2:12.)

Had made them like the dust by threshing.—Rather, and set them like the dust to trample on or tread underfoot. Israel was down-trodden by the conqueror. (Comp. 2Samuel 22:43; Isaiah 10:6.)

2 Kings 13:7. Neither did he leave, &c. — That is, the king of Syria, who so terribly oppressed the Israelites. For this verse must be considered as connected with 2 Kings 13:4, 2 Kings 13:5-6 being included in a parenthesis, as is done in our translation. By the people, of whom the king of Syria left so few, the Israelitish army, or men of war, are here meant, as the following words evince. For the king of Syria had destroyed them — God gave them into his hand, to make this destruction among them, killing some, and carrying others captive. And had made them like the dust by thrashing — Had broken, and, as it were, ground them to dust or powder, as the corn is many times broken by thrashing.

13:1-9 It was the ancient honour of Israel that they were a praying people. Jehoahaz, their king, in his distress, besought the Lord; applied himself for help, but not to the calves; what help could they give him? He sought the Lord. See how swift God is to show mercy; how ready to hear prayer; how willing to find a reason to be gracious; else he would not look so far back as the ancient covenant Israel had so often broken, and forfeited. Let this invite and engage us for ever to him; and encourage even those who have forsaken him, to return and repent; for there is forgiveness with him, that he may be feared. And if the Lord answer the mere cry of distress for temporal relief, much more will he regard the prayer of faith for spiritual blessings.The meaning is that "he, the king of Syria" (2 Kings 13:4 Hazael) limited the standing army of Jehoahaz.

Like the dust by threshing - An expression not only employed metaphorically, and importing defeat, conquest, and grinding oppression Jeremiah 51:33; Micah 4:12, but implying also the literal use of threshing-instruments in the execution of prisoners of war (marginal reference, and compare 2 Samuel 12:31).

7. made them like the dust in threshing—Threshing in the East is performed in the open air upon a level plot of ground, daubed over with a covering to prevent, as much as possible, the earth, sand, or gravel from rising; a great quantity of them all, notwithstanding this precaution, must unavoidably be taken up with the grain; at the same time the straw is shattered to pieces. Hence it is a most significant figure, frequently employed by Orientals to describe a state of national suffering, little short of extermination (Isa 21:10; Mic 4:12; Jer 51:33). The figure originated in a barbarous war custom, which Hazael literally followed (Am 1:3, 4; compare 2Sa 18:31; Jud 8:7). Neither did he, i.e. the king of Syria, 2 Kings 13:4, with which this verse is to be joined; 2 Kings 13:5,6 being put within a parenthesis, as it is in our translation. But this verse may be translated otherwise, Although he (either the king of Syria, 2 Kings 13:4, or the Lord, 2 Kings 13:5, to whom judgments are oft ascribed, even when wicked men are the instruments of executing it) had not left, &c. And so it may be joined with the next foregoing verse, as a great aggravation of their impenitency, and obstinate continuance in their idolatry, notwithstanding such terrible judgments, which in all reason should have driven them from it. Leave of the people, i.e. of his army, or men of war, as the following words evince.

Had made them like the dust by threshing, i.e. had broken and ground them to dust, or powder, as the corn is many times broken by threshing.

Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen,.... This is to be connected with 2 Kings 13:4, the verses 2 Kings 12:5, being to be read in a parenthesis, as in our version, and to be understood of the king of Syria, who left no more to the king of Israel, not of the people of the land, but of his army, than fifty horsemen, all the rest being either taken and carried captive by him, or slain:

and ten chariots; military chariots, with the men they carried:

and ten thousand footmen; foot soldiers; to so small a number was his army reduced through wars with the Syrians:

for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing: as corn or chaff may be reduced to dust by too much threshing; or as mire and clay by treading on it.

Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of {f} Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.

(f) That is, Hazael and Benhadad his son, 2Ki 13:3. Of Hazael read 2Ki 13:22.

7. Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen] R.V. For he left not to Jehoahaz of the people save fifty horsemen. Not only does R.V. render the original here more exactly, but it indicates clearly where the parenthesis of the last two verses comes to an end. We have here the continuation of verse 4, and a picture of the character and extent of the Syrian oppression. When we call to mind that in David’s times (2 Samuel 24:9) the warriors of Israel were eight hundred thousand men, we can form some idea of the way in which Israel was now ‘cut short’.

the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them] The R.V. omits ‘had’ in both places. This is right, for the description refers to the time of Jehoahaz. Whether the destruction here mentioned was by making them slaves or by extermination, we cannot tell, but it is much the most probable that a warlike people like the Syrians would take soldiers prisoners and use them in their wars with Assyria and elsewhere.

like the dust by threshing] R.V. in threshing. The correct sense is given on the margin of R.V. ‘dust to trample on’. The Oriental manner of threshing is by the trampling of oxen’s feet, and the figure is used to signify the utter prostration of Israel. The LXX. also has the right idea, giving εἰς καταπάτησιν. For the word used thus of trampling under foot cf. Isaiah 25:10 ‘Moab shall be trodden down under him even as straw is trodden down’, where the margin gives twice over ‘threshed’. The reference in the margin of A.V. to Amos 1:3 where the cruelties of Damascus are described, ‘they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron’, probably does not apply to the account before us. All that is here meant is that Israel was utterly reduced and broken. The ‘dust in threshing’ of R.V. is an attempt to be literal and yet to avoid the implication of barbarity which is conveyed in A.V.

Verse 7. - Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen. This verse seems to be an exegetical note on ver. 4, which perhaps it once followed immediately, the parenthetic section (vers. 5 and 6) having been added later, as an afterthought, either by the original writer, or perhaps by a later hand. The meaning seems to be that Hazael limited the standing army of Jehoahaz to fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen, not that he slew the entire military population except this small remnant. The policy of limiting the forces to be maintained by a subject-king was one known to the Romans, and has often been adopted in the East. It is still a part of our own policy in the government of India. The limitation left the country at the mercy of all its neighbors (see ver. 20). For the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing. Possibly this means no more than an utter destruction - a trampling in the dust, as we phrase it (see Jeremiah 51:33; Micah 4:12, 13; and perhaps Isaiah 21:10). But it may be an allusion to that destruction of prisoners by means of a threshing instrument, which was certainly sometimes practiced (2 Samuel 12:31; Proverbs 20:26), and which is made a special charge against Damascus (Amos 1:3. See Pusey's 'Minor Prophets,' p. 158). 2 Kings 13:7"For (כּי) he had not left," etc., furnishes the ground for 2 Kings 13:5 : God gave them a saviour, ... although they did not desist from the sin of Jeroboam, ... for Israel had been brought to the last extremity; He (Jehovah) had left to Jehoahaz people (עם, people of war), only fifty horsemen, etc. For החטי instead of החטיא (2 Kings 13:6), see at 1 Kings 21:21. The suffix בּהּ in 2 Kings 13:6 refers to הטּאת, just as that in ממּנּה in 2 Kings 13:2 (see at 2 Kings 3:3). "And even the Asherah was (still) standing at Samaria," probably from the time of Ahab downwards (1 Kings 16:33), since Jehu is not said to have destroyed it (2 Kings 10:26.). וגו וישׂמם "and had made them like dust for trampling upon," - an expression denoting utter destruction.
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