2 Kings 16:6
At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelled there to this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) At that time.—Bähr regards this verse as a parenthesis, so that 2Kings 16:7 is the strict continuation of 2Kings 16:5, and “At that time” simply assigns this war as the epoch when Judah lost its only harbour and chief emporium—a grave blow to the national prosperity. It is perhaps impossible to weave the various data of Isaiah, Kings, and Chronicles into a single narrative which shall be free from all objection. But it seems probable that, after the successes recorded in 2Chronicles 28:5, seq., the confederates advanced upon Jerusalem, and that Ahaz despatched his envoys to Tiglath Pileser. The allies soon despaired of a siege, and Pekah fell to ravaging the country, while Rezin pushed on to Elath, determined not to return home without having achieved some permanent success. The approach of Tiglath Pileser compelled the two kings to give up their enterprise, and hasten to defend their own frontiers.

Recovered Elath to Syria . . . the Syrians.—The words for Syria and Edom, Syrians and Edomties, are very much alike in Hebrew writing, and the Hebrew margin, many MSS., the LXX. and Vulg. read Edomites for Syrians here. If this be correct, we must also restore Edom for Syria, as many critics propose. The meaning then becomes this: Rezin emancipated the Edomites from the yoke of Judah imposed on them by Uzziah (2Kings 14:22) in order to win their active co-operation against Judah. Bähr, however, prefers the readings of the ordinary text, and supposes that Rezin simply expelled the Jews from Elath, and established there a commercial colony of Syrians.

16:1-9 Few and evil were the days of Ahaz. Those whose hearts condemn them, will go any where in a day of distress, rather than to God. The sin was its own punishment. It is common for those who bring themselves into straits by one sin, to try to help themselves out by another.Either during the siege, or on breaking up from before Jeruasalem, Rezin made an expedition to the lied Sea coast, and became master of the city which had belonged to Judaea about 70 years (marginal reference). Most moderns render this verse, "Rezin recovered (or restored) Elath to Edom ... and the Edomites came to Elath." On the resemblance of the words Aram and Edom in the original, see 2 Samuel 8:12 note. 6. Rezin … recovered Elath—which Azariah had got into his possession (2Ki 14:22).

the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day—The Septuagint version has "the Edomites," which the most judicious commentators and travellers [Robinson] prefer.

Recovered Elath, i.e. took it from the Jews, who had not long since taken it, 2 Kings 14:22. It lay in the land of Edom, upon the Red Sea, very conveniently for navigation; of which See Poole "1 Kings 9:26". At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria,.... A port on the Red sea, that formerly belonged to Edom, taken from them by David, retaken by them when they revolted in Joram's time, and perhaps taken by Amaziah again, since his son Azariah rebuilt it, and restored it to Judah, 2 Kings 14:22 and it seems by this that it had been in the hands of the Syrians, who now recovered it; unless instead of Aram, rendered Syrians, we could substitute Edom, which Le Clerc has ventured to do without any authority:

and drave the Jews from Elath; who were in possession of it. This is the first time that the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah are called Jews, from the name of their original patriarch, and principal tribe; though some think (m) they had this name from the time this tribe went up first against the Canaanites, Judges 1:1, however, it is a mistake of R. Elias Levita (n), that it is never found in the Bible they were called Jews, but from the time the ten tribes were carried captive, and not before; and a greater mistake still it is of Tacitus (o), that they were called Jews or Judaeans, as if they were Idaeans from Mount Ida in Crete, from whence he supposes they came:

and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day; the marginal reading is Edomites; and so read the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; and Kimchi observes that it is written "Aramim", Syrians, because the king of Syria took it, and by his means the Edomites returned to it, but is read "Edomim", Edomites, because it belonged to the children of Edom; and it is certain the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, 2 Chronicles 28:17.

(m) Polydor. Virgil. de Invent. l. 4. c. 1.((n) Tishbi, p. 143. So David de Pomis Lexic. fol. 83. 4. (o) Hist. l. 5. sect. 2.

At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered {d} Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.

(d) Which Azariah had taken from the Syrians and fortified, 2Ki 14:22.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Rezin … recovered Elath to Syria] Elath was a place of much importance to the Jews. It was situate at the top of the gulf of Akabah (sinus Ælaniticus), and was part of the land of Edom. But when the Edomites were in subjection to Judah, the port was to all intents and purposes a harbour of Judah. Now the Jews were driven from it, and the Syrians came and occupied it, having overrun Edom in their progress towards Elath.

the Syrians came to Elath] The LXX. says the ‘Idumæans’, i.e. the Edomites came to Elath, and this is supported by the marginal reading (Keri) of the Hebrew Bible. But it is a reading which cannot be accepted. The Edomites were at Elath already. It was part of their own land. Therefore they could not be said to come to it. There is very little difference in Hebrew between ‘Idumæans’ i.e. Edomites, and Aramæans, i.e. Syrians. The latter is ארומים, the former ארומים, a difference only in one letter and that of the slightest kind. Hence the confusion.

and dwelt there unto this day] On this expression as a mark of faithful reproduction by the compiler of what he found in the document he was using, see note on chap. 2 Kings 2:22.

The Chronicler, before mentioning the appeal of Ahaz to Tiglath-Pileser, which is here related in the next verse, gives an account how the two hundred thousand captives taken by the Israelites (see above on verse 5) were brought to Samaria, and how Oded, a prophet of the Lord, forbad in God’s name that the children of Judah and Jerusalem should be kept by Israel for bondmen and bondwomen. Some also among the chief men of Israel declared that the captives should not be brought into Samaria. They were in consequence set free, and, after being fed and clothed, were conducted homeward as far as Jericho. The Chronicler also records the names of the men who thus withstood the bringing in of the Jewish prisoners as if he were taking them from some contemporary record.Verse 6. - At that time Rezin, King of Syria recovered Elath to Syria. The Syrians had certainly never previously been masters of Elath, which had always hitherto been either Jewish or Edomite (see 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 22:48; 2 Kings 14:22). Hence it seems to be necessary that we should either translate the Hebrew verb חֵשִׁיב by "gained," "conquered," instead of "recovered;" or else change אַרַם, "Syria," into ךאדֹם "Edom." The Syrians could "recover" Elath for Edom; they could only "gain" it for themselves. And drave the Jews from Elath - i.e. expelled the Jewish garrison which had been maintained in Elath from the time of its conquest by Uzziah (2 Kings 14:22) - and the Syrians came to Elath; rather, the Edomites - רוט אֲדומִים אֲרומִים. Rezin could not have thought of holding a place so remote from Damascus as Elath; and, had he done so, the danger of his kingdom in the next year would have necessitated the relinquishment of so distant a possession. And dwelt there unto this day. It is quite certain that Elath belonged to Edom, and not to Syria, at the time when the Books of Kings were written. In those days the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin, etc. It is evident from the position of this verse at the close of the account of Jotham, that the incursions of the allied Syrians and Israelites into Judah under the command of Rezin and Pekah commenced in the closing years of Jotham, so that these foes appeared before Jerusalem at the very beginning of the reign of Ahaz. - It is true that the Syrians had been subjugated by Jeroboam II((2 Kings 14:28); but in the anarchical condition of the Israelitish kingdom after his death, they had no doubt recovered their independence. They must also have been overcome by the Assyrians under Pul, for he could never have marched against Israel without having first of all conquered Syria. But as the power of the Assyrians was greatly weakened for a time by the falling away of the Medes and Babylonians, the Syrians had taken advantage of this weakness to refuse the payment of tribute to Assyria, and had formed an alliance with Pekah of Israel to conquer Judah, and thereby to strengthen their power so as to be able to offer a successful resistance to any attack from the side of the Euphrates. - But as 2 Kings 16:6. and 2 Kings 17 show, it was otherwise decreed in the counsels of the Lord.
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