2 Kings 2:21
And he went forth to the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus said the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from there any more death or barren land.
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(21) The spring of the waters.—Now called Aines Sultân (“the Sultan’s Fountain”), a fine spring of sweet water, which irrigates the neighbouring plain.

Thus saith the Lord.—Not the prophet’s own power, nor the natural virtues of the salt, but the Divine creative will was effectual to the healing of the spring.

There shall not be.—Many MSS., and all the versions, save LXX., read “and there shall not be,” or, “arise.”

Death.—Caused by the unwholesome water, either to the people, or to their unborn offspring.

Or barren land.—The same word as in 2Kings 2:19. Literally, and making (or, multiplying) abortion, which is apparently used as a substantive here (i.e., cause of abortion).

Unto this day.—The time when the narrative was first committed to writing.

2 Kings 2:21-22. He went forth unto the spring, and cast the salt in there — If the salt had been a proper remedy for the brackishness of these waters and the barrenness of the land, what could so small a quantity have done, and especially as cast into the fountain? For a fountain quickly works out any thing cast into it. But Elisha only used it as a sign of God’s power, which was to produce the effect, and to render the operation of that power more conspicuous. Therefore he says, Thus saith the Lord God, I have healed these waters — He himself; the new cruise and the salt were no more than mere instruments, or channels through which God was pleased to convey this healing virtue. There shall not be from thence any more death — Hurt or danger, to man or beast, by drinking the water. So the waters were healed unto this day — There is a fountain at this very day, toward the west of Jericho, which rises about three quarters of a league above the town in the way to Jerusalem, and, yielding a great deal of water, very excellent in its kind, runs along and fructifies the plain: and many authors speak of the extraordinary fruitfulness and pleasantness of the country hereabouts, after this time. See Josephus, Bell. Jud., book 5, cap. 4.2:19-25 Observe the miracle of healing the waters. Prophets should make every place to which they come better for them, endeavouring to sweeten bitter spirits, and to make barren souls fruitful, by the word of God, which is like the salt cast into the water by Elisha. It was an apt emblem of the effect produced by the grace of God on the sinful heart of man. Whole families, towns, and cities, sometimes have a new appearance through the preaching of the gospel; wickedness and evil have been changed into fruitfulness in the works of righteousness, which are, through Christ, to the praise and glory of God. Here is a curse on the youths of Bethel, enough to destroy them; it was not a curse causeless, for it was Elisha's character, as God's prophet, that they abused. They bade him go up, reflecting on the taking up of Elijah into heaven. The prophet acted by Divine impulse. If the Holy Spirit had not directed Elisha's solemn curse, the providence of God would not have followed it with judgment. The Lord must be glorified as a righteous God who hates sin, and will reckon for it. Let young persons be afraid of speaking wicked words, for God notices what they say. Let them not mock at any for defects in mind or body; especially it is at their peril, if they scoff at any for well doing. Let parents that would have comfort in their children, train them up well, and do their utmost betimes to drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts. And what will be the anguish of those parents, at the day of judgment, who witness the everlasting condemnation of their offspring, occasioned by their own bad example, carelessness, or wicked teaching!The spring of the waters - The spring intended is probably that now called Ain-es-Sultan, which is not much more than a mile from the site of the ancient town. It is described as a large and beautiful fountain of sweet and pleasant water. The springs issuing from the eastern base of the highlands of Judah and Benjamin are to this day generally brackish. 20. Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein—The noxious qualities of the water could not be corrected by the infusion of salt—for, supposing the salt was possessed of such a property, a whole spring could not be purified by a dishful for a day, much less in all future time. The pouring in of the salt was a symbolic act with which Elisha accompanied the word of the Lord, by which the spring was healed [Keil]. Cast the salt in there; which was in itself idle and ineffectual, considering both the quality of salt, and the small quantity of it, and the place where it was put, the fountain, which quickly works out any thing which is put into it; see Leviticus 11:36; but was only used as a sign of God’s presence and power, which did the thing: compare Exodus 15:25 2 Kings 4:41 6:6.

Any more death, i.e. hurt or danger, as death is oft used, {as 2 Corinthians 11:23} to men or beasts, by drinking of it, as formerly. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters,.... The fountain from whence they flowed, the head of them:

and cast the salt in there; which was an unlikely means of making bad water good, since that makes it brackish, and not so drinkable, and what makes ground barren; but this method, contrary to nature, was taken, that the miracle might appear the greater; or, as the Jews express it, be a miracle within a miracle:

and said, thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; he did not pretend to heal them in his own name, and by his own power, but in the name and by the power of the Lord, to whom he would have it ascribed:

there shall not be from thence any more death, or barren land; or miscarrying; no more noxious and mortal diseases should be got by drinking them, nor any abortions occasioned by them in women, cattle, and fruit trees, as had been.

And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast {m} the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.

(m) Thus God gave him power, even contrary to nature, to make the water profitable for man's use, which before was hurtful.

21. Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters] The prophet by his words carries the thought away from the sign to the thing signified, the power of God exerted at the prayer of the prophet. We cannot suppose, though no mention is made of it, that the healing was attempted without a calling upon God.

any more death or barren land] R.V. or miscarrying. The R.V. thus conforms to its rendering of verse 19, and gives a wider sense than that conveyed by the A.V. This is to be preferred because the root of the word applies in the first instance rather to deprivation of children than to sterility of soil.Verse 21. - And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there. The "spring" intended is supposed to be that now called Ain-es-Sultan, "the spring of the Sultan," which is the only copious source near the site of the ancient Jericho. The modern town lies at a distance of two miles from it. Ain-es-Sultan is described as "a large and beautiful fountain of sweet and pleasant water" (Robinson, 'Researches,' vol. 2. p. 384), and as "scattering, even at the hottest season, the richest and most grateful vegetation over what would otherwise be a bare tract of sandy soft." The other springs of the neighborhood are mostly brackish. And said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence - i.e., from the waters - any more death or barren land; rather, or miscarrying. Return of Elisha to Jericho and Bethel, and his First Miracles. - 2 Kings 2:14, 2 Kings 2:15. Having returned to the banks of the Jordan, Elisha smote the water with Elijah's mantle, saying, "Where is Jehovah the God of Elijah, yea He?" and the water divided hither and thither, so that he was able to go through. אף־הוּא, which the lxx did not understand, and have simply reproduced in Greek characters, ἀφφώ, is an emphatic apposition, "yea He," such as we find after suffixes, e.g., Proverbs 22:19; and אף is only a strengthened גּם, which is more usual when emphatic prominence is given to the suffix (vid., Ges. 121, 3). The Masoretic accentuation, which separates it from the preceding words, rests upon a false interpretation. There is no need either for the alteration proposed by Ewald, 362, a., of אף into אך, "he had scarcely smitten the water," especially as not a single analogous example can be adduced of the use of הוּא אך followed by a Vav consec.; or for the conjecture that the original reading in the text was אפוא (Houb., Bttch., Then.), "where is now the God of Elijah?" which derives no critical support from the ἀφφώ of the lxx, and is quite at variance with Hebrew usage, since אפוא generally stands immediately after איּה, when it serves to strengthen the interrogation (vid., Judges 9:38; Job 17:15; Isaiah 19:12; Hosea 13:10). This miracle was intended partly to confirm Elisha's conviction that his petition had been fulfilled, and partly to accredit him in the eyes of the disciples of the prophets and the people generally as the divinely appointed successor of Elijah. All the disciples of the prophets from Jericho saw also from this that the spirit of Elijah rested upon Elisha, and came to meet him to do homage to him as being now their spiritual father and lord.
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