Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE REIGN OF JEHORAM OF ISRAEL, AND HIS EXPEDITION AGAINST MOAB, IN WHICH JEHOSHAPHAT OF JUDAH TAKES PART.
(1) Began to reign.—Literally, reigned.1 Kings 22:41, and Ahaziah in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat 1 Kings 22:51.
2Ki 3:1-3. Jehoram's Evil Reign over Israel.
1, 2. Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat—(compare 1Ki 22:51). To reconcile the statements in the two passages, we must suppose that Ahaziah, having reigned during the seventeenth and the greater part of the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, was succeeded by his brother Joram or Jehoram, in the end of that eighteenth year, or else that Ahaziah, having reigned two years in conjunction with his father, died at the end of that period when Jehoram ascended the throne. His policy was as hostile as that of his predecessors to the true religion; but he made some changes. Whatever was his motive for this alteration—whether dread of the many alarming judgments the patronage of idolatry had brought upon his father; or whether it was made as a small concession to the feelings of Jehoshaphat, his ally, he abolished idolatry in its gross form and restored the symbolic worship of God, which the kings of Israel, from the time of Jeroboam, had set up as a partition wall between their subjects and those of Judah.Jehoram followeth the sin of Jeroboam; he, with Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom, goeth to battle against Moab, 2 Kings 3:1-8. They, in distress for water, obtain it by Elisha, and a promise of victory, 2 Kings 3:9-20. The Moabites, deceived by the colour of the water, coming to spoil, are overcome, 2 Kings 3:21-25. The king of Moab, by sacrificing his eldest son, raiseth the siege, 2 Kings 3:26,27.
(a) Read the annotation in 2Ki 1:17.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Kings 3:1-20. Jehoram king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah march against Moab. In the desert they obtain water through Elisha, who also promises them victory (Not in Chronicles)
1. the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat] How this year may be identified with ‘the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat’, which in 2 Kings 1:17 is the date assigned to Jehoram’s accession, is not clear. But see above on that passage.Verse 1. - Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat King of Judah. This note of time is not quite in accordance with the chronology of 1 Kings, which gives Jehoshaphat a reign of twenty-five years (1 Kings 22:42), Ahab one of twenty-two years (1 Kings 16:29), and Ahaziah one of two years (1 Kings 22:51), and makes Jehoshaphat's first year run parallel with Ahab's fourth (1 Kings 22:41), since thus Ahab's death-year would be Jehoshaphat's nineteenth, and Jehoram's accession-year, at the earliest, Jehoshaphat's twentieth. The difficulty may be removed by assigning to Ahab a reign of twenty instead of twenty-two years. On the mode of reconciling the statement of this place with that of 2 Kings 1:17, that Jehoram of Israel began to reign in the second year of Jehoram of Judah, see the comment upon that passage. And reigned twelve years. 1 Kings 18:12. The Chethb גּיאות is the regular formation from גּיא or גּיא (Zechariah 14:4); the Keri with the transposition of א and ,י the later form: גּאיות, Ezekiel 7:16; Ezekiel 31:12, etc. The belief expressed by the disciples of the prophets, that Elijah might have been miraculously carried away, was a popular belief, according to 1 Kings 18:12, which the disciples of the prophets were probably led to share, more especially in the present case, by the fact that they could not imagine a translation to heaven as a possible thing, and with the indefiniteness of the expression ראשׁך מעל לקח could only understand the divine revelation which they had received as referring to removal by death. So that even if Elisha told them how miraculously Elijah had been taken from him, which he no doubt did, they might still believe that by the appearance in the storm the Lord had taken away His servant from this life, that is to say, had received his soul into heaven, and had left his earthly tabernacle somewhere on the earth, for which they would like to go in search, that they might pay the last honours to their departed master. Elisha yielded to their continued urgency and granted their request; whereupon fifty men sought for three days for Elijah's body, and after three days' vain search returned to Jericho. עד־בּשׁ, to being ashamed, i.e., till he was ashamed to refuse their request any longer (see at Judges 3:25).
The two following miracles of Elisha (2 Kings 2:19-25) were also intended to accredit him in the eyes of the people as a man endowed with the Spirit and power of God, as Elijah had been. 2 Kings 2:19-22. Elisha makes the water at Jericho wholesome. - During his stay at Jericho (2 Kings 2:18) the people of the city complained, that whilst the situation of the place was good in other respects, the water was bad and the land produced miscarriages. הארץ, the land, i.e., the soil, on account of the badness of the water; not "the inhabitants, both man and beast" (Thenius). Elisha then told them to bring a new dish with salt, and poured the salt into the spring with these words: "Thus saith the Lord, I have made this water sound; there will not more be death and miscarriage thence" (משּׁם). משׁלּכת is a substantive here (vid., Ewald, 160, e.). המּים מוצא is no doubt the present spring Ain es Sultn, the only spring near to Jericho, the waters of which spread over the plain of Jericho, thirty-five minutes' distance from the present village and castle, taking its rise in a group of elevations not far from the foot of the mount Quarantana (Kuruntul); a large and beautiful spring, the water of which is neither cold nor warm, and has an agreeable and sweet (according to Steph. Schultz, "somewhat salt") taste. It was formerly enclosed by a kind of reservoir or semicircular wall of hewn stones, from which the water was conducted in different directions to the plain (vid., Rob. Pal. ii. p. 283ff.). With regard to the miracle, a spring which supplied the whole of the city and district with water could not be so greatly improved by pouring in a dish of salt, that the water lost its injurious qualities for ever, even if salt does possess the power of depriving bad water of its unpleasant taste and injurious effects. The use of these natural means does not remove the miracle. Salt, according to its power of preserving from corruption and decomposition, is a symbol of incorruptibility and of the power of life which destroys death (see Bhr, Symbolik, ii. pp. 325,326). As such it formed the earthly substratum for the spiritual power of the divine word, through which the spring was made for ever sound. A new dish was taken for the purpose, not ob munditiem (Seb. Schm.), but as a symbol of the renewing power of the word of God. - But if this miracle was adapted to show to the people the beneficent character of the prophet's ministry, the following occurrence was intended to prove to the despisers of God that the Lord does not allow His servants to be ridiculed with impunity.
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