2 Kings 3:11
But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may inquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) But (and) Jehoshaphat . . . by him?—The same question is asked by Jehoshaphat in 1Kings 22:7.

By him.—Heb., from with him (mē’ôthô for mē’ittô, both here and in the parallel place—a mark of the same hand). Jehoshaphat is for “seeking Jehovah” through a prophet, in contrast with Jehoram, who at once despairs. (Comp. Amos 5:4; Amos 5:8; and Note on 1Chronicles 13:3; 2Chronicles 15:2.)

One of the king of Israel’s servants.—One of the king’s staff, who, like Obadiah (1Kings 18:3), was perhaps a friend of the prophets of Jehovah.

Here is Elisha.—The prophet must have followed the army of his own accord, or rather, as Keil suggests, under a Divine impulse, in order that, when the hour of trial came, he might point Jehoram to Jehovah as the only true God.

Which poured water on the hands of Elijah.—Was the personal attendant of that greatest of prophets. The phrase alludes to the well-known Oriental custom of the servant pouring water from a ewer on his master’s hands to wash them.

3:6-19 The king of Israel laments their distress, and the danger they were in. He called these kings together, yet he charges it upon Providence. Thus the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and then his heart fretteth against the Lord, Pr 19:3. It was well that Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord now, but it had been much better if he had done it before he engaged in this war. Good men sometimes neglect their duty, till necessity and affliction drive them to it. Wicked people often fare the better for the friendship and society of the godly. To try their faith and obedience, Elisha bids them make the valley full of pits to receive water. Those who expect God's blessings, must dig pools for the rain to fill, as in the valley of Baca, and thus make even that a well, Ps 84:6. We need not inquire whence the water came. God is not tied to second causes. They that sincerely seek for the dew of God's grace, shall have it, and by it be made more than conquerors.A prophet of the Lord - i. e. of Yahweh. It was necessary to inquire thus definitely, as there were still plenty of prophets who were only prophets of Baal 2 Kings 3:13.

Here is Elisha - Jehoram appears to have been ignorant of his presence with the host, and one of his "servants," or officers, answered Jehoshaphat's inquiry.

Which poured water - An act signifying ministration or attendance (compare John 13:5 ff).

11. which poured water on the hands of Elijah—that is, was his servant—this being one of the common offices of a servant. The phrase is used here as synonymous with "a true and eminent prophet," who will reveal God's will to us. Is there not here a prophet? this he should have asked before, when they first undertook the expedition, as he did in a like case, 1 Kings 22:5, and for that neglect he now suffers; but better late than never. His affliction brings him to the remembrance of his former sin and present duty.

Which poured water on the hands of Elijah, i.e. who was his servant; this being one office of a servant; and this office was the more necessary among the Israelites, because of the frequent washings which their law required.

But Jehoshaphat said, is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the Lord by him?.... This the good king should have done before be set out, but had neglected it; however, it was not too late:

and one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said; who might be one that feared the Lord, and was intimate with Elisha, or however had knowledge of him, as appears by what follows:

here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah; or ministered to him, as the Targum; was his menial servant, waited on him, and assisted him when he washed his hands (g); some Jewish writers understand it of his pouring water on the hand of Elijah at Carmel, when the altar and trench were filled with it, and when a miracle was wrought, as they fancy, and the fingers of Elijah became as fountains of water.

(g) See the like phrase of the business of a servant in Homer, Iliad. 3. ver. 270, & Iliad. 9. ver. 174. Odyss. 1. ver. 147. & Odyss. 3. ver. 388. & Odyss. 4. ver. 258, 261. & passim.

But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which {f} poured water on the hands of Elijah.

(f) That is, who was his servant.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord] He made the same enquiry before the march to Ramoth-Gilead (1 Kings 22:7). The prophets who would be in attendance on Jehoram would be those connected with the worship of the calves. It is however interesting to note that Jehoram ascribes to the Lord Jehovah the calling together of the armies for this expedition. We see from this how the calf-worship was not felt to be in direct opposition to the true worship. The presence of Elisha with the host shews also that there was something which a prophet of the Lord found to warrant his presence with the army. The promptness too with which he is mentioned indicates that he was well known and honoured by some who were about the king’s person.

Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah] The sort of service here indicated marks one who had been in constant attendance on his master, who therefore understood his feelings, and had thus grown to understand on what occasions Jehovah might be appealed to. Hence the confidence of Jehoshaphat, ‘The word of the Lord is with him’.

Verse 11. - But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the Lord by him? The Israelite monarch despairs at once; the Jewish monarch retains faith and hope. Undoubtedly he ought to have had inquiry made of the Lord before he consented to accompany Jehoram on the expedition. But one neglect of duty does not justify persistence in neglect. This he sees, and therefore suggests that even now, at the eleventh hour, the right course shall be taken. It may not even yet be too late. And one of the King of Israel's servants - i.e., one of the officers in attendance on him - answered and said, Here is Elisha. Apparently,-Jehoram was not aware of Elisha's presence with the army. He had to be enlightened by one of his attendants, who happened to be acquainted with the fact. We may suppose that Elisha had joined the army "at the instigation of the Spirit of God" (Keil), God having resolved to rescue the Israelites from their peril by his instrumentality, and at the same time to show forth his glory before the people of Moab. The son of Shaphat (comp. 1 Kings 19:16, 19), which poured water on the hands of Elijah; i.e. who was accustomed to minister to Elijah's wants, and to attend upon him. 2 Kings 3:11But however cleverly this plan may have been contrived, when the united army had been marching round for seven days and was passing through the deep rocky valley of the Ahsy,

(Note: The usual route from southern Judaea to the land of the Moabites, which even the Crusaders and more recent travellers took, runs round the Dead Sea up to the mouth of the Wady ed Deraah or Kerak, and then up this wady to Kerak (vid., Rob. ii. p. 231). The allied kings did not take this route however, but went through the Wady el Kurahy or es-Safieh, which opens into the southern end of the Dead Sea, and which is called the Wady el Ahsy farther up in the mountains, by Seetzen (R. ii. pp. 355,356) erroneously the Wady el Hssa (Rob. ii. p. 488), a ravine through which Burckhardt passed with the greatest difficulty (Syrien, ii. p. 673). That they advanced by this route is a necessary inference from the fact, that when they first suffered from want of water they were on the border of the Moabitish territory, of which this very wady forms the boundary (2 Kings 3:21; see Burckh. p. 674, and Rob. Pal. ii. p. 555), and the water came flowing from Edom (2 Kings 3:20). Neither of these circumstances is applicable to the Wady el Kerak. - Still less can we assume, with O. v. Gerlach, that they chose the route through the Arabah that they might approach Moab from the south, as the Israelites under Moses had done. For it would have been impossible for them to reach the border of Moab by this circuitous route. And why should they go so far round, with the way through Edom open to them?)

which divided the territories of Edom and Moab, it was in the greatest danger of perishing from want of water for men and cattle, as the river which flows through this valley, and in which they probably hoped to find a sufficient supply of water, since according to Robinson (Pal. ii. pp. 476 and 488) it is a stream which never fails, was at that time perfectly dry.

In this distress the hearts of the two kings were manifested. - 2 Kings 3:10-12. Joram cried out in his despair: "Woe, that Jehovah has called these three kings, to give them into the hand of Moab!" (כּי, that, serves to give emphasis to the assurance; see Ewald, 330, b.) Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, had confidence in the Lord, and inquired whether there was no prophet there, through whom they could seek counsel of the Lord (as in 1 Kings 22:7); whereupon one of the servants of the Israelitish king answered that Elisha was there, who had poured water upon the hands of Elijah, i.e., had been with him daily as his servant, and therefore could probably obtain and give a revelation from god. Elisha may perhaps have come to the neighbourhood of the army at the instigation of the Spirit of God, because the distress of the kings was to be one means in the hand of the Lord, not only of distinguishing the prophet in the eyes of Joram, but also of pointing Joram to the Lord as the only true God. The three kings, humbled by the calamity, went in person to Elisha, instead of sending for him.

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