2 Kings 3:2
And he worked evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.
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(2) Wrought evil.Did the evil in the eyes, &c., i.e., maintained the illicit worship of the bullock at Beth-el (2Kings 3:3).

Like his mother.—Jezebel lived throughout his reign (2Kings 9:30), which explains why he did not eradicate the Baal-worship (2Kings 10:18-28).

For he put away.And he removed, scil., from its place in the temple of Baal. (Comp. 1Kings 16:31-32.) It must have been afterwards restored, probably by the influence of Jezebel. (Comp. 2Kings 10:26-27, and Notes.)

The image.Pillar. (Comp. 2Chronicles 34:4.) The LXX., Vulg., and Arabic read “pillars” (a different pointing); and the LXX. adds at the end, “and brake them in pieces.” This seems original. Ahab would be likely to set up more than one pillar to Baal.

2 Kings 3:2-3. He put away the image of Baal — It was much that his mother, who had brought this worship with her from the Zidonians, should suffer him to remove this image; but she was probably a little daunted at the many disasters which had befallen their family, and was contented with worshipping Baal in private. Nevertheless, he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam — Though he put away the image and worship of Baal, resolving to worship Jehovah only, yet he continued to worship him under the representation of a calf, which was idolatry, though in a less degree. This kind of worship all the kings of Israel kept up, as a wall of partition between their subjects and those of Judah. They intended hereby to keep their people from going up to worship at Jerusalem, lest, if they did so, they might, by degrees, be brought to submit again to the kings of Judah. Thus Jehoram: he had a little religion, such as it was, but not enough to overrule his policy.3:1-5 Jehoram took warning by God's judgment, and put away the image of Baal, yet he maintained the worship of the calves. Those do not truly repent or reform, who only part with the sins they lose by, but continue to love the sins that they think to gain by.On the "evil" done by Ahab, see especially 1 Kings 16:30-34. Jehoram, warned by the fate of his brother (2 Kings 1:4 note), began his reign by a formal abolition of the Phoenician state religion introduced by Ahab - even if he connived at its continuance among the people 2 Kings 10:26-27; and by a re-establishment of the old worship of the kingdom as arranged by Jeroboam. CHAPTER 3

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.

He put away the image of Baal; not from any principle of conscience (for that would have reached the calves also); but either because he was startled at the dreadful judgments of God inflicted upon his father and brother for Baal worship; or because he needed God’s help to subdue the Moabites, which he knew Baal could not do; or to gratify Jehoshaphat, whose help he meant to crave, which he knew he should never obtain without this; and for this reason, it seems, Jezebel was willing to connive at it, as a trick of state. And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord,.... Was guilty of idolatry:

but not like his father, and like his mother; his father Ahab, and his mother Jezebel:

for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made; he did not destroy it, only removed it from the temple of Baal where it was set, that it might not be worshipped, at least publicly, see 1 Kings 16:31 this he did, either moved to it by his own conscience, observing the sudden deaths of his father and brother, which he might suppose was for their idolatry; or in order to obtain success in his war with Moab he was entering into; or being instigated by Jehoshaphat to do it, or otherwise he might refuse to join him.

And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.
2. And he wrought evil] R.V. And he did that which was evil. The change made frequently that the same Hebrew phrase may be regularly rendered by the same English.

but not like his father, and like his mother] Jehoram was not so far gone in evil as his brother Ahaziah had been. He kept indeed to the calf-worship of Jeroboam, but put down the Baal-worship which had been introduced by Jezebel from Phœnicia. The writer makes a difference, as might be expected, between the sin of Jeroboam, grievous though that was, and the grosser idolatry which had been practised in the two last reigns.

he put away the image [R.V. pillar] of Baal] The Hebrew word [maççebah] is first used of the stone (Genesis 28:18) which Jacob set up for a pillar at Bethel, and it seems likely, as it is used here and elsewhere in the accounts of Baal-worship, that these objects of worship were not figures, but of the nature of obelisks. They were probably for the most part of stone, though those mentioned as brought out of the house of Baal (2 Kings 10:26) and burned must have been of wood. Perhaps those under cover were made of wood, and overlaid with precious metals (cf. Hosea 2:8), while those out of doors were of stone.

that his father had made] This was no doubt some special pillar which the king had erected near his palace for his own and Jezebel’s worship. This open token of devotion to the idols of the nations Jehoram put away. But there remained pillars of Baal and a house of Baal still for Jehu to destroy. Jehoram found it difficult to go far in a reformation among persons given up as his subjects were to idolatry, and all the more difficult because his own father had been the founder and fosterer of the evil.Verse 2. - And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord - as did every other king of Israel both before him (1 Kings 14:16; 1 Kings 15:25, 34; 1 Kings 16:13, 19, 25, 30; 1 Kings 22:52) and after him (2 Kings 8:27; 2 Kings 10:31; 2 Kings 13:2, 11; 2 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 2 Kings 17:2) - but not like his father, and like his mother - i.e. Ahab and Jezebel, the introducers of the Baal-worship into Israel - for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. It had not been said previously that Ahab had actually set up an image of Baal, but only that he had "built him a house in Samaria, and reared him up an altar," and that he "served him and worshipped him" (1 Kings 16:31, 32). But an image of the god for whom a "house" was built was so much a matter of course in the idolatrous systems of the East, that it might have seemed superfluous to mention it. The actual existence of the image appears later, when its destruction is recorded (2 Kings 10:27). It seems that Jehoram, at the commencement of his reign, took warning by the fates of his father and brother, so far as to abolish the state worship of Baal, which his father had introduced, and to remove the image of Baal from the temple where it had been set up. The image, however, was not destroyed - it was only "put away." But the disciples of the prophets at Jericho were so unable to realize the fact of Elijah's translation, although it had been previously revealed to them, that they begged permission of Elisha to send out fifty brave men to seek for Elijah. פּן־נשׂאו: whether the Spirit of the Lord has not taken him and cast him upon one of the mountains, or into one of the valleys. פּן with the perfect is used "where there is fear of a fact, which as is conjectured almost with certainty has already happened," like μὴ in the sense of "whether not" (vid., Ewald, 337, b.). יהוה רוּח is not a wind sent by Jehovah (Ges.), but the Spirit of Jehovah, as in 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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