2 Kings 5:7
And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) He rent his clothes.—As if he had heard blasphemy. (Comp. Matthew 26:65.)

Am I God, to kill and to make alive?Deuteronomy 32:39, “I kill, and I make alive;” 1Samuel 2:6, “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive.” Leprosy was a kind of living death. (Comp. Numbers 12:12, Heb., “Let her not become as the dead, who, when he cometh forth of his mother’s womb, hath half his flesh consumed.”)

Wherefore.—Heb., For only know (i.e., notice), and see. Plural verbs are used, because the king is addressing his grandees, in whose presence the letter would be delivered and read.

He seeketh a quarrel.—This form of the verb (hithpael) occurs here only. (Comp. the noun, Judges 14:4.) Jehoram was hardly in a position to renew the war, after the severe defeat of his father (1Kings 22:30, seq.).

2 Kings 5:7. The king of Israel rent his clothes — Either as one in great affliction and trouble, or because he looked upon it as blasphemy, to ascribe that power to him which belonged to God alone. Am I God, to kill and make alive? — He expresses himself thus, because the leprosy is a kind or degree of death, Numbers 12:12; and he thought it as impossible to cure it as to raise the dead. Every body can kill; but when a person is killed, to make him alive again is the work only of the Almighty. See how he seeketh a quarrel against me — For not doing what he requires, which he knows to be impossible for me to do. Though he had seen what miracles Elisha had done, yet he either had forgot them, or thought this to be beyond his power. Or, it may be, he was loath to see still further demonstration of his power with God, and therefore did not send to him on this occasion.

5:1-8 Though the Syrians were idolaters, and oppressed God's people, yet the deliverance of which Naaman had been the means, is here ascribed to the Lord. Such is the correct language of Scripture, while those who write common history, plainly show that God is not in all their thoughts. No man's greatness, or honour, can place him our of the reach of the sorest calamities of human life: there is many a sickly, crazy body under rich and gay clothing. Every man has some but or other, something that blemishes and diminishes him, some allay to his grandeur, some damp to his joy. This little maid, though only a girl, could give an account of the famous prophet the Israelites had among them. Children should be early told of the wondrous works of God, that, wherever they go, they may talk of them. As became a good servant, she desired the health and welfare of her master, though she was a captive, a servant by force; much more should servants by choice, seek their masters' good. Servants may be blessings to the families where they are, by telling what they know of the glory of God, and the honour of his prophets. Naaman did not despise what she told, because of her meanness. It would be well if men were as sensible of the burden of sin as they are of bodily disease. And when they seek the blessings which the Lord sends in answer to the prayers of his faithful people, they will find nothing can be had, except they come as beggars for a free gift, not as lords to demand or purchase.He rent his clothes - The action indicated alarm and terror quite as much as sorrow 2 Samuel 13:19; Ezra 9:3; 2 Chronicles 34:27; Jeremiah 36:22.

Consider, I pray you - Jehoram speaks to his chief officers, and bids them mark the animus of the Syrian monarch. Compare the conduct of Ahab 1 Kings 20:7.

7. when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes—According to an ancient practice among the Eastern people, the main object only was stated in the letter that was carried by the party concerned, while other circumstances were left to be explained at the interview. This explains Jehoram's burst of emotion—not horror at supposed blasphemy, but alarm and suspicion that this was merely made an occasion for a quarrel. Such a prince as he was would not readily think of Elisha, or, perhaps, have heard of his miraculous deeds. He rent his clothes; either in detestation of his blasphemy, in giving God’s perfections to him; or rather, for grief arising from a suspicion and fear that the Syrian made this only a pretence for the war which he designed against him.

I God, to kill and to make alive? he expresseth it thus, because leprosy is a kind or degree of death, Numbers 12:12, and he thought it as impossible to cure it as to raise the dead.

See how he seeketh a quarrel against me, for not doing what he requires, which he knows impossible for me to do.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes,.... As one in great distress, being thrown into perplexity of mind by it, not knowing what to do; or, as some think, at the blasphemy he supposed to be in it, requiring that of him which only God could do:

and said, am I God, to kill and to make alive; or have the power of life and death, which only belongs to the Supreme Being:

that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy; for a leper was reckoned as one dead, his disease incurable, his flesh upon him being mortified by it, see Numbers 12:12 and therefore not supposed to be in the power of man, only of God, to cure; and therefore, in Israel, none had anything to do with the leper but the priest, in the name of God:

wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me; to pick a quarrel with him, in order to go to war with him as he supposed. This seems to have been spoken to his lords and courtiers about him.

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. that he rent his clothes] Sometimes the act was a sign of grief as in 2 Kings 2:12 above and Genesis 37:29; sometimes as here, of horror and alarm. Cf. also 2 Kings 18:36; Ezra 9:3; Jeremiah 36:24.

to kill and to make alive] The disease of leprosy was incurable, and so the request that it should be cured was such as the author of life alone could grant. Cf. for the language Deuteronomy 32:39, ‘I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me, I kill and I make alive’. So also in Hannah’s song (1 Samuel 2:6). This is a power that belongs to God only.

doth send unto me] The knowledge of Elisha’s mighty acts must have been less before the mind of the king than of his subjects, or he would not have failed to see that the request might be granted by God through his prophet. ‘Himself with the two other kings had been eyewitnesses of what Elisha could do, yet now the calves of Dan and Bethel have so often taken up his heart that there is no room for the memory of Elisha. Whom he sued to in his extremity, now his prosperity hath forgotten. Carnal hearts when need drives them can think of God and his prophet: when their turn is served, can as utterly forget them as if they were not’ (Bp Hall).

he seeketh a quarrel against me] The verb, in this form and sense, only occurs here, but the cognate noun in the sense of ‘an occasion of quarrel’ is found Jdg 14:4. Hence the R.V. has put ‘occasion’ on the margin. It is only the one who feels his superiority that ventures on seeking a quarrel, and from the timid words of Jehoram we may conclude that he thought the Syrians more than a match for him; as was only natural, since they had defeated his father at Ramoth-Gilead not long before. He dreaded a renewal of such a conflict.

Verse 7. - And it came to pass, when the King of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes. In horror and alarm (comp. 2 Samuel 13:19; 2 Chronicles 34:27; Ezra 9:3; Jeremiah 36:24). He concluded that once more (see 1 Kings 20:7) the Syrian monarch was determined to find a ground of quarrel, and had therefore sent to him an impossible request. And said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive? To "kill" and to "make alive" were familiar expressions in the mouth of the Israelites to designate omnipotence (see Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6). Recovering from leprosy was equivalent to making alive, for a leprous person was "as one dead" (Numbers 12:12) according to Hebrew notions. That this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy. The king evidently does not bethink himself of Elisha, of whose great miracle of raising the dead to life (2 Kings 4:35-36) he may not up to this time have heard. Elisha's early miracles were mostly wrought with a certain amount of secrecy. Wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. The king misjudged Benhadad, but not without some grounds of reason, if he was ignorant of Elisha's miraculous gifts. Benhadad, when seeking a ground of quarrel with Ahab, had made extravagant requests (see 1 Kings 20:3-6). 2 Kings 5:7When the king of Israel (Joram) received the letter of the Syrian king on Naaman's arrival, and read therein that he was to cure Naaman of his leprosy (ועתּה, and now, - showing in the letter the transition to the main point, which is the only thing communicated here; cf. Ewald, 353, b.), he rent his clothes in alarm, and exclaimed, "Am I God, to be able to kill and make alive?" i.e., am I omnipotent like God? (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6); "for he sends to me to cure a man of his leprosy." The words of the letter ואספתּו, "so cure him," were certainly not so insolent in their meaning as Joram supposed, but simply meant: have him cured, as thou hast a wonder-working prophet; the Syrian king imagining, according to his heathen notions of priests and gotes, that Joram could do what he liked with his prophets and their miraculous powers. There was no ground, therefore, for the suspicion which Joram expressed: "for only observe and see, that he seeks occasion against me." התאנּה to seek occasion, sc. for a quarrel (cf. Judges 14:4).
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