2 Kings 6:1
And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with you is too strait for us.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
VI.

THE HISTORY OF ELISHA’S MIGHTY WORKS CONTINUED.

(1-7) The prophet causes an iron ax-head to float ın the Jordan.

(1) And the sons of the prophets said.—The form of the verb implies connection with the preceding narrative; but as the section refers to Elisha’s activity among the sons of the prophets, it was probably connected originally with 2Kings 4:44. The compiler may have transferred it to its present position in order, as Thenius suggests, to indicate the lapse of some time between the events described here and there; and further, to separate the account of the renewed warfare between Syria and Israel (2Kings 6:8, seq.) from that of Elisha’s good deed to Naaman the Syrian.

The place where we dwell with thee.—Rather, the place where we sit before thee: scil., habitually, for instruction. The phrase occurred in 2Kings 4:38. The common hall is meant; whether that at Gilgal or at Jericho is uncertain. Jericho was close to the Jordan (2Kings 6:2), but that does not prove that it is meant here. The prophet’s disciples did not live in a single building, like a community of monks. Their settlement is called “dwellings” (nāyôth) in the plural (1Samuel 19:18); and they could be married (2Kings 4:1).

Too strait.—Their numbers had increased. (Comp. 2Kings 4:43.)

2 Kings 6:1-2. The sons of the prophet said to Elisha — Probably those that were at Gilgal, for that is the place last mentioned where the prophet was, (chap. 2 Kings 4:38,) and was also near to Jordan. Let us go — unto Jordan — To the woods near Jordan; and take thence every man a beam — A piece of timber for the building. Hence it may be gathered, that although the sons of the prophets principally devoted themselves to religious exercises, yet they sometimes employed themselves about manual arts.6:1-7 There is that pleasantness in the converse of servants of God, which can make those who listen to them forget the pain and the weariness of labour. Even the sons of the prophets must not be unwilling to labour. Let no man think an honest employment a burden or a disgrace. And labour of the head, is as hard, and very often harder, than labour with the hands. We ought to be careful of that which is borrowed, as of our own, because we must do as we would be done by. This man was so respecting the axe-head. And to those who have an honest mind, the sorest grievance of poverty is, not so much their own want and disgrace, as being rendered unable to pay just debts. But the Lord cares for his people in their smallest concerns. And God's grace can thus raise the stony iron heart, which is sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections, naturally earthly.The writer returns here to the series of miracles which Elisha performed for the benefit of the prophetical schools under his care. The connection, in this point of view, is with 2 Kings 4:44.

The place where we dwell with thee - literally, "the place where we sit before thee," i. e. "the place where we assemble and sit to bear thy teaching." Elisha visited the sons of the prophets in circuit, staying a short time at each place where a "school" was established. Perhaps he was now visiting Jericho. Compare 2 Kings 2:5.

CHAPTER 6

2Ki 6:1-7. Elisha Causes Iron to Swim.

1. the place where we dwell with thee—Margin, "sit before thee." The one points to a common residence—the other to a common place of meeting. The tenor of the narrative shows the humble condition of Elisha's pupils. The place was either Beth-el or Jericho, probably the latter. The ministry and miracles of Elisha brought great accessions to his schools.Elisha, giving leave to the young prophets to enlarge their dwellings, causeth iron to swim, 2 Kings 6:1-7. He discloseth the king of Syria’s counsel, 2 Kings 6:8-12; who sendeth Syrians to apprehend him: he is preserved by angels: they are smitten with blindness; are brought into Samaria, and dismissed in peace, 2 Kings 6:13-23. Samaria is besieged, and brought to such extreme want and famine, that women eat their own children, 2 Kings 6:24-29. The king sendeth to slay Elisha, 2 Kings 6:30-33.

The sons of the prophets; either at Beth-el, or Jericho or rather, at Gilgal; as may seem from its nearness to the river of Jordan, 2 Kings 6:2. With thee, or, before thy face, i.e. under thy inspection and direction; where thou dost frequently dwell with us. Or, to thy face; which may be joined with the following words; and so the sense may be this, It is apparent to thy view that this place is too strait for us. Is too strait for us; the number of the prophets increasing by the gracious providence of God, and by the ministry and miracles of Elijah and Elisha.

And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha,.... Or the disciples of the prophets, as the Targum:

behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us: their numbers were so increased, that there was not room enough for them in the house they dwelt in with the prophet; which increase was owing, the Jews (z) say, to the departure of Gehazi last mentioned, who was a bad man, and used the disciples so ill, that they could not stay in the college; but, when he was gone, they flocked in great numbers; but rather it was owing to the very instructive ministry and wonderful miracles of Elisha: the place where the prophet and his disciples now dwelt seems to be Gilgal, 2 Kings 4:38.

(z) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 107. 2.

And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. 2 Kings 6:1-7. Elisha causeth an axe lost in the river to float (Not in Chronicles)

1. And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha] There is nothing to indicate which out of the various prophetic communities is here spoken of. But by the proposal which follows, that they should go to the Jordan, and bring from thence each man his beam, we may conclude that the place was not far from the river. The station nearest to the Jordan of which we are told is Jericho, and it may be that there the company had grown beyond their buildings.

the place where we dwell with [R.V. before] thee] The R.V. is correct, and gives more truly the picture of Elisha’s relation to these societies. From the other parts of the history we can gather that he made visits to the several settlements from time to time. And when he arrived, and while he remained, the members were about him as scholars around a teacher. They sat before him (2 Kings 4:38). Hence the preposition in this verse.

is too strait for us] The religious activity of the prophetic schools must have been very great during the life of Elisha, and must also have produced its effect upon the life of the nation. We cannot regard these societies merely as retreats from the world, where the servants of Jehovah retired in despair. Such families as that at Shunem, spoken of in the last chapter, must have been of frequent occurrence. And the increase of the number of prophets may be taken as a sign that true religion was growing in the land. ‘It is a good hearing that the prophets want elbow-room.’ (Bp Hall.)Verse 1. - 2 Kings 7:20. - FURTHER MIRACLES WROUGHT BY ELISHA. The historian relates first a (comparatively) private miracle wrought by Elisha in the vicinity of Jericho, for the benefit of one of the "sons of the prophets" (vers. 1-8). He then tells us briVerse 1. - And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee - literally, before thee - is too strait for us. The scene of this miracle is probably the vicinity of Jericho, since both Gilgal and Bethel were remote from the Jordan. The "school of the prophets" at Jericho, whereof we heard in 2 Kings 2:5, 19, had increased so much, that the buildings which hitherto had accommodated it were no longer sufficient. A larger dwelling, or set of dwelling, was thought to be necessary; but the scholars would make no change without the sanction of their master. When he comes on one of his circuits, they make appeal to him. Punishment of Gehazi. - 2 Kings 5:20-22. When Naaman had gone a stretch of the way (ארץ כּברת, 2 Kings 5:19; see at Genesis 35:16), there arose in Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the desire for a portion of the presents of the Syrian which his master had refused (אם כּי יי חי, as truly as Jehovah liveth, assuredly I run after him; אם כּי as in 1 Samuel 25:34). He therefore hastened after him; and as Naaman no sooner saw Gehazi running after him than he sprang quickly down from his chariot in reverential gratitude to the prophet (יפּל as in Genesis 24:64), he asked in the name of Elisha for a talent of silver and two changes of raiment, professedly for two poor pupils of the prophets, who had come to the prophet from Mount Ephraim.
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