And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The servant of the man of God.—One waiting on (i.e., a minister of) the man of God. Not Gehazi, who is never called Elisha’s minister, and is usually mentioned by name.
Gone forth.—To the outside of the house, which commanded a view of the valley below, where the Syrians lay.
And his servant said.—On returning into the house. The narrative is contracted.2 Kings 6:15. The servant said, Alas! my master — Perhaps the Syrians had assured the inhabitants they intended no harm to them, but only came to take Elisha; which the young man hearing, was put into great fear: for, having probably not been long with the prophet, (being only taken into his service since Gehazi’s dismission,) and having not yet seen any of his wonderful works, he gave himself and his master up for lost men. How shall we do? — It is to no purpose to think either of fighting or flying, but we must unavoidably fall into their hands. 2 Kings 6:17), from the foot of which arises a copious fountain. The servant having been with him but a little time, even since Gehazi’s dismission, had not yet seen any experiments of his great power; or if he had, his faith might easily be shaken upon so great and sudden a danger.
Gone forth; either out of the gates of the city, where he might see them; or out of his house into the streets of the city, where he might learn this by the common fame and tumult of the people.
behold, an host compassed the city, both with horses and chariots; which he could see at the door of his master's house, the city being built upon an eminence; or which he perceived, as soon as he came out of the gates of the city, or was about so to do:
and his servant said unto him; Elisha being with him; or else he returned to his master on the sight of such an army, and not being able to go forward:
alas, my master! how shall we do? to get out of the city, and through this host, and proceed on our intended journey; and if he understood that the intention of this formidable host was to take his master, his concern might be the greater; and the more as he was a new servant, and not so well acquainted with his master's being possessed of a power of doing miracles.And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. the servant] The word is the same which in 2 Kings 4:43 was rendered ‘servitor’. It is the special and more personal servant. Hence the R.V. puts ‘or, minister’ in the margin.
a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots] R.V. an host with horses and chariots was round about the city. The words are not the same in Hebrew as in the previous verse where ‘compassed’ was used. Literally ‘an host and horses &c.’ The horses and chariots were in addition to the footmen, who alone were spoken of in verse 14.Verse 15. - And when the servant of the man of God was risen early - he had, perhaps, heard the arrival of the Syrian forces during the night, and "rose early" to reconnoiter - and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots; rather, an host compassed the city, and horses, and chariots. A force of footmen, a force of horsemen, and a chariot force, are intended (cutup. ver. 14). And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? Though the servant could not know that it was Elisha's person which was especially sought, yet he was naturally alarmed at seeing the city invested by a hostile force, and anticipated either death or capture, which last would involve the being sold as a slave. Hence his "Alas!" and his piteous cry, "How shall we do?" Can we, i.e. in any way, save ourselves? 2 Kings 6:8-10. In a war which the Syrians carried on against the Israelitish king Joram (not Jehoahaz, as Ewald, Gesch. iii. p. 557, erroneously supposes), by sending flying parties into the land of Israel (cf. 2 Kings 6:23), Elisha repeatedly informed king Joram of the place where the Syrians had determined to encamp, and thereby frustrated the plans of the enemy. תּחנתי...אל־מקום: "at the place of so and so shall my camp be." אלמני פּלני as in 1 Samuel 21:3 (see at Ruth 4:1). תּחנות, the encamping or the place of encampment (cf. Ewald, 161, a.), is quite appropriate, so that there is no need either for the alteration into תּחבאוּ, "ye shall hide yourselves" (Then.), or into תּנחתוּ, with the meaning which is arbitrarily postulated, "ye shall place an ambush" (Ewald, Gesch. iii. p. 558), or for the much simpler alteration into לי תּחנוּ, "pitch the camp for me" (Bttcher). The singular suffix in תּחנתי refers to the king as leader of the war: "my camp" equals the camp of my army. "Beware of passing over (עבר) this place," i.e., of leaving it unoccupied, "for there have the Syrians determined to make their invasion." נחתּים, from נחת, going down, with dagesh euphon., whereas Ewald (187, b.) is of opinion that נחתּים, instead of being an intrans. part. Kal, might rather be a part. Niph. of חת, which would not yield, however, any suitable meaning. Thenius renders מעבר, "to pass by this place," which would be grammatically admissible, but is connected with his conjecture concerning תּחנתי, and irreconcilable with 2 Kings 6:10. When the king of Israel, according to 2 Kings 6:10, sent to the place indicated on account of Elisha's information, he can only have sent troops to occupy it; so that when the Syrians arrived they found Israelitish troops there, and were unable to attack the place. There is nothing in the text about the Syrians bursting forth from their ambush. הזהיר means to enlighten, instruct, but not to warn. נשׁמר־שׁם, "he took care there," i.e., he occupied the place with troops, to defend it against the Syrians, so that they were unable to do anything, "not once and not twice," i.e., several times.
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