2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray you, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw.—Just as the Lord had opened Elisha’s own eyes to see the like vision of unearthly glory when his master was taken away (2Kings 2:10; 2Kings 2:12). (Comp. also Numbers 22:31.)

The mountain.—On which Dothan stood.

Horses and chariots of fire.—Literally, horses and chariots, to wit, fire. Fire was the well-known symbol of Jehovah’s visible presence and protective or destroying might, from the days of the patriarchs onwards (Genesis 15:17; Exodus 3:2; Exodus 13:21, seq., 19:16, seq.; Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 33:14). As fiery chariots and horses parted Elijah from Elisha (2Kings 2:12), so now a similar appearance surrounds and protects the latter. “It is a fine thought,” says Thenius, “that on this occasion the veil of earthly existence was lifted for a moment for one child of man, so as to allow him a clear glimpse of the sovereignty of Providence.” The form of the supernatural appearance was, no doubt, conditioned by the circumstances of the time. Chariots and horses were the strength of the Aramean oppressors of Israel; therefore, Jehovah causes His earthly ministers to see that He also has at His command horses and chariots, and that of fire.

2 Kings 6:17. Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes — The eyes of his body were open, and with them he saw the danger; Lord, said the prophet, open the eyes of his faith, and the eyes of his mind, that with them he may see the protection we are under, may see the invisible guard of heavenly beings which encompass and defend us. Angels, whether they be purely spiritual, or clothed with some material vehicle, it is allowed, cannot be seen by mortal eyes: and, therefore, as the prophet himself would not have seen them, unless God by a miracle had rendered them visible to his eyes, so he requests of God that, for the causes above mentioned, he would vouchsafe to his servant the same privilege. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire — Fire is both dreadful and devouring: that power, which was engaged for Elisha, could both terrify and consume the assailants. Round about Elisha — The mountains, which were full of these fiery chariots and horses, were round about the city, and therefore round about Elisha, who was within it: or he saw, as if he, Elisha, was in the midst of a glorious camp of angels, who defended him so that nothing could penetrate and break through unto him. “The opening of our eyes,” says Henry, “will be the silencing of our fears. In the dark we are most apt to be frightened. The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of heaven, the less we shall fear the calamities of this earth.”6:13-23 What Elisha said to his servant is spoken to all the faithful servants of God, when without are fightings, and within are fears. Fear not, with that fear which has torment and amazement; for they that are with us, to protect us, are more than they that are against us, to destroy us. The eyes of his body were open, and with them he saw the danger. Lord, open the eyes of our faith, that with them we may see thy protecting hand. The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of Heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth. Satan, the god of this world, blinds men's eyes, and so deludes them unto their own ruin; but when God enlightens their eyes, they see themselves in the midst of their enemies, captives to Satan, and in danger of hell, though, before, they thought their condition good. When Elisha had the Syrians at his mercy, he made it appear that he was influenced by Divine goodness as well as Divine power. Let us not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The Syrians saw it was to no purpose to try to assault so great and so good a man.Open his eyes that he may see - Elisha's servant lacked the faith of his master. Elisha therefore prays that he may be given a vision of the spiritual world, and see, as if with the bodily eye, the angelic host (marginal references) which he himself knows to be present. 17. Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see—The invisible guard of angels that encompass and defend us (Ps 34:7). The opening of the eyes, which Elisha prayed for, were those of the Spirit, not of the body—the eye of faith sees the reality of the divine presence and protection where all is vacancy or darkness to the ordinary eye. The horses and chariots were symbols of the divine power (see on [331]2Ki 2:12); and their fiery nature denoted their supernatural origin; for fire, the most ethereal of earthly elements, is the most appropriate symbol of the Godhead [Keil]. That he may see; that by some visible appearance he may see the invisible guard of angels which encompass and defend us.

Chariots of fire; which is useful, both for defence to those that are surrounded by it, and offence to the enemies who shall attempt to break through it.

Round about Elisha: either the mountains were round about the city, and therefore round about Elisha, who was within it; or he saw in a vision Elisha upon the mountain encompassed with fiery horses and chariots. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see,.... Not the eyes of his body, which were not shut nor blinded, but the eyes of his mind; or, in other words, grant him a vision, represented in so strong a light, as to remove his fears:

and the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; he had a vision of angels:

and, behold, the mountain; on which the city was built, or one near it:

was full of horses and chariots of fire; angels in this form, as in 2 Kings 2:11, and these were

round about Elisha; being round about the city where he was; or rather so in the vision it was represented to the young man, he saw his master surrounded with horses and chariots of fire, in the utmost safety.

And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, {h} that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

(h) That he may behold how you have prepared an army to rescue us.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. open his eyes] To the servant there was need of a more manifest vision, and for this Elisha prays, and God vouchsafes to grant it, that the servant may become as confident as his master. It is not that the troops may be gathered that Elisha prays, they are there already, but that the servant may have a seeing eye bestowed upon him to discern how well he and his master are protected.

the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire] Just as in chapter 2 Kings 2:11 we read of appearances so described. It is not necessary that we suppose the vision to have been of literal horses and chariots. The heavenly host was seen encamped about God’s servant in such wise as to disperse all fear.

round about Elisha] The enemy compassed the town all round, but there was an inner circle filled by God’s army. Dothan stood on an eminence and so the summit could thus be encircled, and the barrier against the Syrians appear complete.Verse 17. - And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. If the prophet's servant was to be reassured, he must be made to see that help was at hand; he would not have found rest or peace in the mere assurance that God was nigh, and would keep his prophet from harm. His mental state required something like a material manifestation; and hence Elisha prays that he may be permitted to behold the angelic host, which everywhere throughout creation is employed at all times in doing the will of God, and accomplishing his ends (comp. Genesis 28:12; Genesis 32:2; Psalm 34:7; Psalm 68:17; Daniel 7:10, etc.). The prayer is granted. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. As the earthly force, which had alarmed Elisha's servant, was a force mainly of horses and chariots, so the heavenly force revealed to his eyes was made to bear the same appearance. But the heavenly chariots and horses were "of fire" - glowed, i.e. with a strange unearthly brightness (see the comment on 2 Kings 2:11). The king of the Syrians was enraged at this, and said to his servants, "Do ye not show me who of our men (leans) to the king of Israel?" i.e., takes his part. משּׁלּנוּ equals לנוּ מאשׁר, probably according to an Aramaean dialect: see Ewald, 181, b., though he pronounces the reading incorrect, and would read מכּלּנוּ, but without any ground and quite unsuitably, as the king would thereby reckon himself among the traitors.
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