2 Kings 6:2
Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.
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(2) Take thence every man a beam.—The Jordan valley was well wooded. Its present bed is still “overarched by oleanders, acacias, thorns, and similar shrubbery.” If all were to take part in felling the trees, the work would soon be done.

Where we may dwell.—Literally, to sit (or, dwell) there. The reference seems still to be to sitting in the hall of instruction.

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.Take every man a beam - Trees were rare in most parts of Palestine, but plentiful in the Jordan Valley. Jericho was known in early times as "the city of palms" Deuteronomy 34:3; Judges 1:16. 2. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan—whose wooded banks would furnish plenty of timber. Unto Jordan, i.e. to the woods near Jordan, which were near to them. See Poole "2 Kings 6:1".

A beam, i.e. 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, such as prayer, and praising of God, and the studying of God’s word, and instructing of others, and waiting for Divine revelations; yet they did sometimes employ themselves about manual arts; which now they might be forced to, through the iniquity of the times.

Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan,.... Which, according to Josephus (a), was fifty furlongs, or upwards of six miles, distant from Gilgal:

and take thence every man a beam; by cutting down the trees that grew there; for Mr. Maundrell says (b), the banks of Jordan are beset with bushes and trees, which are an harbour for wild beasts; and another traveller (c) observes, that it is shadowed on both sides with poplars, alders, &c. and who speaks of their cutting down boughs from the trees when there:

and let us make us a place there where we may dwell: near the banks of Jordan, which they might choose for the seclusion and pleasantness of the situation, or because Elijah was taken up to heaven near it, as Abarbinel thinks; from whence it appears that these scholars were far from living an idle life; for they were not only trained up in useful learning, but were employed in trades and manufactures, to which they had been brought up, and knew how to fell timber, and build houses:

and he answered, go ye; he gave them leave, without which they did not choose to do anything.

(a) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 4. (b) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 82, 83. (c) Sandys's Travels, l. 3. p. 110.

Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a {a} beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.

(a) Or a piece of wood fit to build with.

2. take thence every man a beam] The Jordan valley was well timbered. We see from this, as from previous passages, that these men did for themselves such work as they required. Here they are ready to be their own carpenters. Naturally such a body would neither wish for, nor be able to erect, anything but a building of the simplest sort.

make us a place there] They propose to provide entirely new quarters in a new spot in the valley of the Jordan.

Verse 2. - Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan. Jericho was situated at some little distance from the Jordan, on the banks of a small stream, which ran into it. Along the course of the Jordan trees and shrubs were abundant, chiefly willows, poplars, and tamarisks (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 4:08. § 3; Strabo, 16:2. § 41). It would seem that the Jordan thickets were unappropriated, and that any one might cut timber in them. And take thence every man a beam. The meaning is, "Let us all join in the work, each cutting beams and carrying them; and the work will soon be accomplished." And let us make us a place there. They propose to build the new dwelling on the banks of Jordan, to save the trouble of conveying the materials any long distance. Where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. Elisha, i.e., approved the proposal, gave it his sanction and encouragement. 2 Kings 6:2Elisha Causes an Iron Axe to Float. - The following account gives us an insight into the straitened life of the pupils of the prophets. 2 Kings 6:1-4. As the common dwelling-place had become too small for them, they resolved, with Elisha's consent, to build a new house, and went, accompanied by the prophet, to the woody bank of the Jordan to fell the wood that was required for the building. The place where the common abode had become too small is not given, but most of the commentators suppose it to have been Gilgal, chiefly from the erroneous assumption that the Gilgal mentioned in 2 Kings 2:1 was in the Jordan valley to the east of Jericho. Thenius only cites in support of this the reference in לפניך ישׁבים (dwell with thee) to 2 Kings 4:38; but this decides nothing, as the pupils of the prophets sat before Elisha, or gathered together around their master in a common home, not merely in Gilgal, but also in Bethel and Jericho. We might rather think of Jericho, since Bethel and Gilgal (Jiljilia) were so far distant from the Jordan, that there is very little probability that a removal of the meeting-place to the Jordan, such as is indicated by מקום שׁם נעשׂה־לּנוּ, would ever have been thought of from either of these localities.
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