2 Kings 6:32
But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See you how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? look, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) But Elisha sat . . . with him.—Rather, Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. This shows the important position which the prophet occupied at the time. The elders, who were the nobles and chiefs of Samaria, were gathered round him in his house to learn the will of Jehovah, and to receive comfort and counsel from his lips. (Comp. the way in which Zedekiah and his princes consulted Jeremiah during the last siege of Jerusalem—Jeremiah 21:1-2; Jeremiah 38:14, seq.)

And the king sent a man.—To behead the prophet, according to his oath.

From before him.—Comp. 2Kings 5:16; 2Kings 3:14; 1Kings 10:8. One of the royal attendants—probably a soldier of the guard—is meant.

But ere.—“But” is wanting in the Hebrew. (The conjunction has, perhaps, fallen out after the preceding w.)

He said to the elders.—Elisha foreknew what was about to happen. (Comp. 2Kings 5:26.) The he is emphatic: “He (the prophet) said.”

This son of a murderer.—Referring to Ahab’s murder of Naboth (1Kings 21:19) and the prophets of Jehovah; as if to say, “The son takes after his father” (filius patrissat). At the same time, we must not forget the idiom by which a man is called a son of any quality or disposition which he evinces. (Comp. “son of Belial,” “sons of pride,” “sons of wickedness;” 2Samuel 7:10; Job 41:34).

Hold him fast at the door.—Literally, press him back with the door. The door opened inwards, and the prophet bade his friends the elders hold the door against the messenger of death.

Is not the sound . . . behind him?—Elisha’s reason for bidding the elders hold the door. He foresaw that Jehoram would hasten in person after his messenger, to see that his savage order was carried out. (Bähr and Keil think, with Josephus, that Jehoram repented, and hurried off to restrain the sword of his minister.)

2 Kings 6:32. Elisha sat in his house — In the house where he lodged; for it is probable he had no house of his own, having forsaken all to follow Elijah. And the elders sat with him — Either the sons of the prophets, or rather some good and godly men, such as are frequently termed elders in the prophecy of Ezekiel, who bore some office either in the court, army, or city, as seems probable from the prophet’s desiring their help and protection. For though Jehoram was a wicked man, and most of his officers, probably, as wicked as himself; yet, as Poole justly observes, we cannot doubt but there were some among them whom his holy life, powerful ministry, and glorious miracles, with the great benefits procured by him for the public, had won to God and the true religion; at least to the profession of it, among whom Jehu might be one; and these were here sitting with him, either to receive counsel and comfort from him in this distressing time, or to solicit him to use his power with God for their relief; which he accordingly did, and pronounced the joyful news which follows in the beginning of the next chapter. The king sent a man before him — One of his guard, or some other officer, to take away his head, as it follows. But ere the messenger came, he said, &c. — Being admonished by God of his danger. See how this son of a murderer — The genuine son of that wicked Ahab, the murderer of the Lord’s prophets. This expression may seem very harsh and unfit, nor is it to be drawn into imitation by others: but it must be considered that he was an extraordinary prophet, intrusted with a power in some sort superior to that of Jehoram, and had authority to control and rebuke him in the name of the King of kings. Shut the door, and hold him — That he may not break in upon me, and take away my life, before the king comes. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him? — You shall not need to hold him long, for the king is just at his heels. It is probable he was coming, either to recall his rash order, or, at least, to debate the matter with the prophet, and obtain relief.6:24-33 Learn to value plenty, and to be thankful for it; see how contemptible money is, when in time of famine it is so freely parted with for any thing that is eatable! The language of Jehoram to the woman may be the language of despair. See the word of God fulfilled; among the threatenings of God's judgments upon Israel for their sins, this was one, that they should eat the flesh of their own children, De 28:53-57. The truth and the awful justice of God were displayed in this horrible transaction. Alas! what miseries sin has brought upon the world! But the foolishness of man perverts his way, and then his heart frets against the Lord. The king swears the death of Elisha. Wicked men will blame any one as the cause of their troubles, rather than themselves, and will not leave their sins. If rending the clothes, without a broken and contrite heart, would avail, if wearing sackcloth, without being renewed in the spirit of their mind, would serve, they would not stand out against the Lord. May the whole word of God increase in us reverent fear and holy hope, that we may be stedfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.But Elisha sat ... - Translate, "And Elisha was sitting in his house, and all the elders were sitting with him, when the king sent, etc."

The "elders," - either "the elders of the city" or "the elders of the land," - who may have been in session at Samaria now, as they had been at the time of a former siege 1 Kings 20:7 - had gone to Elisha for his advice or assistance. Their imminent peril drove them to acknowledge the power of Yahweh, and to consult with His prophet.

This son of a murderer - i. e. of Ahab, the murderer, not only of Naboth, but also of all the prophets of the Lord (marginal reference), whom be allowed Jezebel to slay.

Hold him fast at the door - The elders, public officials, not private friends of Elisha, could not have been expected to resist the entrance of the executioner at the mere request of the prophet. He therefore assigns a reason for his request - "the king is coming in person, either to confirm or revoke his order - will they detain the headsman until his arrival?"

32. But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him—The latter clause of 2Ki 6:33, which contains the king's impatient exclamation, enables us to account for the impetuous order he issued for the beheading of Elisha. Though Jehoram was a wicked king and most of his courtiers would resemble their master, many had been won over, through the prophet's influence, to the true religion. A meeting, probably a prayer-meeting, of those was held in the house where he lodged, for he had none of his own (1Ki 19:20, 21); and them he not only apprised of the king's design against himself, but disclosed to them the proof of a premeditated deliverance. In his house; in the house where he lodged; for he had no house of his own, having forsaken all when he followed Elijah, 1 Kings 19:20,21.

The elders; so they might be called, either, first, from their age; or rather, secondly, from their office, which was either ecclesiastical or civil: so they were either the sons of the prophets; or rather, some godly men who were then in some power and office, either in the court, or army, or city, as may seem probable from what he requires of them. And though Jehoram was a wicked king, and most of his officers probably like himself; yet there were some of them, whom Elisha’s holy life, and powerful ministry, and glorious miracles, and the great and public benefits procured by him, had won to God, and to the true religion, at least to the profession of it, among which Jehu might be one: and these were here sitting with him, either to receive comfort and counsel from him in this distressed time, or rather to solicit him to use his power with God for their relief; which accordingly he doth, and in compliance with them, not out of any fear of the king, (from which he very well knew by frequent experience, and certain assurance, that God both could and would deliver him,) he gives the following answer, 2 Kings 7:1.

A man from before him, or, one of them who stood before his face, one of his guard, or some other officer, to take away his head, as it follows.

He said to the elders; being admonished by God of his danger.

This son of a murderer; the genuine son of that wicked Ahab the murderer of the Lord’s prophets, 1 Kings 18:4 21:9; whose son he is not by birth only, but also by his manners and bloody disposition. Compare John 8:44. This expression may seem very harsh and unfit; nor is it to be drawn into imitation by others; but it must be considered that he was an extraordinary prophet, intrusted with a power in some sort superior to that of Jehoram, and had authority to control and rebuke him in the name of the King of kings.

To take away mine head; to kill me, before he hear what I have to say.

Hold him fast; not the king, but the messenger, who was last mentioned; that he may not break in upon me, and take away my life, before the king comes.

Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him? you shall not need to hold him long, for the king is just at his heels, coming, as is probable, either to recall his rash and furious sentence, or at least to debate the matter with the prophet, and to procure relief. And Elisha sat in his house,.... In Samaria:

and the elders sat with him; not the elders of the city, or the magistrates thereof, but his disciples, as Josephus says (p), the eldest of them, whom he admitted to greater familiarity and converse with him:

and the king sent a man from before him; to execute what he had sworn should be done that day to the prophet:

but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, see ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? which he knew by a spirit of prophecy, and spoke of it before the executioner came; he calls Joram the son of a murderer, because of his mother Jezebel, who killed Naboth, and the prophets of the Lord, and to which his father Ahab also consented, and therefore might be so called too; and he intimates hereby that he was of the same temper and disposition, and as the above oath, and his orders, showed:

look when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door; and not suffer him to come in:

is not the sound of his master's feet behind him? that is, of Joram king of Israel, who followed the messenger, either to listen and hear what the prophet would say unto him; or repenting of his order, as Josephus (q) thinks, he followed him to prevent the execution.

(p) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 9. c. 4. sect. 4.) (q) Ibid.

But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a {q} murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?

(q) Meaning, Jehoram Ahab's son, who killed the prophets and caused Naboth to be stoned.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Chs. 2 Kings 6:32 to 2 Kings 7:2. A messenger is sent to put Elisha to death. Elisha foretells a sudden plenty in Samaria (Not in Chronicles)

32. But Elisha sat in his house] His counsels had been productive of little result, but he is less disturbed than others, having a ground for his trust which they had not found.

and the elders sat with him] These must be understood to be the chief men of the city, who had come for his advice, having no other helper to flee unto.

and the king sent a man] One of those who were in waiting to obey his orders and who had heard his threat against Elisha.

he said to the elders] i.e. Elisha, divinely forwarned of the impending danger, explains to his companions what the king’s design against him was.

this son of a murderer] ‘Still is Naboth’s blood laid in Jehoram’s dish’ (Bp Hall). The prophet speaks as though the messenger were already in sight, so vivid is his own spiritual consciousness of what the king has set afoot.

hold him fast at the door] R.V. hold the door fast against him. The literal rendering is given on the margin of R.V., ‘Thrust him back with the door’. The doors in Oriental houses mostly opened outwards, so that if pushed from within they would come against any one that stood on the outside, and drive him backwards. Beside knowing of the king’s threat, Elisha seems to have been aware that he had almost immediately changed his purpose, and was hurrying after the messenger to prevent his order from being executed. Hence he explains to the elders that the king’s footsteps are to be heard close upon those of his servant. When they supposed, as they would from the fulfilment of the first part of his words, that Elisha knew exactly what was coming, they would be ready, although they were Jehoram’s servants, to stop the messenger so long as to see whether the king did really arrive. That the king did come we learn from 2 Kings 7:17.Verse 32. - But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him. It is best to translate, Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him, when the king sent a man from before him. Elisha had a house in Samaria, where he ordinarily resided, and from which he made his circuits. He happened to be sitting there, and the elders of the city to be sitting with him, when Jehoram sent "a man from before him," i.e. one of the court officials, to put him to death. The "elders" had probably assembled at Elisha's house to consult with him on the critical situation of affairs, and (if possible) obtain from him some miraculous assistance. But ere the messenger came to him; he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head; Elisha was supernaturally warned of what was about to take place - that an executioner was coming almost immediately to take away his life, and that the king himself would arrive shortly after. He calls the king "this son of a murderer," or rather "this son of the murderer," with reference to Ahab, the great murderer of the time, who had sanctioned all Jezebel's cruelties-the general massacre of the prophets of Jehovah (1 Kings 18:13), the judicial murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21:9-13), the attempt to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:2) - and had, by a fierce and long continued persecution, reduced the worshippers of Jehovah in Israel to the scanty number of seven thousand (1 Kings 19:18). Jehoram had now shown that he inherited the bloodthirsty disposition of his father, and had justly earned the epithet which Elisha bestowed on him. Look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door. Keil renders the last clause, "force him back at the door;" the LXX. "press upon him in the doorway" - παραθλίψατε αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ θύρᾳ ( τηεψ were not to allow him to enter the apartment. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him? Elisha adds this as a reason why the elders should stop the messenger. He could not in a general way have expected them to resist the king's will as declared by his representative; but he might reasonably ask a short respite, if the king was just about to arrive at the house, to confirm the order that he had given, or to revoke it. As the king was passing by upon the wall to conduct the defence, a woman cried to him for help; whereupon he replied: אל־יושׁעך יי, "should Jehovah not help thee, whence shall I help thee? from the threshing-floor or from the wine-press?" It is difficult to explain the אל which Ewald (355, b.) supposes to stand for אם לא. Thenius gives a simpler explanation, namely, that it is a subjective negation and the sentence hypothetical, so that the condition would be only expressed by the close connection of the two clauses (according to Ewald, 357). "From the threshing-floor or from the wine-press?" i.e., I can neither help thee with corn nor with wine, cannot procure thee either food or drink. He then asked her what her trouble was; upon which she related to him the horrible account of the slaying of her own child to appease her hunger, etc.
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