But as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But.—Heb., and it came to pass, the one was felling the beam. Not necessarily “the one” of 2Kings 6:3, but the one (whoever it was) to whom the mishap occurred, as presently related.
The ax head fell.—Heb., and as for the iron, it fell. The subject of the verb is made prominent by being put first in the accusative. It is thus implied that something happened to the iron. Perhaps, however, it is better to consider that the particle, which usually marks the object of the verb, in cases like the present has its etymological meaning of “something” (’eth being regarded as equivalent to yath, and so to yēsh). (See Winer, Chaldäische Grammatik, ed. Fischer.)
Master!—My lord, Elisha. He instinctively appeals to Elisha for help.
For it was borrowed.—Heb., and that one was borrowed. Vulg., “et hoc ipsum mutuo acceperam.”2 Kings 6:5. The axe-head fell — The iron fell from the wood. Alas, master, for it was borrowed! — He was the more concerned, both because he was now compelled to be idle and useless to them in the common work, and because it was his friend’s loss, who was now likely to suffer for his kindness in lending him the axe; for though justice obliged him to restore it, his poverty rendered him unable.Deuteronomy 19:5). They probably acquired a knowledge of the smelting process in Egypt, where iron was employed at least from the time of the third Rameses. The ax head fell into the water; the iron fell from the wood.
Alas, master! for it was borrowed: he was the more concerned, partly because he was now forced to be idle and useless to them in the common work; and partly because it was his friend’s loss, who now was likely to suffer for his kindness; and as justice obliged him to restore it, so his poverty disenabled him from it.
the axe head fell into the water: into the waters of Jordan; or "the iron" (d), the iron part of it, with which the wood was cut; that flew off from the helve into the water:
and he cried, and said, alas, master! for it was borrowed: it grieved him to lose his axe, because he could do no more work, and the more because it was not his own, but he had borrowed it of his neighbour; and still more, because, as it seems, he was poor, and not able to pay for it, which, being of an honest disposition, gave him distress.But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. a beam] The Hebrew noun has the article, the force of which may be ‘his beam’, that one to which he was specially devoting himself.
the axe head] Literally ‘the iron’. The word is the same as in verse 6. But the iron part of the hatchet is the head.
it was borrowed] When the whole society were to turn wood-cutters, it was not likely that axes would be in readiness for every one. This man had borrowed his, and was, as a good man would be, more troubled about its loss than if it had been his own.Verse 5. - But as one was felling a beam - i.e. a tree, to make it into a beam - the axe-head; literally, the iron. We see from Deuteronomy 19:5 that the Hebrews made their axe-heads of iron as early as the time of Moses. They probably learnt to smelt and work iron in Egypt. Fell into the water. The tree must have been one that grew close to the river's edge. As the man hewed away at the stem a little above the root, the axe-head flew from the haft, into which it was insecurely fitted, and fell into the water. The slipping of an axe-head was a very common occurrence (Deuteronomy 19:5), and ordinarily was of little consequence, since it was easily restored to its place. But now the head had disappeared. And he cried, and said, Alas, master! - rather, Alas, my master! or, Alas, my lord! - for it was borrowed; rather, and it was a borrowed one. The words are part of the man's address to Elisha. He means to say, "It is no common misfortune; it is not as if it had been my own axe. I had borrowed it, and now what shall I say to the owner?" There is no direct request for help, but the tone of the complaint constitutes a sort of silent appeal.
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