2 Kings 7:12
And the king arose in the night, and said to his servants, I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) I will now shew you.—“Suspicax est miseria” (Grotius). Such stratagems as Jehoram suspected are, however, common enough in warfare.

To hide themselves in the field.—Both expressions in the Hebrew follow the later modes of inflection. Such forms may be due to transcribers rather than to the original writer.

2 Kings 7:12. The king said, I will show you what the Syrians have done — He was jealous of a stratagem, and feared the Syrians had only retreated to be in ambush, and draw out the besieged, that they might fall upon them to more advantage. He knew he had no reason to expect that God should appear thus wonderfully for him, having forfeited his favour by his unbelief and impatience. And he knew no reason the Syrians had to flee; for it does not appear that either he, or any of his attendants, or, indeed, any in Samaria, had heard the noise of the chariots, &c., which had affrighted the Syrians.7:12-20 Here see the wants of Israel supplied in a way they little thought of, which should encourage us to depend upon the power and goodness of God in our greatest straits. God's promise may be safely relied on, for no word of his shall fall to the ground. The nobleman that questioned the truth of Elisha's word, saw the plenty, to silence and shame his unbelief, and therein saw his own folly; but he did not eat of the plenty he saw. Justly do those find the world's promises fail them, who think that the promises of God will disappoint them. Learn how deeply God resents distrust of his power, providence, and promise: how uncertain life is, and the enjoyments of it: how certain God's threatenings are, and how sure to come on the guilty. May God help us to inquire whether we are exposed to his threatenings, or interested in his promises.His servants - i. e., "high officers of the household," not mere domestics.

I will shew you what the Syrians have done - Jehoram sees in the deserted camp a stratagem like that connected with the taking of Ai Joshua 8:3-19. The suspicion was a very natural one, since the Israelites knew of no reason why the Syrians should have raised the siege.

12-15. the king … said unto his servants, I will now show you what the Syrians have done—Similar stratagems have been so often resorted to in the ancient and modern wars of the East that there is no wonder Jehoram's suspicions were awakened. But the scouts, whom he despatched, soon found unmistakable signs of the panic that had struck the enemy and led to a most precipitate flight. No text from Poole on this verse. And the king arose in the night,.... Upon the report made to him:

and he said unto his servants, I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us; taking it to be a stratagem of theirs to decoy them:

they know that we be hungry; and would be glad to come out of the city to get some food:

therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field; to make us believe that they have broke up the siege, and have deserted the camp, and are gone, when they only lie in ambush:

saying, when they come out of the city; which they supposed they would do through hunger:

we shall catch them alive; take them captive at once:

and get into the city; being open to let them out, and receive them on their return.

And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, {h} I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.

(h) He mistrusted the prophets words, and therefore could believe nothing, as they who are more prudent than godly always cast more doubt than is needed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12–16. The report of the Syrian flight found to be true. The consequent plenty in Samaria (Not in Chronicles)

12. the king arose in the night] The news was so important that though it was night-time, the messengers went with it to the king’s bedchamber, and he, though probably thinking the report much too good to be true, at once arose to take measures for investigating it.

what the Syrians have done to us] i.e. with the hope of entrapping us.Verse 12. - And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field. Jehoram, knowing of no reason for the flight of the Syrians, suspected a not uncommon stratagem. He supposed that the enemy had merely gone a little way from their camp, and placed themselves in ambush, ready to take ad- vantage of any rash movement which the Israelites might make. So Cyrus is said to have entrapped and slaughtered Spargapises, the son of Tomyris, together with a large detachment, in his last war against the Massagetae (Herod., 1:211). His supposition was not unreasonable. Saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city. A double advantage might be expected to follow - those who quitted the town to plunder the camp would be surrounded and made prisoners, while the town itself, left without defenders, would be captured. Compare the capture of Ai by Joshua (Joshua 8:3-19), when the chief part of the garrison had been enticed out of it. "Four men were before the gate as lepers," or at the gateway, separated from human society, according to the law in Leviticus 13:46; Numbers 5:3, probably in a building erected for the purpose (cf. 2 Kings 15:5), just as at the present day the lepers at Jerusalem have their huts by the side of the Zion gate (vid., Strauss, Sinai u. Golgatha, p. 205, and Tobler, Denkbltter aus Jerus. p. 411ff.). These men being on the point of starvation, resolved to invade the camp of the Syrians, and carried out this resolution בּנּשׁף, in the evening twilight, not the morning twilight (Seb. Schm., Cler., etc.), on account of 2 Kings 7:12, where the king is said to have received the news of the flight of the Syrians during the night. Coming to "the end of the Syrian camp," i.e., to the outskirts of it on the city side, they found no one there. For (2 Kings 7:6, 2 Kings 7:7) "the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots and horses, a noise of a great army," so that, believing the king of Israel to have hired the kings of the Hittites and Egyptians to fall upon them, they fled from the camp in the twilight אל־נפשׁם, with regard to their life, i.e., to save their life only, leaving behind them their tents, horses, and asses, and the camp as it was. - The miracle, by which God delivered Samaria from the famine or from surrendering to the foe, consisted in an oral delusion, namely, in the fact that the besiegers thought they heard the march of hostile armies from the north and south, and were seized with such panic terror that they fled in the greatest haste, leaving behind them their baggage, and their beasts of draught and burden. It is impossible to decide whether the noise which they heard had any objective reality, say a miraculous buzzing in the air, or whether it was merely a deception of the senses produced in their ears by God; and this is a matter of no importance, since in either case it was produced miraculously by God. The kings of the Hittites are kings of northern Canaan, upon Lebanon and towards Phoenicia; חתּים in the broader sense for Canaanites, as in 1 Kings 10:29. The plural, "kings of the Egyptians," is probably only occasioned by the parallel expression "kings of the Hittites," and is not to be pressed.
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