2 Kings 8:13
And Hazael said, But what, is your servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD has showed me that you shall be king over Syria.
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(13) But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?—Rather, (Thou canst not mean it;) for what is the dog thy servant that he should do, &c. Hazael answers in a tone of pretended amazement and self-depreciation. The exaggerated humility of his language betrays the hypocrite.

The Lord hath shewed me.—Comp. 1Kings 19:15, where this same fact was revealed to Elijah. Literally, Jehovah hath made me see thee king. How Hazael took this announcement we are not told. Bähr says, “Startled by the revelation of his secret plans, Hazael turned away without answering the earnest words of the prophet.”

2 Kings 8:13. Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog? &c. — The expression is used in Scripture to signify vile and unworthy, as in 2 Samuel 3:8; 2 Samuel 9:8; and fierce, barbarous, and inhuman, Psalm 22:16; Psalm 22:20; Psalm 59:6. That he should do this great thing — So he terms it, as being, 1st, A thing that supposed great power, and not to be done but by a crowned head: as if he had said, It must be some mighty potentate that must prevail thus against Israel, and therefore not I. Accordingly, the Hebrew may be rendered, What! thy servant, a dog! that he should do this great thing! 2d, An act of great barbarity, which could not be done but by a person lost to all honour and virtue. This is the sense in which Hazael’s words have been generally understood; and it seems evidently the true sense. He felt, at this time, no inclination to be so barbarous and cruel as the foregoing words of Elisha implied, and he wondered that the prophet should suppose him capable of ever acting in such a manner. Is thy servant a dog, to rend, and tear, and devour? Unless I were a dog I could not do it. He was evidently startled at the mention of the cruelties which the prophet foretold he should perpetrate, and thought it impossible he should ever be guilty of them. Thus we are very apt to think ourselves sufficiently secure against the commission of those sins which yet we are afterward overcome by, and practise. The Lord hath showed me that thou shalt be king over Syria — And then, when thou shalt have the power, thou wilt have the will to commit these enormities and barbarities, and actually wilt commit them. Those who are little and low in the world, cannot imagine how strong the temptations of power and prosperity are, to which if they ever arrive, they will find how deceitful their hearts were, and how much more corrupt than they suspected.8:7-15 Among other changes of men's minds by affliction, it often gives other thoughts of God's ministers, and teaches to value the counsels and prayers of those whom they have hated and despised. It was not in Hazael's countenance that Elisha read what he would do, but God revealed it to him, and it fetched tears from his eyes: the more foresight men have, the more grief they are liable to. It is possible for a man, under the convictions and restraints of natural conscience, to express great abhorrence of a sin, yet afterwards to be reconciled to it. Those that are little and low in the world, cannot imagine how strong the temptations of power and prosperity are, which, if ever they arrive at, they will find how deceitful their hearts are, how much worse than they suspected. The devil ruins men, by saying they shall certainly recover and do well, so rocking them asleep in security. Hazael's false account was an injury to the king, who lost the benefit of the prophet's warning to prepare for death, and an injury to Elisha, who would be counted a false prophet. It is not certain that Hazael murdered his master, or if he caused his death it may have been without any design. But he was a dissembler, and afterwards proved a persecutor to Israel.But what, is thy servant a dog? - This is a mistranslation, and conveys to the English reader a sense quite different from that of the original. Hazael's speech runs thus - "But what is thy servant, this dog, that he should do this great thing?" He does not shrink from Elisha's words, or mean to say that he would be a dog, could he act so cruelly as Elisha predicts he will. On the contrary, Elisha's prediction has raised his hopes, and his only doubt is whether so much good fortune ("this great thing") can be in store for one so mean. "Dog" here, as generally (though not always) in Scripture, has the sense of "mean," "low," "contemptible." 11. he settled his countenance stedfastly until he was ashamed—that is, Hazael. The steadfast, penetrating look of the prophet seemed to have convinced Hazael that his secret designs were known. The deep emotions of Elisha were justified by the horrible atrocities which, too common in ancient warfare, that successful usurper committed in Israel (2Ki 10:32; 13:3, 4, 22). Is thy servant a dog? either so vile and unworthy, as this expression is used, 2 Samuel 3:8 9:8; or so impudent, for which dogs are noted; or so fierce, and barbarous, and inhuman. Compare Psalm 22:16,20 59:6.

Thou shalt be king over Syria; and then thou shalt have power in thy hand, thou wilt discover that bloody disposition, and that hatred against God’s people, which now lies hid from others, and possibly from thyself; and therefore with the kingdom thou wilt inherit their cruel dispositions. And Hazael said, but what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?.... What dost thou take me to be, a vile, impudent, fierce, and cruel creature, as a dog, to be guilty of so great inhumanity and barbarity as this? or what is thy servant? a dog, a mean abject creature, of no power and authority, incapable of doing such great things spoken of? to which sense not only what is predicted of him, said to be great, inclines, but what follows:

and Elisha answered, the Lord hath showed me that thou shall be king over Syria; and that thou shalt have power enough to do this; this declaration, according to Ben Gersom, was the anointing of him, predicted 1 Kings 19:15.

And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant {g} a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.

(g) That I should be without all humanity and pity.

13. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?] R.V. And Hazael said, But what is thy servant, which is but a dog, that he should do this great thing? Hazael has felt the keenness of the prophet’s glance, and finds that his thoughts are known, and his inmost designs laid bare. But still he keeps up a semblance of humility and calls himself a dog, a title of greatest contempt in the eyes of Orientals. Cf. for this use of the word 1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Samuel 16:9.Verse 13. - And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? This rendering is generally allowed to Be incorrect. The true sense, which is well represented in the Septuagint (Τίς ἐστιν ὁ δοῦλός σου ὁ κύων ὁ τεθνηκὼς οτι ποιήσει τὸ ῤῆμα τοῦτο;), is - "But what is thy servant, this dog, that he should do so great a thing?" Hazael does not accuse Elisha of making him out a dog in the future, but calls himself a dog in the present. "Dog" is a word of extreme contempt - "the most contemptuous epithet of abuse" (Winer), as appears, among other places, from 1 Samuel 24:14 and 2 Samuel 16:9. Hazael means to say - How is it possible that he, occupying, as he does, so poor and humble a position as that of a mere courtier or domestic (οἰκετής, Josephus), should ever wage war with Israel, and do the "great things" which Elisha has predicted of him? And Elisha answered, The Lord hath showed me that thou shalt be king over Syria. Elisha explains how it would be possible. Hazael would not continue in his poor and humble condition. Jehovah has revealed it to him that the mere courtier will shortly mount the Syrian throne. Elisha Predicts to Hazael at Damascus the Possession of the Throne. - 2 Kings 8:7. Elisha then came to Damascus at the instigation of the Spirit of God, to carry out the commission which Elijah had received at Horeb with regard to Hazael (1 Kings 19:15). Benhadad king of Syria was sick at that time, and when Elisha's arrival was announced to him, sent Hazael with a considerable present to the man of God, to inquire of Jehovah through him concerning his illness. The form of the name חזהאל (here and 2 Kings 8:15) is etymologically correct; but afterwards it is always written without .ה דם וכל־טוּב ("and that all kinds of good of Damascus") follows with a more precise description of the minchah - "a burden of forty camels." The present consisted of produce or wares of the rich commercial city of Damascus, and was no doubt very considerable; at the same time, it was not so large that forty camels were required to carry it. The affair must be judged according to the Oriental custom, of making a grand display with the sending of presents, and employing as many men or beasts of burden as possible to carry them, every one carrying only a single article (cf. Harmar, Beobb. ii. p. 29, iii. p. 43, and Rosenmller, A. u. N. Morgenl. iii. p. 17).
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