2 Kings 9:17
And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
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(17) And there stood a watchman.—Literally, and the watchman was standing. The tower was attached to the palace, and the latter was, perhaps, near the eastern wall of the town.

The company of Jehu.—The word (shiph‘āh) literally means overflow, and so a multitude of waters (Job 22:11), of camels (Isaiah 60:6), of horses (Ezekiel 26:10). Jehu was accompanied, therefore, by a considerable force.

Joram said.—Not to the watchman, but to one of his courtiers. The narrative is very concise.

Is it peace?—This hardly represents the force of the original. Joram is not yet apprehensive. His question merely means, “What is the news?” He expects news from the army at Ramoth. Thenius, however, explains “Come ye with friendly or hostile intention?” In that case, would the king have sent a single horseman to ascertain the truth?

2 Kings 9:17-18. There stood a watchmen on the tower — For watchmen were set on high places in time of peace as well as war wherever the king was, that he might not be surprised. Let him say, Is it peace? — Inquire who it is that comes, and if he comes on peaceable terms. For he feared lest either the Syrians had prevailed at Ramoth-gilead, or some sedition or rebellion was raised against him, which the example of Libnah, and his own guilty conscience, made him fear. Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? — It is not to thee, but to him that sent thee, that I will give answer. Turn thee behind me — Join thyself to my followers, if thou wishest for safety. This order he did not dare to disobey, seeing such a company of soldiers with Jehu.9:16-29 Jehu was a man of eager spirit. The wisdom of God is seen in the choice of those employed in his work. But it is not for any man's reputation to be known by his fury. He that has rule over his own spirit, is better than the mighty. Joram met Jehu in the portion of Naboth. The circumstances of events are sometimes ordered by Divine Providence to make the punishment answer to the sin, as face answers to face in a glass. The way of sin can never be the way of peace, Isa 57:21. What peace can sinners have with God? No peace so long as sin is persisted in; but when it is repented of and forsaken, there is peace. Joram died as a criminal, under the sentence of the law. Ahaziah was joined with the house of Ahab. He was one of them; he had made himself so by sin. It is dangerous to join evil-doers; we shall be entangled in guilt and misery by it.Had kept - Rather, "was keeping watch." The city had been taken: but the war continuing, and there being a danger of the Syrians recovering it, Joram and all Israel (i. e., the whole military force) were guarding the recent conquest, while Hazael threatened it. 17-24. there stood a watchman on the tower of Jezreel—The Hebrew palaces, besides being situated on hills had usually towers attached to them, not only for the pleasure of a fine prospect, but as posts of useful observation. The ancient watchtower of Jezreel must have commanded a view of the whole region eastward, nearly down to the Jordan. Beth-shan stands on a rising ground about six or seven miles below it, in a narrow part of the plain; and when Jehu and his retinue reached that point between Gilboa and Beth-shan, they could be fully descried by the watchman on the tower. A report was made to Joram in his palace below. A messenger on horseback was quickly despatched down into the plain to meet the ambiguous host and to question the object of their approach. "Is it peace?" We may safely assume that this messenger would meet Jehu at the distance of three miles or more. On the report made of his being detained and turned into the rear of the still advancing troops, a second messenger was in like manner despatched, who would naturally meet Jehu at the distance of a mile or a mile and a half down on the plain. He also being turned into the rear, the watchman now distinctly perceived "the driving to be like the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously." The alarmed monarch, awakened to a sense of his impending danger, quickly summoned his forces to meet the crisis. Accompanied by Ahaziah, king of Judah, the two sovereigns ascended their chariots to make a feeble resistance to the impetuous onset of Jehu, who quickly from the plain ascended the steep northern sides of the site on which Jezreel stood, and the conflicting parties met "in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite," where Joram was quickly despatched by an arrow from the strong arm of Jehu. We were impressed with the obvious accuracy of the sacred historian; the localities and distances being such as seem naturally to be required by the incidents related, affording just time for the transactions to have occurred in the order in which they are recorded [Howe]. Inquire who it is comes, and if he come upon peaceable terms. For he feared, lest either the Syrians had prevailed there, or some sedition or rebellion was raised against him; which the example of Libnah, and his own guilty conscience, made him fear. And there stood a watchman on the tower of Jezreel,.... Who could see afar off when an enemy was coming, and his business was to give notice of it; and especially he was now on his watch tower, because the king was there, and this was necessary for his safety:

and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company; a troop of soldiers, though he did not know who they were, and to whom they belonged, whether they were Syrians or Israelites; which was reported to the king:

and Joram said, take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, is it peace? he might fear some ill had befallen his army at Ramothgilead, and the Syrians had got the advantage of them; or they had made an irruption into his country, and were coming to attack him at Jezreel; or there was an insurrection among his own people.

And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
17. And there stood a watchman] R.V. Now the watchman stood. While such danger was threatening one part of the land, and the army was in the field, the watchman would be kept permanently on the lookout for any messenger that might be seen coming. The tower was probably some lofty part of the royal palace, for the news seems easily to have been conveyed to the king.

Is it peace?] There would be much anxiety in the king’s mind, though he would not expect what was coming. He might suppose that the army in Ramoth had been defeated, and that the hasty messenger was coming to announce that Ramoth was again in the hand of Syria. So the ‘Is all well?’ of the margin of R.V. gives an excellent sense, and is the rendering of the same phrase in verse 11, though it does not admit of the reply which Jehu gives in the next verse.Verse 17. - And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel; literally, and the watchman stood on the tower in Jezreel. The watchtower on the southeast, towards Ramoth-Gilead, is intended. There were probably others in other directions; but the writer is not concerned with them. Each watchtower had its one watchman, who gave warning if anything unusual caught his attention. And he spied the company of Jehu as he came. Shiph'ah is generally "abundance," "multitude" (Deuteronomy 33:19; Job 22:11; Isaiah 60:6), but seems here to designate a "baud ' or "company" of moderate size. It is a somewhat rare word. And said, I see a company. The watchman gave notice to those whose business it was to inform the king, that a band or company of men was approaching the city. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace? Joram apprehended no danger. If the "company" had been a band of Syrians, or other enemies, coming in hostile fashion, the watchman would have worded his warning differently. The king probably concluded that he was about to receive tidings from the seat of war, and meant to ask, "Is the news good or bad - peaceful or the contrary?" No blame attaches to him for not taking alarm at once. Jehu's Conspiracy against Joram. - 2 Kings 9:11. When Jehu came out again to his comrades in arms, after the departure of the pupil of the prophets, they inquired השׁלום, i.e., "is it all well? why did this madman come to thee?" not because they were afraid that he might have done him some injury (Ewald), or that he might have brought some evil tidings (Thenius), but simply because they conjectured that he had brought some important news. They called the prophet משׁגּע, a madman, in derision, with reference to the ecstatic utterances of the prophets when in a state of holy inspiration. Jehu answered evasively, "Ye know the man and his muttering," i.e., ye know that he is mad and says nothing rational. שׂיה includes both meditating and speaking.
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