Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus said the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What have you to do with peace? turn you behind me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then.—Literally, And he sent a second rider of a horse.
Is it peace?—So the versions, many editions, and some MSS. The ordinary Hebrew text gives it as a salutation: “Peace!” but wrongly. Joram is still unsuspicious of evil. Some accident might have detained his first messenger.Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 19. - Then he sent out a second on horseback. Persistency in a course shown by experience to be futile was characteristic of the sons of Ahab and Jezebel (compare the conduct of Ahaziah, as described in 2 Kings 1:9, 11, 13). Which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? Exactly the same inquiry as before, and no doubt in the same sense (see the comment on ver. 17). Jehu, addressed with the same words thinks it sufficient to give the same answer. His object is to lose no time, but to reach the king as quickly as possible. And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. 1 Kings 11:29), they spread out in the place of carpets upon the steps, which served as a throne, to do homage to Jehu. For these signs of homage compare Matthew 21:7 and Wetstein, N. Test. ad h. l. The difficult words המּעלות אל־גּרם, as to the meaning of which the early translators have done nothing but guess, can hardly be rendered in any other way than that proposed by Kimchi (lib. rad.), super ipsosmet gradus, upon the steps themselves equals upon the bare steps; גּרם being taken according to Chaldee usage like the Hebrew עצם in the sense of substantia rei, whereas the rendering given by Lud. de Dieu, after the Arabic jarm, sectio - super aliquem e gradibus, is without analogy in Hebrew usage (vid., L. de Dieu ad h. l., and Ges. Thes. p. 303).
(Note: The objection raised by Thenius, that it is only in combination with personal pronouns that the Chaldaic גרם signifies self either in the Chaldee or Samaritan versions, is proved to be unfounded by לגרם in Job 1:3 (Targ.). Still less can the actual circumstances be adduced as an objection, since there is no evidence to support the assertion that there was no staircase in front of the house. The perfectly un-Hebraic conjecture המּעלות אל־גּרם, "as a figure (or representation) of the necessary ascent" (Thenius), has not the smallest support in the Vulgate rendering, ad similitudinem tribunalis.)
The meaning is, that without looking for a suitable place on which to erect a throne, they laid their clothes upon the bare steps, or the staircase of the house in which they were assembled, and set him thereon to proclaim him king.
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