King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Kings 8

A famine in Israel, The Shunammite obtains her land. (1-6) Elisha consulted by Hazael, Death of Benhadad. (7-15) Jehoram’s wicked reign in Judah. (16-24) Ahaziah’s wicked reign in Judah. (25-29)

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A famine in Israel, The Shunammite obtains her land

1 Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.

2 And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.

3 And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.

4 And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.

5 And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.

6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

Elisha consulted by Hazael, Death of Benhadad

7 And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.

8 And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?

9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels’ burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?

10 And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.

11 And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept.

12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.

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

14 So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover.

15 And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.

Jehoram’s wicked reign in Judah

16 And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Je hoshaphat king of Judah began to reign.

17 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.

18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.

19 Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.

20 In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves.

21 So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.

22 Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.

23 And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

24 And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Ahaziah’s wicked reign in Judah

25 In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.

26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.

27 And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab.

28 And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramothgilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram.

29 And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Famine. God disposes of all things. C. — Famine, &c. are his executioners. D. — This dreadful visitation took place before the siege of Samaria, (Salien) and had even commenced when Eliseus raise the child to life; (C. iv. 38.) so that we might translate, “Eliseus had spoken,” &c. C.

Ver. 3. Lands, which others had seized. D.

Ver. 4. Giezi was not yet infected; (Salien. M.) or if he was, (H.) the king spoke to him at a distance, overcoming his natural repugnance, in order to know some particulars of the life of Eliseus. C. — This he would more readily do, if Giezi had brought the glad tidings of plenty. T. — Providence ordered that he should be present at this time, that he might bear witness to the woman. C.

Ver. 6. Restore.Restituere est possessorem facere fructusque reddere.“ Caius. — Some think that the lands had been confiscated to the king, as being abandoned; or his authority was requisite, at least, to make the present occupiers give them up.

Ver. 7. Damascus, the territory, (v. 8.) to announce the king’s death, and to anoint Hazael, as God had ordered Elias, 3 K. xix. 15. C. — Sick, at the ill success of his late expedition. Josephus. T.

Ver. 9. Camels. It does not appear that Eliseus rejected these presents. M. — Thy son. The kings of Israel and Juda styled the prophet father, and this title was given by Christians of antiquity to bishops and priests.

Ver. 10. Tell him: Thou shalt recover. By these words the prophet signified that the king’s disease was not mortal: and that he would recover, if no violence were used. Or he might only express himself in this manner, by way of giving Hazael to understand that he knew both what he would say and do; that he would indeed tell the king he should recover, but would be himself the instrument of his death. Ch. — The imperative is often used for the future tense. Gloss iii. 3. Jo. ii. 19. The present Heb. reads, “Thou shalt not live: for,” &c. which removes the difficulty. But the Chal. Sept. Syr. &c. agree with the Vulgate, (C.) as the Prot. version also does. “Thou mayst certainly recover, howbeit the Lord,” &c. H. — Lo, “not,” in the Heb. text, seems however preferable to the marginal reading, lu, “to him.” This mistake has been sometimes made elsewhere, and ought to be carefully examined. Kennicott 1 Par. xi. 20.

Ver. 11. Blush. This may be referred either to Hazael, who was astonished at the words and looks of the prophet, (H.) or to Eliseus. M. — Sept. Complut. “and Hazael stood before his face, and he displayed the presents before him, till he blushed, and the,” &c. Though this has the appearance of a gloss, it is perhaps more conformable to the Heb. and to an ancient Greek version. C. — Prot. “he settled his countenance steadfastly, until he was ashamed.”

Ver. 13. A dog. He speaks with indignation, as if he could not be so brutal; (T.) or he could not yet think that he should be king. C. — He afterwards proved as cruel as the prophet had signified. C. x. 32. Amos i. 3. C.

Ver. 15. Blanket. Heb. macber, a word which the Sept. retain. H. — It denotes a hairy coverlet, pillow, &c. Tiberius and Frederic II. met with the like fate. C. — Some think that Hazael was only guilty of imprudence; (M.) or that Benadad killed himself; as the Heb. might be rendered, if the sequel did not evince that his death was caused by Hazael’s malice. C. — He might pretend that the wet cloth would give Benadad refreshment. H. — But it would bring on present death, with most exquisite torture. T. — The names of both these kings were in great veneration among the Syrians, who paid them divine honours. Joseph. ix. 4. — Perhaps they might not know that the latter had been guilty of such a base murder. H.

Ver. 16. Fifth. Houbigant would read “third,” p. 100. See C. i. 17. H. — Josaphat. That is, Josaphat being yet alive, who some time before his death made his son Joram king; as David had done before by his son Solomon. Ch. — The words are omitted in some copies of the Sept. (D.) and are perhaps inserted from the end of the verse. H. — Prot. “Jehosaphat being then king,” in his 22d year. H. — Joram had been appointed viceroy in the sixteenth year of his father’s reign, and was now raised to sit on the throne with him. Thus the Scripture may be reconciled. C.

Ver. 18. Achab, Athalia. She led her husband into all wickedness. T. 2 Par. xxi.

Ver. 19. Light, or lamp, posterity and regal power, 3 K. xi. 36. H.

Ver. 20. King. The one under Josaphat was dependant, C. iii. 9. 3 K. xxii. 48. Thus the prediction of Jacob was verified, (Gen. xxvii. 40. C.) and Joram punished. H.

Ver. 21. Seira, or Idumea. Gen. xiv. 6. — Defeated. The Syriac and Arab. explain it in a contrary sense, as the Heb. may well signify, and the sequel seems to prove, as the Edomites became independent. Heb. “He rose…and attacked Edom that surrounded him, (with superior numbers) and the princes… and the people (of Israel) fled.” But the text will also bear the sense of the Vulg. which is conformable to 2 Par. xxi. 9, which does not say the people, &c. though these words may be understood of the Edomites. Joram could not derive such advantage from his victory, as to reduce the nation under his obedience. C.

Ver. 22. Day, when Jeremias, the author lived. Tostat. — Lobna, a frontier town bordering on Idumea. It was a strong place assigned to priests; but strangers had probably again taken possession of it, and caused it now to revolt. The kings of Juda had retaken it when Sennacherib laid siege to the place. See C. xix. 8. Josue x. 30. and xxi. 13.

Ver. 24. Slept, after a lingering and painful illness of two years’ continuance. Joram was not buried in the tomb of the other kings, nor were perfumes burnt over his corpse; (C.) as his memory was abhorred. 2 Par. xxi.

Ver. 25. Twelfth, more correctly than “the eleventh.” C. ix. 29. Houbigant.

Ver. 26. Twenty. In 2 Paral. xxii. 2, we read forty, by mistake of the transcribers, as Ochozias, (Joachaz, or Azarias, 2 Par. xxi. 17.) would thus be older than his father, who died at the age of forty. 2 Par. xxi. 20. All the original versions, and many copies of the Sept. read “twenty-two” in both passages; and those who would admit no mistake, are forced to have recourse to explanations which can give no satisfaction. De Dieu would include in the reign of Ochozias the six years of Athalia’s usurpation, and the thirteen of Joas, during his minority. Others would date from the separation of the two kingdoms, &c. But would the Holy Ghost cause the same fact to be recorded in two places in such a different manner? The best chronologists acknowledge a mistake in the Hebrew text of Paral. (Cajet. Salien, Petau, T. &c. C.) as the letters which denote these numbers are not unlike (Mariana:) c (20) might easily be exchanged for m (40.) H. — Daughter. That is, grand-daughter; for she was daughter of Achab, son of Amri, v. 18. (Ch.) unless she was only adopted by Achab. W.

Ver. 28. Galaad. The same city had proved fatal to Achab, 3 K. xxii. Joram took it, but received (C.) many wounds; so that he left Jehu to attack the citadel. The latter was anointed king, and acknowledged by the army. He immediately proceeded to Jezrahel, and put his master to death. H.