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Ahab reproved for sparing Ben-hadad,

I. KINGS.

and his own death predicted.

B. C. 900.

A. M. 3104. 35 | And a certain man of the || king by the way, and disguised him- 4. M. 3104.
B. C. 900.

sons of the prophets said unto his self with ashes upon his face.
neighbour lin the word of the LORD, Smite 39 And n as the king passed by, he cried
me, I pray thee. And the man refused to unto the king: and he said, Thy servant
smite him.

went out into the midst of the battle; and 36 Then said he unto him, Because thou behold, a man turned aside, and brought a hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, be- | man unto me, and said, Keep this man : if hold, as soon as thou art departed from me, aby any means he be missing, then shall thy lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was life be for his life, or else thou shalt 16 departed from him, ma lion found him, and talent of silver. slew him.

40 And as thy servant was busy here and 37 Then he found another man, and said, there, 17 he was gone. And the king of Israel Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyhim, "s so that in smiting he wounded him. self hast decided it. 38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the 41 And he hasted, and took the ashes away

pay a

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* 2 Kings ii. 3, 5, 7, 15.2 Chap. xiii. 17, 18.

24. -15 Heb. smiting and wounding.

Chap. xiii.

r 2 Samuel xii. 1, &c. - 2 Kings x. 24.

17 Heb. he was not.

_16 Heb. weigh.

F

was to receive the rents. It is probable, it was a ly cut him off: which God chose to do upon this
quarter for his subjects to live in, and which he occasion, that by the severity of this punishment of
should possess, and over which he should enjoy the a prophet's disobedience, proceeding from pity to
same jurisdiction, as he did with respect to the rest his brother, he might teach Ahab the greatness of
of his kingdom. Such a power granted in Samaria, || his sin, in sparing him through foolish pity, whom,
and such a making over a part of it, to the father by the laws of religion, and justice, and prudence,
of Ben-hadad, and annexing it to the kingdom of he should have cut off.
Syria, with a right of building such idol temples as Verse 38. And disguised himself with ashes upon
he thought fit, was a sufficient disgrace to the father his face-As a man in a very sorrowful condition.
of Ahab; as the proposing to give Ahab now a like Houbigant reads it, He had his eyes covered with a
honour in Damascus, was an expression of a very | bandage, supposing that the genuine reading of the
abject adulation in Ben-hadad.

text is, not nox, apher, but 79x, aphed, which sig-
Verse 35. A certain man said to his neighbour nifies a bandage ; whence comes the Hebrew word
--Hebrew, inyo 5*, eel regnehu, to his companion, ephod; something bound round. Several of the
as St. Hierom translates it, that is, to a prophet bred versions render it, with a veil: and thus the He-
in the same school with himself, who well under- brew doctors understand it. It is probable, it was a
stood the importance of obeying the command. In cloth or bandage of some kind, wherewith he bound
the word of the Lord—In the name and by the com- up his wound, which probably was in his face: for
mand of God, whereof, doubtless, he had informed it was made in a conspicuous place, that it might be
him. Smite me, I pray thee-So as to wound me, visible to Ahab and others.
verse 37. He speaks what God commanded him, Verse 39. And he said, Thy servant, &c.—This
though it was to his own hurt; by which obedience relation is a parable; a usual way of instruction in
to God, he secretly reproacheth Ahab's disobedience the eastern parts, and most fit for this occasion,
in a far easier matter. And this the prophet de- wherein an obscure prophet was to speak to a great
sires, by God's appointment, that, looking like a king, impatient of a downright reproof, and exceed-
wounded soldier, he might have the more free ac- || ing partial in his own cause. A man turned aside
cess to the king. And the man refused to smile and said, Keep, &c.-His commander said this
him—Not out of contempt to God's command, but unto him, as the manner of expression shows. The
probably, in tenderness to his brother.

king of Israel said, So shall thy judgment beVerse 36. Because thou hast not obeyed the voice Thou hast pronounced thy own sentence. Accordof the Lord, a lion shall slay thee--If the punishing to your agreement; so shalt thou suffer. Thou ment seem too severe for so small a fault, let it be shalt lose thy life, or pay the talent of silver. Ahab considered, 1st, That disobedience to God's express had forgot how he had dismissed a greater person command, especially when delivered by a person willingly, or else he could scarcely have been so known by the party disobeying to be a prophet, was hard-hearted as to condemn one that had offended a great sin, and no less than capital, Deut. xviii. 19. unwillingly. But the prophet soon brought it to 2d, This fault was much worse in a prophet, who his remembrance. very well knew the authority of God's commands, Verse 41. And he hasted, and took the ashes away and this way of publishing them. 3d, This man from his face-Threw off his disguise immediately, might be guilty of many other heinous sins unknown by pulling off the cloth or bandage wherewith his to us, but known to God; for which God might just- ll face, or a part of it, had been concealed. And the

Ahab desires to buy the vineyard

CHAPTER XXI.

of Naboth of Jezreel, but is refused.

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A V. 3104. from his face; and the king of Israel || hand a man whom I appointed to utter A. M. 3104. B. C.o.

discerned him that he was of the destruction, therefore thy life shall go prophets.

for his life, and thy people for his people. 42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the 43 And the king of Israel I went to his house LORD, P Because thou hast let go out of thy | heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.

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king of Israel discerned himEither by his face, I took not the least care for the reparation of God's which was known to the king, or to some of honour. And the people were punished for their the courtiers there present: or, by the manner of own sins, which were many and great; though God his address to him, which, being changed, was now took this occasion to inflict the punishment. The such as the prophets generally used.

former part of this decree of God, Thy life shall Verse 42. Thus saith the Lord, Because, &c.- go for his life, was fulfilled three years after, when "What was the great sin of Ahab in this action, for Ahab was killed in a battle against the Syrians, which God so severely punished him ?" The great chap. xxii. 1-40. But the latter, And thy people dishonour hereby done to God, in suffering so hor- || for his people, was deferred till the reign of Harid a blasphemer to go unpunished, which was con- || zael, who fulfilled it by the wars he had with the trary to an express law, Lev. xxiv. 16. And God Israelites, and the slaughter he made of them, had delivered him into Ahab's hand, for his blas- | 2 Kings x. 32, 33. phemy, as he promised to do, (verse 28,) by which Verse 43. The king of Israel went to his house act of his providence, compared with that law, it heavy and displeased This distressing sentence was most evident that this man was appointed by rned all heir joy, for their late victory, into God to destruction, But Ahab was so far from pun- | mourning; Ahab being much troubled for what he ishing this blasphemer, that he did not so much as had done, and for what, it seems, he now believed rebuke him, but dismissed him upon easy terms, and I he must suffer.

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CHAPTER XXI. Abah cocis Naboth's vineyard, 1-4. Jezebel procures Naboth to be stoned, 5–14. Ahab goes to take possession, 15, 16.

Elijah meets him, and denounces the judgment of God, 17–24. Upon his humiliation a reprieve is granted, 25–29. 1.1.3:05. AND it came to pass after these 3 And Naboth said to Ahab, The A. M. 3105

things, that Naboth the Jezreel- LORD forbid it me, that I should ite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 4 And Ahab came into his house heavy and

2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, | displeased, because of the word which Naboth Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my house: and I will give thee for it a better vine- fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, yard than it; or if it 'seem good to thee, I will and turned away his face, and would eat no give thee the worth of it in money.

bread.

2 1 Sam. viii. 14.—Heb. be good in thine eyes.

b Lev. xxv. 23; Num. xxxvi. 7; Ezek. xlvi. 18.

NOTES ON CHAPTER XXI.

might have been alienated until the jubilee, yet he Verses 1-3. Which was in Jezreel-Where one durst not sell it to the king for that time: because, of Ahab's palaces was, as the other was in Samaria. | he supposed, if once it came into the king's hand, That I may have it for a gurden of herbsFor a neither he nor his posterity could ever recover it; flower-garden, as some understand it. Ahab made and so he should both offend God, and wrong his a fair proposal for it, but the law was against Na- posterity. both's alienating his vineyard from his family and Verse 4. Ahab came into his house, heavy and distribe. The Lord forbid it me, &c.—For God had pleasedHe was so vexed to be denied by a subexpressly, and for divers weighty reasons, forbidden ject the thing he wanted, that his vexation made him the alienation of lands from the tribes and families sick, took away his stomach, and made company lo which they were allotted. And, although these || disagreeable to him; so that his grief and trouble

Jezebel suborns false witnesses against

I. KINGS.

Naboth to accuse him of blasphemy.

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5 But Jezebel his wife came to 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab's A. M. 3105.

him, and said unto him, Why is thy name, and sealed them with his seal, spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? and sent the letters unto the elders and to the

6 And he said unto her, Because I spake unto nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give Naboth. me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please || 9 And she wrote in the letters, saying, Pro thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: claim a fast, and set Naboth ? on high among and he answered, I will not give thee my vine- the people : yard.

10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before 7 And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost him, to bear witness against him, saying, thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. and eat bread, and let thy heart be merry: I will And then carry him out, and a stone him, that give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. he may die.

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appeared in his countenance. Here we see, Ist, || sign in Ahab, and to beget a good opinion of him That irregular desire, or “discontent, is a sin that is among his people, as if he were grown zealous for its own punishment, and makes men torment them- | God's honour, and careful of his people's welfare, selves: it makes the spirit sad, the body sick, and and therefore was desirous to inquire into all those all the enjoyments sour: it is the heaviness of the sins which provoked God against them. And set heart, and the rottenness of the bones; 2d, It is a Naboth on high-On a scaffold, or high place, where sin that is its own parent; it arises not from the con- || he might be seen and heard by the people; for perdition, but from the mind. As we find Paul content sons accused and arraigned were wont so to appear in a prison, so Ahab discontent in a palace: he had before the judges, that all the people might see them, all the delights of Canaan, that pleasant land, at and hear what was alleged against them, and the command; the wealth of a kingdom, the pleasure proofs of it, and their defence. of a court, and the honours and powers of a throne; Verse 10. And set two men before him to bear and yet all this avails him nothing without Naboth's WitnessIt was the Roman custom also; and was vineyard. Inordinate desires expose men to conti- || most rational, that the accused should have the acnual vexations; and they that are disposed to fret, || cusers face to face, Acts xxv. 16. Thou didst be they ever so happy, will always find something blaspheme God and the king-Hebrew, nana, beor other to fret at.”—Henry.

racta, thou didst bless. Blessing is here put for Verse 7. Jezebel said, Dost thou now govern the cursing and blaspheming, as in Job i. 5, and ii. 9, as kingdom of Israel ?-Art thou fit to be a king who is apparent, because his blessing God and the king canst put up with such affronts from thy subjects, I would have been no crime. It was death by the and hast not courage to dispose of them and theirs || law of Moses to blaspheme God, Lev. xxiv. 16 ; as seemeth good unto thee? I will give thee the and by custom it was death to revile the king, which vineyard of Naboth— Trouble thyself no further was forbidden, Exod. xxii. 28. Now, in order to about it, but leave the matter to me; I will manage| make sure work, the witnesses, as they were instructit to thy satisfaction, and the vineyard shall be thine, | ed, aecused Naboth of both those crimes, that the and shall cost thee nothing. Unhappy are those people might be the better satisfied to see him stoned. princes, and hurried apace toward their ruin, who There is, however, this difference to be observed behave those about them who excite them to acts of tween these two crimes, that by blaspheming God, tyranny, and teach them how to abuse their power! | a person only forfeited his life, not his estate, which

Verse 8. She sent the letters unto the elders and went to his heirs; whereas, when a man was execunoblesWhom she very well knew to be fit for her ted for treason, his estate was forfeited to him against purpose; that were in his city-In Jezreel. Thus | whom the offence was committed. For this reason she seeks to destroy him with a pretence of justice, it was that Naboth was charged with this crime also, and with as little reflection on Ahab as might be. that his estate might be confiscated, and Ahab might,

Verse 9. She wrote in the letters, saying, Pro- || by that means, get possession of the vineyard. And claim a fast-As if there had been some grievous then carry him out—Not merely out of the assemcrime committed, or some great calamity had befall- bly, but out of the city, verse 13. For while they en them, which all the people were to bewail, and were in the wilderness, and before the conquest of purge themselves from, lest they should become Canaan, they executed punishments without the guilty; and consequently they were to see the crime camp, Lev. xxiv. 23; Josh. vii. 24 ; but afterward punished very severely; for such days of fasting without the gates of their cities. By this they inwere spent in punishing offenders, doing justice, and tended to signify, that they would take the evil out praying to God for pardon. She intended also, by of the midst of them, and not suffer wickedness to taking this step, to remove all suspicion of evil de- // remain among them.

Ahab, going to take Naboth's

CHAPTER XXI.

vineyard, is reproved by Elijah.

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A M. 3105. 11 And the men of his city, even of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreel- A. M. 3105. B. C. 899.

the elders and the nobles who wereite, which he refused to give thee for the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. sent unto them, and as it was written in the 16 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard letters which she had sent unto them.

that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go 12 • They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, on high among the people.

to take possession of it. 13 And there came in two men, children of 17 T & And the word of the LORD came to Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Belial witnessed against him, even against Na- 18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of both, in the presence of the people, saying, Na- Israel, which is in Samaria : behold, he is in both did blaspheme God and the king. Then the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone they carried him forth out of the city, and down to possess it. stoned him with stones, that he died.

19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and is stoned, and is dead.

also taken possession ? And thou shalt speak 15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.

• Isa lvüi. 4.-12 Kings ix. 26.—5 Psa. ix. 14.

h Chap. xiii. 32 ; 2 Chron. xxii. 9.-i Chap. xxii. 38.

Verse 11. The men of his city did as Jeze- with the formalities of a legal process! which was a bel had sent to them—Which is not at all strange, | great aggravation of the crime. For, to use that considering that they had for a long time cast off power for the preservation of the guilty and the the fear of God; prostituted their consciences and murdering of the innocent, which ought to have religion to please their king; and sold themselves to been used for the punishment of the former and the all manner of wickedness; so that they could not protection of the latter, was such a violent perverDOW make a safe and honourable retreat. Besides, sion of justice and judgment, as cannot easily be they durst not disobey Jezebel's command, by whom paralleled. But there is a judgment to come when they knew the king was wholly governed, and who such iniquitous judgments as these will be called could easily have taken away their lives, in the same over again! manner, if they had refused to kill Naboth: and it Verse 14. They sent to JezebelBy whom they is not unlikely that she sent private messengers to || were not ignorant the affairs of the kingdom were in tell them, by word of mouth, what she expected a great measure managed, and this design contrived: from them, and how she would reward them; as saying, Naboth is stonedWhich they knew would well as public letters to authorize what they did. | be an agreeable piece of news to her who had imPrinces never want instruments to execute their brued her hands in the blood of so many of the pleasure; but it is strange that, in this case, there | Lord's prophets. Here let us observe, that as obseshould be done among the judges and great men | quious as the elders of Jezreel were to Jezebel's orthat abhorred such villany: it argues the great cor-ders, which she sent from Samaria for the murder ruption of their manners by idolatry.

of Naboth, so obsequious were the elders of Samaria Verse 13. They stoned him-And, it seems, his afterward to Jehu's orders, which he sent from Jezsons too, either with him, or after him; for God af- | reel, for the murder of Ahab's seventy sons, only terward says, (2 Kings ix. 26,) I have seen the blood that was not done by course of law. “Those tyrants," of Naboth, and the blood of his sons. Let us com- says Henry, " that, by their wicked orders, debauch mit the keeping of our lives and comforts to God, || the consciences of their inferior magistrates, may for innocence itself will not always be our security. | perhaps find at last the wheel return upon them; This account of Ahab's unjust and barbarous conduct and that those, who will not stick to do one cruel toward Naboth, placed, as it is by the sacred histo- | thing for them, will be as ready, when occasion ofrian, immediately after his gentle treatment of Ben-| fers, to do another cruel thing against them.” hadad, shows the great inconsistency and extreme Verses 18, 19. Arise, go to meet Ahab, which is wickedness of his conduct. He spares the proud, in Samaria—That is, who reigns in Samaria. Behoasting, and blaspheming heathen, and even terms hold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth-Or, rather, him his brother, and honours him by taking him into he will be there by the time thou comest thither. his chariot; nay, and enters into a covenant with And speak unto him, Hast thou killed and also him: but he basely and barbarously murders, or, at taken possession ?—Thou hast murdered an innocent least, connives at his wife's murdering, the just and and righteous man; and, instead of repenting of thy pious Israelite; and that under colour of justice, and || crime, hast added another piece of injustice and vioVOL. II. ( 8 )

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Elijah's denunciation of Ahab, who

I. KINGS.

thereon humbles himself before God.

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20 And Ahab said to Elijah, * Hast 24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the A. M. 3105.

thou found me, O mine enemy? And city the dogs shall eat: and him he answered, I have found thee: because 'thou || that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the air eat. LORD.

25 But there was none like unto Ahab, 21 Behold, m I will bring evil upon thee, which did sell himself to work wickedness in and will take away thy posterity, and will the sight of the LORD, "whom Jezebel his wife cut off from Ahab n him that pisseth against * stirred up. the wall, and him that is shut up and left in 26 And he did very abominably in following Israel,

idols, according to all things as did the Amor22 And will make thy house like the house ites, whom the LORD cast out before the chilof ? Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the dren of Israel. house of 9 Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the 27 | And it came to pass, when Ahab heard provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me those words, that he rent his clothes, and put to anger, and made Israel to sin.

sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in 23 And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, sackcloth, and went softly. saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the 3 wall 28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah of Jezreel.

the Tishbite, saying,

k Chapter xviii. 17.-12 Kings xvii. 17; Romans vii. 14. m Chap. xiv. 10; 2 Kings ix. 8.nl Sam. xxv. 22.- Chap. xiv. 10. :-p Chap. xv. 29. -9 Chap. xvi. 3, 11.

12 Kings ix. 36. -3 Or, ditch. - Chapter xiv. 11; xvi. 4. Chapter xvi. 30, &c.- Chapter xvi. 31.- - Or, incited. * Gen. xv. 16; 2 Kings xxi. 11. - Gen. xxxvi. 34.

lence to it, and art going, confidently and cheerfully, hither with thy unwelcome messages? Thou art to reap the fruit of thy wickedness. He ascribes always disturbing, threatening, and opposing me. I Jezebel's act to Ahab, because Jezebel did it by his have found thee- The hand of God hath sound and connivance, consent, and authority, and for the grati-overtaken thee. Thou hast sold thyselfThou hast fication of his inordinate desire. In the place where wholly resigned up thyself to be the bond-slave of dogs licked, &c.—Instead of the place, some would the devil, as a man that sells himself to another is render the original word here used, the manner, and totally in his master's power. To work evil, &c.so the sense of the passage will be, As the dogs Impudently and contemptuously. Those who give licked, or, in like manner as they licked Naboth's themselves up to sin, will certainly be found out, blood, even so shall they lick thy blood : mark what sooner or later, to their unspeakable amazement. I say, even thine. According to this reading, the Verses 23, 24. The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the prophet foretold that this judgment should come wall–Or, by the ditch, or fort; or, in the portion,

did as , the dogs licked Ahab's blood, not in Jezreel, but in signifies, and as it is explained 2 Kings ix. 36, a pasSamaria, chap. xxii. 38. If, however, our translation sage which attests the exact accomplishment of this be preferred, it may be observed, Ist, Ahab's blood prediction. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city, &c.was licked by the dogs, if not in the same individual, || Punishments after death are here most insisted on; yet in the same general place, Jezreel being in the and these, though lighting on the body only, yet territory of Samaria. 2d, This was particularly ac- | undoubtedly were designed as figures of the soul's complished in his son Joram, as is affirmed 2 Kings misery in an after state. ix. 25, 26, whose blood is not improperly called Verses 25, 26. There was none like unto AhabAhab's, children being said to be born of their pa- | Among all the kings of Israel who had been before

The expression, indeed, thy blood, him. Whom Jezebel his wife stirred upThis is even thine, seems to show that the threatening was added to show that temptations to sin are no excuse at first denounced against Ahab's person, and de- to the sinner. He did rery abominably in following signed to be fulfilled in him: but afterward, upon idols, &c.—There was no abomination which the his humiliation, the punishment was in part trans- people of Canaan committed, (here called the Amoserred from him to his son, as is expressed verse 29; rites, according to their ancient name, Gen. xv. 16,) yet upon Ahab's returning to sin, as is related in the which Ahab did not imitate. next chapter, he brought back the curse upon him- Verse 27. He rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth, self, and so it is no wonder that it was in some sort &c.—These were expressions of great sorrow and fulfilled in him also,

heaviness, and usual in mourning: for, notwithstandVerse 20. Ahab said to Elijah-Upon his delivery ing that Ahab was drawn, by the persuasions of his of the message last mentioned, which it was needless | wife, to idolatry and other great crimes; yet he was to repeat. Hast thou found me, O mine enemy ?- sensible that many of Elijah's prophecies had been Dost thou pursue me from place to place? Wilt fulfilled, and therefore he was much disturbed at Thou never let me rest? Art thou come after mell what he now heard from that prophet. And went 114

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