Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

ter. So when he had eaten, and recollected || And that of the impious multitude, some his strength by that food, he came to the should be slain hy Hazael, and others by Je-. mountain called Sinai ; * where it is related | hu.

* where it is related || hu. So Elijah, upon hearing this charge, rethat Moses received his laws from God. And turned into the land of the Hebrews. And finding there a certain hollow cave, he entered when he found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, into it, and continued to make bis abode in plowing, and certain others with him drivit. But when a certain voice came to him, || ing twelve yoke of oxen, he came to bion, and asked “ Why he came thither, and had and cast his own garment upon him. Upon left the city ?” he said, that because he had which Elisha began to prophesy; and leavslain the prophets of the foreign gods; and | ing' his oxen, he followed Elijah. And when had persuaded the people that he alone, whom he desired leave to salute his parents, Elijah they had worshipped from the beginning was gave him leave so to do: and when he had God, he was sought for by the king's wife to bidden them adieu, he followed him, and bebe punished for so doing. And when he had came the disciple and the servant of Elijah heard another voice, telling him that he should all the days of his life. And thus have I recome out the next day into the open air, and lated the affairs in which this prophet was conshould thereby know what he was to do, he || cerned. came out of the cave the next day accord Now † there was one Naboth, $ of the city ingly. He then both heard an earthquake, Izar, who had a field adjoining to that of the and saw the bright splendour of a fire; andi king's. The king would have persuaded him after a silence, a divine voice exhorted him to sell him that field, which lay so near to his not to be disturbed with the circumstances he own lands, at what price he pleased : that he was in ; for that none of his enemies should I might join them together, and make them one have power over him. The voice also com farm; and if he would not accept of money manded him to return home, and to ordain for it, he gave him leave to chuse any of his Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to be king over other fields in its stead. But Naboth said he their own moltitude; and Hazael, of Damas- || would not do so; bit-would keep the possescus, to be over the Syrians; and Elisha, ofsion of that land of his own, which he bad by the city Abel, to be a prophet in his stead. inheritance from his father. § Upon this the

Elijah being now.come to the same place, where he had rather attain bis end by patience, and tenderness, God had delivered the law to his servant Moses, God and long suffering, (signified by that small still voice, was mintied to communicate the like 'favour to his servant wherein the Deity exhibited himself,) and consequently, the prophet, viz. to unveil his Majesty to him, and give that the prophet should hereby be incited to imitate him, him some signal of his immediate presence: but there is | bridling that passionate zeal to which bis natural com something very remarkable in the words of the text : plexion did but too much incline him. Le Clerc's, Cal. And behold the Lord passed by, and a strong wind rent met's, and Patrick's Commentaries. B. the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks, but the

† About An. 899. Lord was not in the wind; and, after the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and

* The account of Ahab's coveting Naboth's vineyard, after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the as Abarbinel observes, is immediately set after his treatfire; and, after ihe fire, a still small voice, 1 Kings xix.

ment of Benhadad, to sħew his extreme great wickedness 11, &c. And various are the speculations which this ap

in sparing bim, as Saul did Agag king of the Amalekites, pearance of the divine Majesty hath suggested to inter.

and killing Naboth, that he might get possession of his preters. The generality of them have looked upon this vineyard. For this was an higb' aggravation of his crime, as a figure of the gospel dispensation, which came, not in

that he basely murthered a just Israelite, and let an impisuch a terrible manner as the law did, with storms, thun ous enemy escape. Patrick's Com. B. ders, lightnings, and earthquakes, (Exod. xix. 16.) but § As it is natural to all men to love and value the an. with great lenity and sweetness, wherein God speaks to cient possessions that have been in their family; so the us by his Son, who makes use of. no other but gentle ar law of Moses prohibited the alienation of lands from one guments and soft persuasions. But, if we take this to be tribe or family to another, unless a man was reduced to a symbolical admonition to Elijah, according to the poverty, in which case he might sell it to the jubilee; cumstances he was then in, we may reasonably suppose, but then it was to revert to him again, Lev. xxv. 15, 25, that herein Gou intended to shew him, that, though he 28. Now as Naboth was in no need to sell his vineyard, had all the elements ready armed at his command to de so he considered with himself, that if merely to do the stroy idolaters, if he pleased to make use of them, yetking a pleasure, he should part with it out of his hands,


king was grieved, as if he had received an in- || whereon he lay, to go to see-Naboth's vinejury, when he could not get another man's | yard : but God had great indignation at it, possession ; and would neither wash himself, and sent Elijah the prophet to the field of Nanor take any food.

food. And when Jezebel asked | both, to speak to Ahab, and say to him, that him, what it was that troubled him ? and he had slain the true owner of that field anwhy he would neither wash himself, nor eat? | justly. he related to her the perverseness of Naboth; And as soon as he came to him, and the and how when he had made use of gentle | king had said, that he might do with him what words to him, and such as were beneath the he pleased, (for he thought it a reproach to royal authority, he had been affronted, and him to be thus caught in his sin,) Elijab said, had not obtained what he desired. However

However that in the very place in which the dead body she persuaded him not to be cast down at this of Naboth was eaten up by the dogs, both accident; but leave off his grief, and return his own blood, and that of his wife, should. to the usual care of his body: for that she

for that she be shed ; and that all his family should perish, would take care to have Naboth punished. | because he bad been so insolently wicked, and And she immediately sent letters to the rulers | bad slain a citizen unjustly, and contrary to of the Jezreelites in Ahab's name: and com. the laws of his country. Hereupon Ahab bemanded them to fast, * and to assenible a con gan to be sorry for the things he had done, gregation, and to set Naboth at the head of and to repent of them; and he put on sack. them, because he was of an illustrious family; || cloth, and went barefoot, f and would not and to have three bold men ready to bear wit-touch any food : he also confessed his sins, and ness that he had blasphemed God and the endeavoured thus to appease God. But God king; † and then to stone him, and slay him in | said to the prophet, while Ahab was living he that manner. Accordingly when Naboth had would put off the punishment of his family, been thus accused, he was stoned by the mul- | because he repented of those insolent crimes titude and slain. When Jezebel heard that, he had been guilty of; but that still he would she went to the king, and desired him to fulfil his threatenings under his son : 9 and take possession of Naboth's vineyard on free this message the prophet delivered to the cost. So Ahab was glad of what had been king. done ; and rose up immediately from the bed

especially to be made a garden, and so annexed to the king, Exod. xxii. 28. Now, in order to make safe work, palace, neither he nur his posterity, should ever be able the evidences, as they were instructed, accused Naboth to recover it again; so that, in this act, he should both of both these crimes, that the people might be the better offend God, and injure his posterity, which he, being a satisfied to see him stoned. There is this difference, pious and religious man, durst not adventure to do. Pool's however, to be observed between these two crimes, that, Annot. B.

if a man had only blasphemed God he was to be tried * It was always a customary thing, upon the approach | by the great court of Jerusalem, as the Hebrew doctors of any great calamity, or the apprehension of any nation tell us, and his goods came to his heirs ; whereas, when al judgment, to proclaim a fast; and Jezebel ordered a man was executed for treason against the king, his such a fast to be observed in Jezreel, the better to con estate went to the exchequer, and was forfeited to him ceal her design against Naboth. For, by this means, she against whom the offence was committed ; and for this intimated to the Jezreelites, that they had some accursed reason it was, that they accused Naboth of this crime thing among them, which was ready to draw down the likewise, that his estate might be confiscated, and Ahab, vengeance of God upon their city; and that therefore it by that means, got possession of his vineyard; Patrick's was their business to inquire into all those sins which pro Com. B. voked.God to anger against them, and to purge them out

“ The Jews weep to this day,” says Jerome, bere effectually. As therefore these days of fasting were em

recited by Reland, “and roll themselves upon sackcloth, ployed in punishing offenders, doing justice, and im.

in ashes, barefoot, upon such occasions." To which ploring God's pardon, they gave the elders of the city an

Spanheim adds, " that after the same manner Bernice, occasion to convene an assembly, and tbe false witnesses

when life was in danger, stood at the tribunal of Florus a fair opportunity to accuse Naboth before them. Le

barefoot.” Of the War II. 15. See the like of David, Clerc's and Patrick's Com. B.

2 Sam. xv. 50. Antiq. VII. + By the law of Moses it was death to blaspheme God, Lev. xxiv. 16, and by custom it was death to revile the § 1 Kings xxi. 29.


[ocr errors]


“ For myself, I am ready, for your safety and CHAP. XIV.

peace, to give up my own;wives and children

to the enemy, and to yield to him all my owa, OF THE EXPEDITION OF HADAD, KING OF DAMASCUS AND

possessions : for that was what the Syrian

king required at his first ambassage. But WHEN the affairs of Ahab were in this now he desires to send his servants to search WH

situation, the son of Benhadad, who all your houses ; and in them to leave nothing was king of the Syrians and Damascus, got that is excellent in its kind ; seeking an occa: together an army out of all his country, and sion of fighting against me; as knowing that procured thirty-two kings beyond Euphrates to I would not spare what is mine own for your

So he made an expedition sakes; but taking a handle from the disagreeagainst Ahab. But because Ahab's army was able terms he offers concerning you, to bring not like that of Benhadad's, he did not set it a war upon us. However, I will do what in array to fight him ; but having shut up you shall resolve is fit to be done." Hereevery thing that was in the country in the


the multitude advised him to bearken to strongest cities he had, he abode in Sa

none of Benhadad's proposals, but to despise maria bimself: for the walls about it were him, and to be in readiness to fight. Accordvery strong, and it appeared not easily to be ingly he dismissed the ambassadors with this taken in other respects also. So the king of answer, that he still continued in the mind to Syria took his arnıy with bim, and came to comply with what terms their master at first Samaria, and placed his army round about desired, for the safety of the citizens; but as the city, and besieged it. He also sent a for his second desires he could not submit to herald to Ahab, and desired he would admit them. the ambassadors he would send bim; by whom When Benhadad beard this, he had indighe would let him know his pleasure. So up- nation, and sent ambassadors a third time; on the king of Israel's permission for him to threatening that his army should raise a bank send, those ambassadors came, and by their higher than those walls, in confidence of whose king's command spake thus : that Ahab's strength Ahah despised him, and that by only riches, and his children and his wives, were each man of his army taking a handful of earth; Benhadad's: and if he would make an agree hereby making a shew of the great number of ment, and give him leave to take as much of his forces, and aiming to affright him. Ahab, what he had as he pleased, he would with however, answered, that he ought not to vaunt draw his army, and leave off the seige. Up-himself when he had only put on his armor, on this Ahab made the ambassadors to go but when he should have couquered his eneback, and tell their king, that both he him- mies in the battle. * So the ambassadors came self, and all that he had, were his possessions. back, and found Benhadad at supper with his And when these ambassadors had told this to thirty-two kings, and informed him of Ahab's Benhadad, he sent to him again, and desired, answer; in consequence of which he immedisince he confessed that all he had was bis, ately gave orders to make lines round the city, that he would admit those servants of his and raise a bulwark : and to prosecute the which he would send the next day: and he | siege all manner of ways. Now as this was commanded him to deliver to those whom he doing, Abab was in great agony, and all his should send, whatever, upon their searching his people with him. But he took courage and palace, and the houses of his friends, and was freed from his fears, upon a certain prokindred, they should find to be excellent in its phet's coming to him, and saying, that God kind: but that what did not please them they had promised to subdue so many thousands of should leave him. At this second ambassage, bis enemies under him.

his enemies under him. And when he had Ahab was surprised, and gathered together enquired by whose means the victory was to the multitude to a congregation, and said : be obtained; he said, By the sons of the

• 1 Kings xx. ll. VOL. I. (27.)

4 N


princes; but under thy conduct, as their When Benhadad had saved himself, † and leader; by reason of their unskilfulness in as much of the army he could out of the war.” Hereupon he called for the sons of the battle; he consulted with his friends how he princes, and found them to be two hundred might make another .expedition against the and thirty-two persons; and when he was in Israelites. Now those friends advised him, formed that the king of Syria had betaken not to fight with them on the hills; becagse himself to feasting and repose, he opened the their God was potent in such places; and gates, and sent out the princes' sons. Now thence it had come to pass that they had lately when the sentinels told Benhadad of it, be been beaten. But they said, that if they joinsent some to ineet them, and commanded that ed battle with them in the plain, they should if these men were come out for fighting, they beat them. They also gave him this farther should bind them, and bring them to him; and advice; to send home those kings whom he tbat if they came out peaceably, they should had brought as his auxiliaries; but to retain do the same.

Now Ahab had another army their army, and to set captains over it, instead . ready within the walls. But the sous of the of the kings ; and to raise an army out of their princes fell upon the out-guard, and slew | country, and let them be in the place of the many of them, and pursued the rest of them former who perished in the battle, together to the camp. And when the king of Israel with horses and chariots. So he judged their saw that these had the upper hand, he sent counsel to be good, and acted according to it out all the rest of his army; which falling in the management of his army. suddenly upon the Syrians, beat them : for At the beginning of the spring Benhadad they did not think they would have come out. took his army with him, and led it against the On which account it was that they assaulted Hebrews; and when he was come to a certhem when they were naked, * and intoxicat tain city called Aphek, he pitched his camp ed; insomuch that they left all their armor in the great plain. Ahab also went to meet behind them when they fled out of the camp; bim with his army, and encamped over against and the king himself escaped with difficulty, him : although his army were a very small by fleeing away on horseback. But Abab

one, if it were compared with his enemies. went a great way in pursuit of the Syrians : But the prophet came again to him, and told and when he had spoiled their camp, which him, that God would give him the victory; contained a great deal of wealth, and a large that he might demonstrate his own power to quantity of gold and silver, he took Benhadad's be not only on the mountains, but on the plainis chariots and horses, and returned to the city. I also : which it seems was contrary to the opiBut as the prophet told him he ought to have nion of the Syrians. So they lay quiet in the his army ready, because the Syrian king would camp seven days; but on the last of those days, make another expedition against him the next when the enemies came out and put themselves -year, Ahab was busy in making provision for in array, in order to fight, Ahab also brought it accordingly.

out his army: and when the battle was joined,

* Mr. Reland notes here very truly that the word naked does not always signify entirely naked; but sometimes without men's usual armor, without their usual robes, or upper garments. As when Virgil bids the husbandinen plow and sow naked. When Josephus says, IV. 3, that God had given the Jews the security of armor, when they were naked : and when he here


that Abab fell on the Syrians when they were naked and intoxicated. When, XI. 5; he says that Nehemiah commanded those Jews that were building the walls of Jerusalem, to take care to bave their arınor on upon occasion, that the enemy might not fall upon them naked. I may, add, that the case seeins to be the same in the Scripture, when it says, that Saul lay down nakeel among the prophets, 1 Sam. xix. 24. When it says, that Isaiah walked nak

ed and barefoot, Isaiah 8x, 2, 3, and when it says, that Peter, before he girt his fisher's coat about him, was naked, John xxi. 7. Nor were the naked soldiers others than those levis armaturæ, who were free from the heavy armor of the rest. And the like may be supposed in several other places. What is said to David also gives light to this; who was reproached by: Michal for dancing before the ark, and uncovering himself in the eyes of the handmaids, as one of the vain fellows shamefully uncovereth himself, 2 Sam. vi. 14, 20, yet is it there expressly said, verse 14, that David was girded with a linen ephod: i. e. he had laid aside his robe of state, and put on only the sacerdotal, Levitical, or sacred garments, proper for such a solemnity. See also Antiq. V. 3, VI. 2, and XVII, 10. + About An, 898.


« PreviousContinue »