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A. M. 3001. A. C. 1003; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4654. A. C. 757. I KINGS viji. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON.
sion for charging him with any such falsification, since CHAP. II.--Difficulties Obviated and Objections the comminations of God are always conditional, a and Answered.
answer his gracious purposes much better when they are
averted than when they are executed. St Paul, speaking of the propagation of the gospel, and And indeed, though in this case they were averted for the seeming insufficiency of the means which God had a while, yet, when the people relapsed into their former employed to effect it, has these remarkable words : " Ye iniquities, the prophet's prediction did not fail of its see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men accomplishment. For, if we take the forty days to deafter the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are call- note forty years, a day for a year, and the overthrowing ed; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to of Nineveh, not to signify its final destruction, but only confound the wise, the weak things of the world to con- the subversion of that ancient empire of the Assyrians, found the mighty, the base things of the world, and which had governed Asia for above 1300 years, and was things that are despised, yea, and things that are not, to destroyed under the efteminate king Sardanapalus ; then bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory was the prophecy literally fulfilled, and from its fulfilling in his presence.' And then proceeding to speak of we may trace the time of Jonah's mission. himself; ? • And I, brethren,' says he,' when I came to But though this prophecy of Jonah was not fulfilled at you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, the end of forty days, as he expected, and at the end of declaring unto you the testimony of God; but was with forty years there was only a destruction of the monarchy, you in weakness, and fear, and in much trembling: and and not of the city ; yet his miraculous preservation in my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words the whale's belly gave him such credit, that it was always of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and believed that the time of its accomplishment was uncerof power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom tain. To this purpose we find Tobito giving his son of men, but in the power of God.'
Tobias instructions to depart out of Nineveh, ' because Now, if God in the conversion of the world to Chris- those things which the prophet Jonah spake should certianity, made use of instruments in themselves so incom- tainly come to pass :' and accordingly, before Tobias petent for the work, lest the work might be imputed to died, he heard of the destruction of Nineveh, which was human powers; by parity of reason we may presume, taken by Nebuchodonosor and Ahasuerus : ? for these that, in the conversion of the Ninevites, God might not two princes being related by marriage, entered into a employ a prophet of the best natural temper and quali- confederacy against the Assyrians, and, joining their fications, since Isaiah was then of age, and seems to forces together, besieged this city, and, after having taken have been better fitted for such a mission, that the glory it and slain Saracus, the king thereof, they utterly deof the event might not be ascribed to any innate abilities stroyed it, and from that time made Babylon the place of of the prophet, but to the sole power of God which royal residence, and the sole metropolis of the Assyrian accompanied him, and * made the foolishness of his monarchy. Thus was the prediction of Jonah, concerning preaching,' as the apostle expresses it,' effectual to save the destruction of Nineveh, though not in the time which he them that believed.'
had prefixed, fulfilled; nor can the delay of it be looked We must not imagine, however, that, in his address to upon as any breach of the divine veracity, whatever unthe people of Nineveh, the prophet had nothing to say but easiness it gave the prophet. The truth of the matter this one sentence, “ Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be is,—Jonah was a man of an unhappy temper, peevish overthrown.' This indeed was the sum and substance of and passionate, and, in this case, fearful of being achis preaching, but we may well presume that he took counted a false prophet, of having his ministry exposed frequent occasions to expatiate upon it; by reminding to contempt, or his person perhaps to violence from the them of the number and nature, and several aggravations Ninevites, because the event did not answer the predicof their offences ; by acquainting them with the holi- tion. And the proper lesson we are to learn from bis ness, justice, and omnipotence of God; that holiness behaviour is,—That the gift of prophecy does not alter which could not behold iniquity without detestation ; that men ́s natural tempers, nor set them above the level of justice which, sooner or later, would not suffer it to go human frailty : for 8 . we have this treasure,' as the aposunpunished ; and that almighty power, which could, in a tle speaks,in earthen vessels, that the excellency of moment, lay the stateliest cities in ashes ; by exhorting the power may be of God, and not of us.' them to repentance from a dread of his impending judg- That stratagems in war, and other artifices to delude ments ; and by instructing them in the method of pacify- and ensnare an enemy, are not prohibited by the law of ing his wrath, and affecting a reconciliation with him. God, the generality of casuists are agreed; and there
Some of the ancients are of opinion that Jonah re- fore, upon the supposition that Elisha's speech to Benceived no orders from God to limit the destruction of hadad's men was framed on purpose to deceive, he did Nineveh to forty days, because there is no such time no more than make use of the common privilege which fixed in his instructions; all that God appoints him to every nation, engaged in war one with another, is perdo is, * 'to go unto Nineveh, that great city,' as he calls mitted to employ: but upon a nearer examination, it, and to preach unto it that preaching which he should we cannot charge his words with a direct falsehood, bid him :' and therefore they suppose that the space of forty days was an addition of the prophet's own, and, for
s Prideaux's Connection, at the beginning. that reason, not exactly fulfilled; but there is no occa
6 Tobit xiv. 8, &c. ? Prideaux's Connection, anno 613.
8 2 Cor. iv. 7.
a This may be clearly inferred from numerous instances re"I Cor. i. 26, &c. % 1 Cor. ii, 1, &c. * 1 Cor. i. 21. corded in sacred history, and is expressly declared in Jer. xviii. 4 Jonah iii. 2.
A. M. 3001. A. C. 1003 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4654. A. C. 757. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. though we must allow that there is some ambiguity in | came to consult Elisha, concerning his master's illness, them.
which was a considerable time after the prophet Elijah's When the prophet perceived that the Syrian army had translation, we find by the whole interview, that he was encompassed the place where he abode, he went out of entirely ignorant of his own designation for the throne the city, and told them, "" This is not the way, neither of Syria, which he could not have been, had he been is this the city,' namely, where they would find the man anointed before this time. Either therefore we must take for whom they were sent ; because, at that time, he was the word in a figurative sense, to denote no more than come out of the city; and therefore, if they proceeded God's purpose or determination, that. Hazael should sucin their march, they would be sure to miss him. But ceed in the throne of Syria, to execute the designs of • follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye his providence upon the people of Israel, even as Cyrus, seek ;' and so he did, but not in the manner, it must be for the same reason, is called so the Lord's anointed," owned, that they either expected or desired. The whole though he was never properly anointed by God; or, if conduct of the prophet, therefore, in this respect, was no we take it in a literal sense, we must suppose some reamore than what the practice of war always allows, son why Elijah waved the execution of that command, namely, a feint to cover his real designs, and, by coun- even because he foresaw the many sore calamities which terfeit motions and false alarms, to draw the enemy into Hazael, when advanced to the crown of Syria, would such intricacies, that he might come upon them, and sur- bring upon Israel, and thereupon prevailed with God, prise them when they least of all thought of it.
that he might be excused from that ungrateful office, and The formality of a lie, as some will have it, does not that, in his time at least, a succession which would be consist so much in saying what is untrue, as in making attended with such direful consequences might not coma false representation of things with a purpose to do mence. hurt : but the prophet's generous treatment of the enemy, It may possibly be thought, indeed, that Elisha's forewhen he had them at his mercy, shows that he had no telling his advancement to the throne might be a spur malignity in his intention, no design to make an advan- and incitement to his ambition ; but the means whereby tage of their deception ; but, on the contrary, took the he accomplished his design were entirely from his own most eftectual means, both to cure their inveterate wicked and corrupt mind, which would not stay for the hatred against the Israelites, and to reconcile them to ordinary methods of divine providence to bring it inuothe worship and service of the true God, who had wrought cently about, but chose rather to carve for himself, and, such a miracle for their convietion, as well as the pre- by murdering his master, to cut him out a more compendiservation of his prophet.
ous way of coming into immediate possession. And this " He smote them with blindness, according to the solves the seeming difficulty of the prophet's sending one word of Elisha :' but then we are not to imagine that this answer to Benhadad, and telling Hazael quite another blindness was so total that they quite lost the use of their story: for when Hazael understood that his master's dieyes, but only that it was such a dimness and confusion sease was not mortal, but that, if no violence intervened, in their sight, as hindered them from distinguishing one he might easily get over that indisposition, for that is object from another, the city of Dothan, for instance, the sense of he may certainly recover ;' and, at the from the city of Samaria ; even, in like manner, as we same time, was told by the prophet, that he would not, read of the people of Sodom, that when the angels however, recover, because he foresaw that violence would 'smote them with blindness,' which they might easily do be used to take away his life, as this is the sense of he by some small alteration, either in their sight, or in the shall surely die,' Hazael went his way, and not willing air, “they wearied themselves to find out Lot's door.' to trust Providence with his master's recovery, took care They saw the house, it seems, but did not discern the the next morning to have him despatched. door, because this sudden disorder in their imagination There is, however, another, and, as some think, a much might either make the door appear to them like the solid plainer interpretation of the prophet's words : for, since wall, or the solid wall like so many doors.
this is a passage which admits of a various lection, the This is no more than what happens to several men in adverb lo, as it is in the textual reading, signifies not, their liquor; that, though their eyes be open, and can but in our translation, which in this place follows the perceive the several objects that surround them, yet they marginal, it is rendered, to him : so that, if the Hecannot discern wherein they differ. And if we may sup- brew text be right, as some learned men, upon examinapose that the Syrian army was under the like dopaorce, as tion, have given it the preference, the plain reading of the Greeks very happily term it, we need no longer won the words will be, “Go, say, thou shalt surely not live ; der that they readily accepted of a guide, who offered for the Lord hath shewed ine that thou shalt surely die.' his services, and bespoke them fair, whom they might This was the sense of the prophet's answer to Benhadad; indeed take for some deputy of the town, with authority but Hazael, who was a wicked man, went and told him to deliver up the prophet to them, than that a drunkard, a quite contrary thing, on purpose to lull him into a state who, after a long while having lost his way, and found of security, that thereby he might have a fairer opporiuhimself bewildered, should be thankful to any hand that nity of accomplishing his design upon him. would promise to conduct him safe home.
Thus, whether the marginal or textual reading be • That Hazael was never, in a strict sense, anointed right, and consequently, whether the prophet's message by Elijah, to be Benhadad's successor, is evident from to Benhadad be taken in an affirmative or negative sense, what appears of him in sacred history. For, when he he cannot justly be charged with baseness and ingrati12 Kings vi. 19.
tude ; since, whether he accepted of his present or no, it * Ibid. ver, 18. & Gen, xix. 11. * Le Clerc's Commentary on 1 Kings xix. 15. and Scripture Vindicated, part 2.
6 2 Kings viji, 10.
s Is, xlv. I.
A. M. 3001. A. C. 1003; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. -1654. A. C. 757. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. is manifest that he could not return him any false and and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some delusive answer : and yet the more probable opinion is, of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persethat, in conformity to his practice, in the case of Naaman cute them from city to city; that upon you may come the leper, he did, upon this occasion, ‘reject the good all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the things of Damascus' which Benhadad sent, because the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zechariah, same reasons which induced him to refuse them from the son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the temple the hand of Naaman were still in force, and might and the altar :' and hereupon some names of great authoequally prevail with him not to accept them from the rity have inferred, that the Zechariah, son of the high band of Hazael.
priest, whom Joash, king of Judah, commanded to be Thus, with regard to Benhadad king of Syria, the slain, was the same with the person whom our Saviour prophet stands clear of any inputation of falsehood or here mentions ; for though he calls his father by a differingratitude ; and, in like manner, if we consider the ent name, Barachiah, and not Jehoiada, yet this he matter as it stood, between him and Joash king of might do, say they, to denote the divine graces, which Israel, we shall find no unbecoming passion or peevish- were so conspicuous in him; for so the word Barachiah ness in his conduct, but a great deal of zeal and concern for the honour both of his king and country. For It must be observed, however, that as there is a differwhether king Joash before this interview with Elisha, ence in these two persons, not only in regard to their was acquainted or not with the nature of parabolical father's names, but to the place likewise where they sufferactions, whereby prophets more especially were accus- ed, the one 6 between the temple and the altar,' that is, in tomed to represent future events ; by the comment which the court of the priests, and the other ? in the court of the Elisha made upon the first arrow that he shot, which he house of the Lord,' that is, in the court of the Israelites, calls the arrow of deliverance from Syria,' he could where he was mounted on high, and inveighing against not but perceive that this was a symbolical action, and their idolatry, there are some grounds to believe, that intended to prefigure his victories over that nation; and the Zechariah in the gospel is not the same with him therefore, as the first action of shooting was a kind of whose death we find recorded in the Chronicles of the prelude to the war, he could not but understand farther, kings of Judah. even though the prophet had said nothing to him, that Our blessed Saviour, it must be owned, not only forethis second action of striking the ground with the arrow, told the utter excision of the Jews, but described likewas to portend the number of the victories he was to wise several preceding calamities almost in the very obtain. But then, if we may suppose with the gener-manner wherein their own historian has related them. ality of interpreters, that the prophet had apprised him Now, in the times of the Jewish war, Josephus 8 makes beforehand, that such was the symbolical intent of what mention of one Zacharias, and gives us these ircumbe now put upon him; that the oftener he smote upon stances concerning his murder : That he was the son of the ground, the more would their victories be which his one Baruch, a man of the first rank, and of great authoarms should obtain; that this was the decree of heaven; rity, virtue, and wealth, a friend to all good men, and a and that thus, in some measure, his success in war was constant enemy to the wicked ; that his son Zacharias put in his own power; the king's conduct was utterly was, by the zealots of that time, looked upon as a man inexcusable, if, diffident of the prophet's promise, and so very popular, that they could not think themselves considering the vast strength of the kings of Syria more safe, without taking away his life ; that to this purpose than the power of God that was engaged on his side, he they brought him before a sham court of their own erectstopped his hand after he had smitten thrice; supposing ing, where they accused him of a conspiracy to betray indeed, that the prediction would never have been ful-Jerusalem to the Romans, and of holding a criminal filled, had he gone on and smitten upon the earth oftener. correspondence with Vespasian; that upon his trial, his Upon the whole, therefore, the prophet had just reason innocence appeared so clear, and the accusations against to be offended at the king for not believing God, who him so false and malicious, that their own court, contrary had done so many signal miracles in favour of the to their expectation, acquitted him ; but that, after he Israelites; for not believing him, who, according to his was acquitted, two ruffians of their company fell upon own acknowledgment, had been a constant defender of him, and, having murdered him in the middle of the the state, 36 the chariot of Israel and the horsemen temple, threw his dead body down the precipice whereon thereof,' and now, in his dying hours, was full of good it stood. wishes and intentions for his country; and, by this un- This is the person, as others imagine, that our Saviour belief of his, for eclipsing the glory of his own arms, intends ; for as he begins with Abel, the first instance of and curtailing the number of his victories : for * thou a person suffering by violence, it is but reasonable, they shouldest have smitten five or six times,' says the prophet think, that he should conclude with one of the latest to the king, then shouldest thou have smitten Syria, till among the Jews while their government subsisted; and thou hadst consumed it; whereas now thou shalt smite therefore they look upon our Lord's words, not as a Syria but thrice.'
recital of what had been done, but a prediction of what 5.Behold I send unto you prophets, and wise men, would be done ; and a glorious evidence it is of his divine and scribes,' says our blessed Saviour, upbraiding the omniscience, which could foretell the names both of father Jews with their bloody persecutions of the righteous, and son, above forty years before the event happened.
However this be, we must not accuse the father of 1 2 Kings xiii. 17. . Le Clerc's Commentary on 2 Kings xiii. 19.
• Mat, xxjjj. 35.
72 Chron. xxiv 21. * Ibid. ver. 14. • Ibid, ver. 19. 5 Mat. xxiii. 34, &c.
History of the Jewish Wars, b. 1. c. 5.
A. M. 3001. A. C. 1003 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4654. A. C. 757. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHIRON. that Zacharias, who died a martyr in the reign of Joash | in his reasoning with the Jews, tells them, that Moses king of Judah, of showing a busy and pragmatical spirit, did indulge them in some cases,“ because of the hardness in placing this Joash, when a child, upon the throne of his of their hearts ;' not that God ever did, or ever will buancestors. Jehoiada, as he was high priest, had a large mour any man, because he is obstinate and obdurate; authority even in civil affairs ; ' the dignity of his station set him at the head of a very powerful body of men, the
6 Mat, xix. 8. priests and Levites ; and his quality, as first judge and kindness and good will, Exod. xxii. 21–24; Lev. xix. 17, 18, president of the great council of the nation, gave him a 34; xxv, 35; Deut. x. 19; Prov. xv. 17; xvii, 17; xviii. 24; right to defend oppressed innocence, and made it his xxvii. 10; David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, extols and reduty to oppose the unjust usurpation of Athaliah, who commends benevolence and mercy, forgiveness and kindness, to had no pretence of claim to the crown, and was descend-21, 26; xxxviii. 12–14; xxxix. 1; xl. 1, 3; xciv. 1; ci. 5;
enemies, Ps, xv. 5; xxvii. 2, et seq.; xxxiv. 14; xxxvii, 1, $, ed likewise from a wicked family, which God had parti- cix. 4, 5; cxii. 5, 9; cxx. 6, 7; cxxxiii. 1—3; and his own cularly devoted to destruction.
conduct afforded a noble exemplification of these virtues, as will 2 The constitution of the nation moreover was such, be apparent by consulting the following passages: Ps. xxxv. 12 that the crown, by divine appointment, was appropriat- seq.: iv. 8–12; xvi. 1–11; xix. 21–23. It cannot then be
-15; 1 Sam. xxiv, 1, et seq. ; xxvi. 1, et seq. 2 Sam. i. 4, et ed to the sons of David; and therefore the hereditary credited that one so distinguished for tenderness and benevolence right was inherent in him whom he had set up, whose of heart, as well as for pre-eminent piety, could utter any thing aunt he had married, whose kinsman he was by birth as in direct opposition to those feelings of mercy and forgiveness well as marriage, and who upon these accounts, as well which he both highly recommended, and exhibited in his own
practice. Independently of this we may rest assured that no as all necessary qualifications for so high a trust, was the unmerciful and revengeful sentiment was es er suggested by the properest guardian of the succession. For he had a large Holy Spirit, or ever found entrance into a work of inspiratia, share of wisdom and experience, an ardent love for the From these observations we may with certainty infer that the paspublic good, courage and activity in his complexion, sages in question, however they may appear, were undoubtedly not
intended to convey any bitter and unrelenting malediction. Nor will and a solid piety towards God ruling in his heart; and they be deemed to do so, provided due allowance be made for the yet he did not act alone in this important affair, but had bold phraseology of oriental poetry, which must generally be receivthe consent and concurrence of the chief officers, both ed with considerable abatement; and provided also, they be under
stood with the reservation which ought to accompany all our civil and ecclesiastic, the special motion and assistance
wishes and addresses to the Deity, namely, that he would grant of God's blessed Spirit, and, as we may suppose, the them only so far as may be consistent with his will and providirection and encouragement of the principal prophets dence. If the imprecative parts of the book of Psalms be taken that were then alive.
with these limitations, as in reason they ought, they will be found His son indeed was but badly requited for all the of might receive the just recompence of their deeds, and that the
in substance merely to express a wish that the wicked men spoken care which his father had taken in setting the crown upon punishment they deserved might speedily overtake them, if such young Joash, when, in his reign, and by his orders, he were the will of God. The impious and transgressors are those was stoned to death, and as he was expiring, cried out, alone upon whom the Psalmist imprecates the Divine vengeance; 8. Lord, look upon it, and requite it.' But we must not and there is nothing of vindictive feeling in praying for that
which he believed the Divine justice, as well as the Divine proby these words imagine that he died with a spirit of mise were engaged to inflict; while at the same time his entire revenge, for far be it from so good a man, but that, by confidence in the absolute perfections of the Supreme Being atferds the spirit of prophecy, he only foretold, that it would ample evidence that he calls for this vengeance only so far as not be long before God would find out some means of might be accordant with the divine attributes of wisdom, goodpunishing the king for his barbarous usage of him ; which supplied by Ps. xxviii. 4, 5, where he prays the Almighty to
ness, and equity. A strong confirmation of this reasoning is accordingly came to pass ; for in the following verses 'give them according to their deeds, according to the wicked we read, that * . at the end of the year, the host of Syria ness of their endeavours; to give them after the work of their came up against him,' and not long after that, s' his hands; to render them their desert;' and he immediately subown servants conspired against him, and slew him on his they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his
joins as a reason for the petition, and a vindication of it, because bed.'
hands, he shall (will) destroy them, and not build them up.' The spirit of the gospel, it must he owned, is of a Such imprecative addresses are in reality the expression of an much more gentle and forgiving temper than that of the
earnest desire that the will of God may be done in earth as it is law, under which we meet with several such imprecations, his own honour as well by the punishment of the iniquitous as by
in heaven, and that, if it seemed good unto him, he would assert especially in the Psalmist, as cannot, without violence, the preservation of the righteous. The persons to whom the imadmit of any other construction. a Our blessed Saviour, precations reser, were inveterate adversaries, plotting against the
life of the Psalmist, and maliciously intent upon effecting bis 'Calmet's Commentary on 2 Kings xi. 4.
ruin, To pray to be rescued from their wicked devices, ra » Poole's Annotations.
• 2 Chron. xxiv, 22.
clearly lawful; and, considering their numbers and persevering * Ibid, ver. 23.
5 Ibid, ver, 25.
malignity, his escape might seem utterly impracticable without a It must be confessed that, at first sight, these imprecations their entire overthrow or extirpation; a prayer for their destrucappear cruel and vindictive, irreconcilable with the gentle tion, therefore, was equivalent to a prayer for his own preservaspirit of piety and religion; and some unhesitatingly acknow- tion and deliverance. Besides, they were for the most part not ledging them to be indefensible on Christian principles, rest the only personal enemies, but hostile to the people of Israel
, rebels defence solely on their accordance with the character of the to their heavenly king, and violators of his commands. Todesire Jewish dispensation; which, say they, did not inculcate that the punishment of such characters arose, it may fairly be pre cordial forgiveness of injuries, and even love of our enemies, sumed, not from personal vindictive feelings, but from a regard which form an essential and peculiar doctrine of the gospel. In to religion, and hatred of iniquity; and was in fact tantamcunt this representation the inquirer will not be disposed to acquiesce, to desiring the Almighty to vindicate his glory by inflicting the when he reflects that the Hebrew Scriptures do forcibly enjoin chastisements, which they deserved, and which he has denounced the duties of forgiving injuries, Exod. xii. 49; xxiii. 4, 6; Lev. against the proud contemners of his laws. By many writers the xix. 17, 18; Deut. xxxii. 35; Prov. xi. 17; xix. 11; xx. 22; passages objected to are explained as predictions; and this is not xxiv. 29; Zech. vii, 10; of doing good to enamies, Exod xxiii. at variance with the Hebrew idiom; which admits, under sore 4,5; Prov. xxv. 21; Jer. xxix. 7; and of cultivating mutual circumstances, the use of the imperative for the future as Por
A. M. 3001. A. C. 1003; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4654. A. C. 757. 1 KINGS viii TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. but the sense of the word is, 'that God therefore con- 'there should fall to the earth nothing of what he had nived at some things, because the dispensation under said concerning the house of Ahab ;' and it must be acwhich they lived wanted proper efficacy to work their knowledged, that for his performance of the divine hearts to a greater softness. We are not therefore to commands in this regard,' he received commendations wonder that we find some disparity in the behaviour of a from God, and a settlement of his family in the throne Christian and Jewish martyr; but that such prophetical of Israel for four successions ; and yet we may say of declarations, concerning the future punishment of ene- him,' that he meant not so, neither did his heart think mies and persecutors, were not thought wicked and so :' he was still a bad man, though he did well in exeuncharitable, even under a more perfect dispensation, we cuting that which was right in God's eyes,' as to the have the example of the great apostle of the Gentiles to abolishment of the worship of Baal ; ' but his obstinate evince ; who, speaking of Alexander the coppersmith, persistance in the sin of Jeroboam may be justly all who had greatly opposed him, the Lord reward him,' against him, as an argument of his false-heartedness in says he, according to his works ;' where it is to be ob- all his other actions. served that the king's manuscript reads derooboei, and Why he continued in this kind of idolatry, the reasons not drwon, that is, shall or will reward, and most of were much the same with him, that they were with the the ancient commentators have remarked, that this is not first institutor of it,-lest, by permitting his subjects to an imprecation, but a prediction only, not unbecoming go to the place appointed for divine worship, he might an apostle.
open a door for their return to their obedience to the What God says of the king of Assyria, whom he calls house of David; and not only so, but disoblige likewise the rod of his anger, and the staff of his indignation,' is a great part of the nobility of the nation, who, by this not inapplicable to Jehu, after he was advanced to the time, had been long accustomed, and were warmly throne of Israel: “I sent him against the people of my affected to the worship of the golden calves : herein, wrath to tread them down, like mire of the streets, how- however, he made a plain discovery of his sin and folly, beit, he meant not so, neither did his heart think so, in not daring to trust God with the keeping of his kingbut it was in his heart to destroy, and cut off'nations not a dom, though it was from his kindness and donation that few.' Jehu indeed made great ostentation of “ his zeal for he had it, and in apprehending any danger from the the Lord,' and declared that, during his administration," house of David, or the kingdom of Judah, which were
both now in so weak and declining a condition, that they : Young's Sermons.
2 Tim. iv. 14.
were much more likely to be swallowed up by him. Whithy's Commentary on the New Testament. xxxvii, 27; Gen. xx. 7; xlii. 18; xlv. 8; Prov. iii. 4; iv. 4;
6 The truth is, Jehu was a wicked, bold, furious, and and the employment of the imperative mood, when declaring fu- implacable man; but a man of this complexion, consiture events, is not unusual with the sacred writers, as in Is. vi. dering the work he was to be set about, was a proper 10; viii. 9, 10; ix. 3; xvii. 1; xxix. 9; Jer. i. 10; Ezek. xliii. 3. instrument to be employed; and so far is it from tending In some instances, a prayer or wish for the punishment of sinners may be nearly equivalent to a prediction, inasmuch as it is to the reproach, that it is infinitely to the glory of God, founded on the belief, and meant to imply, that, according to that he can make use of such boisterous and unruly pasGod's moral government of the world, punishment most certainly sions of mankind for the accomplishment of his just awaits them. Some of the imprecations in the Psalms may, then, designs, according to the observation of the royal Psalwould inevitably fall upon the impious; but in others, and per- mist, ? « Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, and haps most of them, both the natural construction of the sentences, the remainder of his wrath shalt thou restrain.' This and the full force and propriety of the expressions, require them he plainly did in the case of Jehu; for after he had setto be taken in an imprecative sense. To explain them in any tled him in the possession of a kingdom, and still found other sense is doing violence to the laws of grammatical interpre- that he persisted in his political idolatry, he brought tation; yet even in this light, considered as imprecations, they amount to no more than a wish that the impious may be dealt down the king of Syria upon him, 8 • who smote the coasts with according to the eternal and unalterable laws of divine jus- of Israel,' and quite wasted all that part of his kingdom tice, that they may openly and before the world receive the which lay beyond the river Jordan. penalties of crime, provided it be the will of God; which surely is neither an unnatural nor unreasonable wish in those, who an
There is this to be said, however, concerning Jehu's viously seek the punishment of vice, and the maintenance of true cutting off* Ahaziah, and the other branches of his religion and virtue. In the Psalmist, moreover, it is a wish not family, that though his primary intent in doing it was to proceeding from a desire to gratify a personal and vindictive secure himself in the possession of the kingdom, against feeling, but partly from a desire of self-preservation, and partly from anxiety to see the worship and glory of God triumphant all claims that might come from the house of Ahab; yet over all enemies. Imprecations, therefore, made with the limita- did he not act entirely contrary to his commission, betions, and originating in the motives just mentioned, so far from cause 16 Ahaziah was the son of Athaliah, the daughter of being liable to the charge of maliciousness and revenge, are in Ahab, and the order of God was," that the whole house accordance with the purest spirit of religion, and with the exer- of Ahab should perish ;' but then the question is, where it cise of the most extensive charity. Of all those tremendous imprecations which appear in our common English version of Deut. was that Ahaziah was slain? because in the two accounts xxvii, 15—26, there is not one authorized by the original. The that we have of his death, there seems to be some repugHebrew texts express no kind of wish, but are only so many de- nancy. The account which we have in the second book nunciations of the displeasure of God against those who either were or should be guilty of the sins therein mentioned, and of the of Kings runs thus :12 • When Ahaziah saw the death of judgments which they must expect to be inflicted upon them, Jehoram king of Israel, he fled by the way of the gardenunless prevented by a timely and sincere repentance. And agreeably to this view, the sacred text should have been rendered * cursed they,' or cursed are they,' and not cursed be they,' + 2 Kings x. 10. 5 Ibid. ver. 29. Poole's Annotations. in the sense of Let them be cursed; the word be, though inserted ? Ps. lxxvi, 10.
8 2 Kings x. 32. in our translation, having nothing answerable to it in the Hebrew. 9 Poole's Annotations on 2 Kings x, 14. 10 2 Kings vijj. 19. - Horne's Introduction. -ED.
11 2 Kings ix, 8.
12 Ibid. ver. 27.