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is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys ; catch it: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Ben-hadad thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord. came forth to him; and he caused him to come up
29 And they pitched one over against the other "into the chariot. seven days; and so it was, that in the seventh day 34 And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities the battle was joined : rand the children of Israel which my father took from thy father I will reslew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen store; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Dain one day,
mascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then, said 30 But the rest fled 'to Aphek, into the city; and Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So there 'a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand he made a covenant ywith him, and sent him away. of the men that were left. And Ben-hadad fled, 35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets and came into the city, into *an inner chamber. said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD,
31 And his servants said unto him, Behold now, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel smite him. are merciful "kings : let us, I pray thee, put *sack 36 Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not cloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as go out to the king of Israel; peradventure he will thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. save thy life.
And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion 32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and found him, and slew him. put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of 37 Then he found another man, and said, Smite Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? in smiting he wounded him. he is my brother.
38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the 33 Now the men did diligently observe whether king by the way, and ddisguised himself with ashes any thing would come from him, and did hastily upon his face. ?
Ver. 13. Job 12. 16-19. + Ps. 10. 16. Ps. 18. 45. 1 Jer. 48. 44. Luke 13. 4.
a chamber within a chamber, c. 22. 95, or, from chamber to chamber. u Is. 16.5. Gen. 37, 34.
2 2 Kings 10. 15. Acts 8. 31. I c. 15. 2. y Is. 8. 12. z 2 Kings 2. 3. 5, &c. e c. 13. 17, 18. b Jer. 27. 2. Ex. 4. 3. cc. 13, 24. 1 mmiting and teounding. d 2 Sam. 14. 2.
very remarkable; (v. 27,) the children of Israel, who were can- represented, as indeed every Israelite is then dressed as betoned in two batialions, looked like two little flocks of kids, comes him, when he puls on bowels of mercies. " They are their numbers small, their equipage mean, and the figure they merciful kings, therefore we may hope to find mercy, upon our made contemptiblo; but the Syrians filled the country with their submission;" this encouragement poor sinners have to repent numbers, their noise, their chariots, their carriages, and their and humble themselves before God; “Have we not heard that baggage.
the God of Israel is a merciful God? Have we not found him IV. Abab is encouraged to fight the Syrians, notwithstand- so? Let us therefore rend our hearts and return to him," ing their advantages and confidence. A man of God is sent to Joel 2. 13. That is evangelical repentance, which flows from him, to tell him that this numerous army should all be delivered an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ; there is forinto his hand, (v. 28,) but not for his sake; be it known to him, giveness with him. ho was utterly unworthy, for whom God should do this: God Two things they undertake to represent to Ahab; would not do it, because Ahab had praised God, or prayed to 1. Their master a penitent; for they girded sackcloth on him, (we do not read that he did either, but because the their loins, as mourners, and put ropes on their heads, as conSyrians had blasphemed God, and had said, He is the God of the demned criminals going io execution, pretending to be sorry that hills and not of the valleys; therefore God will do it in his own they had invaded his country, and disturbed his repose, and to vindication, and to preserve the honour of his own name : if the own that they deserved to be hanged for it; here they are ready Syrians had said, " Ahab and his people have forsaken their to do penance for it, and throw themselves at the feet of him God, and so put themselves out of his protection, and therefore whom they had injured; many take upon them to repene of their we may venture to attack them," God would probably have wrong doing, when it does not succeed, who, if they had prosdelivered Israel into their hands; but when they go upon a pered in it, would haye justified it, and gloried in it. presumption so very injurious to the divine omnipotence, and 2. Their master a beggar, a beggar for his life; Thy servant the honour of him who is Lord of all hosts, not only in hills and Ben-hadad saith, " I pray thee, let me live, v. 32. Though I valleys, but in heaven and earth, which they are willingly live a perpetual exile from my own country, and captive in this, ignorant of, they shall be undeceived, at the expense of that yet, upon any terms, let me live". What a great change is vast army which is so much their pride and confidence. here, (1.) In his condition ; how is he fallen from the height of
V. Alter the armies had faced one another seven days, (the power and prosperity, to the depths of disgrace and distress, Syrians, it is likely, boasting, and the Israelites trembling,) and all the miseries of poverty and slavery! See the uncerthey engaged, and the Syrians were totally routed; 100,000 tainty of human affairs; such turns are they subject to, that men slain by the sword of Israel, in the field of battle, (v. 29,) the spoke which was uppermost, may soon come to be underand 27,000 men, that thought themselves safe under the walls
most. (2.) In his temper; in the beginning of the chapter, of Aphek, a fortified city, (from the walls of which, the shooters hectoring, swearing, and threatening, and none more high in might annoy the enemy if they pursued them, 2 Sam. 11. 24,) his demands; but here, humbling and bemoaning himself, and found their bane where they hoped for protection, the wall fell none more low in his requests : how poorly does he beg his life upon them, probably, overthrown by an earthquake, and, the at the hand of him whom he had there been trampling upon! cities of Canaan being walled up to heaven, it reached a great The most haughty in prosperity are commonly most abject in way, and they were all either killed, or hurt, or overwhelmed adversity; an evil spirit will thus affect a man in these conwith dismay. Ben-hadad, who thought his city Aphek should ditions ; see how God glorifies himself, when he looks upon have held out against the conquerors, finding it thus unwalled, proud men, and abases them, and hides them in the dust together, and the remnant of his forces dispirited and dispersed, had Job 40. 11–13. nothing but secrecy to rely upon for safety, and therefore hid II. Ahab's foolish acceptance of his submission, and the himself in a chamber within a chamber, lest the pursuers should league he suddenly made with him, upon it; he was proud to seize him. See how the greatest confidence often ends in the be thus courted by him whom he feared, inquires for him with greatest cowardice; “Now, is the God of Israel the God of the great tenderness, Is he yet alive? He is my brother, brother valleys, or po?" He shall know now, that he is forced into an king, though not brother Israelite ; and Ahab valued himself inner chamber to hide himself. See ch. 22. 25.
more on his royalty than on his religion, and others accordingly. V. 31–43. Here is an account of what followed the victory “Is he thy brother, Ahab? Did he use thee like a brother, which Israel obtained over the Syrians.
when he sent thee that barbarous message? v. 5, 6. Would 1. Ben-hadad's tame and mean submission; even in his inner he have called thee brother, if he had been the conqueror ? chamber he fears, and would, if he could, fee further, though Would he now have called himself thy servant, if he had not none pursues; his servants, seeing him and themselves reduced been reduced to the utmost strait? Canst thou suffer thyself to the last extremity, advise that they surrender at discretion, to be thus imposed upon by a forced and counterfeit submisand make themselves prisoners and petitioners to Ahab for sion ?” This word brother they catch al, (v. 33,) and were their lives, v. 31. The servants will put their lives in their encouraged by that to go and fetch him to the king; he that hands, and venture first, and their master shall act according calls him brother, will let him live ; let poor penitents hear God, as they speed. Their inducement to take this course, is, the in his word, calling them children, (Jer. 31. 20,) catch at it, great reputation the kings of Israel bad for clemency above any echo to it, and call him Father. Ben-hadod, upon his subof their neighbours ; "We have heard that they are merciful mission, shall not only be honourably conveyed, (he took him kings, pot oppressive to their subjects that are under their up into the chariot,) but treated with as an ally. (v. 34,) be power," (as governments then went, that of Israel was one of made a covenant with him, not consulting either God's prophets, the most easy and gentle,) "and therefore not cruel to their or the elders of the land, or himself, concerning what was fit to enemies, when they lie at their mercy." Perhaps they had be insisted on, but, as if Ben-hadad had been conqueror, he this notion of the kings of Israel, because they had heard that shall make his own terms: he might now have demanded some the God of Israel proclaimed his name gracious and merciful, of Ben-hadad's cities, when all of them lay at the mercy of his and they concluded their kings would make their God their victorious army, but is content with the restitution of his own paltern; it was an honour to the kings of Israel to be thus he might now have demanded the stores, and treasures, and
k c. 21. 4. c 1 Sam. 8. 14.
39 And as the king passed by, he cried unto
CHAPTER XXI. the king: and he said, “Thy servant went out into
Ahab is still the unhappy subject of the sacred history ; from the great affairs the midst of the battle ; and, behold, a man turned of his camp and kingdom this chapter leads us into his garden, and gives na an aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep
account of some ill things, and ill indeed they proved to him.) relating to his
domestic affairs. 1. Ahab is sick for Naboth's vineyard, v.1-4. II. Naboth this man: if by any means he be missing, then dies by Jezebel's plot, that the vineyard may eacheat to Ahab, v. 5-14. II.
Ahab goes to take possession, v.15, 16. IV. Elijah meets him, and denounces shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt *pay a the judgments of God against him for his injustice, v. 17-24. V. Upou hia talent of silver.
humiliation a reprieve is granted, v. 529. 40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which him, So sshall thy judgment be; thyself "hast de- was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of cided it.
Samaria. 41 And he hasted, and took the ashes away 2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him “me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden that he was of the prophets.
of herbs, because it is near unto my house; and I 42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man it seem * good to thee, I will give thee the worth of whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore it in money. thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his 3 And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it people.
me, that "I should give the inheritance of my fathers 43 And the king of Israel went to his house unto thee. heavy kand displeased, and came to Samaria. 4 And Ahab came into his house cheavy and
. & 2 Sam. 12.5–7.
• be good in thine eyes. b Lev. 25. 23. Num. 36. 7. h Job 15. 6. Matt. 21. 41-43. Luke 19. 22. c. 22, 31-37.
Ez. 46. 18. c Job 5. 2. Hab. 2. 12. magazines, of Damascus, to augment the wealth and strength mander-in-chief, delivered into thy hands one plainly marked of his own kingdom, but is content with a poor liberty, at his for destruction, both by his own pride, and God's providence, own expense, to build streets there, a point of honour, and no and thou hast not carelessly lost him, but wittingly and willadvantage, or no more than what the kings of Syria had had in ingly dismissed him, and so hast been false to thy trust, and Samaria, though they never had had so much power as he had lost the end of thy victory; expect therefore no other than that now, to support the demand of it,
With this covenant he sent thy life shall go for his life, which thou hast spared,” (and so him away, without so much as reproving him for his blasphe- it did, ch. 22. 35,) “and thy people for his people, whom likemous reflections upon the God of Israel, whose honour Ahab wise thou hast spared;" and so they did afterward, 2 Kings 10. had no concern for. Note, There are those on whom success 32, 33. When their other sins brought them low, this came is ill bestowed; they know not how to serve either God or their into the account. There is a time, when keeping back the generation, or even their own true interests, with their pros- sword from blood, is doing the work of the Lord deceitfully, perity : Lel favour be showed lo the wicked, yet will he not learn Jer. 48. 10. Foolish pity spoils the city. righteousness.
3. We are told how Ahab took this reproof; he went to his III. The reproof given to Ahab for his clemency to Ben- house, heavy and displeased, (v. 43;) not truly penitent, or hadad, and his covenant with him; it was given him by a pro- seeking to undo what he had done amiss, but enraged at the phel, in the name of the Lord; the Jews say it was Micaiah, prophet, exasperated against God, (as if he had been too severe and not unlikely, for Ahab complains of him, (ch. 22.8,) that in the sentence passed upon him,) and yet vexed at himself, he used to prophesy evil concerning him; this prophet designed every way out of humour, notwithstanding his victory; he who, to reprove Ahab by a parable, that he might oblige him to con- by his providence, had mortified the pride of one king, by his demn himself, as Nathan and the woman of Tekoa did David; word cast a damp upon the triumphs of another: Be wise thereto make his parable the more plausible, he finds it necessary fore, Oye kings, and be instructed to serve the Lord with fear, to put himself into the posture of a wounded soldier.
and rejoice with trembling, Ps. 2, 10, 11. 1. With some difficulty, he gets himself wounded, for he would not do it with his own hands; he commanded one of his
NOTES TO CHAPTER XXI. brother prophets, his neighbour, or companion, (for so the word V.1-4. Here is, signifies,) to smite him, and this, in God's name, (v. 35,) but 1. Ahab's coveting his neighbour's vineyard, which, unhapfinds him not so willing to give the blow as he is to receive it; pily, lay near his palace, and was convenient for a kitchenhe refused to smite him, others were forward enough to smite garden: perhaps, Naboth had been pleased that he had a prophets, they need not smite one another; we cannot but vineyard which lay so advantageously for a prospect of the think it was from a good principle he declined it ; "If it must royal gardens, or the vending of its productions io the royal be done, let another do it, not I'; I cannot find in my heart to family--but the situation of it proved" fatal to him; if he had strike my friend." Good' men can much more easily receive had no vineyard, or it had lain obscure in some remote place, a wrongful blow than give one; yet because he disobeyed an he had preserved his life; but many a man's possessions have express command of God, (which was so much the worse if been his snare, and his neighbourhood to greatness of pernihe were himself a prophet, like that other disobedient prophet, cious consequences.
Ahab sets his eye and heart on this ch. 13. 24, he was presently slain by a lion, v. 36. This was vineyard, (v. 2 ;) it will be a pretty addition to his demesne, intended, not only to show, in general, how provoking dis- a convenient outlet to his palace, and nothing will serve him obedience is, (Col. 3. 6,) but to intimate to Ahab, who, no
but it must be bis own. He is welcome to the fruits of it, doubt, was told the story, that if a good prophet were thus pu- welcome to walk in it; Naboth perhaps would have made him nished for sparing his friend and God's when God said, Smite, a lease of it, for his life, to please him, but nothing will please of much sorer punishment should a wicked king be thought him, unless he have an absolute property in it, he and his heirs worthy, who spared his enemy and God's, when God said, for ever: yet he is not such a tyrant as to take it by force, but Smile.' Shall mortal man pretend to be more just than God, fairly proposes, either to give him the full value of it in money, more pure or more compassionate than his Maker? We must or a better vineyard in exchange; he had tamely quitted the be merciful as he is merciful, and not otherwise, The next he great advantages God had given him, of enlarging his dominion met with, made no difficulty of smiting him, (Volenti non fit for the honour of his kingdom, by his victory over the Syrians, injuria-He that asks for an injury is not wronged by it,) and and now is eager to enlarge his garden, only for the convedid it so that he wounded him, (v. 37;) he fetched blood with nience of his house, as if to be penny wise, would atone for the blow; it is likely, in his face.
being pound foolish. To desire a convenience to his eslale, 2. Wounded as he was, and disguised with ashes, that he was not evil; (there would be no buying, if there were no might not be known to be a prophet, he made his application desire of what is bought; the virtuous woman considers a field to the king in a story, whereby he charged himself with such a and buys it;) but to desire any thing inordinately, though we crime as the king was now guilty of in sparing Ben-hadad, and would compass it by lawful means, is a fruit of selfishness, as waits for the king's judgment upon it; the case, in short, is if we must engross all the conveniences, and none must live, or this ;-A prisoner taken in the battle was committed to his live comfortably, by us; contrary to the law of contentment, custody, by a man, (we may suppose one that had authority and the letter of the tenth commandment, Thou shall not covet over him as his superior officer,) with this charge, If he be thy neighbour's house. missing, thy life shall be for his life, v. 39. The prisoner has II. The repulse he met with in this desire; Naboth would made his escape through his carelessness. Can the chancery by no means part with it, (v. 3,) The Lord forbid it me; and in the king's breast relieve him against his captain, who de- the Lord did forbid il, else he would not have been so rude and mands his life in lieu of the prisoner's? “By no means," says uncivil to his prince, as not to gratify him in so small a matter. the king, thou shouldest either not have undertaken the trust, Canaan was, in a peculiar manner, God's land; the Israelites or been more careful and faithful to it, there is no remedy, were his tenants ; and this was one of the conditions of their (Curat les Let the law take ils course,) thou hast forfeited thy leases, that they should not alienate, (no not to one another,) bond, and execution must go out upon it; 80 shall thy doom be, any part of that which fell to their lot, unless in case of exThyself hast decided it." Now the prophet has what he would treme necessity, and then only till the year of jubilee, Lev. 25. have, puts off his disguise, and is known by Ahab himself to 28. Now Naboth foresaw that if his vineyard were sold to be a prophet, (v. 41,) and plainly tells him, “ Thou art the man. the crown, it would never return to his heirs, no not in the jubiIs it my doom? No, it is thine; thyself hast decided it ; out of lee; he would gladly oblige the king, but he must obcy God thine own mouth art thou judged; God, thy Superior and Com-I rather than men, and therefore in this matter desires to be
d Neh. 2. 2.
• in the top
i Lev. 24. 14,
k Is. 58. 4.
I Ex, 20. 16. Ps. 27. 12. Prov. 25. 18. Mal. 3. &
displeased, because of the word which Naboth the 9 And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, I will a fast, and set Naboth *on high among the people; not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And 10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst face, and would eat no bread.
blaspheme "God and the king: and then carry him 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto out, and stone ihim, that he may die. him, Why dis thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no 11 And the men of his city, even the elders and bread?
the nobles, who were the inhabitants in his city, did 6 And he said unto her, Because I spake unto as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was writNaboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me ten in the letters which she had sent unto them: thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I 12 They proclaimed a fast," and set Naboth on will give thee another vineyard for it: and he high among the people. answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
13 And there came in two men, children of 7 And 'Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? 'Arise, witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried
8 So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and him forth out of the city, and stoned him with sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto stones, that he died. the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth dwelling with Naboth.
is stoned, and is dead. e Mic. 2. 1, 2. 2 Sam. 11. 14, 15. Esth. 3. 12, 13. of. g Deut. 13. 13. h Ex. 22. 28. Lev. 24. 15, 16. Matt. 26. 59–66. Acts 6. 11.
in ? Kings 9. 26. Ec, 4.1, Acts 7. 57-59. excused. Ahab knew the law, or should have known it, and about them, that stir them up to acts of tyranny, and teach therefore did ill to ask that which his subject could not grant them how to abuse their power. without sin. Some conceive that Naboth looked upon his II. In order to the gratifying of him, she projects and comearthly inheritance as an earnest of his lot in the heavenly passes the death of Naboth; no less than his blood will serve Canaan, and therefore would not part with the former, lest it to atone for the affront he had given to Ahab, which she thirsts should amount to a forfeiture of the latter: he seems to have after the more greedily, because of his adherence to the law of been a conscientious man, who would rather hazard the king's the God of Israel. Had she aimed only at his land, her false displeasure than offend God; and, probably, was one of the witnesses might have sworn him out of that by a forged deed; 7000 that had not bowed the knee to Baal, for which, it may (she could not have set up so weak a title, but the elders of be, Ahab owed him a grudge.
Jezreel would have adjudged it good ;) but the adulteress will III. Ahab's great discontent and uneasiness, hereupon; he hunt for the precious life, Prov. 6. 26. Revenge is sweet; was, as before, (ch. 20. 43,) heavy and displeased, (v. 4;) grew Naboth must die, and die as a malefactor, to gratify it. melancholy upon it, threw himself upon his bed, would not eat, 1. Never were more wicked orders given by any prince, than nor admit company to come to him; he could by no means these which Jezebel sent to the magistrates of Jezreel, v. 8-10. digest the affront; his proud spirit aggravated the indignity She borrows the privy seal, but the king shall not know what Naboth did him in denying him, as a thing not to be suffered'; she will do with it: it is probable this was not the first time he he cursed the squeamishness of his conscience, which he pre- had lent it her, but that with it she had signed warrants for the tended to consult the peace of, and secretly meditated revenge; slaying of the prophets. She makes use of the king's name, nor could he bear the disappointment, it cut him to the heart to knowing the thing would please him when it was done, yei be crossed
in his desires, and he was perfectly sick for vexation. fearing he mighe scruple the manner of doing it; in short, she Note, 1. Discontent is a sin that is its own punishment, and commands them, upon their allegiance, to put Naboth to death, makes men torment themselves; it makes the spirit sad, the without giving them any reason. Had she sent witnesses to body sick, and all the enjoyments sour; it is the heaviness of inform against him, the judges (who mus: go secundum allegata the heart, and the rottenness of the bones. 2. It is a sin that et probala-according to allegations and proofs) might have is its own parent; it arises not from the condition, but from the been imposed upon, and their sentence had been rather their mind; as we find Paul contented in a prison, so Ahab discon- unhappiness than their crime; but to oblige them to find the tented in a palace; he had all the delights of Canaan, that plea- witnesses, sons of Belial, to suborn them themselves, and then sant land, at command, the wealth of a kingdom, the pleasures to give judgment upon a testimony which they knew to be false, of a court, and the honours and powers of a throne ; and yet was such an impudent defiance to every thing that is just and all this avails him nothing without Naboth's vineyard. Inor- sacred, as we hope cannot be paralleled in any story; she must dinato desires expose men to continual vexations, and they that look upon the elders of Jezreel as men perfectly lost to every are disposed to fret, be they never so happy, will always find thing that is honest and honourable, when she expected these something or other to fret at.
orders should be obeyed; but she will put them in a way how V. 5–16. Nothing but mischief is to be expected when to do it, having as much of the serpent's subtlety as she had of Jezebel enters into the story—that cursed woman, 2 Kings 9. his poison. 34.
(1.) It must be done under colour of religion-“Proclaim a 1. Under pretence of comforting her afflicted husband, she fast, signify to your city that you are apprehensive of some feeds his pride and passion, and blows the coals of his corrup- dreadful judgment coming upon you, which you must endeavour tions, It became her to take notice of his grief, and to inquire to avert, not only by prayer, but by finding out and by putting into the cause of it, v. 5. Those have forgotten both the duty away the accursed ihing; take on you to be afraid that there is and affection of the conjugal relation, that interest not them some great offender among you undiscovered, for whose sake selves in each other's troubles. He tells her what troubled him, God is angry with your city ; charge the people, if they know (v. 6,) yet invidiously conceals Naboth's reason for his refusal, of any such, on that solemn occasion to inform against him, as representing it as peevish, when it was conscientious; I will they tender the welfare of the city, and at last let Naboth be not give it thee, whereas he said, I may not. What! (says fastened upon as the suspected person, probably, because he Jezebel, v. 7,) Dost thou govern Israel? Arise, and eat bread. does not join with his neighbours in their worship: That may She does well to persuade him to shake off his melancholy, serve for a pretence to set him on high among the people, to call and not to sink under his burden, to be easy and cheerful; him to the bar; let proclamation be made, if any one can inform whatever was his grief, grieving would not redress it, but plea- the court against the prisoner, and prove him to be the Achan, santness would alleviate it; her plea is, Dost thou now govern they shall be heard; and then let the witnesses appear to give Israel? This is capable of a good sense, Does it become so evidence against him." Note, There is no wickedness so vile, great a prince as thou art, to cast thyself down for so small a so horrid, but religion has sometimes been made a cloak and matter? Thou shamest thyself, and profanest thy crown; it is cover for it. We must not think at all the worse of fasting and below thee to take notice of so inconsiderable a thing. Art praying for their having been sometimes thus abused, but much thou fit to govern Israel, who hast no better a government of the
worse of those wicked designs that have at any time been thine own passions? Or hast thou so rich a kingdom at com- carried on under the umbrage of them.. mand, and canst not thou bo without this one vineyard ?" We (2.) It must be done under colour of justice too, and with the should learn to quiet ourselves, under our crosses, with the formalities of a legal process. Had she sent to them to hire thoughts of the mercies we enjoy, especially our hopes of the some of their banditti, some desperate ruffians to assassinate kingdom. But she meant it in a bad sense, " Dost thou govern him, to stab him as he went along the streets in the night, it had Israel, and shall any subject thou hast, deny thee any thing been bad enough ; but to do it by a course of law, to use that thou hast a mind to? Art thou a king? It is below thee to buy power for the
murdering of the innocent, which ought to be their and pay, much more to beg and pray; use thy prerogative, and protection, was such a violent perverting of justice and judg. take by force what thou canst not compass by fair means : ment as yet we are bid not lo marvel at, Ec. 5. 8. The crime instead of resenting the affront thus, revenge it. If thou know they must lay to his charge, was blaspheming God and the king ; est not how to support the dignity of a king, let me alone to do a complicated blasphemy. Sure she could not think to put a it; give me but leave to make use of thy name, and I will soon blasphemous sense upon the answer he had given to Ahab, as give thee the vineyard of Naboth; right or wrong, it shall be if denying him his vineyard were blaspheming the king, and thy own shortly, and cost thee nothing." Unhappy princes giving the divine law for the reason, were blaspheming God. those are, and hurried apace toward their ruin, who have those No, she pretends not any ground at all for the charge; though
1 c. 14. 10.
* Ex. 20.
n Prov. 1.10-16. 4. 17. Ps. 9.12. 7. 16. Matt. 7. 2. rc. 18. 17.
15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard possession ? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jeze- Thus saith the Lord, In qthe place where dogs bel said to Ahab, Arise, take "possession of the vine- licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, yard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to even thine. give thee for money : for Naboth is not alive, but 20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found dead.
me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found 16 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that thee; because thou hast sold thyself to work evil Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down in the sight of the LORD. to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take 21 Behold, I 'will bring evil upon thee, and will possession of it.
take away thy posterity, and will ucut off from Ahab 17_And "the word of the LORD came to Elijah' him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is the Tishbite, saying,
shut up and left in Israel, 18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, 22 Ánd will make thine house like the house which pis in Samaria : behold, he is in the vineyard of Jeroboam "the son of Nebat, and like the house of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. of Baasha «the son of Ahijah, for the provocation
19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken made Israel to sin. pc. 13. 32. 2 Chr. 22. 9. qc. 22. 33. Ps. $ ver. B. 2 Kings 17. 17. Is. 50. 1. 62. 3. Rom. 7. 14.
5, 6. 2 Kings 9.8. v c. 15. 29. to c. 16.3, 11. there was no colour of truth in it, though witnesses must swear many other sins, especially idolatry; whereas David, except in it, and Naboth must not be permitted to speak for himself, or that one matter, did that which was right. But for Ahab there cross examine the witnesses, but immediately, under pretence was none like him ; so ingenious and industrious in sin, and that of a universal detestation of the crime, they must carry him out made a trade of it. He sold himself to work wickedness; that and stone him. His blaspheming God would be the forfeiture is, he made himself a perfect slave to his lusts, and was as of his life, but not of his estate, and therefore he is also charged much at their beck and command, as ever any servant was at with treason, in blaspheming the king, for which his estate was his master's. He was wholly given up to sin, and, upon conto be confiscated, that so Ahab might have his vineyard. dition he might have the pleasures of it, he would iake the
2. Never were wicked orders more wickedly obeyed, than wages of it, which is death, Rom. 6. 23. Blessed Paul comthese were by the magistrates of Jezreel. They do not so much plains that he was sold under sin, (Rom. 7. 14,) as a poor capas dispuie the command, or make any objections against it, iive against his will; but Ahab was voluntary, he sold himself though so palpably unjust; but punctually observed all the par- to sin; of choice, and as his own act and deed, he submitted to ticulars of it, either because they feared Jezebel's cruelty, or the dominion of sin. Yet this did not excuse him. Jezebel his because they hated Naboth's piety, or both. They did as it wife stirred him up to do wickedly, and made him, in many was written in the letters, (v. 11, 12;) neither made any difficulty respects, worse than otherwise he would have been ; to what a of it, nor met with any difficulty in it, but cleverly carried on pitch of impiety did he arrive, who had such tinder of corthe villany; they stoned Naboth to death, (v. 13,) and, as it ruption in his heart, and such a tempter in his bosom to strike should seem, his sons with him, or after him: for when God fire into it. In many things, he did ill, but he did most abomicame to make inquisition for blood, we find that article in the nably, in following idols, like the Canaanites; his immoralities account, (2 Kings 9. 26,) I have seen the blood of Naboth and were very provoking to God, but his idolatries were especially the blood of his sons. Perhaps they were secretly murdered, so. Israel's case was sad, when a prince of such a character that they might not claim their father's estate, or complain of as this reigned over them. the wrong done him. Let us take occasion from this sad story, II. The message which Elijah was sent with to him, when (1.) To stand amazed at the wickedness of the wicked, and the he went to take possession of Naboth's vineyard, v. 17–19. power of Satan in the children of disobedience. What a holy Hitherto, God kept silence, did not intercept Jezebel's letters, indignation may we be filled with, to see wickedness in the place nor stay the process of the elders of Jezreel; but now, Ahab is of judgment, Ec. 3. 16. (2.) To lament the hard case of op- reproved, and his sin set in order before his eyes. 1. The person pressed innocency, and to mingle our tears with the tears of sent, is, Elijah. A prophet of lower rank was sent with mesthe oppressed that have no comforter, while on the side of the sages of kindness to him, ch. 20. 13. But the father of the oppressors there is power, Ec. 4. 1. (3.) To commit the keep- prophets is sent to try him, and condemn him, for his murder. ing of our lives and comforts to God, for innocency itself will 2. The place is Naboth's vineyard ; the time, just when he not always be our security. (4.) To rejoice in the belief of a was taking possession of it; then, and there, must his doom be judgment to come, in which such wrong judgments as these read him. By taking possession, he avowed all that was done, will be called over. Now we see that there be just men to whom and made himself guilty er post facto—as an accessary after it happens according lo the work of the wicked, (Ec. 8. 14,) but the fact. There he was taken in ihe commission of the errors, all will be set to rights in the great day.
and therefore the conviction would come upon him with so much III, Naboth being taken off, Ahab takes possession of his the more force. “What hast thou to do in this vineyard? vineyard. 1. The elders of Jezreel sent notice to Jezebel very What good canst thou expect from it, when it is purchased with unconcernedly, sent it her as a piece of agreeable news, Naboth blood, (Hab. 2. 12,) and thou hast caused the owner thereof to is stoned, and is dead, v. 14. Here let us observe, that as obse- lose his life?” Job 31. 39. Now that he was pleasing himself quious as the elders of Jezreel were to Jezebel's orders, which with his ill-golten wealth, and giving direction for the turning of she sent from Samaria for the murder of Naboth, so obsequious this vineyard into a flower garden, his meat in his bowels is were the elders of Samaria afterward to Jehu's orders, which turned. He shall not feel quietness. When he is about to fill he sent from Jezreel for the murder of Ahab's seventy sons, his helly, God shall cast the fury of his urath upon him, Job 20. only that was not done by course of law, 2 Kings 10. 6, 7. 14, 20, 23. Let us see what passed between them. Those tyrants, that by their wicked orders debauch the con (1.) Ahab vents his wrath against Elijah, falls into a passion sciences of their inferior magistrates, may, perhaps, find at last at the sight of him, and, instead of humbling himself before the the wheel return upon them; and that those who will not stick prophet, as he ought to have done, (2 Chr. 36. 12,) is ready to to do one cruel thing for them, will be as ready to do another Ay in his face, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? v. 20. cruel thing against them. 2. Jezebel, jocund enough that her This shows, [1.] That he hated him; the last time we found plot succeeded so well, brings notice to Ahab, that Naboth is them together, they parted very good friends, (ch. 18.46:) then not alive, but dead, therefore Arise, take possession of his vine-| Ahab had countenanced the reformation, and therefore then all yard, v. 15. He might have taken possession by one of his way well between him and the prophet; but now he was relapsed, officers, but so pleased is he with this accession to his estate, and worse than ever; his conscience told him he had made that he will make a journey to Jezreel himself to enter upon it; God his Enemy, and therefore he could not expect Elijah should and it should seem he went in state too, as if he had got some be his friend. Note, That man's condition is very miserable, mighty victory, for Jehu remembers long after, that he and that has made the word of God his enemy, and very desperate, Bidkar attended him at this time, 2 Kings 9. 25. If Naboth's that reckons the ministers of that word his enemies, because sons were all put to death, Ahab thought himself entitled to the they tell him the truth, Gal. 4. 16. Abab, having sold himself estale, ob defectum sanguinis, (as our law expresses it.) If not, to sin, was resolved to stand to his bargain, and could not endure yet Naboth dying as a criminal, he claimed it ob delictum cri- him that would have helped to recover himself
. [2.] That he minis. Or if neither would make him a good title, the absolute reared him. Hast thou found me? Intimating that he shunned power of Jezebel will give it him, and who dares oppose it? him all he could, and it was now a terror to him to see him. Might often prevails against right, and wonderful is the divine The sight of him was like that of the handwriting upon the patience that suffers it to do so. God is certainly of purer eyes wall, to Belshazzar, it made his countenance change, the joints than to behold iniquity, and yet for a time keeps silence when the of his loins were lonsed, and his knees smote one against another. wicked devours the man that is more righteous than he, Hab. Never was poor debtor or criminal so confounded at the sight 1. 13.
of the officer that came to arrest him. Men may thank themV. 17–29. In these verses, we may observe,
selves, if they make God and his word a terror to them. I. The very bad character that is given of Ahab, (v. 25, 26,) (2.) Elijah denounces God's wrath against Ahab; I have which comes in here, to justify God in the heavy sentence passed found thee, (says he, v. 20,) brcause thou hast sold thyself to upon him, and to show that though it was passed upon occasion work evil. Note, Those that give up themselves to sin, will of his sin, in the matter of Naboth, (which David's sin, in the certainly be found out, sooner or later, to their unspeakable matter of Uriah, did too much resemble,) yet God would not horror and amazement. Ahab is now set to the bar, as Naboth have punished him so severely, if he had not been guilty of I was, and trembles more than he did. VOL. I. -109
( 865 )
mael And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those A et utbey somitinand share.
d Ex. 10.3.
a 2 Chr. 18.
23 And of Jezebel Falso spake the Lord, saying,
CHAPTER XXII. The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the "wall of
Jezreel. This chapter finishes the history of Ahab's reign. It was promised in the close of 24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the
but his days were soon at an end. His war with the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead,
is that which we have an account of in this chapter. 1. His preparations for fowls of the air eat.
that war. He consulted, 1. His privy council, v. 1-3. 2. Jehoshaphat, v. 4. 25 But ythere was none like unto Ahab, which
3. His prophets. (1.) His own, who encouraged him to go on this expedition.
(v. 5, 6,) Zedekiah particularly, v. 11, 12. (2.) A prophet of the Lord, Midid sell himself to work wickedness in the sight eniah, who was desired to come by Jehoshaphat, (v. 7, 8.) sent for, (v. 9, 10, 13,
14,) upbraided Ahab with his contidence in the false prophets, (v. 15.) bat foreof the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife istirred told his fall in this expedition, (16-18,) and gave him an account how he came up.
to be thus imposed upon by his prophets, v. 1923. He is abused by Zedekiah,
(v. 24, 25,) and imprisoned by Ahab, v. 26–28. II. The battle itselr ; in which 26 And he did very, abominably in following 1. Jehoshaphat is exposed. But, 2. Abab is slain, v. 29–40. In the close of the
chapter, we have a short account, (1.) or the good reign of Jehoabapbat king of idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, a
Judah, v. 41-50. (2.) of the wicked reign of Ahaziah king of Israel, v. 51–53. whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
ND they continued three years without war words, that he rent his clothes, and put 'sackcloth 2 And ait came to pass, in the third year, that upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the went softly.
king of Israel. 28_And the word of the LORD came to Elijah 3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, the Tishbite, saying,
Know ye that Ramoth bin Gilead is ours, and we 29 Seest thou how Ahab Chumbleth himself be- be *still, and take it not out of the hand of the king fore me? because che humbleth himself before me, of Syria ! I will not bring the evil in his days; but in this 4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, "Wilt thou go son's days will
I bring the evil upon his house. with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehosha* ? Kings 9. 36, 37. • or, ditch. y c. 16. 30, 31, ver. 20.
f or, incited.
e Is. 66. 2. 2 Kings 20. 19. > Josh. 23. 12, 13. Ec. 7. 26.
& 2 Kings 9. 25. a Gen. 15. 16. 2 Kings 21. 11. 6 Josh. 2. 12, 13. 2, &c. 6 Deut. 4. 43. Josh. 20.8. silent from taking it. Prov. 1. 10. 2 Cor. ¢ Jog. 3. 6-10.
[1.] Elijah finds the indictment against him, and convicts thing, rather than unmerciful. (2.) This teaches us to take him, upon the notorious evidence of the fact ; (v. 19,) Hast thou notice of that which is good, even in those who are not so good killed, and also taken possession ? He is here charged with the as they should be: let it be commended as far as it goes, murder of Naboth; and it would not serve him to say the law (3.) This gives a reason why wicked people sometimes proskilled him; (perverted justice is the highest injustice ;) or, that per long: God is rewarding their external services with exterif he were unjustly prosecuted, it was not his doing, he knew nal mercies. (4.) This encourages all those that truly repent, nothing of it: for it was to please him, that it was done, and he and unfeignedly believe the holy Gospel. If a pretending parhad showed himself pleased with it, and so had made himself tial penitent shall go to his house reprieved, doubtless, a singuilty of all that was done in the unjust prosecution of Naboth. cere penitent shall go to his house justified. He killed, for he took possession. If he takes the garden, ho takes the guilt with it. Terra transit cum onere-The land
NOTES TO CHAPTER XXII. with the encumbrance.
V.1-14. Though Ahab continued under guilt and wrath, 2.] He passes judgment upon him. That his family should and the dominion of the lusts to which he had sold himself, yet, be ruined and rooted out, (v. 21,) and all his posterity cut off. as a reward for his professions of repentance and humilialion, That his house should be made like the houses of his wicked pre- though the time drew near when he should descend into battle decessors, Jeroboam and Baasha, (v. 22;) particularly, that and perish, yet we have him blessed with a three years' peace, they who died in the city, should be meat for dogs, and they (v. 1) and an honourable visit made him by Jehoshaphat king who died in the field, meat for birds, (v. 24,) which had been of Judah, v. 2. The Jews have a fabulous conceit, that when foretold of Jeroboam's house, (ch. 14. 11,) and of Baasha's, Ahab humbled himself for his sin, and lay in sackcloth, he sent ch. 16. 4. That Jezebel, particularly, should be devoured by for Jehoshaphat to come to him, to chastise him; and that ho dogs, (v. 23,) which was fulfilled, (2 Kings 9. 36 ;) and as for stayed with him for some time, and gave him so many stripes Ahab himself, that the dogs should lick his blood in the very every day. That is a groundless tradition. He came now, it same place where they licked Naboth's; (v. 19,) " Thy blood, is probable, to consult with him about the affairs of their kingeven thine, though it be royal blood, though it swell thy veins
doms. It is strange that so great a man as Jehoshaphat, would with pride, and boil in thy heart with anger, ere long it shall be pay so much respect to a kingdom revolted from the house of an entertainment for the dogs;" which was fulfilled, ch. 22. 38. | David; and that so good a man would show so much kindness This intimates that he should die a violent death, should come to a king revolted from the worship of God. But though he was to his grave with blood, and that disgrace should attend him, a godly man, his temper was too easy, which betrayed him into the foresight of which must needs be a great mortification to a snares and inconveniences. proud man. Punishments after death are here most insisted The Syrians durst not give Ahab any disturbance. But, on, which, though such as affected the body only, perhaps, were I. Ahab here meditates a war against the Syrians, and addesigned as figures of the soul's misery after death.
vises concerning it with those about him, v. 3. The king of III. Ahab's humiliation under the sentence passed upon him, Syria gave him the provocation; when he lay at his mercy, he and the favourable message sent him, thereupon.
promised to restore him his cities, (ch, 20, 34,) and Abab fool1. Ahab was a kind of penitent. The message Elijah deli- ishly took his word, when he ought not to have dismissed him, vered him in God's name, put him into a fright for the present, till the cities had been put into his possession. But now, he so that he rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth, v. 27. He was knows by experience, what he ought io have considered, that as still a proud hardened sinner, and yet thus reduced. Note, God the kisses, so the promises, of an enemy are deceitful; and there can make the stoutest heart to tromble, and the proudest to is no confidence to be put in leagues extorted by distress. Benhumble itself. His word is quick and powerful, and is, when hadad is one of those princes that think themselves bound by he pleases to make it so, like a fire, and a hammer, Jer. 23. 29. their word no further and no longer than it is for their interest. It made Felix tremble. Ahab put on the garb and guise of a Whether any other cities were restored, we do not find, but penitent, and yet his heart was unhumbled and unchanged. Ramoth-gilead was not: a considerable city in the tribe of Gad, After this, we find, he hated a faithful prophet, ch. 22.8. Note, on the other side Jordan, a Levites' city, and one of the cities It is no new thing to find the show and profession of repentance, of refuge. Ahab blames himself, and his people, that they did where yet the truth and substance of it are wanting. Ahab's not bestir themselves to recover it out of the hands of the Syrirepentance was only what might be seen of men : Seest thou ans, and to chastise Ben-hadad's violation of his league ; and (says God to Elijah) how Ahab humbles himself? It was ex resolves to let that ungrateful perfidious prince know that as he ternal only; the garments rent, but not the heart. A hypo- had given him poace, he could give him troublo. Abab has a crite may go very far in the outward performances of holy good cause, yet succeeds not. Equity is not to be judged of by duties, and yet come short.
prosperity. 2. He obtained, hereby, a reprieve, which I may call a kind II. He engages Jehoshaphat, and draws him in, to join with of pardon. Though it was but an outside repentance, (lament- him in this expedition, for the recovery of Ramoth-gilead, v. 4. ing the judgment only, and not the sin,) though he did not leave And here, I do not wonder that Ahab should desire the assisthis idols, nor restore the vineyard to Naboth's heirs, yet be- ance of so pious and prosperous a neighbour. Even bad men cause he did hereby give some glory to God, God took notice of have often coveted the friendship of the good. It is desirable it, and bade Elijah take notice of it; Seest thou how Ahab hum to have an interest in those that have an interest in heaven; bles himself ? v. 29. In consideration of this, the threatened and to have those with us, that have God with them. But it is ruin of his house, which had not been fixed to any time, should strange that Jehoshaphat will go so entirely into Ahab's intebe adjourned to his son's days. The sentence should not be rests, as to say, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people. I revoked, but the execution suspended. Now, (1.) This dis hope not; Jehoshaphat, and his people, are not so wicked and covers the great goodness of God, and his readiness to show corrupt as Ahab and his people. Too great a complaisance to mercy, which here rejoices against judgment. Favour is evil-doers, has brought many good people, through unwariness, showed to this wicked man, that God might magnify his good into a dangerous fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, (says Bishop Sanderson,) oven to the hazard of his other ness. Jehoshaphat had like to have paid dear for his complidivine perfections; as if (says he) God would be thought un- ment, when, in the battle, he was taken for Ahab. Yet some boly, or untrue, or unjust, (though he be none of these.) or any observe, that in joining with Israel against Syria, he atoned