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requisite that he should gain permission from his own sovereign. The king of Syria, to' do honour to his gieneral, gave him a letter; but too proud to address himself to Elisha, thinking that the king could command the prophet to exert his skill in Naaman's favour, he addressed his letter to Jehoram.
Elisha, though at some distance from the king of Israel, knew by a Divine impulse what was transacting, and that the LORD would cure Naaman; it was in consequence of his being divinely inspired, that Elisha gent to Jehoram.'
Naam:n doubtless expected to be treated by the prophet with distinction, suitable to the pomp and grandeur of his retinue, and thought it à contempt put upon the rivers of Syria, when Elisha ordered him to dip seven times in Jordan. However, when he had made the experiment, Naaman was convinced of the power of Go'd', and felt the highest esteem and gratitude for his prophết. He desired to carry some of the earth of the land of Israel with him, either because he thought to make an altar of it, or with a view to erect a 'monument in femory of his astonishing cure. Why this request was refused, we are not told. The Syrian general now repented that he had ever entered a temple dedicated to an idol.
Some of the learned are of opinion, that the text re. specting Naaman's bowing himself in the house of RiMMON, should have been 'rendered as follows: In this thing the Lordi pardon thy servant, that when my master WENT into the house of Rimmon 'to worship there, and "HE LEANED on my hand, and I howed myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing that I bowed myself in the house of Rimmon. It is observed, that this construction seenis best to agree with the rest of Naaman's discourse ; may ít not there. **fore be inferred from it, that this general never went by
choice into the idol's 'temple, but worshipped in private the unknown Gop; who, as a reward for his good intentions, revealed himself to him in so gracious and won. derful á manner?
As this was an affair in which the honour of God : was concerned, the Lord revealed to Elisha what Gehazi
had done. This wicked servant was soon convinced that the Holy God, whose Spirit inspired Elisha, could not be deceived; and that “those who get wealth by fraud and' injustice, cannot expect either the comfort or continuance of it.
“The general instruction that may be collected from the history of Naaman, is this, that no state of life is exempt from misfortune : and that what we esteem the severest' calamities, are often productive of the greatest benefits. Had Naaman enjoyed health, as well as honour and success ; had he had nothing to divide his attention but the triumphs of the field and the pleasures of the court, he might indeed haye continued a favourite with his, prince, and an idol of the people ; but he would ever have remained a stranger to his God.
" There is nothing but religion that can make us :: truly honourable: nothing but the favour of the SUPREME BEING that can make us truly happy.”
SECTION LXVIII. THE CONTINUATION OF THE REIGN.OF JEHORAM (QR
JOR AM) KING OF ISRAEL. .. From 2 Kings, Chap. vi.
Then the king of Syria warred against Israel and 'took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such place shall be my camp.
And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place ; for thither the Syrians are come down. . . . .
And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there not once nor twice. .
Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing :. and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel ? :
And one of the servants said, None, my lord, O king : but Elisha the prophet, that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. · And he said, Go, and spy where he is, that I may send
and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. • Therefore sent he thither horses and chariots, and a great host : and they came by night and compassed the city about. : . And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold an host encompassed the city, both horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the LÒRD opened the eyes of the young man: and he saw: and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
And when they came down to Irim, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Snite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them withi blindness, according the word of Elisha,
And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city, follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
And it came to pass when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold. they were in the midst of Samaria.
And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father shall I smite them ; shall I smite them? and, he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow ? Set bread and water before them that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they i went to their master. So the bands of Syria came. no more into the land of Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
There is reason to suppose that Naaman was removed from the command of the army, either for refusing to, attend his sovereign into the temple of. Rimmon, or from a suspicion that he would favour a people, in whose land he had received so extraordinary a mercy. The fame of Elisha was doubtless spread amongst the Syrians by Naaman, and those who had been witnesses of his cure ; and it was natural. for them to imagine, that:
this prophet was endued with such a degree of know. · ledge as to be able to disconcert all the secret designs of Ben-hadad.
Elisha at this time residėd'at Dothan, which was not far from Samaria. Though he knew by Divine inspira.. P6,
Ttion, that the king of Syria was resolved to'beize him, and "had sent' out “a great army to encompass the city, Elisha continued quite eałm and serene, knowing that he was guarded by that heavenly host "who," we are told in Scripture, enčamp "about those that fear the LORD to deliver "them *. Mortal eyes, indeed, cannot behold these hea*venty-guardians, unless opened by the miraculous power
of God, as in the case of Elisha and his-servant; but'as - it is recorded in holy writ' that they have been made visible to such chosen witnesses, we may safely believe the truth of their existence and ministry. ::
The "same Almighty Being who enlightened the eyes of the prophet and his attendant, darkened those of Ben-hadad's army: not that they were seized with actual blindness, but their senses and understandings were * so 'confused, that they were unable to distinguish one ' thing from another. These persons had received command to go to the city where'Elisha was, 'not merely to Dothan, but without doubt. to pursue him if he should escape to another place : the prophet therefore told them no falsity, when he said that was not the city, because he whom they sought was not then in it; and as the event proves that he had no ill design against them, he is acquitted of sin in leading them out to Samaria : if he had commanded the inhabitants to put them to the sword, he might perhaps have been aceused of : treachery; though the practice of all nations towårds their enemies, will justify his policy in thus deluding those who came with a design to destroy him, "as a preparation to the destruction of his country. ...ini. · "It 'must have greatly surprised the king of - Israel, to behold the Syrian: host thus conducted by Elisha into the midst of his capital ; but as he perceived it was