And it came to pass on the next day, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.
Read Chapter 8
Ephrem The Syrian
“Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover;’ but the Lord has shown me that he shall certainly die.” These were the words of Elisha to the king, who asked him, “Will I live after this illness?” But it seems that they do not agree with the truth of the events, and not even with each other. However, after the words reported above in the story of the prophet Micah, it is evident that they do not cancel each other out or contradict each other. In fact, both prophets answer in the same manner, and the words of their reply pursue the same aim in the fact that they announce to their interlocutor good and death at the same time. But in the reply of Micah a particular aspect must be considered, that is, the fact that Ahab could not escape from death, because he so ardently and savagely wanted to go to the war, which was the real cause of his fall.
But the case of Ben-hadad is quite different: it would have been easy for him to get rid of his illness, because it was not serious or fatal. He w...
“Elisha went to Damascus while King Ben-hadad was ill.” His illness had derived from his unhappiness. For he had been deeply afflicted by the fact that, in the war of Samaria, his armies had been defeated and that, at the same time, his people had been chased from the city when he had hoped that his victory would occur immediately. His entire army had fled and sunk into shame and dishonor, and he was troubled in his mind because of this. In addition, the anguish of his thoughts was due to something that was not responsible for his fall: he had been deceived in believing that a countless and powerful army would march against him, whereas it was later shown that there was no army at all to oppress him.
Therefore the king, when he heard of the coming of Elisha, sent Hazael, one of his noble men, to meet him. He ordered him to persuade the prophet to take care of his healing, and since he thought that this request must be accompanied with gifts and offerings, according to secular customs, ...
Blanket. Hebrew macber, a word which the Septuagint retain. (Haydock)
It denotes a hairy coverlet, pillow Tiberius and Frederic II met with the like fate. (Calmet)
some think that Hazael was only guilty of imprudence; (Menochius) or that Benadad killed himself; as the Hebrew might be rendered, if the sequel did not evince that his death was caused by Hazael's malice. (Calmet)
He might pretend that the wet cloth would give Benadad refreshment. (Haydock)
But it would bring on present death, with most exquisite torture. (Tirinus)
The names of both these kings were in great veneration among the Syrians, who paid them divine honours. (Josephus, ix. 4.)
Perhaps they might not know that the latter had been guilty of such a base murder. (Haydock)