Here, I. Elisha foretels that, notwithstanding the great straits to which the city of Samaria is reduced, yet within twenty-four hours they shall have plenty, 2 Kgs. 7:1. The king of Israel despaired of it and grew weary of waiting: then Elisha foretold it, when things were at the worst. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity of magnifying his own power; his time to appear for his people is when their strength is gone, Deut. 32:36. When they had given over expecting help it came. When the son of man comes shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8. The king said, What shall I wait for the Lord any longer? And perhaps some of the elders were ready to say the same: “Well,” said Elisha, “you hear what these say; now hear you the word of the Lord, hear what he says, hear it and heed it and believe it: to-morrow corn shall be sold at the usual rate in the gate of Samaria;” that is, the siege shall be raised, for the gate of the city shall be opened, and the market shall be held there as formerly. The return of peace is thus expressed (Jdg. 5:11), Then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates, to buy and sell there. 2. The consequence of that shall be great plenty. This would, in time, follow of course, but that corn should be thus cheap in so short a time was quite beyond what could be thought of. Though the king of Israel had just now threatened Elisha’s life, God promises to save his life and the life of his people; for where sin abounded grace doth much more abound.
II. A peer of Israel that happened to be present openly declared his disbelief of this prediction, 2 Kgs. 7:2. He was a courtier whom the king had an affection for, as the man of his right hand, on whom he leaned, that is, on whose prudence he much relied, and in whom he reposed much confidence. He thought it impossible, unless God should rain corn out of the clouds, as once he did manna; no less than the repetition of Moses’s miracle will serve him, though that of Elijah might have served to answer this intention, the increasing of the meal in the barrel.
III. The just doom passed upon him for his infidelity, that he should see this great plenty for this conviction, and yet not eat of it to his comfort. Note, Unbelief is a sin by which men greatly dishonour and displease God, and deprive themselves of the favours he designed for them. The murmuring Israelites saw Canaan, but could not enter in because of unbelief. Such (says bishop Patrick) will be the portion of those that believe not the promise of eternal life; they shall see it at a distance—Abraham afar off, but shall never taste of it; for they forfeit the benefit of the promise if they cannot find in their heart to take God’s word.
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