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2 Kings 8:7-15 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Elisha Meets with Hazael

Elisha traveled to Damascus while King Ben Hadad of Syria was sick. The king[a] was told, “The prophet[b] has come here.” So the king told Hazael, “Take a gift[c] and go visit the prophet. Request from him an oracle from the Lord. Ask him,[d] ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’” So Hazael went to visit Elisha.[e] He took along a gift,[f] as well as[g] forty camel-loads of all the fine things of Damascus. When he arrived, he stood before him and said, “Your son,[h] King Ben Hadad of Syria, has sent me to you with this question,[i] ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’” 10 Elisha said to him, “Go and tell him, ‘You will surely recover,’[j] but the Lord has revealed to me that he will surely die.” 11 Elisha[k] just stared at him until Hazael became uncomfortable.[l] Then the prophet started crying. 12 Hazael asked, “Why are you crying, my master?” He replied, “Because I know the trouble you will cause the Israelites. You will set fire to their fortresses, kill their young men with the sword, smash their children to bits, and rip open their pregnant women.” 13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, who is as insignificant as a dog, accomplish this great military victory?”[m] Elisha answered, “The Lord has revealed to me that you will be the king of Syria.”[n] 14 He left Elisha and went to his master. Ben Hadad[o] asked him, “What did Elisha tell you?” Hazael[p] replied, “He told me you would surely recover.” 15 The next day Hazael[q] took a piece of cloth, dipped it in water, and spread it over Ben Hadad’s[r] face until he died. Then Hazael replaced him as king.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 8:7 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  2. 2 Kings 8:7 tn Heb “man of God” (also a second time in this verse and in v. 11).
  3. 2 Kings 8:8 tn The Hebrew text also has “in your hand.”
  4. 2 Kings 8:8 tn Heb “Inquire of the Lord through him, saying.”
  5. 2 Kings 8:9 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Elisha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  6. 2 Kings 8:9 tn The Hebrew text also has “in his hand.”
  7. 2 Kings 8:9 tn Heb “and.” It is possible that the conjunction is here explanatory, equivalent to English “that is.” In this case the forty camel-loads constitute the “gift” and one should translate, “He took along a gift, consisting of forty camel-loads of all the fine things of Damascus.”
  8. 2 Kings 8:9 sn The words “your son” emphasize the king’s respect for the prophet.
  9. 2 Kings 8:9 tn Heb “saying.”
  10. 2 Kings 8:10 tc The consonantal text (Kethib) reads, “Go, say, ‘Surely you will not (לֹא, loʾ) live.’” In this case the vav beginning the next clause could be translated “for” or “because.” The reading tradition (Qere) has, “Go, say to him (לוֹ, lo), ‘You will surely recover.’” In this case the vav (ו) beginning the next clause would be translated “although” or “but.” The Qere has the support of some medieval Hebrew mss and the ancient versions, and is consistent with v. 14, where Hazael tells the king, “You will surely recover.” It also fits the immediate context. The sentence “you will live,” to be told to Ben Hadad and meaning to recover from the sickness contrasts telling Hazael that Ben Hadad will die. The missing component is the means of Ban Hadad’s death. So Elisha looks at Hazael until he is embarrassed, because as a prophet he knows that Hazael will kill Ben Hadad (not the sickness). It is possible that a scribe has changed לוֹ, “to him,” to לֹא, “not,” because he felt that Elisha would not lie to the king. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 90. But it is possible that Hazael, once he found out he would become the next king, decided to lie to the king to facilitate his assassination plot by making the king feel secure.
  11. 2 Kings 8:11 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Elisha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  12. 2 Kings 8:11 tn Heb “and he made his face stand [i.e., be motionless] and set [his face?] until embarrassment.”
  13. 2 Kings 8:13 tn Heb “Indeed, what is your servant, a dog, that he could do this great thing?” With his reference to a dog, Hazael is not denying that he is a “dog” and protesting that he would never commit such a dastardly “dog-like” deed. Rather, as Elisha’s response indicates, Hazael is suggesting that he, like a dog, is too insignificant to ever be in a position to lead such conquests.
  14. 2 Kings 8:13 tn Heb “The Lord has shown me you [as] king over Syria.”
  15. 2 Kings 8:14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Ben Hadad) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  16. 2 Kings 8:14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Hazael) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  17. 2 Kings 8:15 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Hazael) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  18. 2 Kings 8:15 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Ben Hadad) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
New English Translation (NET)

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