So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)So Joram went over to Zair.—No town called Zair is otherwise known. Hitzig and Ewald would read Zoar, but Zoar lay in Moab, not in Edom. (Jeremiah 48:34; Isaiah 15:5; Genesis 19:30; Genesis 19:37.) The Vulg. has Seira, and the Arabic Sâ‘îra, which suggest an original reading, “to Seir,” the well-known mountain chain which was the headquarters of the Edomite people. Perhaps the reading of the text Çā‘îrāh represents a dialectic pronunciation. (Comp. the forms Yishāq and Yiçhāq for Isaac.)
And he rose by night.—There may be a lacuna of a few lines in the text here, or the compiler, in his desire to be brief, may have become obscure. Jehoram appears to have been hemmed in by the Edomites in the mountains, and to have attempted escape under cover of night.
Smote the Edomites which compassed him about.—Cut his way through their ranks.
And the captains of the chariots.—Part of the object of the verb “smote.” Jehoram smote (cut his way through) the Edomites—that is to say, the captains of the Edomite war-chariots which hemmed him and his army in.
And the people fled into (unto) their tents.—That is to say, the army of Jehoram was glad to escape from the scene of its ill success, and made its way homeward as best it could. (Comp. for the proverbial expression, “to their tents,” 1Samuel 20:1; 1Kings 8:66.) From Joel 3:19 (“Edom shall be a desolate wilderness for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land”) it has been conjectured that when the Edomites revolted they massacred the Jews who had settled in the country in the time of subjection. (Comp. Genesis 27:40.)2 Kings 8:21. Joram went over to Zair — This word is written differently from Seir, and therefore, it seems, does not signify any part of the country of Edom, but some city near to it. And smote the Edomites which compassed him about — The Edomites were not wanting in their own defence, but had surrounded him with an army; through which he broke in the night, and routed them. And the people fled, &c. — The common soldiers of the Edomites herein following the example of their captains. Yet Edom revolted — Notwithstanding this victory, Joram could not recover his dominion over this country; probably because he was recalled by the revolt of some of his own subjects, who had taken the occasion of his absence to rebel, and he feared that others would follow their example if they had the like opportunity. So that Edom continued a kingdom under its own king. Unto this day — When this record was written. Indeed, they were not brought again under the power of the Jews till after their return from the captivity of Babylon. Then Libnah revolted — A considerable city in Judah belonging to the priests. For the reason why they revolted, see 2 Chronicles 21:10-11. It is probable they returned to their obedience, because those words, unto this day, which are added to the former clause, are omitted here.Genesis 14:6.
The people - i. e., The Edomites. Yet, notwithstanding his success, Joram was forced to withdraw from the country, and to leave the natives to enjoy that independence 2 Kings 8:22, which continued until the time of John Hyrcanus, who once more reduced them.
and all the chariots with him; all the chariots of war he had:
and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about; who came out of their cities in great numbers, and surrounded him, he having entered into their country in an hostile way, to subdue them:
and the captains of the chariots: which belonged to the Edomites; those he smote, 2 Chronicles 21:9.
and the people fled into their tents; the army being routed.So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. So Joram went [R.V. Then Joram passed] over to Zair] The name Zair is only found here. In the parallel passage of 2 Chronicles 21. we find ‘with his princes’ instead of ‘to Zair’, and as there is some similarity of sound between the two Hebrew forms, it has been thought by some that there is a mistake in Kings from some misreading of the scribe. Others have suggested that ‘Zair’ is for ‘Zoar’, through which place troops marching from Judæa into Edom would have to pass. Others with much more probability have taken Zair (צעיר), to be a miswriting for Seir (שׂעיר) the name of the mountain ridge which extends southward from the Dead Sea through the desert. It is true ‘Seir’ is not named elsewhere by the writer of Kings, but there seems to be no occasion where he might be expected to mention it.
and he rose [R.V. inserts up] by night and smote the Edomites which compassed him about] Joram appears to have been surrounded by the Edomite forces, and for some time to have had the worst of the contest. It was only by a sudden sally in the night time that he forced his way out, and escaped. The captains of the Edomite chariots, mentioned here, most likely formed the outer circle of the enclosing force, and through them Joram passed last.
and the people fled into [R.V. to] their tents] ‘The people’ are the army of Joram, which after escaping from their encircling enemy made the best of their way home, feeling that Edom was too strong for them.Verse 21. - So Joram went over to Zair. Naturally, Joram did not allow Edom to become independent without an attempt to reduce it. He invaded the country in full force, taking up a position at a place called Zair, which is not otherwise known. Zair (צָעִיר) can scarcely be Zoar (צועַר), which, wherever it was, was certainly not in Edom; and it is hardly likely to be a corruption of "Seir" (צָעִיר), since the utterly unknown צעיר would scarcely be put by a copyist in the place of the well-known שׂעיר. Moreover, if Mount Seir were intended, it would probably have had the prefix הַר, as in 1 Chronicles 4:42; 2 Chronicles 20:10, 22, 23; Ezekiel 35:2, 3, 7, 15. "Seir" alone is poetical rather than historical, especially in the language of the later books of the Old Testament. And all the chariots with him; or, all his chariots (Revised Version). The article has the force of the possessive pronoun. And he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about. Josephus understands the writer to mean that Joram made his invasion by night, and smote the Edomites on all sides ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:5. § 1); but it seems better to suppose, with most modern commentators, that the meaning is the following: Soon after Joram invaded the country, he found himself surrounded and blocked in by the Edomite troops, and could only save himself by a night attack, which was so far successful that he broke through the enemy's lines and escaped; his army, however, was so alarmed at the danger it had run, that it at once dispersed and returned home. And the captains of the chariots; i.e. the captains of the Edomite chariots. They too were "smitten," having probably taken the chief part in trying to prevent the escape. And the people fled into their tents; i.e. dispersed to their homes. Compare the cry of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:16), "To your tents, O Israel!" 1 Samuel 24:15), that he should do such great things? Elisha said to him, "Jehovah has shown thee to me as king over Aram;" whereupon Hazael returned to his lord, brought him the pretended answer of Elisha that he would live (recover), and the next day suffocated him with a cloth dipped in water. מכבּר, from כּבר, to plait or twist, literally, anything twisted; not, however, a net for gnats or flies (Joseph., J. D. Mich., etc.), but a twisted thick cloth, which when dipped in water became so thick, that when it was spread over the face of the sick man it was sufficient to suffocate him.
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