Then they hurried, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then (and) they hasted.—LXX., “and they heard, and hasted.” This is probably original, the sense being that the moment they heard it, they hastily took up their outer garments, and laid them as a carpet for Jehu to walk upon. (Comp. Luke 19:36.) The instantaneous action of the generals shows that there must have existed a strong feeling against Joram in the army and an enthusiasm for Jehu which only required a word from him to precipitate a revolution.
Put it under him on the top of the stairs.—So Kimchi, “at the uppermost step.” The words are much discussed by commentators. The LXX. has, “and put it underneath him on the garem of the steps” (retaining the Hebrew word gèrem); the Syriac, “and put it under him on a seat of steps;” the Targum, “at the steps of the hours,” i.e., a flight of steps which served as a sundial (comp. 2Kings 20:11); the Vulg., “and each one, taking his cloak, put it under his feet in similitudinem tribunalis,” i.e., in the fashion of a rostrum, or elevated platform; the Arabic, “on the steps of the rise” (or “elevation”).
The word gèrem, rendered “top,” can hardly have that meaning. In Hebrew it rarely occurs (Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 25:15), and means bone, for which in Aramaic it is the usual term (Daniel 6:25). In Arabic the word means “body,” and it is usually so explained in one passage of the Bible (Genesis 49:14), “Issachar is a strong ass;” literally, an ass of body. As the Aramaic garmâ is used in the sense of “self,” some would render the present phrase, “on the stairs themselves.” But perhaps we may better translate on the analogy of the Arabic word, “They put (their cloaks) under him, on to (‘el) the body of the stairs.” The stairway on the outside of the house, leading to the roof, served as an extemporised throne, or rather platform, for the king. (Comp. 2Kings 11:14.) Some Hebrew MSS. have “upon” for “on to.” (Comp. 2Samuel 21:10, “on the rock.”)2 Kings 9:13. Then they hasted — Being well pleased with the thing; partly from the advantage which hereby they expected; partly from that desire of change which is in the nature of most men; and principally by God’s providence inclining their hearts to Jehu. And took every man his garment, and put it under him — In token of great reverence for his person, that they would not have his feet to touch the ground, and that they put themselves and their concerns under his feet and into his disposal. It was a ceremony used in the eastern countries toward superiors: see Matthew 21:7. On the top of the stairs — In some high and eminent place, whence he might be seen and owned by all the soldiers, who were called together on this great occasion. Saying, Jehu is king — They proclaimed him by sound of trumpet to be appointed by God to the kingdom of Israel.
The stairs rose against the walI of the house from the pavement of the court to the level of the upper story, or of the roof. At the top of the stairs would be a flat platform, and this would form a throne, on which the new king could exhibit himself to his subjects.
top of the stairs—from the room where the prophet had privately anointed Jehu. That general returned to join his brother officers in the public apartment, who, immediately on learning his destined elevation, conducted him to the top of the stairs leading to the roof. This was the most conspicuous place of an Oriental structure that could be chosen, being at the very top of the gate building, and fully in view of the people and military in the open ground in front of the building [Kitto]. The popularity of Jehu with the army thus favored the designs of Providence in procuring his immediate and enthusiastic proclamation as king, and the top of the stairs was taken as a most convenient substitute for a throne.Then they hasted; being well-pleased with the thing; partly, from the advantage which hereby they expected; partly, from that desire of change which is in most men’s natures; and principally, by God’s providence inclining their hearts to Jehu.
Took every man his garment, and put it under him; a ceremony used in the eastern parts towards superiors, in token of great reverence to his person, that they would not have his feet to touch the ground, and that they put themselves and their concerns under his feet, and into his disposal. See Poole "Matthew 21:7".
On the top of the stairs; in some high and eminent place, whence he might be seen and owned by all the soldiers, who were called together upon this great occasion.
and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king; and they might come the more easily into such an acknowledgment of him as such, though he was anointed by one whom they had just called a mad fellow; being not so well affected to Ahab's family, and having a great respect for Jehu, the chief commander of the army, and especially being under a particular influence of the divine Providence, which moved them to take such a step.Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. Then they hasted] The LXX. gives ‘they heard it and hastened’. This action on the part of the generals shews how little they were attached to the house of Ahab.
took every man his garment] The loose Oriental robe which could easily be laid aside, and which they probably had laid aside or allowed to fall off during the consultation.
and put it under him] They made a seat for Jehu by folding their garments, and piling them together. The expression ‘under him’ shews what use was made of all the garments. Some have thought that the robes were used as a carpet, and laid all the way up the stairs from the court where they had been in conference. The stairs were outside the building and went from the courtyard up to the roof. Thus Jehu would have walked in state to the place which they chose for the proclamation. But the conspirators were in too great haste for this sort of parade. They extemporised a cushion with their robes, and set Jehu upon them.
on the top of the stairs] There is some difficulty in explaining the word rendered ‘top’. Primarily it means ‘a bone’. Then something strong and firm. Hence it has been thought to have the sense here of the body of the staircase, and so to signify ‘the stairs themselves’. Thus the translation would be merely ‘on the stairs’. Others clinging to the sense of ‘bone’ have translated ‘on the bare steps’ (R.V. margin). The Vulgate appears to have taken the word as equivalent to ‘in the manner of’ and translates ‘in similitudinem tribunalis’. But without the steps there could be little made by the garments to look like a rostrum or tribune. The LXX. merely transliterates the Hebrew word ἐπὶ τὸ γαρὲμ. The sense ‘top’ is obtained by considering that the prominent part of the staircase is meant by this expression, and that for the purpose here desired, the best possible place was that where Jehu would be set above the people. The generals must have gathered such a company as they could on a short notice, and when Jehu was seated in the best state they could prepare, have made their proclamation while he sat on the extemporized throne.
blew with trumpets] For this cf. the proclamation of Solomon (1 Kings 1:34).Verse 13. - Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs. Kings were honored by the spreading of garments in their way, that their feet might not touch the dusty ground (Matthew 20:8). The captains of the host, without hesitation, acclaimed Jehu king on the strength of the prophetical announcement, made his cause their own, and joined in his rebellion. It is reasonably conjectured (Bahr) that "a deep dissatisfaction with Joram must have prevailed in the army," though whether the dissatisfaction arose from the idolatry of the house of Ahab, or from Joram's withdrawal from the war, may be doubted, Jehu, on the ether hand, was evidently highly esteemed. The captains threw themselves with ardor into his cause, and extemporized a sort of enthronement. As often in an Oriental house, an external staircase led from the court to the upper story or to the roof. This they carpeted with their begeds, or outer cloaks, and, seating him on the top stair, saluted him as actual king. The expression, el-gerem ham-ma'aloth, is not literally, "on the top of the stairs," but rather "on the stairs themselves." Naturally, however, the captains would emplace him upon the topmost stair. And blew with trumpets. This was a recognized part of the ceremonial of a coronation (see 2 Samuel 15:10; 1 Kings 1:39; 2 Kings 11:14). Saying, Jehu is king. 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 19:10).
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