Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:1
The division between the chapters is most awkward here. Elisha, in this verse, replies to the king's challenge in Kg2 6:33 - that his God, Yahweh, will give deliverance in the space of a day. On the morrow, by the same time in the day, the famine will have ceased, and food will be even cheaper than usual.
A measure of fine flour - literally, "a seah of fine flour;" about a peck and a half.
For a shekel - About 2 shillings 8 12 d.
Two measures of burley - Or, "two seahs of barley;" about three pecks.
In the gate - The "gates," or "gateways," of Eastern towns are favorite places for the despatch of various kinds of business. It would seem that at Samaria one of the gates was used for the grain market.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:2
A lord - Rather, "the captain," as in Exo 14:7; Kg1 9:22; etc. The term itself, שׁלישׁ shâlı̂ysh (derived from שׁלושׁ shâlôsh, "three,") may be compared with the Latin "tribunus."
Windows - Rather, "sluices" (compare Gen 7:11). The "lord" means to say "If Yahweh were to open sluices in heaven, and pour down grain as He poured down rain in the time of the Deluge, even then could there be such abudnance as thou speakest of?"
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:3
The position of the lepers is in accordance with the Law of Moses (marginal references); and shows that the Law was still observed to some extent in the kingdom of Israel.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:5
The twilight - The evening twilight (see Kg2 7:9).
The uttermost part of the camp - The extreme boundary of the camp toward the city, not its furthest or most distant portion. Compare Kg2 7:8.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:6
It is a matter of no importance whether we say that the miracle by which God now performed deliverance for Samaria consisted in a mere illusion of the sense of hearing (compare Kg2 6:19-20); or whether there was any objective reality in the sound (compare the marginal references).
The king of Israel hath hired - The swords of mercenaries had been employed by the nations bordering on Palestine as early as the time of David Sa2 10:6; Ch1 19:6-7. Hence, the supposition of the Syrians was far from improbable.
The kings of the Hittites - The Hittites, who are found first in the south Gen 23:7, then in the center of Judea Jos 11:3, seem to have retired northward after the occupation of Palestine by the Israelites. They are found among the Syrian enemies of the Egyptians in the monuments of the 19th dynasty (about 1300 B.C.), and appear at that time to have inhabited the valley of the Upper Orontes. In the early Assyrian monuments they form a great confederacy, as the most powerful people of northern Syria, dwelling on both banks of the Euphrates, while at the same time there is a second confederacy of their race further to the south, which seems to inhabit the anti-Lebanon between Hamath and Damascus. These southern Hittites are in the time of Benhadad and Hazael a powerful people, especially strong in chariots; and generally assist the Syrians against the Assyrians. The Syrians seem now to have imagined that these southern Hittites had been hired by Jehoram.
The kings of the Egyptians - This is a remarkable expression, since Egypt elsewhere throughout Scripture appears always as a centralised monarchy under a single ruler. The probability is that the principal Pharaoh had a prince or princes associated with him on the throne, a practice not uncommon in Egypt. The period, which is that of the 22nd dynasty, is an obscure one, on which the monuments throw but little light.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:9
The lepers began to think that if they kept this important matter secret during the whole night for their own private advantage, when the morning came they would be found out, accused, and punished (see margin).
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:10
They called unto the porter ... and told them - The word "porter" is used like our "guard" and the meaning here is, not that the lepers called to any particular individual, but that they roused the body of men who were keeping guard at one of the gates.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:12
His servants - i. e., "high officers of the household," not mere domestics.
I will shew you what the Syrians have done - Jehoram sees in the deserted camp a stratagem like that connected with the taking of Ai Josh. 8:3-19. The suspicion was a very natural one, since the Israelites knew of no reason why the Syrians should have raised the siege.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:13
Behold ... - The Septuagint and a large number of the Hebrew MSS. omit the clause, "behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it." But the text followed by our translators, which is that of the best maunscripts, is intelligible and needs no alteration. It is merely a prolix way of stating that the horsemen will incur no greater danger by going to reconnoitre than the rest of their countrymen by remaining in the city, since the whole multitude is perishing.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:14
Two chariot horses - Translate, "two horse-chariots." They dispatched i. e. two war-chariots, with their proper complement of horses and men, to see whether the retreat was a reality or only a feint. The "horses" sent would be four or six, since chariots were drawn by either two or three horses.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 7:15
The Syrians had fled probably by the great road which led from Samaria to Damascus through Geba, En-gannim, Beth-shean, and Aphek. It crosses the Jordan at the Jisr Mejamia, about thirty-five miles northeast of Samaria.