And it came to pass, as they were burying a man
That is, as they were going to bury him; for as yet they were not come to the place they designed to bury him at, as appears by what follows:
that, behold, they spied a band of men;
one of the bands of the Moabites, which came to rob and plunder, and which was about the place where they intended to bury the man; or they supposed would be there by that time they got to it, or at least before they could bury him, and therefore being frightened stopped:
and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha;
that being nearest, they opened it, or rather rolled away the stone from it, and threw the body in great haste:
and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha;
or "went and touched" F18; that is, as Kimchi interprets it, being cast in, he rolled till he came to the body of the prophet, and touched it:
he revived, and stood upon his feet;
which might serve to confirm the faith of Joash in the predictions of the prophet concerning his victories; is a proof of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal life, and an emblem of our being quickened through the death of Christ. The Jews say F19 this man was Shallum the son of Tikvah, and husband of Huldah the prophetess, and was a good man, much given to alms, for which he was rewarded; and they further say, he went to his own house, and lived many years, and begat children, and particularly Hananeel, mentioned in ( Jeremiah 32:7 ) , which is not likely; though others say F20 he was a wicked man, Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah, ( 1 Kings 22:24 ) and therefore not suffered to continue in the prophet's grave; but the former is more probable; and, according to Josephus F21, it was the band of robbers that left this man, whom they had murdered, in the grave of Elisha. This grave seems to have been in the field, where the Jews of old, and in later times, buried, as in the field of Hebron, the potter's field so the Greeks, as Pausanias relates F23, and the Romans also F24, buried by the wayside.
F18 (egyw Klyw) "abit et tetigit", Pagninus, Montanus.
F19 Pirke Eliezer, c. 33.
F20 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol, 47. 1. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 11. 2.
F21 Antiqu. l. 9. c. 8. sect. 6.
F23 Corinthiac. sive, l. 2. p. 97.
F24 Vid. Kirchman. Funer. Roman. l. 2. c. 22.