And the men of the city said unto Elisha
The inhabitants of Jericho, perceiving him to be a prophet, and endowed with a power of working miracles:
behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord
in a plain, surrounded with gardens and orchards, with vineyards, oliveyards, and groves of palm trees, and other odoriferous ones:
but the water is naught, and the ground barren;
that is, that part of it where this water was, or ran, for from thence it became barren; or "caused to miscarry", as the word signifies F17; not only trees cast their fruit, which it watered, but women became abortive that drank of it, as Josephus says F18, and so cattle. Abarbinel thinks it was so from the times of Joshua, being cursed by him; but, if so, it would not have been inhabited again; rather this was owing to a new curse, upon its being rebuilt; though this might affect only a small part of the ground, not the whole, as before observed.
F17 (tlkvm) "orbans", Montanus, Vatablus; "facit abortum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F18 De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 3.