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Print Version Main Index : Commentaries : Wesley's Notes : 2nd Kings Index : Chapter 4

2nd Kings, Chapter 4
Chapter 3 | Chapter 5
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Cross Reference
Matthew Henry
JFB Commentary
Wesley's Notes
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Elisha multiplies the widow's oil, ver. 1 - 7. Obtains a son for the Shunamite, ver. 8 - 17. Raises him again to life, ver. 18 - 37. Heals the deadly pottage, ver. 38 - 41. Feeds an hundred men with twenty small loaves, ver. 42 - 44.

1: Prophets - Who, though they were wholly devoted to sacred employment, were not excluded from marriage, any more than the priests and Levites. Fear the Lord - His poverty therefore was not procured by his idleness, or prodigality; but by his piety, because he would not comply with the king's way of worship, and therefore lost all worldly advantages. Bondmen - Either, to use them as his slaves, or to sell them to others, according to the law.

2: What shall I - How shall I relieve thee, who am myself poor?

7: Unto her son - To one of them: for she had two, ver.(1). The oil stayed - To teach us, that we should not waste any of his good creatures; and that God would not work miracles unnecessarily. We are never straiten'd in God, and in his power and bounty, and the riches of his grace. All our straitness is in ourselves. It is our faith that fails, not his promise. Were there more vessels, there is enough in God to fill them, enough for all, enough for each.

8: Great - For estate, or birth and quality.

9: This is - A prophet, and that of eminent holiness: by our kindness to whom, we shall procure a blessing to ourselves.

10: On the wall - That he may be free from the noise of family business, and enjoy that privacy, which, I perceive, he desireth for his prayers and meditations. A bed, &c. - He will not be troublesome or chargeable to us: he cares not for rich furniture or costly entertainment, and is content with bare necessaries.

12: She stood - The relation seems to be a little perplexed, but may be thus conceived. It is in this verse recorded in the general, that the prophet sent Gehazi to call her, and that she came to him upon that call: then follows a particular description of the whole business, with all the circumstances, first, of the message with which Gehazi was sent when he went to call her, and of her answer to that message, ver.(13), and of Gehazi's conjecture thereupon, ver.(14), and then of her coming to the prophet at his call: which is there repeated to make way for the following passages.

13: I dwell - I live among my kindred and friends; nor have I any cause to seek relief from higher powers.

14: He said - Hast thou observed any thing which she wants or desires? For the prophet kept himself much in his chamber, whilst Gehazi went more freely about the house, as his occasions led him.

16: Do not lie - Do not delude me with vain hopes. She could not believe it for joy.

17: Time of life - See note on (Ge 18:10).

21: Bed of the man of God - Being apt to believe, he that so soon took away what he had given, would restore what he had taken away. By this faith women received their dead raised to life. In this faith she makes no preparation for the burial of her child, but for his resurrection.

23: New moon, &c. - Which were the usual times in which they resorted to the prophets for instruction. It shall be well - My going will not be troublesome to him, nor prejudicial to thee or me.

26: It is - So it was in some respects, because it was the will of a wise and good God, and therefore best for her. When God calls away our dearest relations by death, it becomes us to say, it is well both with us and them. It is well, for all is well that God doth: all is well with them that are gone, if they are gone to heaven. And all is well with us that stay behind, if by the affliction we are furthered in our way thither.

27: The feet - She fell at his feet and touched them, as a most humble and earnest supplicant. Withal, she intimated, what she durst not presume to express in words, that she desired him to go along with her. Let her alone - Disturb her not, for this gesture is a sign of some extraordinary grief. Hid it - Whereby he signifies, that what he knew or did, was not by any virtue inherent in himself, but from God, who revealed to him only what and when he pleased.

28: She said - This child was not given to me upon my immoderate desire, for which I might have justly been thus chastised, but was freely promised by thee in God's name, and from his special favour. Deceive me - With vain hopes of a comfort that I should never have. And I had been much happier if I had never had it, than to lose it so quickly.

29: Gird up - Tie up thy long garments about thy loins for expedition. If thou meet, &c. - Make no delay nor stop by the way, neither by words nor actions.

30: Will not leave thee - Until thou goest home with me. For she had no great confidence in Gehazi, nor was her faith so strong as to think that the prophet could work so great a miracle at this distance.

31: Neither voice - Neither speech, nor sense, nor any sign of life, in the child. This disappointment might proceed from hence, that Elisha having changed his mind, and yielded to her importunity to go with her, did alter his course, and not join his fervent prayers with Gehazi's action. Not awaked - Not revived.

33: Shut the door - Upon himself and the dead child, that he might pray to God without distraction, and might more freely use those means which he thought fit.

34: And put - One part upon another successively; for the disproportion of the bodies would not permit it to be done together. Grew warm - Not by any external heat, which could not be transmitted to the child's body by such slight touches of the prophet's body; but from a principle of life, which was already infused into the child, and by degrees enlivened all the parts of his body.

35: He walked - He changeth his postures for his own necessary refreshment, and walked to and fro, exercising his mind in prayer to God. And went - Repeating his former actions, to teach us not to be discouraged in our prayers, if we be not speedily answered. Opened his eyes - So the work begun in the former verse is here perfected. Although miracles were for the most part done in an instant, yet sometimes they were done by degrees.

36: Unto him - To the door.

40: Death - That is, some deadly thing.

41: Into the pot - Together with the pottage which they had taken out of it.

42: First fruits - Which were the priests due, (Nu 18:12), but these, and probably the rest of the priests dues, were usually brought by the pious Israelites, according to their ability and opportunity, to the Lord's prophets, because they were not permitted to carry them to Jerusalem.

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