|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-6 At that time, when Jeroboam did evil, his child sickened. When sickness comes into our families, we should inquire whether there may not be some particular sin harboured in our houses, which the affliction is sent to convince us of, and reclaim us from. It had been more pious if he had desired to know wherefore God contended with him; had begged the prophet's prayers, and cast away his idols from him; but most people would rather be told their fortune, than their faults or their duty. He sent to Ahijah, because he had told him he should be king. Those who by sin disqualify themselves for comfort, yet expect that their ministers, because they are good men, should speak peace and comfort to them, greatly wrong themselves and their ministers. He sent his wife in disguise, that the prophet might only answer her question concerning her son. Thus some people would limit their ministers to smooth things, and care not for having the whole counsel of God declared to them, lest it should prophesy no good concerning them, but evil. But she shall know, at the first word, what she has to trust to. Tidings of a portion with hypocrites will be heavy tidings. God will judge men according to what they are, not by what they seem to be.
Verse 3. - And take with thee [Heb. in thine hand] ten loaves [Ten would seem to have been a usual number (1 Samuel 17:18). On the subject of gifts or fees to prophets, judges, etc., see on ch. 13:7], and cracknels [or cakes, as marg. The original word נִקֻּדִּים (תךגעפעפ נָקַד) means "pricked," or "spotted." It is the word translated "mouldy" in Joshua 9:5, 12, where Gesenius would render "crumbs." Mouldy bread would hardly be taken as a present. These cakes, according to the LXX., Cod. Alex., were for the prophet's children] and a cruse [i.e., leather bottle, בַּקְבֻּק Bakbuk, is clearly an onomatopoetic word, suggested by the bubbling noise of liquids in emptying] of honey [Spices and other delicacies were often given as presents, and honey was a special product of the country (Exodus 3:8; Deuteronomy 8:8; 2 Samuel 17:29. The honey sent by Jacob to Joseph was probably "honey of grapes"). The present was purposely a poor one, for the sake of maintaining the deception; i.e., it was a part of the disguise], and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of [Heb. be to] the child. [At first it strikes us as strange that Jeroboam merely asks what the result will be. He does not petition, that is to say, as in 1 Kings 13:6, for a cure. But we find the same peculiarity, which some would explain by the fatalism of the East, in 2 Kings 1:2, and ch. 8:9, In the present instance, however, no such explanation is needed. For
(1) Jeroboam could hardly ask a favour of a prophet of Jehovah, or hope that it would be granted if he did, and
(2) if, as he feared, the sickness was judicial, it would be useless to ask for healing. The infatuation which insisted on a disguise for the purpose of deceiving the prophet, who nevertheless was believed to be able to divine the issue of the sickness, is very characteristic, and has had many parallels since.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him,.... It being usual to carry a present to a prophet when he was inquired of on any account, see 1 Samuel 9:7 and this being a plain present, and of such things as the country afforded, she might be taken for a plain countrywoman, and not for such a personage as she was: the ten loaves could not be large for a woman to carry, most probably made of wheat; the cracknels, according to the Greek version in Drusius, were for the prophet's children; they very likely were spiced, or were sweetened with honey, and might be somewhat like our simnels; they seem to have their name in Hebrew from having points and pricks in them for the sake of ornament; such as Plautus (h) calls "scribilitae", because as Turnebus (i) says, they were marked and pricked, and seemed as if they were written:
he shall tell thee what shall become of the child; whether it should live or die, for that was all he wanted to know; he did not desire to know what should be done to the child for its recovery, nor to request the prophet's prayers for it.
(h) Prolog. Poenulo, ver. 43. (i) Adversar. l. 23. c. 10.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3-11. And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him—This was a present in unison with the peasant character she assumed. Cracknels are a kind of sweet seed-cake. The prophet was blind, but having received divine premonition of the pretended countrywoman's coming, he addressed her as the queen the moment she appeared, apprised her of the calamities which, in consequence of the ingratitude of Jeroboam, his apostasy, and outrageous misgovernment of Israel, impended over their house, as well as over the nation which too readily followed his idolatrous innovations.
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