|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:17-24 Neither faith nor obedience shut out afflictions and death. The child being dead, the mother spake to the prophet, rather to give vent to her sorrow, than in hope of relief. When God removes our comforts from us, he remembers our sins against us, perhaps the sins of our youth, though long since past. When God remembers our sins against us, he designs to teach us to remember them against ourselves, and to repent of them. Elijah's prayer was doubtless directed by the Holy Spirit. The child revived. See the power of prayer, and the power of Him who hears prayer.
Verse 17. - And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. [Does this mean that he was dead? Keil thinks it perfectly clear that it does. Bahr is as firmly persuaded that it does not. He justly remarks
(1) that the same expression occurs in Daniel 10:17 (cf. 1 Kings 10:5) where it does not imply death.
(2) That as the text does not say, "and he died," we must conclude that it did not mean to say it.
(3) Verses 18, 20 do not necessitate the belief that he was dead (see below).
(4) Josephus, who was not afraid of the miraculous, has interpreted the words thus: ὡς καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἀφεῖναι καὶ δόξαι νεκρον. To this it may be added that נְשָׁמָה simply means breath, and that where it is desired to convey the idea of rife, additional words are used (as in Genesis 2:7, "the breath of life; Genesis 7:22, "the breath of the spirit of life." Cf. Job 27:3, Proverbs 20:27 (where the intelligence or reason appears to be meant), Ecclesiastes 3:21. It must be confessed also that the statement, "his sickness was so sore," etc., is quite apropos and intelligible, if we may understand that he lay in a state of coma, but would be an extremely roundabout way of affirming that he was dead.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass after these things,.... Not only after the conversation that passed between the prophet, and the widow, but after they had lived together many days, a year or years, upon the miraculous provision made for them:
that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; that is, the son of the widow woman in whose house the prophet dwelt; the Jews say (h) this woman was the mother of Jonah, and that he was this son of her's:
and his sickness was so sore that there was no breath left in him: it was a sickness unto death, it issued in it; for that he was really dead appears from all that follows.
(h) Pirke Eliezer, c. 33.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1Ki 17:17-24. He Raises Her Son to Life.
17-24. the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick—A severe domestic calamity seems to have led her to think that, as God had shut up heaven upon a sinful land in consequence of the prophet, she was suffering on a similar account. Without answering her bitter upbraiding, the prophet takes the child, lays it on his bed, and after a very earnest prayer, had the happiness of seeing its restoration, and along with it, gladness to the widow's heart and home. The prophet was sent to this widow, not merely for his own security, but on account of her faith, to strengthen and promote which he was directed to go to her rather than to many widows in Israel, who would have eagerly received him on the same privileged terms of exception from the grinding famine. The relief of her bodily necessities became the preparatory means of supplying her spiritual wants, and bringing her and her son, through the teachings of the prophet, to a clear knowledge of God, and a firm faith in His word (Lu 4:25).
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