2 Kings 4:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."

New Living Translation
One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, "My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the LORD. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves."

English Standard Version
Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

New American Standard Bible
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves."

King James Bible
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the LORD. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves."

International Standard Version
Now there happened to be a certain woman who had been the wife of a member of the Guild of Prophets. She cried out to Elisha, "My husband who served you has died, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. But a creditor has come to take away my children into indentured servitude!"

NET Bible
Now a wife of one of the prophets appealed to Elisha for help, saying, "Your servant, my husband is dead. You know that your servant was a loyal follower of the LORD. Now the creditor is coming to take away my two boys to be his servants."

New Heart English Bible
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead. You know that your servant feared the LORD. Now the creditor has come to take for himself my two children to be slaves."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
One of the wives of a disciple of the prophets called to Elisha, "Sir, my husband is dead! You know how he feared the LORD. Now a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves."

JPS Tanakh 1917
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying: 'Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD; and the creditor is come to take unto him my two children to be bondmen.'

New American Standard 1977
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried unto Elisha, saying, Thy slave, my husband, is dead; and thou knowest that thy slave feared the LORD; and the creditor is come to take my two sons to be his slaves.

King James 2000 Bible
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor has come to take unto him my two sons to be slaves.

American King James Version
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take to him my two sons to be slaves.

American Standard Version
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear Jehovah: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two children to be bondmen.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now a certain woman of the wives of the prophets cried to Eliseus, saying: Thy servant my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant was one that feared God, and behold the creditor is come to take away my two sons to serve him.

Darby Bible Translation
And a woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha saying, Thy servant my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant feared Jehovah; and the creditor is come to take my two children to be bondmen.

English Revised Version
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead: and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two children to be bondmen.

Webster's Bible Translation
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant feared the LORD: and the creditor hath come to take to him my two sons to be bond-men.

World English Bible
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead. You know that your servant feared Yahweh. Now the creditor has come to take for himself my two children to be slaves."

Young's Literal Translation
And a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets hath cried unto Elisha, saying, 'Thy servant, my husband, is dead, and thou hast known that thy servant was fearing Jehovah, and the lender hath come to take my two children to him for servants.'
Study Bible
Elisha Multiplies the Widow's Oil
1Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves." 2Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil."…
Cross References
Matthew 18:25
Since the man was unable to pay, the master ordered that he be sold to pay his debt, along with his wife and children and everything he owned.

Leviticus 25:39
'If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.

Leviticus 25:48
then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,

1 Samuel 22:2
Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.

2 Kings 2:3
Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, "Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?" And he said, "Yes, I know; be still."

2 Kings 6:9
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there."

Nehemiah 5:2
For there were those who said, "We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live."

Isaiah 50:1
Thus says the LORD, "Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
Treasury of Scripture

Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take to him my two sons to be slaves.

A.M.

2 Kings 4:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; …

2 Kings 2:3,5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, …

1 Kings 20:35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor …

thy servant did fear

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not your hand on the lad, neither do you any thing …

1 Kings 18:3 And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now …

Nehemiah 7:2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, …

Psalm 103:11,17 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy …

Psalm 112:1,2 Praise you the LORD. Blessed is the man that fears the LORD, that …

Psalm 115:13 He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.

Psalm 147:11 The LORD takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, …

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep …

Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the …

Malachi 4:2 But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise …

Acts 13:26 Men and brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among …

Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name? for you only …

Revelation 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all you …

the creditor

Leviticus 25:39,40,48 And if your brother that dwells by you be waxen poor, and be sold …

Nehemiah 5:2-5 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: …

Nehemiah 10:31 And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath …

Jeremiah 34:14 At the end of seven years let you go every man his brother an Hebrew, …

Matthew 18:25,30,35 But for as much as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be …

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; …

IV.

IV.--VIII. THE WONDROUS WORKS OF ELISHA THE PROPHET.

(1-7) He multiplies the widow's oil. (Comp. 1Kings 17:12 seq.)

(1) Of the wives of the sons of the prophets.--This shows that "the sons of the prophets" were not young unmarried men leading a kind of monastic life under the control of their prophetic chief. Those who were heads of families must have had their own separate homes. (See Note on 1Kings 20:35.)

Thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord.--She makes this the ground of her claim on the prophet's assistance. In 1Kings 18:3; 1Kings 18:12 it is said of Obadiah, Ahab's steward, that he "feared the Lord," and on account of this slight resemblance, the Targum, Josephus, and Ephrem Syrus identify the dead man of this verse with Obadiah, who is supposed to have spent all his property in maintaining the prophets (1Kings 18:4) (!) Possibly the widow meant to say that her husband's debts were not due to profligate living (Thenius).

The creditor is come to take unto him my two sons.--According to the law (Leviticus 25:39). They would have to continue in servitude until the year of jubilee. The ancient Roman law was more severe, for it contained no provision for the future release of the unhappy debtor. (Comp. also Matthew 18:26, and Notes.)

Verse 1. - Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying. We learn from this that the "sons of the prophets" were not merely, all of them, college students, but included fathers of families, who cannot have lived a cloistered life, but must have had separate homes for themselves and their families. Such persons may still have taught in the prophetical schools, as do the married tutors and professors of modern universities. Thy servant my husband is dead. Elisha had, it seems, known her husband, who had been his "servant," not literally and in deed, but in will and heart, i.e. always ready to serve him. She recalls this fact to his memory, to predispose him in her favor. And thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord. Here was a second ground for Elisha's interference - the woman's husband had been a God-fearing man, one who not only acknowledged Jehovah, but worshipped him in spirit and in truth. There is a Jewish tradition, or legend, that the woman's husband was the Obadiah of 1 Kings 18:3-16, but no dependence can be placed on it. Obadiah, the "governor of Ahab's house," can scarcely have been one of the "sons of the prophets." And the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to he bondmen. In primitive communities, men borrowed upon their personal credit, and the primary security for debt was regarded as being their own persons, the value of their labor, and that of those dependent on them. In Greece and Rome, originally, as in the Hebrew community, borrowers ordinarily raised money by pledging their persons, and, if they could not pay when the debt became due, went into servitude with their children. The Mosaic Law presupposes this state of things, and permits its continuance, but in two respects interferes to modify it:

(1) by requiring that the service exacted shall not be severe (Leviticus 25:43, 46), but such as was commonly rendered by hired servants (Leviticus 25:39, 40); and

(2) by limiting the period of service to the date of the next jubilee year (Leviticus 25:40, 41). In the instance brought here under our notice, it would seem that the creditor had not proceeded to claim his rights until the debtor died, when he on-forced them against the man's children (comp. Nehemiah 5:1-8). Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha,.... This, according to the Targum, was the wife of Obadiah, who had hid the prophets by fifty in a cave in the times of Ahab; and so Josephus (q), and it is the commonly received notion of the Jewish writers; though it does not appear that he was a prophet, or the son of a prophet, but the governor or steward of Ahab's house; she was more likely to be the wife of a meaner person; and from hence it is clear that the prophets and their disciples married:

saying, thy servant my husband is dead; which is the lot of prophets, as well as others, Zechariah 1:5.

and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord; her husband was well known to the prophet, and known to be a good man, one of the 7000 who bowed not the knee to Baal, for the truth of which she appeals to Elisha; and this character she gives of her husband, lest it should be thought that his poverty, and leaving her in debt, were owing to any ill practices of his:

and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen; which it seems were allowed of when men became poor and insolvent, and died so, to which the allusion is in Isaiah 1:1; see Gill on Matthew 18:25. Josephus (r) suggests, that the insolvency of this man was owing to his borrowing money to feed the prophets hid in the cave; and it is a common notion of the Jews that this creditor was Jehoram the son of Ahab; and in later times it was a law with the Athenians (s), that if a father had not paid what he was fined in court, the son was obliged to pay it, and in the mean while to lie in bonds, as was the case of Cimon (t), and others.

(q) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 4. sect. 2.((r) Ibid. (s) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 10. (t) Cornel. Nep. in Vita Cimon. l. 5. c. 1.CHAPTER 4

2Ki 4:1-7. Elisha Augments the Widow's Oil.

1. there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets—They were allowed to marry as well as the priests and Levites. Her husband, not enjoying the lucrative profits of business, had nothing but a professional income, which, in that irreligious age, would be precarious and very scanty, so that he was not in a condition to provide for his family.

the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen—By the enactment of the law, a creditor was entitled to claim the person and children of the insolvent debtor, and compel them to serve him as bondmen till the year of jubilee should set them free.4:1-7 Elisha's miracles were acts of real charity: Christ's were so; not only great wonders, but great favours to those for whom they were wrought. God magnifies his goodness with his power. Elisha readily received a poor widow's complaint. Those that leave their families under a load of debt, know not what trouble they cause. It is the duty of all who profess to follow the Lord, while they trust to God for daily bread, not to tempt him by carelessness or extravagance, nor to contract debts; for nothing tends more to bring reproach upon the gospel, or distresses their families more when they are gone. Elisha put the widow in a way to pay her debt, and to maintain herself and her family. This was done by miracle, but so as to show what is the best method to assist those who are in distress, which is, to help them to improve by their own industry what little they have. The oil, sent by miracle, continued flowing as long as she had empty vessels to receive it. We are never straitened in God, or in the riches of his grace; all our straitness is in ourselves. It is our faith that fails, not his promise. He gives more than we ask: were there more vessels, there is enough in God to fill them; enough for all, enough for each; and the Redeemer's all-sufficiency will only be stayed from the supplying the wants of sinners and saving their souls, when no more apply to him for salvation. The widow must pay her debt with the money she received for her oil. Though her creditors were too hard with her, yet they must be paid, even before she made any provision for her children. It is one of the main laws of the Christian religion, that we pay every just debt, and give every one his own, though we leave ever so little for ourselves; and this, not of constraint, but for conscience' sake. Those who bear an honest mind, cannot with pleasure eat their daily bread, unless it be their own bread. She and her children must live upon the rest; that is, upon the money received for the oil, with which they must put themselves into a way to get an honest livelihood. We cannot now expect miracles, yet we may expect mercies, if we wait on God, and seek to him. Let widows in particular depend upon him. He that has all hearts in his hand, can, without a miracle, send as effectual a supply.
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