|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:18-37 Here is the sudden death of the child. All the mother's tenderness cannot keep alive a child of promise, a child of prayer, one given in love. But how admirably does the prudent, pious mother, guard her lips under this sudden affliction! Not one peevish word escapes from her. Such confidence had she of God's goodness, that she was ready to believe that he would restore what he had now taken away. O woman, great is thy faith! He that wrought it, would not disappoint it. The sorrowful mother begged leave of her husband to go to the prophet at once. She had not thought it enough to have Elisha's help sometimes in her own family, but, though a woman of rank, attended on public worship. It well becomes the men of God, to inquire about the welfare of their friends and their families. The answer was, It is well. All well, and yet the child dead in the house! Yes! All is well that God does; all is well with them that are gone, if they are gone to heaven; and all well with us that stay behind, if, by the affliction, we are furthered in our way thither. When any creature-comfort is taken from us, it is well if we can say, through grace, that we did not set our hearts too much upon it; for if we did, we have reason to fear it was given in anger, and taken away in wrath. Elisha cried unto God in faith; and the beloved son was restored alive to his mother. Those who would convey spiritual life to dead souls, must feel deeply for their case, and labour fervently in prayer for them. Though the minister cannot give Divine life to his fellow-sinners, he must use every means, with as much earnestness as if he could do so.
Verse 21. - And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God. One cannot be certain what thoughts were working in the poor bereaved mother's heart; but probably she entertained some vague notion that the prophet might be able to resuscitate her child, and thought that, until his presence could be obtained, the next best thing was to place the child where the prophet's presence had lately been. Elijah had placed on his own bed the child whom he restored to life (1 Kings 17:19); and the fact may have been known to the Shunammite. She certainly did not expect mere contact with the bed to resuscitate her child. And shut the door upon him. Either that the body should not be disturbed, or rather that the death should not be known. It is clear that, from whatever motive, the woman wished to conceal the death of the child until she had seen what Elisha could do for her. She neither told her husband nor the servant who accompanied her. And went out; i.e. quitted the prophet's apartment, closing the door as she quitted it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And she went up,.... Into the little chamber built for the prophet:
and laid him on the bed of the man of God; not from any imagination of any virtue in it to bring her child to life; though she might think of the prophet, and have faith that he could raise it to life, as Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath's son laid on his bed, of which she might have heard; but this being a private room, and into which none went, she laid it here to conceal its death from her husband and family, and to prevent grief, and that they might not bury it until she returned:
and shut the door upon him; that no creature might enter, and, do any damage to his corpse:
and went out; not out of the chamber, that she did before she shut the door, but out of the house.
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