|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 23. - And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? it is neither new moon nor sabbath. The husband demurred; he saw no occasion for the journey. It was not either "new moon" or "sabbath" - times when evidently the prophets conducted services, which were attended by pious persons from the neighborhood: what could she want of Elisha? He had evidently no idea that the child was dead. Probably he had not realized to himself that he was in any danger. And she said, It shall be well. She uttered the single word shalom, literally, "peace," but used, like the German gut, or the English "all right," to content an inquirer without giving him a definite answer. And the husband accepted her assurance, and did not press for an explanation. The ass and the servant were placed at her disposal without more words.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said, wherefore wilt thou go to him today?.... What reason is there for it? what is the meaning of it?
it is neither new moon nor sabbath; neither the first day of the month, nor the seventh day of the week, times which were religiously observed; so with the Heathens the new moon and the seventh of the week, and so the fourth, were sacred (u); which notions they borrowed from the Jews; see Gill on 1 Samuel 20:5 and when, it seems, it was usual to frequent the house of the prophet, to hear the word of God read and explained, and other religious exercises performed, as praying and singing praise, and receiving some good instructions and advice. Joseph Kimchi gives a different sense of these words:"there is not a month past, no, not a week, since thou sawest him;''why therefore shouldest thou be in such haste to go to him? so the words for new moon and sabbath may signify:
and she said, it shall be well; it was right for her to go, and it would be well for him and her, and the family; or, "peace" (w), be easy and quiet, farewell: it is much he had no mistrust of the death of the child, or that it was worse, since it went from him ill.
(u) Hesiod. Opera & Dies, l. 2.((w) "pax", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
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