|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 28. - Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? The woman does not directly reveal her grief. Great sorrow is reticent, cannot endure to put itself into words. But she sufficiently indicates the nature of her trouble by the form of her reproach. "Did I ask for a son? Did I make complaint of my childlessness? Had I been importunate, and obtained my son of thee by much asking, I would not have complained. But I did not ask. I did not even snatch greedily at the offer. I demurred. I said, 'Do not deceive me.' But now thou hast done worse than deceive me. Thou hast kept the word of promise to the ear, and broken it to the hope. It is greater misery to have a child and lose him, than never to have had one at all." All this, and more, seems to be involved in the woman's words. And the prophet fully understood their meaning.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then she said, did I desire a son of my lord?.... It was not at her request she had one, at least the first motion was not from her; the prophet first told her, and assured her she should have one, without her asking for it; she might be pleased with it, and desire the promise might be fulfilled; but it was not an inordinate, importunate, desire of one, in which she had exceeded, that so the taking it away from her might be a correction of her for it:
did I not say, do not deceive me; by giving hopes of a child, and yet have none; and now it was equally the same, or worse, to have one, and then to have it taken away again as soon as had almost; so the Targum,"did I not say unto thee, if a child is given me, let it live, if not, do not trouble or grieve me;''and then, no doubt, she told him plainly the child was dead, and where she had laid it, though not recorded.
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