2 Kings 4:13
And he said to him, Say now to her, Behold, you have been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for you? would you be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among my own people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) And he said unto himi.e., Elisha, as he lay on the bed (2Kings 4:11), had charged Gehazi to say this when he called their hostess. It is hardly likely that Elisha communicated with her through his servant in order to save his own dignity. He may have thought she would express her wishes more freely to Gehazi than to himself.

Thou hast been careful . . . with all this care.—Literally, trembled all this trembling. Comp. Luke 10:41 (τυρβάζῃ).

Wouldest thou be spoken for to the king?—Literally, is it to speak for thee to the king? that is, dost thou stand in need of an advocate at court? Is there any boon thou desirest from the king? This shows what influence Elisha enjoyed at the time: but it does not prove that Jehu, whom he anointed, was already on the throne, for Jehoram respected and probably feared the prophet.

The captain of the host.—The commander-in- chief, who was the most powerful person next the king.

I dwell among mine own people.—Literally, In the midst of my people I am dwellingscil., far from the court and courtly interests. I have nothing to seek from such exalted personages; I am a mere commoner living quietly in the country.

2 Kings 4:13. What is to be done for thee? — Wherein can I serve thee? For he was very desirous, as all good men are, to be grateful. “They that receive courtesies,” says Henry, “should study to return them. It ill becomes men of God to be ungrateful, or to sponge upon those that are generous.” Wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, &c.? — For an office for thy husband, civil or military? Hast thou any complaint to make; any petition to present; any suit at law depending, that needs the countenance of the higher powers? It seems by this the prophet had got such an interest at court, since the late victory over the Moabites, that though he minded not to prefer himself by it, yet he was capable of preferring his friends. I dwell among my own people — I live among my kindred and friends; nor have I any cause to seek relief from the higher powers.4:8-17 Elisha was well thought of by the king of Israel for his late services; a good man can take as much pleasure in serving others, as in raising himself. But the Shunammite needed not any good offices of this kind. It is a happiness to dwell among our own people, that love and respect us, and to whom we are able to do good. It would be well with many, if they did but know when they are really well off. The Lord sees the secret wish which is suppressed in obedience to his will, and he will hear the prayers of his servants in behalf of their benefactors, by sending unasked-for and unexpected mercies; nor must the professions of men of God be supposed to be delusive like those of men of the world.Thou hast been careful for us - For the prophet and his servant, who must have been lodged as well as his master.

I dwell among mine own people - The woman declines Elisha's offer. She has no wrong to complain of, no quarrel with any neighbor, in respect of which she might need the help of one in power. She "dwells among her own people" - her friends, and dependents, with whom she lives peaceably.

13-16. what is to be done for thee?—Wishing to testify his gratitude for the hospitable attentions of this family, he announced to her the birth of a son "about this time next year." The interest and importance of such an intelligence can only be estimated by considering that Oriental women, and Jewish in particular, connect ideas of disgrace with barrenness, and cherish a more ardent desire for children than women in any other part of the world (Ge 18:10-15). What is to be done for thee? wherewith shall I recompense all thy care and kindness to me and my servant?

To the king, or to the captain of the host; with whom he justly had great power for his eminent service, 2Ki 3.

I dwell among mine own people; I live in love and peace among my kindred and friends; nor have I any cause to complain of them, or to seek relief from higher powers. And he said unto him,...., To Gehazi, before he went to call her:

say now unto her, behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; in building a chamber, and furnishing it with proper household goods, and providing food for them from time to time:

what is to be done for thee? can anything be thought of by thee that will be acceptable, and in my masters power to do for thee, or thy husband?

wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? that her husband might be promoted to some post in the court, or in the camp; intimating, that if either of these was agreeable, Elisha would speak on his behalf, having interest in both through his services in Edom:

and she answered, I will dwell among my own people she was content and satisfied with her present state of life, and the situation she was in, and with her friends and neighbours she lived among, and did not care to remove, though it was to a higher rank of life, and to greater dignity and honour; and she had no suit to make to the king or general, nothing to complain of; and she had friends enough to speak for her, should she want any assistance.

And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; {i} what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I {k} dwell among mine own people.

(i) Thus the servants of God are not unthankful for the benefits they receive.

(k) I am content with what God has sent me, and can lack nothing that one can do for another.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. And he said unto him] i.e. Elisha to Gehazi. The prophet does not himself address the woman. Most likely, in all things which he required, Gehazi was his messenger to the house, and so the woman would more readily reply to him than to his master. It is clear from what follows that Gehazi was acquainted with the family concerns. There may have been also in Elisha’s mind somewhat of the feeling which the disciples of Christ had (John 4:27) when ‘they marvelled that their Master was speaking with a woman’.

thou hast been careful for us with all this care] Both the noun and verb in the original are used of ‘fear’ and ‘trembling’. (Cf. Martha’s care and trouble, Luke 10:41.) Hence R.V. in margin gives ‘hast shewed us all this reverence’. The use of such words bears out what has just been said of the distance kept between Elisha and the family at Shunem, though they were his entertainers. The verb is used for that fear which came over the guests of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:49) when they found that David had caused Solomon to be proclaimed king. The LXX. recognises the strong meaning of the verb and gives ἐξέστησας ἡμῖν πᾶσαν τὴν ἔκστασιν ταύτην.

wouldest thou be spoken for, &c.] The prophet offers to use his influence, if it can be of any service to his hostess, with the powers of the land. And we cannot but be struck all through his history with the close intimacy which existed between Elisha and the royal family. This was more likely to occur in the reign of Jehoram, than under his brother’s rule or his father’s. But even of him it is recorded (2 Kings 3:2) that he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and in the expedition against Moab, Elisha declares (2 Kings 3:14) that but for the sake of Jehoshaphat he would not waste even a look on Jehoram. There must have been still a great deal of zeal for Jehovah in the northern kingdom to support the prophet, or after such a declaration he would have had little influence with the king, whereas it is the first thing that comes to his mind as a means of rewarding the attention of the Shunammite. On this Bp Hall remarks: ‘It is a good hearing that an Elisha is in such grace at the court, that he can promise himself access to the king, in a friend’s suit. It was not ever thus. The time was when his master heard, “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” Now the late miracle which Elisha wrought, in gratifying the three kings with water and victory, hath endeared him to the king of Israel; and now, Who but Elisha?’

or to the captain of the host] If we may take Joab, in David’s time, as an example, this officer possessed immense influence. The same opinion would be formed from the history of Abner, who was captain of Saul’s host, and so powerful as to be able to bring the tribes who had favoured Ishbosheth over to the side of David (2 Samuel 3:8-12).

And she answered, I dwell among mine own people] If the king or the captain of the host were to be appealed to, it must be for some case of hardship and oppression. The Shunammite shews she has no necessity of this kind, for all those among whom she lives are friends and relatives. There is no foe to ask protection against, and the kindred are enough to secure her against enemies.Verse 13. - And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful - literally, anxious - for us with all this care - or, anxiety; i.e. thou hast taken all this trouble in lodging both me and my servant, and in attending on us - what is to be done for thee? or, What is there that thou wouldest have done for thee? Is there anything that we can do for thee in return? Wouldest thou be spoken for to the king? Elisha assumes that he has credit at court, and offers to use it in the Shunammite's favor, if she has any request to prefer. We see something of his influence in 2 Kings 6:9-12, 21-23; 2 Kings 8:4-6. Or to the captain of the host? i.e. the person whose authority and influence was next to that of the king. And she answered, I dwell among mine own people; i.e. "The court is nothing to me. I want nothing from it. I have no wrong to complain of, no quarrel with any of my neighbors, so as to need the help of one m power. I dwell peaceably among them. They are 'my own people' - friends or dependents." The reply is that of one perfectly content with her position. Perhaps she aims at impressing on Elisha that she has had no selfish motive in what she has done for him, but has merely wished to honor God in his prophet. The Widow's Cruse of Oil. - A poor widow of the scholars of the prophets complained to Elisha of her distress, namely, that a creditor was about to take her two sons as servants (slaves). The Mosaic law gave a creditor the right to claim the person and children of a debtor who was unable to pay, and they were obliged to serve him as slaves till the year of jubilee, when they were once more set free (Leviticus 25:39-40). When the prophet learned, on inquiry that she had nothing in her house but a small flask of oil (אסוּך, from סוּך, means an anointing flask, a small vessel for the oil necessary for anointing the body), he told her to beg of all her neighbours empty vessels, not a few (אל־תּמעיטי, make not few, sc. to beg), and then to shut herself in with her sons, and to pour from her flask of oil into all these vessels till they were full, and then to sell this oil and pay her debt with the money, and use the rest for the maintenance of herself and her children. She was to close the house-door, that she might not be disturbed in her occupation by other people, and also generally to avoid all needless observation while the miracle was being performed. תּסּיאי המּלא, let that which is filled be put on one side, namely by the sons, who handed her the vessels, according to 2 Kings 4:5 and 2 Kings 4:6, so that she was able to pour without intermission. The form מיצקת is a participle Piel, and is quite appropriate as an emphatic form; the Keri השּׁקת (Hiphil) is an unnecessary alteration, especially as the Hiphil of יצק is הצּיּק. השׁמן ויּעמד, then the oil stood, i.e., it ceased to flow. The asyndeton בניך ואתּ is very harsh, and the Vav copul. has probably dropped out. With the alteration proposed by L. de Dieu, viz., of ואתּ into ואת, "live with thy sons," the verb תּחיי would necessarily stand first (Thenius).
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