2 Kings 4:16
And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, you shall embrace a son. And she said, No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) About this season.At this set time.

According to the time of life.—Rather, at the reviving time—i.e., next spring; or, when the time revivesi.e., in the following year: a phrase occurring in Genesis 18:10; Genesis 18:15. Böttcher renders, “when the year has revolved,” assuming the ground meaning of the term “life” to be something joined in a circle.

Thou shalt embrace.Thou art about to embrace.

Do not liei.e., raise no delusive hopes. (Comp. Isaiah 58:11.) We can imagine the emotion with which this would be said. (Comp. the incredulity of Sarah, Genesis 18:12-13.)

2 Kings 4:16-17. About this season, according to the time of life — About this time next year; see on Genesis 18:10; thou shall embrace a son — She had received this prophet in the name of a prophet, and now she receives, not a courtier’s reward, in being spoken for to the king, but a prophet’s reward, a signal mercy, given in answer to a prophet’s prayer. Nay, my lord, do not lie unto thy handmaid — Do not delude me with vain hopes. She could not believe it for joy. The woman — bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her — The event, within the time limited, confirmed the truth of the promise. God built up her house in reward of her kindness in building the prophet a chamber.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.Do not lie - Compare a similar incredulity in Genesis 17:17; Genesis 18:12; Luke 1:20. The expression, "do not lie," which is harsh to us, accords with the plain, straightforward simplicity of ancient speech. It would not mean more than "deceive" (compare the marginal reference). 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). According to the time of life; of which phrase See Poole on "Genesis 18:10".

Do not lie unto thine handmaid; do not delude me with vain hopes. She could not believe it for joy, and supposed the prophet might say thus either for her trial, or from his own private judgment and affection, and not by warrant from God. And he said, about this season,.... In the next year:

according to the time of life; the usual time women go with child:

thou shalt embrace a son; in thine arms, that shall be born of thee, which she should have in her lap, and in her bosom:

and she said, nay, my lord, do not lie unto thine handmaid; or speak unto her what was not truth; it was so great, and so unaccountable, how it could be in her circumstances, that she could not believe it to be true, though she wished it might; or do not deceive me with vain and false words, or flatter me, jest with me, which would be unbecoming his character as a man of God, and prophet of the Lord; according to the Targum, she wished it might prove true, and she not deceived; see 2 Kings 4:28.

And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. according to the time of life] R.V. when the time cometh round. The literal sense of the verb is explained on the margin of R.V. = liveth, or reviveth. The phrase is the same which is used Genesis 18:14 to the childless Sarah before the birth of Isaac.

thou man of God] She appeals to him in the character which she felt to be most sacred; the character which had at first (see verse 9) made her desirous to entertain him.

do not lie unto thine handmaid] The verb in all its directness is common in Hebrew in very solemn expressions. Thus Numbers 23:19, ‘God is not a man that he should lie’, and of God’s word (Habakkuk 2:3), ‘It shall speak and not lie’. The blessing promised was so great, and appeared so unlikely of fulfilment, that the woman implores Elisha not to raise false expectations in such a matter.Verse 16. - And he - i.e. Elisha - said, About this season, according to the time of life - rather, when the time comes round; literally, revives; i.e. about this time next year - thou shalt embrace a son; i.e. "a son shall be born to thee, whom thou wilt embrace, as mothers are wont to do." And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid. Like Sarah, the woman was incredulous; she could not believe the good tidings, and thought the prophet was only raising hopes to disappoint them. Her words, "Do not lie unto thy servant," are less harsh in the original, being merely equivalent to the "Do not deceive me" of ver. 28. The woman then asked her husband to build a small upper chamber for this holy man of God, and to furnish it with the necessary articles of furniture (viz., bed, table, seat, and lamp), that he might always turn in at their house. עליּת־קיר is either a walled upper chamber, i.e., one built with brick and not with wooden walls (Cler., Then.), or an upper chamber built upon the wall of the house (Ges.).
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