2 Kings 4:17
And the woman conceived, and bore a son at that season that Elisha had said to her, according to the time of life.
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(17) And the woman conceived.—Comp. with this verse Genesis 21:2.


According to the time of life.—See Note on 2Kings 4:16.

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). No text from Poole on this verse. And the woman conceived, and bare a son at the season that Elisha said unto her,.... Quickly after this she conceived, and became pregnant, and by that time the year came round, she was brought to bed of a son:

according to the time of life: when she had gone her full time to have a son born alive, and live.

And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
17. Here by rendering as in the previous verse the R.V. involves a change of order in the English but conforms thereby more nearly to the Hebrew order. ‘And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season, when the time came round, as Elisha had said unto her’.Verse 17. - And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life; rather, as the Revised Version gives the passage, the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season, when the time came round, as Elisha had said unto her. The event was exactly as predicted; the child was born at the same season of the ensuing year. After some time, when Elisha had spent the night in the chamber provided for him, he wanted to make some acknowledgment to his hostess for the love which she had shown him, and told his servant Gehazi to call her, and say to her: "Thou hast taken all this care for us, what shall I do to thee? Hast thou (anything) to say to the king or the chief captain?" i.e., hast thou any wish that I could convey to them, and intercede for thee? There is something striking here in the fact that Elisha did not address the woman himself, as she was standing before him, but told her servant to announce to her his willingness to make some return for what she had done. This was, probably, simply from a regard to the great awe which she had of the "holy man of God" (2 Kings 4:9), and to inspire her with courage to give expression to the wishes of her heart.

(Note: The conjecture that Elisha would not speak to her directly for the sake of maintaining his dignity, or that the historian looked upon such conversation with women as unbecoming in a teacher of the law (Thenius), is already proved to be untenable by 2 Kings 4:15, 2 Kings 4:16, where Elisha does speak to her directly.)

She answered: "I dwell among my people," i.e., not, I merely belong to the people (Thenius), but, I live quietly and peaceably among my countrymen, so that I have no need for any intercession with the king and great men of the kingdom. Ἀπραγμοσύνῃ χαίρω καὶ εἰρηνικῶς διάγω καὶ πρός τινα ἀμφισβήτησιν ούκ ἀνέχομαι (Theodoret).

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