Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then.—And; so in 2Kings 4:29; 2Kings 4:35.
Did I desire (ask) a son of my lord?—Only the conclusion of her appeal is given. She says, Better to have had no son, than to have had one and lost him. The opposite of our poet’s
“‘Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all.”
But this last is the fruit of reflection; her words are the spontaneous outflow of a mother’s poignant sorrow. Or, perhaps, we should understand that grief does not allow her to specify the cause directly; she leaves the prophet to infer that from her questions.2 Kings 4:28. She said, Did I desire a son of my lord? — This child was not given to me upon my immoderate desire, for which I might have justly been thus chastised; but was freely promised to me by thee in God’s name, and from his special grace and favour. Did not I say, Do not deceive me? — With vain hopes of a comfort that I should never have. And I had been much happier if I had never had it, than to lose it so quickly. Genesis 30:1, compared with Genesis 35:18; but was freely promised to me by thee in God’s name, and from his special grace and favour; and therefore I trust both thou didst pray for it, and God design it as a blessing, and not as an affliction, as now it proves, unless thou dost obtain the child for me a second time, which I know thou canst do, and I humbly beg thee to do.
Do not deceive me, with vain hopes of a comfort that I should never have? And I had been much happier if I had never had it, than to lose it so quickly. Therefore thou art in some measure concerned to revive my dead hopes, and to continue to me the great blessing which thou hast procured.
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.Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. Did I desire a son] The words are almost reproachful and make it clear to the prophet that the child is dead. Better had it been for her not to have had the child given to her, than now to have the great sorrow of losing him.
Do not deceive me] She does not use the stronger term which occurs in the earlier part of the narrative (verse 16).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.
(Note: From these words, Theod., Kimchi, C. a Lap., Vatabl., and others have drawn the correct conclusion, that the pious in Israel were accustomed to meet together at the prophets' houses for worship and edification, on those days which were appointed in the law (Leviticus 23:3; Numbers 28:11.) for the worship of God; and from this Hertz and Hengstenberg have still further inferred, that in the kingdom of the ten tribes not only were the Sabbath and new moons kept, as is evident from Amos 8:5 also, but the prophets supplied the pious in that kingdom with a substitute for the missing Levitical priesthood.)
she replied, shalom; i.e., either "it is all well," or "never mind." For this word, which is used in reply to a question after one's health (see 2 Kings 4:26), is apparently also used, as Clericus has correctly observed, when the object is to avoid giving a definite answer to any one, and yet at the same time to satisfy him.
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