2 Kings 4:28
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)
(28) 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.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.Great grief shrinks from putting itself into words. The Shunammite cannot bring herself to say, "My son is dead;" but by reproaching the prophet with having "deceived" her, she sufficiently indicates her loss. 26-28. And she answered, It is well—Her answer was purposely brief and vague to Gehazi, for she reserved a full disclosure of her loss for the ear of the prophet himself. She had met Gehazi at the foot of the hill, and she stopped not in her ascent till she had disburdened her heavy-laden spirit at Elisha's feet. The violent paroxysm of grief into which she fell on approaching him, appeared to Gehazi an act of disrespect to his master; he was preparing to remove her when the prophet's observant eye perceived that she was overwhelmed with some unknown cause of distress. How great is a mother's love! how wondrous are the works of Providence! The Shunammite had not sought a son from the prophet—her child was, in every respect, the free gift of God. Was she then allowed to rejoice in the possession for a little, only to be pierced with sorrow by seeing the corpse of the cherished boy? Perish, doubt and unbelief! This event happened that "the works of God should be made manifest" in His prophet, "and for the glory of God." This child was not given to me upon my immoderate desire, for which I might have justly been thus chastised, as Rachel was, 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. 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.

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. The mother took the dead child at once up to the chamber built for Elisha, laid it upon the bed of the man of God, and shut the door behind her; she then asked her husband, without telling him of the death of the boy, to send a young man with a she-ass, that she might ride as quickly as possible to the man of God; and when her husband asked her, "Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day, since it is neither new moon nor Sabbath?"

(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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