And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray you, all the great things that Elisha has done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the king talked.—And the king was speaking unto.
Gehazi.—He, therefore, was not yet a leper (2Kings 5:27). So Keil and some earlier expositors. But lepers, though excluded from the city, were not excluded from conversation with others. (Comp. Matthew 8:2; Luke 17:12.) Naaman was apparently admitted into the royal palace (2Kings 5:6). The way, however, in which Gehazi is spoken of as “the servant of the man of God” (comp. 2Kings 5:20) seems to imply the priority of the present narrative to that of 2 Kings 5.
Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things.—“The history of Elijah and Elisha has a distinctly popular character; it reads like a story told by word of mouth, full of the dramatic touches and vivid presentations of detail which characterise all Semitic history that closely follows oral narration. The king of Israel of whom we read in 2Kings 8:4, was, we may be sure, not the only man who talked with Gehazi, saying, ‘Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.’ By many repetitions the history of the prophets took a fixed shape long before it was committed to writing, and the written record preserves all the essential features of the narratives that passed from mouth to mouth, and were handed down orally from father to child.” (Prof. Robertson Smith, The Prophets of Israel, p. 116.)2 Kings 8:4. The king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God — Or, who had been his servant formerly. The law did not forbid conversing with lepers at a due distance, but only the dwelling with them. Thus Naaman conversed with Elisha’s family at a distance; and the lepers called to our Lord, as he went along the highway.2 Kings 6:26; 2 Samuel 14:4; 1 Kings 3:16. Quest. How could the king speak with Gehazi, who was a leper?
Answ. Either the king might speak with him at a convenient distance, it being usual for others to discourse with lepers, as 2 Kings 7:8 Matthew 8:2 Luke 17:12; or his leprosy might be of that sort which was not infectious; or, if his leprosy was such as made him yet to be unclean, the king’s great curiosity might easily prevail with him to break a ceremonial law, who made no scruple of violating God’s moral law.
saying, tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done; the miracles he wrought, as the dividing of the waters of Jordan, and healing those near Jericho; the affair of procuring water for the armies of the three kings in Edom he needed not to relate, since Jehoram was an eyewitness thereof; the next was the multiplying the widow's cruse of oil, when he in course came to those that were done for the Shunammite woman.And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. the king talked [R.V. was talking] with Gehazi] For a brief conference we find Naaman coming to the court of Israel and probably obtaining an interview with the king or some of those in immediate attendance on him. So if Jehoram were desirous to know everything about Elisha, he might for a short time converse with Gehazi. The interview appears to have been in some public place, perhaps at the gate of the city, where kings sat to hear appeals and administer justice. The Shunammite finds them together. ‘The words of Gehazi, the thoughts of the king, the desires of the Shunammite, all drawn together, by the wise providence of God into the centre of one moment, that His oppressed servant might receive a speedy justice’ (Bp Hall).Verse 4. - And the king talked with Gehazi; rather, now the king was talking with Gehazi, as in the Revised Version. The king, i.e., happened to be talking with Gehazi at the moment when the woman came into his presence and "cried" to him. It has been reasonably concluded from this, that chronological order is not observed in the portion of the narrative which treats of Elisha and his doings, since a king of Israel would scarcely be in familiar conversation with a leper (Keil). It may be added that Gehazi can scarcely have continued to be the servant of Elisha, as he evidently now was, after his leprosy. He must have dwelt "without the gate." The servant of the man of God. That a king should converse with a servant is, no doubt, somewhat unusual; but, as Bahr notes, there is nothing in the circumstance that need astonish us. It is natural enough that, having been himself a witness of so many of the prophet's marvelous acts done in public, Jehoram should become curious concerning those other marvelous acts which he had performed in private, among his personal friends and associates, with respect to which many turnouts must have got abroad; and should wish to obtain an account of them from a source on which he could rely. If he had this desire, he could scarcely apply to the prophet himself, with whom he was at no time on familiar terms, and who would shrink from enlarging on his own miraculous powers. "To whom, then, could he apply with more propriety for this information than to the prophet's familiar servant" - an eye-witness of most of them, and one who would have no reason for reticence? Oriental ideas would not be shocked by the king's sending for any subject from whom he desired information, and questioning him. Saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. Miracles are often called "great things" (גְדֹלות) in the Old Testament, but generally in connection with God as the doer of them (see Job 5:9; Job 9:10; Job 37:5; Psalm 71:19; Psalm 106:21, etc.). 2 Kings 7:18-20 along with the event which occasioned it, and refers again to its fulfilment.
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