The Reproaches of Death
1 Kings 17:17, 18
And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore…

In verse 15 we read that the widow and her household did eat of the multiplied meal "days (ימים), a term which is by some Hebraists understood, when used without qualification, to denote a year. So the phrase with which the text opens, "And it came to pass after these things," imports that the miracle of raising the widow's son occurred "after" Elijah had been one year in her house. The "things" to which this miracle succeeded were the earlier signs of the presence of God with the prophet, meanwhile the widow read the bereavement her own way.


1. She attributed it to Elijah. "Art thou come unto me, to slay my son."

(1) Not, however, under any notion of unkind. ness to her in the heart of the prophet. For

(a) had she not, and her son with her, been saved from death by famine in connexion with his sojourn in her house?

(b) The heavenly conversation they must have had during the year would preclude such an idea.

(2) Yet here is the fact; and it is written for our learning. The incidents in Scripture, given under Divine inspiration, are therefore to be very particularly noted. They cannot be too carefully or too prayerfully studied.

2. She attributed it to him as a "man of God."

(1) This was not, in her estimation, an ordinary case of death. The circumstances surrounding it were all extraordinary,

(2) At least she saw that it was intended by God for some high purpose. She was right. We should not be wrong so to regard ordinary providences. All God's purposes are high. All His providences are important. His providence is in everything. Life therefore is no stale thing

II. SHE READ HIS REPROACHES IN IT. "Art thou come to call my sin to my remembrance?"

1. We should newer forget that we are sinners.

(1) Whatever reminds us of God should remind us of sin. For all sin is, directly or indirectly, against Him; and this is the gravest side of the offence (Psalm 51:4; Luke 15:21).

(2) Death especially should remind us of God, before whose tribunal it conducts us. So it should especially remind us of sin, for it is its wages appointed by God.

2. The remembrance, however, will affect us variously according to our moral state.

(1) Sin, in the first instance, is called to the remembrance of all that they may hate it and forsake it.

(2) To those who have endeavoured to do this, it is still called to remembrance, that they may trust in Christ for forgiveness and salvation.

(3) To the justified it is called to remembrance that they may praise God for His mercy. In this sense sin will be remembered even in heaven. (See Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9, 17.)

III. SHE CONNECTED THESE REPROACHES WITH THE PRESENCE OF ELIJAH. "What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God?" etc.

1. Why did she do this?

(1) Prophets were sent usually to reprove, and denounce judgments. Hence the coming of Samuel to Bethlehem inspired the magistrates and people with alarm. (See 1 Samuel 16:4.) This bereavement, therefore, might suggest to the widow her sin in general, or some particular sin, though not clearly defined to her as yet.

(2) Or it might have brought home to her some imperfection in the service of God which she had not previously sufficiently considered. Had she adequately appreciated the great privilege of having such a guest?

(3) Was there not in this a confession that she was unworthy of such an honour, and a desire implied that she should be made worthy, lest otherwise his continued presence must become an occasion of judgments? Was not the expression of Peter, with whom Jesus lodged, of similar import when the divinity of the Master was brought vividly before him by the miraculous draught of fishes, and he exclaimed, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord?" (Luke 5:8).

2. Did she not here recognize a great truth?

(1) What sanctifications and consecrations Levites, and more especially sons of Aaron, needed, who had to draw near to God; and how perilous to them, even then, were their approaches to that sacred presence! (Exodus 28:43; Leviticus 8:35; Leviticus 15:31; Leviticus 16:2, 18; Leviticus 22:9; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 17:18).

(2) How clean should they be who bear now the vessels of the Lord! How careful unsanctified persons should be not to tamper with holy things! Witness the judgments upon Uzzah and Uzziah. (See 1 Samuel 6:19; 2 Samuel 6:7; 2 Chronicles 26:19, 20.) The sanctification now required is moral, of which the ceremonial was the type.

(3) All shall have to appear in the very presence of the Judge. How shall we stand then? Let us now prepare for that solemnity. - J.A.M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

WEB: It happened after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so severe, that there was no breath left in him.

The Dead Made Alive
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