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Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed here self to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had Testored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine houshold, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn : for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.
And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her houshold, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.
And it came to pass at the seven years end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philiptines ; and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.
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.
And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.
And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was her's, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
And Elisha came again to Gilgal ; and there was a dearth in the land, and the sons of the prophets 'were sitting before him ; and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his
lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
So they poured out for the men to eat : and it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried put, and said, O thqu. man of God, there is death in the pot; and they could not eat thereof.
Put he said, Then bring meal: and he cast it into the Fot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat: and there was no harm in the pot.
And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof: and he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
And his servitor said, What! should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat; for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
So he sat it before then, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.
And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait
Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there where we may dwell. And he answered, Go.ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and
with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water : and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he
shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither, and the iron did swim.
Therefore said he, Take it up to thee, And he put out his hand, and took it.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The law, which authorised the proceedings against the poor widow, seems to have been made originally to deter the Israelites from living beyond their income, which no one would have had occasion to do if all the statutes of the Lord had been observed in the land, because the allotted portion of each family would have amply supplied their
But the revolutions which had happened through the disobedience of the Lorv's people, had altered the case; and numbers became poor by their own sin and folly, many by the oppression of others.
We have read in what manner Jezebel had persecuted the prophets ; and there is some reason to suppose, that the poverty of this woman's husband might be the consequence
of that queen's tyranny ; however it was, the man had feared the LORD, and his widow and children had a claim to the DIVINE MERCY, because God had graciously promised to be a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow.
The remarks we. lately made on the history of the wi. dow of Zarephath may be applied on the present occasion.
At the time Elisha received such kindness from the Shunamite, he was high in the favour of the king of Israel, and could have promoted the temporal interest of her and her husband ; but this good woman had learnt to set bounds to her desires, and having the means of living suitably to her rank in life, she declined his generous offer, thinking it safer and more agreeable to live among those friends whose society she had long been accustomed Vol. III.
to; than to enter on a new scene, merely for the gratification of ambitious views, which, when indulged, are generally found insatiable.
This transaction is supposed to have happened a short time after the deliverance of the kings of Israel, Judab, and Edom, from the Moabiteş.
The sons of the prophets were assembled at Gilgal, in order to receive instructions from Elisha.
There is nothing in the nature of meal to correct the poisonous quality of any other vegetable substance; the recovery of the pottage therefore was miraculous, and so was the multiplying of the loaves.
The sons of the prophets proposed to build for them. selves a very humble edifice, being possessed of no riches to pay either for materials or workmen, therefore each man agreed to contribute his labour in cutting trees, and forming them into beams and planks ; nay, so great was their poverty, that some of them, we find, could not even purchase proper tools, but borrowed of their neighbours. The loss of an axe to those who can easily procure such an instrument appears very trifling ; but when we consider, that no tree can be felled without tools, that it is not improbable the owner of the axe, which was dropped into the water, night get his own livelihood and provide for a family by cutting timber ; that the young man who borrowed it was by the loss rendered
useless to his society, and could not claim an apartment without assisting in the building; and, above all, that his reputation was at stake, and even the honour of God concerned, that disgrace, should not be brought on religion by an appearance of fraud, in one who professed to be in a particular manner devoted to his service : when we consider all this, we cannot wonder that Elisha should think his disciple’s distress deserving of his intercession.
We may consider this incident as a proof that God vill assist and reward those who are honest and industrious, not by miracles indeed, for they have ceased, but frequently by the most unexpected means.
BEN-HADAD'S MESSAGE TO ELISHA.
From 2 Kings, Chap. viïi. AND Elisha came to Damascus, and Beri-hadad the king of Syria was sick, and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.
And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine liand, and go meet the man of God, and enquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels burden, and came and tood before him, and said, Thy son Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease ?
And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover ; howbeit, the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.
And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed : and the man of God wept.
And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord ? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel : their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their
And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.