2 Kings 4:10
Let us make a little chamber, I pray you, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he shall turn in thither.
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(10) A little chamber . . . on the wall.—Rather, a little upper chamber (‘alîyāh) with wallsi.e., a chamber on the roof of the house, walled on each side as a protection against the weather. (Comp. 1Kings 17:19.) Here the prophet would be secure from all interruption or intrusion on his privacy, and so would be likely to honour the house longer with his presence.

A bed.—The four things mentioned are the only essentials in Oriental furnishing.

A stool.A chair of state. The same word means throne.


4:8-17 Elisha was well thought of by the king of Israel for his late services; a good man can take as much pleasure in serving others, as in raising himself. But the Shunammite needed not any good offices of this kind. It is a happiness to dwell among our own people, that love and respect us, and to whom we are able to do good. It would be well with many, if they did but know when they are really well off. The Lord sees the secret wish which is suppressed in obedience to his will, and he will hear the prayers of his servants in behalf of their benefactors, by sending unasked-for and unexpected mercies; nor must the professions of men of God be supposed to be delusive like those of men of the world.A little chamber on the wall - The room probably projected like a balcony beyond the lower apartments - an arrangement common in the East.

A stool - Rather, "a chair." The "chair" and "table," unusual in the sleeping-rooms of the East, indicate that the prophet was expected to use his apartment for study and retirement, not only as a sleeping-chamber.

10. Let us make a little chamber—not build, but prepare it. She meant a room in the oleah, the porch, or gateway (2Sa 18:33; 1Ki 17:19), attached to the front of the house, leading into the court and inner apartments. The front of the house, excepting the door, is a dead wall, and hence this room is called a chamber in the wall. It is usually appropriated to the use of strangers, or lodgers for a night, and, from its seclusion, convenient for study or retirement. Let us make a little chamber on the wall, that he may be free from the noise of family business, and enjoy that privacy which, I perceive, he desireth for his prayers and meditations. He will not be troublesome or chargeable to us; he cares not for rich furniture or costly entertainment, and is content with bare necessaries. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall,.... Either of the city, to which their house might join, or of their garden, a little distance from the house; though the Jewish writers commonly understand it of a little edifice built up of walls of stone or bricks, and not one with reeds, or stud and mud:

let us set for him there a bed; that he may stay all night when he pleases:

and a table; not only to eat his food, but to write on, and lay his books on he reads. Of the table of a scholar of the wise men, in later times, we are told (t), that two thirds of it were covered with a cloth, and the other third was uncovered, on which stood the plates and the herbs:

and a stool; to sit upon at table:

and a candlestick; with a candle in it, to light him in the night to read by, and the like:

and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither; where he would be free from the noise of the house, and be more retired for prayer, reading, meditation, and study, and not be disturbed with the servants of the family, and be mixed with them; all this she contrived, both for his honour, and for his quietness and peace.

(t) Pirke Eliezer, c. 33.

Let us make a {h} little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.

(h) Which would be separate from the rest of the house, that he might more conveniently give himself to study and prayers.

10. Let us make] The R.V. brings ‘I pray thee’ to follow these words according to the Hebrew order.

a little chamber … on the wall] The Hebrew might mean either a chamber with a wall, a walled room, in contradistinction to one built of wood, or a building above the usual roof of the house and so supported by the walls. The latter seems to be the sense required here, for it is said (verse 21) that the mother went up when she wished to lay the dead child upon the prophet’s bed. As the roofs of Eastern houses can be reached by a staircase from outside, a chamber on the housetop (cf. Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 25:24) would furnish the sort of privacy which Elisha would desire. He could also thus come in and go out without being mixed up with the movements of the household.

a bed] The articles here named form the proper furniture of an Eastern room, where a superabundance of such articles is nowhere found.

a stool] The word is that which is often rendered ‘throne’, and it probably in this case means the couch or divan which runs along the wall of an Eastern dwelling-room.

he shall turn in] The verb, which is the same as in verse 8, is that which Lot employs (Genesis 19:2) in his invitation to the two angels. Preparation was made so that the prophet and his servant might be at rest, and come and go when they pleased. As a halting place in a long journey it would be very acceptable.Verse 10. - Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall. Thenius understands "a walled chamber," which he supposes to have been "built upon the flat roof of the house;" but it is more probable that a small addition to the existing upper chamber of the house is meant - a tiny room resting partly upon the wall of the house, partly projecting beyond it, balcony fashion. Such sleeping-chambers are common in Oriental dwellings. And let us set for him there a bed, aria a table, and a stool, and a candlestick; raffler, a bed, and a table, and a chair, and a lamp - the necessary furniture of an apartment which was to be used, not only; as a sleeping-chamber, but also for retirement, for study, and perhaps for literary composition. And it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. In the intervals between his active ministrations, a prophet would naturally desire quiet retirement, security from interruption. He would need to reflect, to meditate, to pray, perhaps to write. The Shunammite's proposal shows, not only kindness, but thoughtfulness and appreciation. The Widow's Cruse of Oil. - A poor widow of the scholars of the prophets complained to Elisha of her distress, namely, that a creditor was about to take her two sons as servants (slaves). The Mosaic law gave a creditor the right to claim the person and children of a debtor who was unable to pay, and they were obliged to serve him as slaves till the year of jubilee, when they were once more set free (Leviticus 25:39-40). When the prophet learned, on inquiry that she had nothing in her house but a small flask of oil (אסוּך, from סוּך, means an anointing flask, a small vessel for the oil necessary for anointing the body), he told her to beg of all her neighbours empty vessels, not a few (אל־תּמעיטי, make not few, sc. to beg), and then to shut herself in with her sons, and to pour from her flask of oil into all these vessels till they were full, and then to sell this oil and pay her debt with the money, and use the rest for the maintenance of herself and her children. She was to close the house-door, that she might not be disturbed in her occupation by other people, and also generally to avoid all needless observation while the miracle was being performed. תּסּיאי המּלא, let that which is filled be put on one side, namely by the sons, who handed her the vessels, according to 2 Kings 4:5 and 2 Kings 4:6, so that she was able to pour without intermission. The form מיצקת is a participle Piel, and is quite appropriate as an emphatic form; the Keri השּׁקת (Hiphil) is an unnecessary alteration, especially as the Hiphil of יצק is הצּיּק. השׁמן ויּעמד, then the oil stood, i.e., it ceased to flow. The asyndeton בניך ואתּ is very harsh, and the Vav copul. has probably dropped out. With the alteration proposed by L. de Dieu, viz., of ואתּ into ואת, "live with thy sons," the verb תּחיי would necessarily stand first (Thenius).
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