New International Version
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."
King James Bible
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
Darby Bible Translation
And a woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha saying, Thy servant my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant feared Jehovah; and the creditor is come to take my two children to be bondmen.
World English Bible
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead. You know that your servant feared Yahweh. Now the creditor has come to take for himself my two children to be slaves."
Young's Literal Translation
And a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets hath cried unto Elisha, saying, 'Thy servant, my husband, is dead, and thou hast known that thy servant was fearing Jehovah, and the lender hath come to take my two children to him for servants.'
2 Kings 4:1 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Now there cried a certain woman - This woman, according to the Chaldee, Jarchi, and the rabbins, was the wife of Obadiah.
Sons of the prophets - תלמידי נבייא talmidey nebiyaiya, "disciples of the prophets:" so the Targum here, and in all other places where the words occur, and properly too.
The creditor is come - This, says Jarchi, was Jehoram son of Ahab, who lent money on usury to Obadiah, because he had in the days of Ahab fed the Lord's prophets. The Targum says he borrowed money to feed these prophets, because he would not support them out of the property of Ahab.
To take unto him my two sons to be bondmen - Children, according to the laws of the Hebrews, were considered the property of their parents, who had a right to dispose of them for the payment of their debts. And in cases of poverty, the law permitted them, expressly, to sell both themselves and their children; Exodus 21:7, and Leviticus 25:39. It was by an extension of this law, and by virtue of another, which authorized them to sell the thief who could not make restitution, Exodus 22:3, that creditors were permitted to take the children of their debtors in payment. Although the law has not determined any thing precisely on this point, we see by this passage, and by several others, that this custom was common among the Hebrews. Isaiah refers to it very evidently, where he says, Which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves; Isaiah 50:1. And our Lord alludes to it, Matthew 18:25, where he mentions the case of an insolvent debtor, Forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded Him to be Sold, and his Wife and Children, and all that he had; which shows that the custom continued among the Jews to the very end of their republic. The Romans, Athenians, and Asiatics in general had the same authority over their children as the Hebrews had: they sold them in time of poverty; and their creditors seized them as they would a sheep or an ox, or any household goods. Romulus gave the Romans an absolute power over their children which extended through the whole course of their lives, let them be in whatever situation they might. They could cast them into prison, beat, employ them as slaves in agriculture, sell them for slaves, or even take away their lives! - Dionys. Halicarn. lib. ii., pp. 96, 97.
Numa Pompilius first moderated this law, by enacting, that if a son married with the consent of his father, he should no longer have power to sell him for debt.
The emperors Diocletian and Maximilian forbade freemen to be sold on account of debt:
Ob aes alienum servire liberos creditoribus, jura non patiuntur.
- Vid. Lib. ob. aes C. de obligat.
The ancient Athenians had the same right over their children as the Romans; but Solon reformed this barbarous custom. - Vid. Plutarch in Solone.
The people of Asia had the same custom, which Lucullus endeavored to check, by moderating the laws respecting usury.
The Georgians may alienate their children; and their creditors have a right to sell the wives and children of their debtors, and thus exact the uttermost farthing of their debt. - Tavernier, lib. iii., c. 9. And we have reason to believe that this custom long prevailed among the inhabitants of the British isles. See Calmet here.
In short, it appears to have been the custom of all the inhabitants of the earth. We have some remains of it yet in this country, in the senseless and pernicious custom of throwing a man into prison for debt, though his own industry and labor be absolutely necessary to discharge it, and these cannot be exercised within the loathsome and contagious walls of a prison.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
thy servant did fear
LibraryWhen the Oil Flows
'And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.'--2 KINGS iv. 6. The series of miracles ascribed to Elisha are very unlike most of the wonderful works of even the Old Testament, and still more unlike those of the New. For about a great many of them there seems to have been no special purpose, either doctrinal or otherwise, but simply the relief of trivial and transient distresses. …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
That the Grace of Devotion is Acquired by Humility and Self-Denial
Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
"'If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves.
they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them:
1 Samuel 22:2
All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
2 Kings 2:3
The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "so be quiet."
2 Kings 6:9
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there."
Some were saying, "We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain."
Jump to PreviousBondmen Bond-Men Bondservants Children Creditor Cried Dead Elisha Fear Feared Husband Prophets Servant Wives
Jump to NextBondmen Bond-Men Bondservants Children Creditor Cried Dead Elisha Fear Feared Husband Prophets Servant Wives
Links2 Kings 4:1 NIV
2 Kings 4:1 NLT
2 Kings 4:1 ESV
2 Kings 4:1 NASB
2 Kings 4:1 KJV
2 Kings 4:1 Bible Apps
2 Kings 4:1 Biblia Paralela
2 Kings 4:1 Chinese Bible
2 Kings 4:1 French Bible
2 Kings 4:1 German Bible
2 Kings 4:1 Commentaries
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.