SEV Biblia, Chapter 4:1 Â¶ Una mujer, de las mujeres de los hijos de los profetas, clamó a Eliseo, diciendo: Tu siervo mi marido es muerto; y tú sabes que tu siervo era temeroso del SEÑOR; y ha venido el acreedor para tomarse dos hijos míos por siervos.
Clarke's Bible Commentary - 2 Kings 4:1 Verse 1. 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] ayybn ydymlt 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; Exod. xxi. 7, and Lev. xxv. 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 xxii. 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; Isa. l. 1. And our Lord alludes to it, Matt. xviii. 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: Obidiah 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 endeavoured 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 labour be absolutely necessary to discharge it, and these cannot be exercised within the loathsome and contagious walls of a prison.
John Gill's Bible Commentary Ver. 1. Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha , etc.] This, according to the Targum, was the wife of Obadiah, who had hid the prophets by fifty in a cave in the times of Ahab; and so Josephus f40 , and it is the commonly received notion of the Jewish writers; though it does not appear that he was a prophet, or the son of a prophet, but the governor or steward of Ahab’s house; she was more likely to be the wife of a meaner person; and from hence it is clear that the prophets and their disciples married: saying, thy servant my husband is dead ; which is the lot of prophets, as well as others, ( Zechariah 1:5) and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord ; her husband was well known to the prophet, and known to be a good man, one of the 7000 who bowed not the knee to Baal, for the truth of which she appeals to Elisha; and this character she gives of her husband, lest it should be thought that his poverty, and leaving her in debt, were owing to any ill practices of his: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen ; which it seems were allowed of when men became poor and insolvent, and died so, to which the allusion is in ( Isaiah 1:1 Matthew 18:25), (see Gill on “ Matthew 18:25”). Josephus suggests, that the insolvency of this man was owing to his borrowing money to feed the prophets hid in the cave; and it is a common notion of the Jews that this creditor was Jehoram the son of Ahab; and in later times it was a law with the Athenians f42 , that if a father had not paid what he was fined in court, the son was obliged to pay it, and in the mean while to lie in bonds, as was the case of Cimon f43 , and others.
Matthew Henry Commentary Verses 1-7 - Elisha's miracles were acts of real charity: Christ's were so; not onl great wonders, but great favours to those for whom they were wrought God magnifies his goodness with his power. Elisha readily received poor widow's complaint. Those that leave their families under a load of debt, know not what trouble they cause. It is the duty of all wh profess to follow the Lord, while they trust to God for daily bread not to tempt him by carelessness or extravagance, nor to contrac debts; for nothing tends more to bring reproach upon the gospel, or distresses their families more when they are gone. Elisha put the widow in a way to pay her debt, and to maintain herself and her family. Thi was done by miracle, but so as to show what is the best method to assist those who are in distress, which is, to help them to improve by their own industry what little they have. The oil, sent by miracle continued flowing as long as she had empty vessels to receive it. We are never straitened in God, or in the riches of his grace; all ou straitness is in ourselves. It is our faith that fails, not his promise. He gives more than we ask: were there more vessels, there is enough in God to fill them; enough for all, enough for each; and the Redeemer's all-sufficiency will only be stayed from the supplying the wants of sinners and saving their souls, when no more apply to him for salvation. The widow must pay her debt with the money she received for her oil. Though her creditors were too hard with her, yet they must be paid, even before she made any provision for her children. It is one of the main laws of the Christian religion, that we pay every just debt and give every one his own, though we leave ever so little for ourselves; and this, not of constraint, but for conscience' sake. Thos who bear an honest mind, cannot with pleasure eat their daily bread unless it be their own bread. She and her children must live upon the rest; that is, upon the money received for the oil, with which the must put themselves into a way to get an honest livelihood. We cannot now expect miracles, yet we may expect mercies, if we wait on God, an seek to him. Let widows in particular depend upon him. He that has all hearts in his hand, can, without a miracle, send as effectual a supply.
Original Hebrew ואשׁה 802 אחת 259 מנשׁי 802 בני 1121 הנביאים 5030 צעקה 6817 אל 413 אלישׁע 477 לאמר 559 עבדך 5650 אישׁי 376 מת 4191 ואתה 859 ידעת 3045 כי 3588 עבדך 5650 היה 1961 ירא 3372 את 853 יהוה 3068 והנשׁה 5383 בא 935 לקחת 3947 את 853 שׁני 8147 ילדי 3206 לו לעבדים׃ 5650