Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 17:18

So she said to Elijah, "What do I have to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death!"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Children;   Conviction;   Dead (People);   Drought;   Elijah;   Hospitality;   Miracles;   Poor;   Women;   Zarephath;   Thompson Chain Reference - Leaders;   Man;   Men of God;   Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Compassion and Sympathy;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Elijah;   Zarephath;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elijah;   Heal, Health;   Miracle;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Elijah;   Mary, the Virgin;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Diseases;   Elijah;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Resurrection;   Zarephath;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ahab;   Haggai;   Medicine;   Zarephath;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ahab;   Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Elijah;   Zarephath;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Elijah;   Elisha;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Amittai;  
Devotionals:
Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for November 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

To call my sin to remembrance - She seems to be now conscious of some secret sin, which she had either forgotten, or too carelessly passed over; and to punish this she supposes the life of her son was taken away. It is mostly in times of adversity that we duly consider our moral state; outward afflictions often bring deep searchings of heart.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

What have I to do with thee? - i. e., “What have we in common?” - implying a further question, “Why hast thou not left me in peace?” The woman imagines that Elijah‘s visit had drawn God‘s attention to her, and so to her sins, which (she feels) deserve a judgment - her son‘s death.

Thou man of God - In the mouth of the Phoenician woman this expression is remarkable. Among the Jews and Israelites 1 Kings 12:22; Judges 13:6, Judges 13:8 it seems to have become the ordinary designation of a prophet. We now see that it was understood in the same sense beyond the borders of the holy land.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-17.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And she said unto Elijah, what have I to do with thee, O thou man of God!.... As if she should say, it would have been well for me if I had never seen thy face, or had any conversation with thee; this she said rashly, and in her passion and agony, being extremely affected with the death of her child, which made her forget and overlook all the benefits she had received through the prophet's being with her:

art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? to punish her for her former sins, she was conscious she had been guilty of; for she supposed, that as it was by his prayer that the drought and famine were come upon the land, so it was in the same way that her son's death came, namely, through the prayer of the prophet.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-17.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(18) And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

Reader, do not fail to remark, (and which is, indeed, the sweetest improvement of the passage) what a close connection there is in the mind, between the guilt of sin and the afflictions of life which are the consequences of sin. You see how the death of her child revived a sense and conviction of sin in her conscience. And this is the sting of all afflictions. For only suppose the sting of sin removed, though the affliction be not removed, the burden and pressure is gone, and the mind is at ease. Hence the prophet, speaking of gospel-times, and of the blessed effects of the sting of sin taken out by the blood and righteousness of Christ, makes this sweet observation: The inhabitants shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein, shall be forgiven their iniquity. Isaiah 33:24 Not that the prophet meant by this, to say that mankind had discovered a climate where no sickness was known; for wherever sinners, even redeemed sinners, live, there must he sickness and death, the sure consequence of sin. See Romans 5:12. But the inhabitant of the Gospel Church of Jesus shall no longer complain of sickness; because he is forgiven all his iniquities in Jesus. The burden and sorrow of sickness is gone, because the guilt of sin is taken away. Hence David, under the assurance of pardoning mercy in Christ, calls upon all that is within him to bless the Lord, who hath forgiven all his iniquities, and healed all his diseases. Psalms 103:1-3.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-17.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

She said — Wherein have I injured thee? Or, why didst thou come to sojourn in my house, if this be the fruit of it? They are the words of a troubled mind.

Art thou come — Didst thou come for this end, that thou mightest severely observe my sins, and by thy prayers bring down God's just judgment upon me, as thou hast brought down this famine upon the nation? To call, etc. - To God's remembrance: for God is said in scripture, to remember sins, when he punisheth them; and to forget them, when he spares the sinner.

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Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 17:18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

Ver. 18. What have I to do with thee?] An unkind challenge of a perplexed, and therefore over passionate, woman, imputing the death of her son to the presence of the prophet. How ready are the best to mistake the grounds of their afflictions, and to cast them upon false causes! But what said the emperor? Let us quarrel with our faults, and not with our friends. Vatablus rendereth it, Qua in re te unquam laesi? what wrong have I ever done thee?

Art thou come unto me to call, &c.?] In the midst of her passion she retaineth her penitency for her sin, - which she acknowledged to be the mother of her misery, - and her good esteem of Elijah, whom she calleth "man of God"; and feareth that he had complained to God of some miscarriage of hers. Ever since the fall, we tremble before God, angels, and good men. See Luke 5:8.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

What have I to do with thee? wherein have I injured or provoked thee? or, why didst thou come to sojourn in my house, (as the following words seem to explain these,) if this be the fruit of it? They are words of a troubled mind, savouring of some rashness and impatience.

Art thou come unto me? didst thou come for this end, that thou mightest severely observe my sins, and by thy prayers bring down God’s just judgment upon me for them, as thou hast for the like cause brought down this famine upon the nation?

To remembrance; either,

1. To my remembrance; that I should by this dreadful judgment be brought to the knowledge and remembrance of my sins, which have procured it. Or rather,

2. To God’s remembrance; for God is oft said in Scripture to remember sins, when he punisheth them; and to forget them, when he spares the sinner. See 2 Samuel 16:10. Have I, instead of the blessing which I expected from thy presence, met with a curse?

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-17.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18.What have I to do with thee — Language of confusion, agony, and alarm. A consciousness of her past sins rises up and makes her look on this bereavement as a penal judgment, and on Elijah as the instrument of her woe! Like the disciples who regarded all human sorrow as a punishment for sin, (John 9:2,) she did not yet understand that it often serves to show forth the glorious power of God.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-17.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 17:18. She said, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? — Wherein have I injured or offended thee, or been wanting in my duty? Or, why didst thou come to sojourn in my house, if this be the fruit of it? They are the words of a troubled mind. How unconcernedly had she spoken of her own and her son’s death, when she expected to die for want, (1 Kings 17:12,) That we may eat it and die; yet now her son dies, and not so miserably as by famine, and she is extremely disturbed at it. We may speak slightly of an affliction at a distance, but when it toucheth us, we are troubled, Job 4:5. Art thou come to call my sin to remembrance? — That thou mightest severely observe my sins, and by thy prayers bring down God’s just judgment upon me for them, as thou hast, for the like cause, brought down this famine upon the nation? She may mean, either, 1st, Her own remembrance; that she should by this dreadful judgment be brought to the knowledge and remembrance of her sins which had procured it: or, rather, 2d, God’s remembrance; for God is often said in Scripture to remember sins when he punishes them, and to forget them when he spares the sinner, 2 Samuel 16:10. Has God taken occasion from thy abiding in my house, and my not making the improvement I ought to have made by thee, to punish this and my former sins by suddenly cutting off my son? And have I, instead of the comfort and blessing I expected, met with a severe chastisement and curse?

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-17.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Remembered. Have I not waited upon thee with sufficient attention? or have not thine eyes been able to bear with my imperfections? (Haydock) --- Before thy arrival, God seemed not to notice my transgressions. She is convinced that "all just punishment presupposes an offence." (St. Augustine, Retract. i. 9.) This child died like Lazarus for the greater glory of God. (St. Augustine, ad Simp. ii. 5.) (John xi. 4.) (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

What have I. ? See note on 2 Samuel 16:10.

man of God. See note on Deuteronomy 33:1, and App-49.

sin. Hebrew. "avon. App-44.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

What have I to do with thee? The phrase is elliptic, and the meaning is, What is there in common to us two-to me, a sinful woman, and thee, a man of God-that we should thus have come together to my harm? (cf. Judges 11:12; 2 Kings 3:13 : see Trench 'On Miracles,' p. 104.) Without answering her bitter upbraiding, the prophet takes the child, lays it on his bed, and, after a very earnest prayer, had the happiness of seeing its restoration, and along with it, gladness to the widow's heart and home.

There is a remarkable difference noticeable between the miracles of the Old and the New Testaments. 'We find,' says Trench, 'the holy men of old sometimes bringing-if one may venture so to speak-hardly, and with difficulty, the wonder-work to pass. It is not born without pangs: there is sometimes a momentary pause, a seeming uncertainty about the issue; while the miracles of Christ and His apostles are always accomplished with the highest ease' (Numbers 12:13-15; 1 Kings 18:42-44; 2 Kings 4:31-35). The prophet was sent to this widow, not merely for his own security, but on account of her faith to strengthen and promote which he was directed to go to her, rather than to many widows in Israel, who would have eagerly received him on the same privileged terms of exemption from the grinding famine. The relief of her bodily necessities became the preparatory means of supplying her spiritual wants, and bringing her and her son, through the teaching of the prophet, to a clear knowledge of God, and a firm faith in His Word (Luke 4:25).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(18) O thou man of God.—The terms of the address (contrasted with 1 Kings 17:12), indicate a natural growth in the recognition of the true God by the woman, through familiar intercourse with the prophet, and experience of his wonder-working power. For it is the adoption of the regular Israelitish description of the prophet as her own. (See Judges 13:6; 1 Kings 12:22; 1 Kings 13:1.)

To call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?—The words express the unreasonableness of natural sorrow. The underlying idea is that of the exclamation, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” The better knowledge of God, gained through the presence of the prophet, had, of course, brought out in her a deeper sense of sin, and now makes her feel that her sorrow is a just punishment. With pathetic confusion of idea, she cries out against his presence, as if it were the actual cause of judgment on the sin, which it has simply brought home to her conscience.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
What have I
2 Samuel 16:10; 19:22; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Chronicles 35:21; Luke 4:34; 5:8; 8:28; John 2:4
O thou man
13:1
art thou come
18:9; Genesis 42:21,22; 50:15,17; 1 Samuel 16:4; Job 13:23,26; Ezekiel 21:23,24; Mark 5:7,15-17; 6:16
Reciprocal: Numbers 5:15 - bringing;  Judges 13:6 - A man;  1 Kings 12:22 - the man;  1 Kings 20:28 - there came;  2 Kings 4:9 - man of God;  2 Kings 4:16 - do not lie;  2 Kings 4:40 - O thou;  Psalm 79:8 - remember;  Ecclesiastes 7:14 - but;  Jeremiah 14:10 - he will;  Jeremiah 35:4 - a man;  Jeremiah 44:21 - did;  Ezekiel 18:22 - his transgressions;  Ezekiel 29:16 - bringeth;  Matthew 8:34 - they besought;  Matthew 9:24 - Give;  Mark 5:17 - GeneralLuke 7:12 - the only;  Luke 8:37 - besought;  John 8:9 - being;  John 11:21 - if;  John 21:17 - grieved;  Acts 5:13 - of;  1 Timothy 6:11 - O man;  Hebrews 10:3 - a remembrance;  James 5:16 - The effectual;  2 Peter 1:21 - in old time

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 17:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-17.html.