1 Kings 17:17-24

1 Kings 17:17-24
A Women’s Lectionary – Transfiguration of the Lord


17 AAfter thisB the sonC of the woman,D the mistressE of the house,F became ill;G

Notes on verse 17a

A {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
B {untranslated} = dabar. Literally, “these things.” From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
C “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
D “woman” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
E “mistress” = baalah. 4x in OT. From baal (lord, owner, spouse). This is a mistress.
F “house” = bayit. Related to “son” in v17. Probably from banah (see note C above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
G “became ill” = chalah. Properly, this is to be worn; hence, being weak, sick, or afflicted. It can also mean to grieve or, positively, to flatter or entreat.

his illnessH wasI soJ severeK that there was no breathL leftM in him. 

Notes on verse 17b

H “illness” = choli. Related to “became ill” in v17. From chalah (see note G above). This is sickness, affliction, grief, worry, or calamity.
I “was” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v17. See note A above.
J “so” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
K “severe” = chazaq. From chazaq (to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden). This is strong, hard, powerful, loud, bold, violent, impudent. It is usually strong in a negative sense.
L “breath” = neshamah. From nasham (to blow away, pant, gasp). This is a breath or blast – a puff like of wind. It is also a spirit or soul or divine inspiration or intellect. It could also be an animal. This is the word used for the breath of life when humanity was created in Genesis 2:7.
M “was…left” = yathar. This is to jut over, remain behind, preserve, to excel. It can be to leave or to be in abundance.

18 She then said to Elijah,N “What have you against me, O manO of God?P You have comeQ to me to bring my sinR to remembrance,S and to cause the deathT of my son!” 

Notes on verse 18

N “Elijah” = Eliyyah. Related to {untranslated} in v17. From el (God, god) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (see note A above)}. This is Elijah, meaning “The Lord is God.”
O “man” = ish. Related to “woman” in v17. See note D above.
P “God” = Elohim. Related to “Elijah” in v18. See note N above.
Q “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
R “sin” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.
S “bring…to remembrance” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
T “cause the death” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.

19 But he said to her, “GiveU me your son.” He tookV him from her bosom,W carried him upX

Notes on verse 19a

U “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
V “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
W “bosom” = cheq. Root may mean to enclose. This is bosom in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be arms, lap, or midst. It can also be care or cherish.
X “carried…up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.

into the upper chamberY where he was lodging,Z and laidAA him on his own bed.BB 

Notes on verse 19b

Y “upper chamber” = aliyyah. Related to “carried…up” in v19. 19x in OT. From alah (see note X above). This is a lofty place. So, it could be stairs, an upstairs room, or a chamber on the roof. It could also be an ascent or the sky.
Z “lodging” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
AA “laid” = shakab. This is to lie down, lodge. It is lying for sleep, sex, or other reasons.
BB “bed” = mittah. From natah (to stretch or spread out, extend, bend). This is a couch or bed that is spread out to sleep on or for eating. It can also refer to a litter or a bier.

20 He cried outCC to the Lord,DD “O Lord my God, have you brought calamityEE even upon the widowFF with whom I am staying,GG by killingHH her son?” 

Notes on verse 20

CC “cried out” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
DD “Lord” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v17 & “Elijah” in v18. See note N above.
EE “brought calamity” = ra’a’. This is to be evil, bad, afflict. Properly, it means to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless. It is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense – something that displeases, does harm or mischief, punishes or vexes.
FF “widow” = almanah. Related to alman (widowed); from alam (to be silent, bound). This is a widow or a house that is desolate.
GG “staying” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
HH “killing” = mut. Same as “cause the death” in v18. See note T above.

21 Then he stretchedII himself upon the childJJ threeKK times,LL and cried out to the Lord,MM

Notes on verse 21a

II “stretched” = madad. This is to measure, stretch, be extended, continue.
JJ “child” = yeled. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”
KK “three” = shalosh. This is three, fork, three times.
LL “times” = paam. From paam (to move, trouble; to tap in a regular rhythm; to agitate). This is a beat, stroke, footstep, or occurrence.
MM “Lord” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v17 & “Elijah” in v18 & “Lord” in v20. This has the same meaning as “Lord” in v20, but with a different vowel pointing. See note DD above.

“O Lord my God,NN let this child’s lifeOO come into himPP again.”QQ 

Notes on verse 21b

NN {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
OO “life” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
PP “him” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
QQ “come…again” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”

22 The Lord listenedRR to the voiceSS of Elijah; the life of the child came into himTT again, and he revived.UU 

Notes on verse 22

RR “listened” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
SS “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
TT “him” = qereb. Same as “him” in v21. See note PP above.
UU “revived” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it an be revive, nourish, or save.

23 Elijah took the child, brought him downVV from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother;WW then Elijah said, “See,XX your son is alive.”YY 

Notes on verse 23

VV “brought…down” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
WW “mother” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
XX “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
YY “alive” = chay. Related to “revived” in v22. From chayah (see note UU above). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.

24 So the woman said to Elijah, “Now I knowZZ that you are a man of God, and that the wordAAA of the Lord in your mouthBBB is truth.”CCC

Notes on verse 24

ZZ “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
AAA “word” = dabar. Same as {untranslated} in v17. See note B above.
BBB “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
CCC “truth” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.

Image credit: Detail of “Simon’s Fountain” at the Abbey of Hans-Joachim Hippel – “The Prophet Elijah Helps the Widow of Sarepta,” 1983. Photo by Lothar Spurzem, 2006.

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