May 3rd 2 Kings 4
Elisha, the widow and the oil
1: 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. 2: And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. 3: Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4: And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 5: So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 6: 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. 7: Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
A old woman bears a son
8: And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. 9: And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. 10: Let us make a 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. 11: And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. 12: And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. 13: And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people. 14: And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. 15: And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. 16: And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid. 17: And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
Elisha raises him from the dead
18: And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. 19: And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. 20: And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21: And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 22: And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. 23: And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. 24: Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. 25: So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: 26: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. 27: And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. 28: Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? 29: Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. 30: And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her. 31: And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked. 32: And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. 33: He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. 34: And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 35: Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36: And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. 37: Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
Elisha - poisoned stew becomes edible
38: And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. 39: And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. 40: So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof. 41: But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
Elisha feeds many with little food
42: And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. 43: And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. 44: So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.
2 Kings 5 Elisha cures Naaman of Leprosy
1: Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. 2: And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. 3: And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. 4: And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. 5: And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. 6: And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. 7: And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. 8: And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. 9: So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10: And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 11: But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 12: Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 13: And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 14: Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15: And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. 16: But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. 17: And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. 18: In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. 19: And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
Gehazi gets Naaman’s Leprosy
20: But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. 21: So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? 22: And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. 23: And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. 24: And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. 25: But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. 26: And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 27: The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
2 Kings 6 Elisha makes an axe head float
1: And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. 2: Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. 3: And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. 4: So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. 5: But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. 6: And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. 7: Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
Elisha captures Syrian troops
8: Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. 9: And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. 10: And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. 11: Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? 12: And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. 13: And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. 14: Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. 15: And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16: And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17: And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 18: And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 19: And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. 20: And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21: And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? 22: And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. 23: And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
Syrian army surrounds Samaria
24: And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. 25: And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. 26: And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. 27: And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? 28: And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. 29: So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son. 30: And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. 31: Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day. 32: But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him? 33: And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?
We are now deep into the life of Elisha and while Elijah performed only four miracles Elisha performed eight miracles. First we read of the widow and the oil and then the story of the old woman who bore a son. Elisha raises him from the dead. Some of these miracles are very strange indeed. A poisonous stew is made edible. He feeds many people with just a little food. He curses a gentile military leader of leprosy but his leprosy comes on Gehazi. Then he makes an iron axe head float. Then Elisha captures Syrian troops. And then we end with the Syrian army surrounding Samaria. So let’s go back and look at the poor widow. She came to Elisha with a complaint – she said my husband is dead and you know that l serve the Lord yet my creditors have come to take my two sons to be servants. Elisha says what do you want me to do and then he says what is in your house? She says l have nothing except a small pot of oil. So Elijah said go and borrow as many pots as you can from your neighbours. And then come in and shut the door with your sons and pour out your oil into these vessels until they are all full. She did so and in the end she said bring me another vessel and there were none and so the oil stopped flowing. And then Elisha said go and sell the oil and pay your debt and live and have rest with your children. And then another day Elisha was passing Shunem and a great woman persuaded him to come in to eat bread. She said to her husband he is a holy man she said lets make a little room with a bed and table and stool and light. And they made this little room a place for Elisha to come to whenever he was led of the LORD. Elisha came in and lay on the bed and then he called his servant saying what can we give her for all this kindness. Gehazi said she has no child. So Elisha called her and said about this time next year you will hug your own child. But she said don’t mock me but she conceived a son exactly as Elisha had said. The child grew but one day he was sent out to the reapers and suddenly he said my head, my head. They carried him to his mother and he knelt until noon and then died. She went and laid him on the prophet’ bed and shut the door. She said to her husband call the man of God but he said it’s not a Sabbath day but she went to speak to him. When Elisha saw her coming he sent his servant asking if all is well. She said I’m well. But she fell at his feet and Elisha’ servant would pull her away but Elisha said leave her alone. He said God has hid this thing from me. Elisha told his servant to go and put his staff on his face. The servant came back saying the child is dead. Elisha went in and shut the door and lay on the child and the child revived then the child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes and Elisha called his servant to call the boys mother. In these miracles we see the movement of God in the life of families bringing children to life. Then there was a lack of food in the land and Elisha came to Gilgall and the sons of the prophets were sitting around a pot. Elisha said put the pot on the fire to boil water and gather herbs but one of them took a poisonous plant and put it in the pot by mistake. When the men were eating the soup one cried out there is death in the pot. But Elisha said bring me flour and he put the flour in the pot and it became edible. On another occasion Elisha met a man from Baal-shalisha and he brought bread – 20 loaves and some full ears of corn and he said give it to the people but the servant said how can a hundred men eat this little food? But it was set before the people and they all ate and were full. One cannot forget the feeding of the 5000. In the next narrative we have the famous account of the healing of Naaman the Syrian. This is a very well known passage He was a great man and yet he had leprosy. But there was a young girl in his family who told him of Elisha and he went and submitted himself to bathing seven times in the Jordan. And he came up clean before the Lord. One cannot help but think of the ministry of John the Baptist. Naaman thought that he could give payment but it was refused by Elisha. He could not profit on the gift of God. But His servant wished to have something for himself and so he had the leprosy of Naaman. He thought that he could take things to himself and that nobody would know but the LORD knows everything and the Lord judged him for his avarice. Then we read of the man who wishes to build a house and he borrows an axe but the head came off and fell into the Jordan. He turned to Elisha for help and he cut down a tree and threw it into the water and that axe floated. Having been a man of God in families in a number of ways he then is used of the Lord in commerce but now he will deal with a very big thing a Syrian invasion. Interestingly enough this was an invasion by Naaman’s army. What is interesting is that Elisha knew beforehand everything that the Syrians would do and he warned his king of what he knew. The Syrian king was greatly intrigued about Elisha and sent to spy on him. In the morning when Elisha woke he saw that the city was surrounded by the Syrian army. Elisha’s servant was very upset and asked Elisha what they were going to do but Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his eyes. And then he saw that the LORD’s army was defending the city with chariots of fire. Then Elisha prayed that the LORD would smite the Syrians with blindness and the LORD did as Elisha asked. Then Elisha led them in their blindness to Samaria. Then he prayed that the LORD would open their eyes and they found themselves in Samaria. These men were given food and never returned to Israel. After this Ben-hadad king of Syria came and besieged Samaria. It was so bad that an ass’s head sold for four silver coins. Then as the king was passing near the wall a woman cried to him for help because of a disagreement over the eating of her child with another woman. The king put on sackcloth and ashes and humbled himself before the Lord. All of these incidents are most interesting and strange to our ears. What we do see is that God works through Elisha in families in individuals and in whole nations and that the most unusual cases will present themselves to us at times. In those times it is God at work among us.
- What are your thoughts about the place that Elisha stayed at?
- What Happened to Naaman and to Gahazi?
- How did Elisha save Israel from the Syrians?