2 Kings 4 – “Elisha’s Four Miracles”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Elisha provides a widow with oil, resurrects a dead boy, feeds a group of hungry prophets, and feeds a hundred people with twenty loaves of bread.

II. Photo
The prophets are served a piquant stew: “While they were still eating of the stew, they began to cry out: ‘O man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.” (v. 40b)

III. Important Verses
5-7: He went away and shut the door behind her and her children. They kept bringing [vessels] to her and she kept pouring. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” He answered her, “There are no more vessels”; and the oil stopped. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your children can live on the rest.”
8-10: One day Elisha visited Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to have a meal; and whenever he passed by, he would stop there for a meal. Once she said to her husband, “I am sure it is a holy man of God who comes this way regularly. Let us make a small enclosed upper chamber and place a bed, a table, a chair, and a lampstand there for him, so that he can stop there whenever he comes to us.”
17-21:  The woman conceived and bore a son at the same season the following year, as Elisha had assured her. The child grew up. One day, he went out to his father among the reapers. [Suddenly] he cried to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” He said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” He picked him up and brought him to his mother. And the child sat on her lap until noon; and he died. She took him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and left him and closed the door.
27-28: But when she came up to the man of God on the mountain, she clasped his feet. Gehazi stepped forward to push her away; but the man of God said, “Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress; and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me.” Then she said, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Didn’t I say: ‘Don’t mislead me’?”
34-35: Then he mounted [the bed] and placed himself over the child. He put his mouth on its mouth, his eyes on its eyes, and his hands on its hands, as he bent over it. And the body of the child became warm. He stepped down, walked once up and down the room, then mounted and bent over him. Thereupon, the boy sneezed seven times, and the boy opened his eyes.

IV. Outline

1-7. Elisha performs a miracle for a widow
    1. A widow’s outcry
    2-4. Elisha tells her to gather vessels
    5-6. The vessels are filled with oil
    7. Elisha tells her to sell the oil
8-37. Elisha resurrects a dead boy
    8-10. A couple in Shunem host Elisha
    11-14. Elisha is informed that they have no son
    15-16. Elisha promises the woman a son
    17. The child is born
    18-20. The child dies
    21-23. The woman prepares to see Elisha
    24-28. The woman visits Elisha and pleads her case
    29-30. The woman convinces Elisha to see the boy
    31. Gehazi is unable to help the boy
    32-37. Elisha heals the boy and returns him to his mother
38-41. Elisha feeds the hungry prophets
    38a. Famine
    38b. Elisha sets out a large pot for food
    39-40. The stew is inedible’
    41. Elisha rectifies the situation
42-44. Elisha increases the amount of bread
    42a. Elisha is brought twenty loaves of bread
    42b-44. The bread supports one hundred men, and there is some leftover

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
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