Bible: 2 Kings 4:1-7:20

Elisha Helps a Widow and Her Sons

4:1 Now a wife of one of the prophets 1  appealed 2  to Elisha for help, saying, “Your servant, my husband is dead. You know that your servant was a loyal follower of the Lord. 3  Now the creditor is coming to take away my two boys to be his servants.” 4:2 Elisha said to her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a small jar of olive oil.” 4:3 He said, “Go and ask all your neighbors for empty containers. 4  Get as many as you can. 5  4:4 Go and close the door behind you and your sons. Pour the olive oil into all the containers; 6  set aside each one when you have filled it.” 4:5 So she left him and closed the door behind her and her sons. As they were bringing the containers to her, she was pouring the olive oil. 4:6 When the containers were full, she said to one of her sons, 7 Bring me another container.” But he answered her, “There are no more.” Then the olive oil stopped flowing. 4:7 She went and told the prophet. 8  He said, “Go, sell the olive oil. Repay your creditor, and then you and your sons can live off the rest of the profit.”

Elisha Gives Life to a Boy

4:8 One day Elisha traveled to Shunem, where a prominent 9  woman lived. She insisted that he stop for a meal. 10  So whenever he was passing through, he would stop in there for a meal. 11  4:9 She said to her husband, “Look, I’m sure 12  that the man who regularly passes through here is a very special prophet. 13  4:10 Let’s make a small private upper room 14  and furnish it with 15  a bed, table, chair, and lamp. When he visits us, he can stay there.”

4:11 One day Elisha 16  came for a visit; he went 17  into the upper room and rested. 18  4:12 He told his servant Gehazi, “Ask the Shunammite woman to come here.” 19  So he did so and she came to him. 20  4:13 Elisha said to Gehazi, 21 Tell her, ‘Look, you have treated us with such great respect. 22  What can I do for you? Can I put in a good word for you with the king or the commander of the army?’” She replied, “I’m quite secure.” 23  4:14 So he asked Gehazi, 24  “What can I do for her?” Gehazi replied, “She has no son, and her husband is old.” 4:15 Elisha told him, “Ask her to come here.” 25  So he did so 26  and she came and stood in the doorway. 27  4:16 He said, “About this time next year 28  you will be holding a son.” She said, “No, my master! O prophet, do not lie to your servant! 4:17 The woman did conceive, and at the specified time the next year she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

4:18 The boy grew and one day he went out to see his father who was with the harvest workers. 29  4:19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!” His father 30  told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 4:20 So he picked him up and took him to his mother. He sat on her lap 31  until noon and then died. 4:21 She went up and laid him down on the prophet’s 32  bed. She shut the door behind her and left. 4:22 She called to her husband, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so I can go see the prophet quickly and then return.” 4:23 He said, “Why do you want to go see him today? It is not the new moon 33  or the Sabbath.” She said, “Everything’s fine.” 34  4:24 She saddled the donkey and told her servant, “Lead on. 35  Do not stop unless I say so.” 36 

4:25 So she went to visit 37  the prophet at Mount Carmel. When he 38  saw her at a distance, he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, it’s the Shunammite woman. 4:26 Now, run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you well? Are your husband and the boy well?’” She told Gehazi, 39 Everything’s fine.” 4:27 But when she reached the prophet on the mountain, she grabbed hold of his feet. Gehazi came near to push her away, but the prophet said, “Leave her alone, for she is very upset. 40  The Lord has kept the matter hidden from me; he didn’t tell me about it.” 4:28 She said, “Did I ask my master for a son? Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t mislead me?’ 4:29 Elisha 41  told Gehazi, “Tuck your robes into your belt, take my staff, 42  and go! Don’t stop to exchange greetings with anyone! 43  Place my staff on the child’s face.” 4:30 The mother of the child said, “As certainly as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So Elisha 44  got up and followed her back.

4:31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them. He placed the staff on the child’s face, but there was no sound or response. When he came back to Elisha 45  he told him, “The child did not wake up.” 4:32 When Elisha arrived at the house, there was 46  the child lying dead on his bed. 4:33 He went in by himself and closed the door. 47  Then he prayed to the Lord. 4:34 He got up on the bed and spread his body out over 48  the boy; he put his mouth on the boy’s 49  mouth, his eyes over the boy’s eyes, and the palms of his hands against the boy’s palms. He bent down over him, and the boy’s skin 50  grew warm. 4:35 Elisha 51  went back and walked around in the house. 52  Then he got up on the bed again 53  and bent down over him. The child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. 4:36 Elisha 54  called to Gehazi and said, “Get the Shunammite woman.” So he did so 55  and she came to him. He said to her, “Take your son.” 4:37 She came in, fell at his feet, and bowed down. Then she picked up her son and left.

Elisha Makes a Meal Edible

4:38 Now Elisha went back to Gilgal, while there was famine in the land. Some of the prophets were visiting him 56  and he told his servant, “Put the big pot on the fire 57  and boil some stew for the prophets.” 58  4:39 Someone went out to the field to gather some herbs and found a wild vine. 59  He picked some of its fruit, 60  enough to fill up the fold of his robe. He came back, cut it up, and threw the slices 61  into the stew pot, not knowing they were harmful. 62  4:40 The stew was poured out 63  for the men to eat. When they ate some of the stew, they cried out, “Death is in the pot, O prophet!” They could not eat it. 4:41 He said, “Get some flour.” Then he threw it into the pot and said, “Now pour some out for the men so they may eat.” 64  There was no longer anything harmful in the pot.

Elisha Miraculously Feeds a Hundred People

4:42 Now a man from Baal Shalisha brought some food for the prophet 65 twenty loaves of bread made from the firstfruits of the barley harvest, as well as fresh ears of grain. 66  Elisha 67  said, “Set it before the people so they may eat.” 4:43 But his attendant said, “How can I feed a hundred men with this?” 68  He replied, “Set it before the people so they may eat, for this is what the Lord says, ‘They will eat and have some left over.’ 69  4:44 So he set it before them; they ate and had some left over, just as the Lord predicted. 70 

Elisha Heals a Syrian General

5:1 Now Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria’s army, was esteemed and respected by his master, 71  for through him the Lord had given Syria military victories. But this great warrior had a skin disease. 72  5:2 Raiding parties went out from Syria and took captive from the land of Israel a young girl, who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. 5:3 She told her mistress, “If only my master were in the presence of the prophet who is in Samaria! 73  Then he would cure him of his skin disease.”

5:4 Naaman 74  went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5:5 The king of Syria said, “Go! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman 75  went, taking with him ten talents 76  of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, 77  and ten suits of clothes. 5:6 He brought the letter to king of Israel. It read: “This is a letter of introduction for my servant Naaman, 78  whom I have sent to be cured of his skin disease.” 5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill or restore life? Why does he ask me to cure a man of his skin disease? 79  Certainly you must see that he is looking for an excuse to fight me! 80 

5:8 When Elisha the prophet 81  heard that the king had torn his clothes, he sent this message to the king, “Why did you tear your clothes? Send him 82  to me so he may know there is a prophet in Israel.” 5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s house. 5:10 Elisha sent out a messenger who told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan; your skin will be restored 83  and you will be healed.” 5:11 Naaman went away angry. He said, “Look, I thought for sure he would come out, stand there, invoke the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the area, and cure the skin disease. 5:12 The rivers of Damascus, the Abana and Pharpar, are better than any of the waters of Israel! 84  Could I not wash in them and be healed?” So he turned around and went away angry. 5:13 His servants approached and said to him, “O master, 85  if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, 86  you would have been willing to do it. 87  It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash and you will be healed.” 88  5:14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. 89  His skin became as smooth as a young child’s 90  and he was healed.

5:15 He and his entire entourage returned to the prophet. Naaman 91  came and stood before him. He said, “For sure 92  I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel! Now, please accept a gift from your servant.” 5:16 But Elisha 93  replied, “As certainly as the Lord lives (whom I serve), 94  I will take nothing from you.” Naaman 95  insisted that he take it, but he refused. 5:17 Naaman said, “If not, then please give your servant a load of dirt, enough for a pair of mules to carry, 96  for your servant will never again offer a burnt offering or sacrifice to a god other than the Lord. 97  5:18 May the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to worship, and he leans on my arm and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” 98  5:19 Elisha 99  said to him, “Go in peace.”

When he had gone a short distance, 100  5:20 Gehazi, the prophet Elisha’s servant, thought, 101 Look, my master did not accept what this Syrian Naaman offered him. 102  As certainly as the Lord lives, I will run after him and accept something from him.” 5:21 So Gehazi ran after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right? 103  5:22 He answered, “Everything is fine. 104  My master sent me with this message, ‘Look, two servants of the prophets just arrived from the Ephraimite hill country. 105  Please give them a talent 106  of silver and two suits of clothes.’ 5:23 Naaman said, “Please accept two talents of silver. 107  He insisted, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, along with two suits of clothes. He gave them to two of his servants and they carried them for Gehazi. 108  5:24 When he arrived at the hill, he took them from the servants 109  and put them in the house. Then he sent the men on their way. 110 

5:25 When he came and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant hasn’t been anywhere.” 5:26 Elisha 111  replied, “I was there in spirit when a man turned and got down from his chariot to meet you. 112  This is not the proper time to accept silver or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, sheep, cattle, and male and female servants. 113  5:27 Therefore Naaman’s skin disease will afflict 114  you and your descendants forever!” When Gehazi 115  went out from his presence, his skin was as white as snow. 116 

Elisha Makes an Ax Head Float

6:1 Some of the prophets 117  said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you 118  is too cramped 119  for us. 6:2 Let’s go to the Jordan. Each of us will get a log from there and we will build a meeting place for ourselves there.” He said, “Go.” 6:3 One of them said, “Please come along with your servants.” He replied, “All right, I’ll come.” 6:4 So he went with them. When they arrived at the Jordan, they started cutting down trees. 6:5 As one of them was felling a log, the ax head 120  dropped into the water. He shouted, “Oh no, 121  my master! It was borrowed! 6:6 The prophet 122  asked, “Where did it drop in?” When he showed him the spot, Elisha 123  cut off a branch, threw it in at that spot, and made the ax head float. 6:7 He said, “Lift it out.” So he reached out his hand and grabbed it.

Elisha Defeats an Army

6:8 Now the king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his advisers, who said, “Invade 124  at such and such 125  a place.” 6:9 But the prophet sent this message to the king of Israel, “Make sure you don’t pass through this place because Syria is invading there.” 6:10 So the king of Israel sent a message to the place the prophet had pointed out, warning it 126  to be on its guard. This happened on several occasions. 127  6:11 This made the king of Syria upset. 128  So he summoned his advisers 129  and said to them, “One of us must be helping the king of Israel.” 130  6:12 One of his advisers said, “No, my master, O king. The prophet Elisha who lives in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the things you say in your bedroom.” 6:13 The king 131  ordered, “Go, find out where he is, so I can send some men to capture him.” 132  The king was told, “He is in Dothan.” 6:14 So he sent horses and chariots there, along with a good-sized army. 133  They arrived during the night and surrounded the city.

6:15 The prophet’s 134  attendant got up early in the morning. When he went outside there was an army surrounding the city, along with horses and chariots. He said to Elisha, 135  “Oh no, my master! What will we do? 6:16 He replied, “Don’t be afraid, for our side outnumbers them.” 136  6:17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he can see.” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw that 137  the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 6:18 As they approached him, 138  Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people 139  with blindness.” 140  The Lord 141  struck them with blindness as Elisha requested. 142  6:19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the right road or city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you’re looking for.” He led them to Samaria. 143 

6:20 When they had entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open their eyes, so they can see.” The Lord opened their eyes and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria. 144  6:21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Should I strike them down, 145  my master? 146  6:22 He replied, “Do not strike them down! You did not capture them with your sword or bow, so what gives you the right to strike them down? 147  Give them some food and water, so they can eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 6:23 So he threw a big banquet 148  for them and they ate and drank. Then he sent them back 149  to their master. After that no Syrian raiding parties again invaded the land of Israel.

The Lord Saves Samaria

6:24 Later King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled his entire army and attacked 150  and besieged Samaria. 151  6:25 Samaria’s food supply ran out. 152  They laid siege to it so long that 153  a donkey’s head was selling for eighty shekels of silver 154  and a quarter of a kab 155  of dove’s droppings 156  for five shekels of silver. 157 

6:26 While the king of Israel was passing by on the city wall, a woman shouted to him, “Help us, my master, O king! 6:27 He replied, “No, let the Lord help you. How can I help you? The threshing floor and winepress are empty.” 158  6:28 Then the king asked her, “What’s your problem?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Hand over your son; we’ll eat him today and then eat my son tomorrow.’ 6:29 So we boiled my son and ate him. Then I said to her the next day, ‘Hand over your son and we’ll eat him.’ But she hid her son! 6:30 When the king heard what the woman said, he tore his clothes. As he was passing by on the wall, the people could see he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 159  6:31 Then he said, “May God judge me severely 160  if Elisha son of Shaphat still has his head by the end of the day! 161 

6:32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the community leaders. 162  The king 163  sent a messenger on ahead, but before he arrived, 164  Elisha 165  said to the leaders, 166 Do you realize this assassin intends to cut off my head?” 167  Look, when the messenger arrives, shut the door and lean against it. His master will certainly be right behind him.” 168  6:33 He was still talking to them when 169  the messenger approached 170  and said, “Look, the Lord is responsible for this disaster! 171  Why should I continue to wait for the Lord to help? 7:1 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says, ‘About this time tomorrow a seah 172  of finely milled flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’ 7:2 An officer who was the king’s right-hand man 173  responded to the prophet, 174 Look, even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” 175  Elisha 176  said, “Look, you will see it happen with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of the food! 177 

7:3 Now four men with a skin disease 178  were sitting at the entrance of the city gate. They said to one another, “Why are we just sitting here waiting to die? 179  7:4 If we go into the city, we’ll die of starvation, 180  and if we stay here we’ll die! So come on, let’s defect 181  to the Syrian camp! If they spare us, 182  we’ll live; if they kill us – well, we were going to die anyway.” 183  7:5 So they started toward 184  the Syrian camp at dusk. When they reached the edge of the Syrian camp, there was no one there. 7:6 The Lord had caused the Syrian camp to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a large army. Then they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has paid the kings of the Hittites and Egypt to attack us! 7:7 So they got up and fled at dusk, leaving behind their tents, horses, and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. 7:8 When the men with a skin disease reached the edge of the camp, they entered a tent and had a meal. 185  They also took some silver, gold, and clothes and went and hid it all. 186  Then they went back and entered another tent. They looted it 187  and went and hid what they had taken. 7:9 Then they said to one another, “It’s not right what we’re doing! This is a day to celebrate, but we haven’t told anyone. 188  If we wait until dawn, 189  we’ll be punished. 190  So come on, let’s go and inform the royal palace.” 7:10 So they went and called out to the gatekeepers 191  of the city. They told them, “We entered the Syrian camp and there was no one there. We didn’t even hear a man’s voice. 192  But the horses and donkeys are still tied up, and the tents remain up.” 193  7:11 The gatekeepers relayed the news to the royal palace. 194 

7:12 The king got up in the night and said to his advisers, 195 I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know we are starving, so they left the camp and hid in the field, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will capture them alive and enter the city.’ 7:13 One of his advisers replied, “Pick some men and have them take five of the horses that are left in the city. (Even if they are killed, their fate will be no different than that of all the Israelite people – we’re all going to die!) 196  Let’s send them out so we can know for sure what’s going on.” 197  7:14 So they picked two horsemen and the king sent them out to track the Syrian army. 198  He ordered them, “Go and find out what’s going on.” 199  7:15 So they tracked them 200  as far as the Jordan. The road was filled with clothes and equipment that the Syrians had discarded in their haste. 201  The scouts 202  went back and told the king. 7:16 Then the people went out and looted the Syrian camp. A seah 203  of finely milled flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, just as the Lord had said they would. 204 

7:17 Now the king had placed the officer who was his right-hand man 205  at the city gate. When the people rushed out, they trampled him to death in the gate. 206  This fulfilled the prophet’s word which he had spoken when the king tried to arrest him. 207  7:18 The prophet told the king, “Two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel, and a seah of finely milled flour for a shekel; this will happen about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria.” 7:19 But the officer replied to the prophet, “Look, even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” 208  Elisha 209  said, “Look, you will see it happen with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of the food! 210  7:20 This is exactly what happened to him. The people trampled him to death in the city gate.

NET Bible Study Environment