The Second Book of Kings
Chapter Four

2-Kings. Chapter 4. The Miracles of Elisha


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2-Kings. 4. .
2-Kings. Chapter 4. The Miracles of Elisha.
(ca. 41 minutes)
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2 Kings 4

[2 Kings 4:1] A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.
According to tradition this woman was the widow of Obadiah the minister of King Ahab. Obadiah had hidden one hundred prophets in two caves when they were  being persecuted:
# For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water # (1-Kings 18:4).
Obadiah the servant of Ahab said this same tradition later became a Prophet himself and gave us the Book of Obadiah. These traditions are possibilities that have various degrees of probability. We are free to take them or leave them.
The Book of Obadiah does contain some very important in formation and the Classical Commentaries on Obadiah (
Rashi, Nachmanides, etc) expressly place the Lost Ten Tribes in the west.
According to some of the Sages Obadiah was an
Edomite Convert and author of the Biblical Book of Obadiah whose main theme is a prophecy against Edom.

The Book of Obadiah prophecies that in the End Times Joseph will fight against Edom and defeat him.
Obadiah according to the Classical
Rabbinicial Commentators refers to the Lost Israelites from the Ten Tribes being in the region OF THE CANAANITES EVEN UNTO ZAREPHATH (Obadiah 1:20).  This meant the area of Western Europe especially France and the British Isles.
See the Brit-Am Commentary on Obadiah 1:20 for details and explanation.

Taking fellow Israelites as slaves or indentured servants was a practice borrowed from the pagan nations around them. According to the Torah Law it was forbidden but still practiced.
# Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you?
For your iniquities you have sold yourselves #. (Isaiah 50:1).
[Nehemiah 5: 4] There were also those who said, We have borrowed money for the kings tax on our lands and vineyards.

[Nehemiah 5: 5] Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.

[Nehemiah 5: 6] And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.

[Nehemiah 5: 7] After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, Each of you is exacting usury from his brother. So I called a great assembly against them.

[Nehemiah 5: 8] And I said to them, According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?
Before we all jump to condemn such practices we should realize that even in the west until not long ago such practices were known. In third world countries they still prevail. In our own lands people who get mixed up with illegal loan sharks on the black market are still liable to end up in horrible situations.

In places were Israelites are the majority, there is something to be said for the Welfare State, consider the following extract concerning the nations of Scandinavia:

Criticizing from the bottom

by Guy White

#And what of the Scandinavians? Today they have the most advanced civilization. If you don't believe me, take a trip to any Nordic country. To be perfectly honest, I can see how Scandinavians would engage in Nordic supremacy. It's so nice and clean and quiet there. (Except where diversity hit, like in Malmo.)

#...Beyond this, Scandinavians don't steal and don't cheat. I mean, sure, some do, but these guys can have a massive welfare system with hardly anyone (other than the immigrants) taking advantage of it. They can avoid working, but usually do not. That's greatness.

#....In the year 2010, culturally the Scandinavian nations are ahead of everyone else. Economically they are also as successful as anyone else. In education, Finland, Iceland or another Nordic nation usually comes in first.

[2 Kings 4:2]  So Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house? And she said, Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.
Oil meant olive oil. This was a basic commodity in Ancient Israel. Olive oil is also frequently used in Mediterranean kitchens including that of present-day Israel. We use it in our house. It is good for salads and for cooking and it is healthy. In Ancient Times it was often eaten with bread (like butter or margarine) and was a staple part of the diet. It was also used in the production of soap and for the medicinal anointment of the body. Everyone used it in this way and so every household would have had jars set aside for this purpose.

[2 Kings 4:3]  Then he said, Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors empty vessels; do not gather just a few.

[2 Kings 4:4]  And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.

[2 Kings 4:5]  So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out.

[2 Kings 4:6]  Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, Bring me another vessel.
And he said to her, There is not another vessel. So the oil ceased.

[2 Kings 4:7]  Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.
[2 Kings 4:8]  Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.
Shunem was in the territory of Issachar (Joshua 19:18). It is customary to identify it with a place near the present-day city of Afula in northern Israel. Avishag the Shunamite (1-Kings 1:3) maidservant of King David came from there.

[2 Kings 4:9]   And she said to her husband, Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly.
Elisha was accustomed to lodge as a guest in their house. The woman recognized him as a holy person. The Talmud says that a woman discerns the nature of her house-guests.

[2 Kings 4:10]   Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.
They made a kind of attic or loft especially for Elisha where he could rest in private and study at night if he so desired.
People were not so different then than they are today.

[2 Kings 4:11]    And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.
Elisha went in and lay down and the realization came to him that he should return the favor of hospitality that he been extended to him and that the Almighty would enable him to do so. Very often great and important changes in our lives occur due to such spur of the moment decisions.

[2 Kings 4:12]     Then he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite woman. When he had called her, she stood before him.

Notice Elisha avoids speaking directly to the Shunamite woman but addresses her via Gehazi who acts as his the intermediary.

[2 Kings 4:13]     And he said to him, Say now to her, Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?
She answered, I dwell among my own people.
She meant that she kept to her self and found what she needed amongst her extended family and neighbors.
In Modern Hebrew this Biblical expression "I dwell among my own people" is taken to mean "I know what I see around me".

[2 Kings 4:14]     So he said, What then is to be done for her?
And Gehazi answered, Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.
Old men can have children but the chances statistically are less. In addition a higher percentage of children fathered by older men are liable to be genetically impaired. On the other hand Mair Lapid (who, along with his son Israel, was murdered by Arabs) told me that a significant number of great men were the offspring of an older man and younger woman. There are many things like that. We have spoken of this in the past. We have even suggested that the Jewish "Superiority" (in a statistic sense) in producing intellectual over-achievers is due to that fact that in the past they practiced the OPPOSITE of Eugenics!
These days in Western Nations when doctors discern the likelihood (or even slightly higher than usual possibility!) of an imperfect fetus they often pressure the mother to perform an abortion. 
At that stage the prospective mothers are vulnerable.
These policies are not justified and may be genetically counter-productive! We do not know enough.
Abortion in principle is wrong.

[2 Kings 4:15]     So he said, Call her. When he had called her, she stood in the doorway.

[2 Kings 4:16]     Then he said, About this time next year you shall embrace a son.
And she said, No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!

[2 Kings 4:17] But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.

[2 Kings 4:181] And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers.
They were gathering in the harvest and the boy went out to be with his father.

[2 Kings 4:19] And he said to his father, My head, my head!
So he said to a servant, Carry him to his mother.
It is healthy for children to be out-doors but sun-stroke and dehydration should be avoided.

[2 Kings 4:20] When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.

[2 Kings 4:21] And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out.

[2 Kings 4:22] Then she called to her husband, and said, Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.

[2 Kings 4:23] So he said, Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.
And she said, It is well.
There are different explanations for what the husband said. Some say that it was the custom on New Mood days and the Sabbath to go and hear words of Torah from a wise man. The Radak however explains it as meaning,

"It is less than a month, in fact not even a week, since you last saw him. Why the sudden need?"

[2 Kings 4:24] Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.

[2 Kings 4:25] And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, Look, the Shunammite woman!

[2 Kings 4:26] Please run now to meet her, and say to her, Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?
And she answered, It is well.

[2 Kings 4:27] Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me.

[2 Kings 4:28] So she said, Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?

[2 Kings 4:29] Then he said to Gehazi, Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.

[2 Kings 4:30] And the mother of the child said, As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. So he arose and followed her.

[2 Kings 4:31] Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, The child has not awakened.

[2 Kings 4:32] When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed.

[2 Kings 4:33]  He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.

[2 Kings 4:34]  And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm.

[2 Kings 4:35]  He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as described here, warming the body, etc, are known medical procedures. They do not work every time. A certain  degree of intuition and positive will power is also important. Elisha was a Prophet of the Almighty. He combined natural processes with Divine Inspiration.

[2 Kings 4:36]  And he called Gehazi and said, Call this Shunammite woman. So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, Pick up your son.

[2 Kings 4:37] So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.
[2 Kings 4:38]  And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.
Gilgal was the location  they had been before Elijah was taken up to heaven. Before that we found Elisha in Mount Carmel where Elijah had performed the miracles and brought fire down from heaven. Elisha may have been greater than Elijah but he was always conscious of following in his footsteps. Hasidic Rabbis often have similar attitudes towards their predecessors and in many ways remind us of the Prophets in the Bible.

[2 Kings 4:39]  So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were.

[2 Kings 4:40]  Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, Man of God, there is death in the pot! And they could not eat it.

[2 Kings 4:41]   So he said, Then bring some flour. And he put it into the pot, and said, Serve it to the people, that they may eat. And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
Some of the miracles spoken of here could have natural explanations. Bringing the boy back to life was achieved by a process of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation similar to that practiced nowadays. Throwing the flour in the pot as an antidote for herbal poison for all I know may also have a scientific rationale. Nevertheless these too are miracles. Not only that if we be honest with ourselves we should realize that many of the logical rational solutions to our various problems have come to us more through inspiration than cognitive deduction. Learning the Bible and leading good lives can enable us to enhance this natural aspect of our beings.
[2 Kings 4:42]  Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, Give it to the people, that they may eat.
Baal Shalisha is assumed to have been in the Jordan Valley.
Notice the social arrangements in this narrative. You have the Prophet, his followers, and ordinary people who come to gather around them. They are provided with food and lodging by the common people. They teach and also provide the equivalent of social and medical services. The people are conscious of being blessed by their presence.
The Prophets and they who served the Prophets were humans with human Needs. The people recognized this and so brought them supplies and assistance.
Brit-Am, Movement of the Ten Tribes, is not a Prophetic association. We do however work to spread knowledge of the Bible and message of Prophecy. We are also human and have needs. In our opinion Brit-Am deserves to be supported and they who supported us will be blessed for doing so.

[2 Kings 4:43]  But his servant said, What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?
He said again, Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the LORD: They shall eat and have some left over.

[2 Kings 4:44]  So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.

After the Death of Solomon:
The Divided Kingdom

The Divided Kingdom
Source of Map:

2-Kings ch.3
2-Kings Contents
2-Kings ch.5