Study Guide

2 Kings Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Artisanal Olive Oil

  • The widow of a prophet is dealing with her husband's creditors, who are trying to take her children into slavery.
  • Elisha agrees to help her pay them off. She has nothing but a jar of olive oil, so Elisha tells her to collect many jars from her neighbors and keep filling them from the one, small jar.
  • Miraculously, she's able to fill a ton of jars. She pays off her debts and also lives off the profits with her children.

Operation: Dead Kid

  • When Elisha travels through the land of Shunem, a woman helps feed and lodge him whenever he stops by.
  • She and her husband make a room especially for him. This pleases Elisha, so he decides to do something for the Shunnamite woman.
  • He tells his servant Gehazi to call her and he makes his offer of help. She says that she's never had a child. Elisha promises she'll have a son within a year (boom—just like that).
  • She does. Still, after the child grows up a bit, he gets a strange headache and then drops dead.
  • The Shunnamite woman lays the child on the bed that Elisha normally sleeps in and then goes to find Elisha.
  • God hides what's wrong from Elisha. He isn't sure what's going on, until the woman comes and grabs his feet begging him to bring her son back to life.
  • Elisha sends Gehazi on ahead to lay Elisha's staff on the boy's face, but this has no effect.
  • When Elisha arrives, he uses some sort of magical method of restoring the boy to life, lying on his body and matching up his eyes, mouth, and hands with the boy's. This brings the boy back to life. He wakes and sneezes seven times.
  • The woman bows to Elisha in gratitude and takes her son out of the room.

When Gourds Go Bad

  • In the midst of a famine, Elisha goes to Gilgal and tells his servant to cook some food for the prophets there.
  • But one of the prophets accidentally picks some poisonous gourds to put in the stew.
  • When the prophets start to eat it, they yell out that it's poisonous. Elisha drops some flour in the pot, which magically removes the poison—and apparently even the people who already started eating are okay.
  • In another miracle, a man brings twenty loaves of bread to Elisha. Elisha says to feed it to the people. The man is baffled, but it manages to feed over a hundred people anyway. There's even some left over.

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