2 Kings 4:1Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”
While the usual point in this and the following verses comes from the blessing the woman receives when she pours out oil in vessel after vessel to regain her financial stability, let’s look at the root of the problem: “The creditor has come”. Scripture does not forbid borrowing, but it does caution against it, and even provides paths for forgiveness of debt to protect the poor. This is a situation in which there was simply too much credit extended and the loss of her husband precipitated a crisis. It is incumbent upon us all to be good stewards of that with which we have been blessed.
2 Kings 4
The Widow’s Oil
1Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2Elisha 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 except a jar of oil.” 3Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. 4“And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.” 5So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. 6When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. 7Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
The Shunammite Woman
8Now there came a day when Elisha passed over to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman, and she persuaded him to eat food. And so it was, as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat food. 9She said to her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually. 10“Please, let us make a little walled upper chamber and let us set a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he can turn in there.”
11One day he came there and turned in to the upper chamber and rested. 12Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” And when he had called her, she stood before him. 13He said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Behold, you have been careful for us with all this care; what can I do for you? Would you be spoken for to the king or to the captain of the army?’” And she answered, “I live among my own people.” 14So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Truly she has no son and her husband is old.” 15He said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16Then he said, “At this season next year you will embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant.”
17The woman conceived and bore a son at that season the next year, as Elisha had said to her.
The Shunammite’s Son
18When the child was grown, the day came that he went out to his father to the reapers. 19He said to his father, “My head, my head.” And he said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her lap until noon, and then died. 21She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door behind him and went out. 22Then she called to her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and return.” 23He said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath.” And she said, “It will be well.” 24Then she saddled a donkey and said to her servant, “Drive and go forward; do not slow down the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25So she went and came to the man of God to Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her at a distance, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Behold, there is the Shunammite. 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.” 27When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came near to push her away; but the man of God said, “Let her alone, for her soul is troubled within her; and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me.” 28Then she said, “Did I ask for a son from my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”
29Then he said to Gehazi, “Gird up your loins and take my staff in your hand, and go your way; if you meet any man, do not salute him, and if anyone salutes you, do not answer him; and lay my staff on the lad’s face.” 30The mother of the lad said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” And he arose and followed her. 31Then Gehazi passed on before them and laid the staff on the lad’s face, but there was no sound or response. So he returned to meet him and told him, “The lad has not awakened.”
32When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. 33So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to the LORD. 34And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes. 36He called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Take up your son.” 37Then she went in and fell at his feet and bowed herself to the ground, and she took up her son and went out.
The Poisonous Stew
38When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39Then one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, for they did not know what they were. 40So they poured it out for the men to eat. And as they were eating of the stew, they cried out and said, “O man of God, there is death in the pot.” And they were unable to eat. 41But he said, “Now bring meal.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Pour it out for the people that they may eat.” Then there was no harm in the pot.
42Now a man came from Baal-shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” 43His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” 44So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.
2 Kings 5
Naaman Is Healed
1Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. 2Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” 4Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.” 5Then the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes.
6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.”
8It happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent word to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” 11But Naaman was furious 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 wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’ 12“Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.
15When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a present from your servant now.” 16But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17Naaman said, “If not, please let your servant at least be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD. 18“In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.” 19He said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him some distance.
20But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “Behold, my master has spared this Naaman the Aramean, by not receiving from his hands what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and take something from him.” 21So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw one running after him, he came down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” 22He said, “All is well. My master has sent me, saying, ‘Behold, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothes.’” 23Naaman said, “Be pleased to take two talents.” And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes and gave them to two of his servants; and they carried them before him. 24When he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and deposited them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed. 25But he went in and stood before his master. And Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.”
26Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? 27“Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
The End of the Wicked Contrasted with That of the Righteous.
A PSALM OF ASAPH.
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pains in their death,
And their body is fat.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like mankind.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
7 Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot.
8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.
9 They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are drunk by them.