2 Kings 4

1Elisha multiplieth a poor widow's oil in order to pay her debts. 8He is hospitably entertained by a Shunammite woman, and in repayment obtaineth a son for her. 18The child dieth, and is restored to life at Elisha's prayer. 38He healeth the deadly pottage at Gilgal. 42He miraculously satisfieth an hundred men with twenty barley loaves.

1NOW there cried a certain woman of the wives of the 1sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the 2creditor is come toa take unto him my two sons to be 3bondmen.

1 See 1 Kings 20 on verse 35.

2 That is, to whom I am indebted for moneys borrowed, or wares bought, or otherwise.

a Lev. 25:39.

3 That is, servants, slaves; namely, either that he himself may use them as such, or else sell them to others, for that which I owe him, and am not able to pay. See the law of God concerning this kind of bondage, Lev. 25:39.

2And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a 4pot of oil.

4 Namely, which was full of oil, or at least wherein some oil was yet left.

3Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a 5few.

5 As well out of your own house, as borrowed of others, and brought all together.

4And when thou art come in, thou shalt 6shut the door 7upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt 8pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

6 Namely, that none may hinder you, either in the work, which I command you to do, or in the devotion, which you must have therein unto the LORD.

7 Or, before, or, by thee.

8 Namely, oil out of your pitcher.

5So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.

6And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil 9stayed.

9 That is, was not multiplied more, forasmuch as the pitcher, out of which she had poured, yielded no more oil.

7Then she came and told 10the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the 11rest.

10 Namely Elisha: see Judges 13 on verse 6.

11 Namely, of the oil or of the money that you shall have made of the oil over and above your debt.

8¶And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to 12Shunem, where was a 13great woman; and she constrained him to eat 14bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.

12 See 1 Kings 1 on verse 3.

13 Of descent, name, and means. See Gen. 24:35 and the annotation. Likewise compare 1 Sam. 25:2.

14 That is, to take his meal with her. See Gen. 31 on verse 54. Also in the sequel.

9And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an 15holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.

15 See Lev. 19 on verse 2.

10Let us make a little 16chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.

16 Hebr. upper chamber of the wall; that is, a little chamber, which butted out with a wall. The Hebrew word is used both of stone walls, 2 Kings 3:25 and of board or timber-walls, Lev. 1:15, where mention is made of the wall of the altar, which was made of wood, Exod. 27:1. Other, of, or, with walls.

11And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.

12And he said to Gehazi his 17servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood 18before him.

17 Or, lad, or, boy. The Hebrew word is not only affirmed of youths or young men, but also of adults. See Gen. 22 on verse 5. What Gehazi appears to have been, this is related in 2 Kings 5:27.

18 That is, before Elisha.

13And he said unto 19him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this 20care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, 21I dwell among mine own people.

19 Namely, to his servant Gehazi.

20 The word signifies such a care as is accompanied with fear and trembling, whereby a person is afraid to omit or neglect anything that is needful and necessary, or not to do it so as it ought to be done. Compare Luke 10:40, 41.

21 That is, I have peace and friendship with the people among whom I dwell, so that I am at variance with none, for which cause I would have need to trouble either the king or his chief captain.

14And 22he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.

22 Namely, Elisha to his servant Gehazi, when he had told his master Elisha what the woman had answered.

15And 23he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood 24in the door.

23 Namely, Elisha to his servant Gehazi.

24 Namely, of the prophet’s little chamber. Compare this with the foregoing 12th verse, unto which it must be applied, according to the relation of what is spoken between, contained in the verses 13, 14, 15.

16And he said, 25About thisb season, 26according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, 27do not lie unto thine handmaid.

25 That is, on or at this time of the year; so in the following verse. See these very same words, Gen. 18:14.

b Gen. 18:10, 14.

26 See Gen. 18 on verse 10.

27 That is, make me not a promise of any good thing, whereof the fulfillment would not follow.

17And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.

18¶And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.

19And he said unto his father, 28My head, my head. And 29he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.

28 In this manner the child gives to understand the pain which it felt in his head.

29 Namely, the father.

20And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.

21And she went 30up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and 31shut the door 32upon him, and went out.

30 Namely, to the upper chamber, which she had caused to be made for Elisha. See verse 10.

31 Or, then she shut before him.

32 See on verse 4.

22And she called unto her husband, 33and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.

33 That is, sent word to him.

23And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is 34neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, 35It shall be well.

34 He said this, because the godly ones, who were yet left in Israel, employed the new moons, Sabbaths, and other festivals in religious works; and to this end repaired to the prophets of the Lord, who kept assemblies and meetings for the preservation of sound doctrine, and pure religion.

35 Hebr. Peace. See Gen. 37 on verse 14. Intimating that all would be well, forasmuch as she made this journey for a good end. In the mean while she conceals from her husband the death of her son, as well not suddenly to grieve him, as also that her journey might not be hindered.

24Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; 36slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.

36 That is, slack not or hinder not the journey for my ease sake, unless I bid you.

25So she went and came unto the man of God to mount 37Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:

37 See 1 Kings 18 on verse 19.

26Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, 38Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.

38 Hebr. Hast thou peace? Hath thine husband peace? etc. See Gen. 29 on verse 6.

27And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she 39caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her 40away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul 41is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.

39 She did this not only out of humble reverence, but also out of fervent affection, to crave something from Elisha, desiring that he would not stir out of his place, until he had heard her. Compare Mat. 28:9.

40 Namely, that she might not be troublesome to his master. Compare Mark 10:13.

41 Hebr. is bitter to her; that is, possessed with some grief that goes exceedingly to her heart. Bitterness is taken for grief and vexation or trouble of heart, Gen. 26:35; Ruth 1:20; 1 Sam. 1:10; 22:2; Job 3:20; 7:11; 9:18; Prov. 14:10.

28Then she said, 42Did I desire a son of my lord? didc I not say, 43Do not deceive me?

42 Intimating that she had not desired him of Elisha, but that he had promised him to her of his own accord and therefore ought now to make do with his prayers, that she might receive him again.

c 2 Kings 4:16.

43 Other, Do not promise any happiness to me?

29Then he said to Gehazi, 44Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thoud meet any man, 45salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and 46lay my staff upon the face of the child.

44 Namely, to dispatch the journey, which he was commanded to make, with more speed; for, long garments, which men wore in those times, were a great hindrance. Compare 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 9:1; Jer. 1:17.

d Luke 10:4.

45 Hebr. bless him not: see Gen. 31 on verse 55. It is a phrase, signifying that he was to make haste in his journey, and to cast off all hindrances that he might meet with by the way. Compare Luke 10:4.

46 For a sign of the miracle which God shall do. As such God wrought by the staff of Moses, Exod. 14:16; by the mantle of Elijah, 2 Kings 2:8; by the handkerchiefs and girdle of Paul, Acts 19:12; which proceeded only from the power of God, whereof these things were but means and signs, when it pleased God to work by them.

30And the mother of the child said, 47As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, 48I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.

47 See 2 Kings 2 on verse 2.

48 Hebr. if I leave thee!

31And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was 49neither voice, 50nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not 51awaked.

49 That is, no sign of life. The reason was, because Elisha had not yet made his prayer to God, without which the laying on of the staff was fruitless. At this time he had not made his prayer, because by the mother’s earnest importunity he was minded himself to go to the child, and there to pour out his prayer unto the Lord, which otherwise he would have done at home in his own house.

50 That is, hearing, or listening.

51 Namely, from the sleep of death. Compare Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2.

32And when Elisha was come into the 52house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon 53his bed.

52 Namely, of the Shunammite.

53 Namely, of the man of God, verse 21, which bed was in the chamber, which the Shunammite had caused to be made in her house for the prophet, verse 10.

33He 54went in therefore, and shute the door upon them 55twain, and prayed unto the LORD.

54 Understand, into the chamber, wherein he had been sometimes lodged, and where the dead body lay upon the bed.

e Mat. 6:6.

55 Namely, before him, and before the child.

34And he 56went up, and 57lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.

56 Namely, upon the bed, whereon the dead child lay; so in the following verse.

57 See similar examples, 1 Kings 17:21; Acts 20:10.

35Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; 58and went up, and stretched himself upon him: andf the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

58 Miracles are perfected in two ways: I. sometimes forthwith and immediately, as 1 Kings 18:37, 38; John 11:43, 44, and below, verse 41, etc.; II. sometimes gradually or by degrees, as here and 1 Kings 18:44, 45; Mark 8:24, 25.

f 1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 8:1; Acts 20:10.

36And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.

37Then she went in, 59and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

59 To give him thanks with civil reverence, for the benefit that God had bestowed upon her by his ministry.

38¶And Elisha came again to 60Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were 61sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, 62Set on the great pot, and seethe pottageg for the sons of the prophets.

60 See 2 Kings 2 on verse 1.

61 Namely, as disciples at his feet, to be instructed by him, as their master and teacher. See 2 Kings 2 on verse 3.

62 Or, order, or make ready the great pot.

g soup, stew

39And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a 63wild vine, and gathered thereof 64wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they 65knew them not.

63 Hebr. vine of the field; that is, which grows in the field, or in some wild place; so you have straightway gourds of the field, that is, wild gourds, or bitter-apple.

64 They write that its branches are not unlike to the vine. It may be that they did shoot up near this wild vine, and were mingled with the branches and leaves thereof, as wild gourds are wont to do; or, that the names of wild vine, and wild gourds, in respect of the likeness of leaves and branches, were exchanged.

65 Namely, that their fruit was so bitter and noxious.

40So they 66poured out for the 67men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is 68death in the pot. And they 69could not eat thereof.

66 Hebr. poured out, that is, ladled out and poured in, namely, into the vessels out of which they were to eat.

67 Namely, the sons of the prophets.

68 That is, a kind of food, whereof a man may eat his death. Compare Exod. 10 on verse 17.

69 Namely, because of the great bitterness.

41But he said, Then 70bring meal. And he cast it intoh the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was 71no harm in the pot.

70 Hebr. Take; that is, take and bring: see Gen. 12 on verse 15.

h Exod. 15:25.

71 Hebr. no evil thing. The meal had not taken this away, but the power of God, whereof the meal was only a sign and means.

42¶And there came a man from 72Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the 73husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the 74people, that they may eat.

72 A region in Benjamin. See 1 Sam. 9:4.

73 Or, in their little houses; understand, that they were stuck yet in its chaff, being not thrashed, or beaten out. Other, in his garment.

74 That is, unto the sons of the prophets.

43And his servitor said, 75What,i should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, Theyj shall eat, and shall leave thereof.

75 Hebr. set that before their face. He counts the loaves to be few, comparing them to the multitude of the people, which were an hundred in number, with the smallness of the loaves, of which one man (as is perceived) might easily carry twenty. Compare John 6:9.

i John 6:9.

j John 6:11.

44So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.