The Second Book of the Kings

Chapter 4

Elisha multiplies the widow's oil, 1-7. He obtains a son for the good Shunammite, 8-17. He restores her son when dead, 18-37. At Gilgal he heals the deadly pottage, 38-41. He satisfies a hundred men with twenty loaves, 42-44.

1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead. And you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor has come to take for himself my two sons to be slaves." 2 And Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your servant does not have anything in the house, except for a pot of oil." 3 Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels abroad from all your neighbors, even empty vessels. Do not borrow a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door upon you and upon your sons, and shall pour out into all those vessels and set aside that which is full." 5 So she went from him and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her, and she poured out. 6 And 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." And the oil stayed. 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 children shall live on the remainder."

8 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem where a distinguished woman was, and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. 9 And she said to her husband, "Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God who passes by us continually. 10 Let us make a little chamber, I pray you, on the wall and set for him there a bed, a table, a stool, and a candlestick. And it shall be, when he comes to us, that he shall turn in there."

11 And it fell on a day, that he came there, and he turned into the chamber and lay there. 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, "Call this Shunamite." And when he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, "Now say to her, 'Behold, you have been careful for us with all this care. What is to be done for you? Would you be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?'" And she answered, "I dwell among my own people." 14 And he said, "What then is to be done for her?" And Gehazi answered, "Truly she has no child, and her husband is old." 15 And he said, "Call her." And when he had called her, she stood in the door. 16 And he said, "About this season, according to the time of life, you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord, man of God, do not lie to your servant."

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

18 And when the child was grown, it happened on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, "My head, my head." And he said to a young man, "Carry him to his mother." 20 And when he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees until noon and then died. 21 And she went up, laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 And she called to her husband and said, "Send me, I pray you, one of the young men and one of the donkeys so that I may run to the man of God and come back." 23 And he said, "Why will you go to him today? It is neither new-moon, nor sabbath." And she said, "It shall be well." 24 Then she saddled a donkey and said to her servant, "Drive, and go forward. Do not slack your riding for me unless I bid you." 25 So she went and came to the man of God to mount Carmel. 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 Shunamite. 26 Now run, I pray you, 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." 27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, "Leave her alone, for her soul is sorrowful within her, and the LORD has hid it from me and has not told me." 28 Then she said, "Did I ask a son from my lord? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me.'"

29 Then he said to Gehazi, "Gird up your loins and take my staff in your hand and go your way. And if you meet any man, do not salute him. And if anyone salutes you, do not answer him again. And lay my staff upon the face of the child." 30 And the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you." And he arose and followed her. 31 And Gehazi passed on before them and laid the staff upon 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."

32 And when Elisha had come into the house, behold, the child was dead and laid upon his bed. 33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them both and prayed to the LORD. 34 And he went up and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands. And he stretched himself upon the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he returned and walked in the house to and fro, and went up and stretched himself upon him. And the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunamite." So he called her. And when she had come in to him, he said, "Take up your son." 37 Then she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son and went out.

38 And Elisha came back to Gilgal. And there was a famine in the land. And the sons of the prophets were sitting before him. And he said to his servant, "Set on the great pot and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets." 39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, found a wild vine, gathered his lap full of wild gourds from it, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage, for they did not know them. 40 So they poured out some for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out and said, "O man of God, there is death in the pot." And they could not eat it. 41 But he said, "Then bring meal." And he cast it into the pot and he said, "Pour some out for the people so that they may eat." And there was no harm in the pot.

42 And there came a man from Baal-shalisha and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley and full heads of grain in its husk. And he said, "Give to the people so that they may eat." 43 And his servitor said, "What, should I set this before one hundred men?" He said again, "Give the people so that they may eat, for thus says the LORD: 'They shall eat and shall leave some of it.'" 44 So he set it before them, and they ate and left some of it, according to the word of the LORD.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Kings, Chapter 4[➚]


[v.35] - "sneezed" - The Latin Vulgate has the word, oscitavit, which means to gape or yawn. The Septuagint, on the other hand, doesn't even mention the sneezing, but rather states that Elisha "bowed himself upon the child seven times, and the child opened his eyes."

[v.42-44] - Compare with the miracle Jesus performed when He fed a great multitude with a little bread and fish (Matthew 14:15-21, 15:32-38; Mark 8:1-9; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14).