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CHAPTER 4 Aug. 30 
Elisha Multiplies Oil
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets to Elisha, saying, Your servant my husband is dead. You know that your servant feared Yahweh. Now the creditor has come to take for himself my two children to be slaves. 2Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? Tell me: what do you have in the house? She said, Your handmaid has nothing in the house, except a pot of oil. 3Then he said, Go, borrow containers, empty ones, from of all your neighbours. Don’t borrow just a few. 4You shall go in, and shut the door on yourself and on your sons, and pour out into all those containers; and you shall set aside that which is full. 5So she went from him, and shut the door on herself and on her sons; they brought the containers to her, and she poured out. 6It happened, when the containers were full, that she said to her son, Bring me another container. He said to her, There isn’t another container. The oil stopped flowing. 7Then she came and told the man of God. He said, Go, sell the oil, and pay your debt; and you and your sons shall live on the rest.
Elisha and the Shunammite Woman
8It fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman; and she persuaded him to eat bread. So it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. 9She said to her husband, See now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God that passes by us continually. 10Please let us make a little room on the wall. Let us set for him there a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp stand. It shall be, when he comes to us, that he shall turn in there. 11One day he came there, and he turned into the room and lay there. 12He said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. When he had called her, she stood before him. 13He said to him, Say now to her, ‘Behold, you have cared for us with all this care. What is to be done for you? Would you like to be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the army?’ She answered, I dwell among my own people. 14He said, What then is to be done for her? Gehazi answered, Most certainly she has no son, and her husband is old. 15He said, Call her. When he had called her, she stood in the door. 16He said, At this season, when the time comes around, you will embrace a son. She said, No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid. 17The woman conceived, and bore a son at that season, when the time came around, as Elisha had said to her. 18When the child was grown, it happened one day that he went out to his father to the reapers. 19He said to his father, My head! My head! 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 knees until noon, and then died. 21She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door on him, and went out. 22She 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 come again. 23He said, Why would you want go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath. She said, It’s alright. 24Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward! Don’t slow down for me, unless I ask you to. 25So she went, and came to the man of God to Mount Carmel. It happened, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, there is the Shunammite. 26Please run now to meet her, and ask her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ She answered, It is well. 27When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi came near to thrust her away; but the man of God said, Leave her alone; for her soul is troubled within her; and Yahweh has hidden it from me, and has not told me. 28Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? Didn’t I say, Do not deceive me? 29Then he said to Gehazi, Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand, and go your way. If you meet any man, don’t greet him; and if anyone greets you, don’t answer him again. Then lay my staff on the face of the child. 30The mother of the child said, As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. He arose, and followed her. 31Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, saying, The child has not awakened. 32When Elisha had come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid on his bed. 33He went in therefore, and shut the door on them both, and prayed to Yahweh. 34He went up, and cast himself on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, and his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. He lay upon him; and the flesh of the child grew warm. 35Then he returned, and walked in the house once back and forth; and went up, and cast himself on him. Then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36He called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite! So he called her. When she had come 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. 
Elisha’s Miracles
38Elisha came again to Gilgal. There was a famine in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him. He said to his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets. 39One went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered of it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and shred them into the pot of stew; for they didn’t recognize them. 40So they poured out for the men to eat. It happened, as they were eating of the stew, that they cried out, and said, Man of God, there is death in the pot! They could not eat of it. 41But he said, Bring meal, then. He cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. There was now no harm in the pot. 42A man from Baal Shalishah came, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack. He said, Give to the people, that they may eat. 43His servant said, What, should I set this before a hundred men? But he said, Give the people, that they may eat; for thus says Yahweh, ‘They will eat, and will have some left over’. 44So he set it before them, and they ate, and left some of it, according to the word of Yahweh. 


4:3 Don’t borrow just a few- According to the level of our faith, so life will be unto us. The more and the larger the containers borrowed, the more oil they would have. God’s power and ability is unlimited; it is us through our faith who control the extent of His activity (Mk. 9:23).
4:4 Shut the door- This is emphasized (:5). God’s response to human faith is a very personal thing, not to be bragged about. Our relationship with Him is ultimately personal.
4:9 I perceive that this is a holy man of God- It seems Elisha said nothing of his ministry as a prophet; he simply stayed at the woman’s house when travelling. But our relationship with God will be perceived by others in the end, even without our specific preaching (1 Pet. 3:1).
4:13 This care- The Hebrew word for "care" here also means "reverence". To reverence someone is to care for them. Care therefore comes out of a respect / reverence for the person. If we respect persons for who they are, we will care. Care in that sense can't in any sense be properly done or shown if it's simply from a sense of duty, because we're paid to do it, because we might get some benefit from doing so, etc. It arises out of a basic respect for the human person, made as we are in the image of God.
4:29 Christ’s command in Lk. 10:4 to go preach the Gospel and greet nobody by the way (greetings in the East can take a long time) clearly alludes here. We are all to have the urgent intensity of Gehazi in taking the hope of resurrection to others.
4:33 Shut the door... and prayed- Jesus as it were takes a snapshot of this moment and posts it as a pattern to each of us (Mt. 6:6). Biblical characters like Elisha thus cease to be distant figures, but are to be realistically followed by us as living examples.
4:34,35 1 Kings 18:42 says that Elijah cast himself down in prayer. The Hebrew word occurs again only here, as if it was Elijah’s example which inspired Elisha likewise to cast himself down upon the child. The implication is that Elisha did so in prayer; and we wonder whether this implies that Elijah’s stretching himself upon another child, although a different Hebrew word, was also in prayer (1 Kings 17:21). Elijah’s prayerful example inspired another. Our attitude to prayer is so easily influential upon others, and we ourselves are likewise easily influenced. It should be no shame nor embarrassment to us to instantly break into prayer, nor to kneel down to further our intensity in prayer, regardless of the social embarrassment this may involve in some cultures. But we have to ask: Do we cast ourselves down in prayer as Elijah and Elisha? Do we know that kind of intensity in prayer?
4:42,43 This incident presents Elisha as a clear type of Christ, who did the same in His feeding miracles (Mk. 8:6-8). Those who know God's word will find encouragement there in their experiences of life- but that encouragement is dependent upon their appreciation of the word, and their ability to see the similarities between their situation and that of others who have gone before. An example is to be found in the way the Lord told the disciples to feed the crowd, when they had nothing to give them (Mk. 6:37). He was actually quoting from :42, where the man of God told his servant to do the same. He gave what bread he had to the people, and miraculously it fed them. The disciples don't seem to have seen the point; otherwise, they would have realized that if they went ahead in faith, another such miracle would likely be wrought. But it seems that God almost over-ruled them to make the response of the faithless servant of :43: "Shall we... give them to eat?" (Mk. 6:37). They were almost 'made' to do this to make them later see the similarity with the 2 Kings 4 incident. If they had been more spiritually aware at the time, the Lord's quotation would have been an encouragement for their faith.