2 Kings 4

Elisha helps a poor widow

1 There was a woman whose husband belonged to the group of prophets. When her husband died, she called out to Elisha for help. She said, ‘Your servant, my husband, is dead. He served the Lord faithfully. My husband was in debt to a certain man. Now that man wants to take my two children to be his slaves.’

2 Elisha said to her, ‘How can I help you? Tell me, what things do you have in your house?’

She said to Elisha, ‘Please sir, I have nothing in the house. All I have is a small jar of olive oil.’

3 Then Elisha said to her, ‘Go to all your neighbours. Ask them to lend you empty jars. Make sure that you get a lot of them. 4 Then take the jars into your house. Go in with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour the olive oil from your jar into all the other jars. When each jar is full, put it in a safe place.’

5 The widow left Elisha. She went into her house with her sons and she shut the door behind her. They brought the jars to her and she poured the oil into them. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to one of her sons, ‘Bring me another jar.’ But he said, ‘There are no more jars.’ Then there was no more olive oil to pour from her jar.

7 Then the widow went back to Elisha, the man of God. She told him what had happened. He said, ‘Go and sell the oil. Use some of the money to pay the debt to the man. Use the money that remains to buy food for you and your sons. Then you will live.’

Elisha gives life to a boy

8 One day, Elisha went to Shunem. A rich woman lived there. She asked Elisha to eat a meal with her family. So every time that he went near her house, he stopped there to eat a meal. 9 Then the woman said to her husband, ‘Listen! I believe that this man who often eats with us is a holy man who serves God. 10 We should make a small room on the roof of our house for him. We can put a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp in the room. Then, when he comes to visit us, he can stay there.’

4:10The roofs of houses were often flat, so people could put things on them.

11 One day, Elisha came to Shunem again. He went up to the room on the roof. He lay down to rest there. 12 He told Gehazi, his servant, ‘Ask the woman to come here.’ So Gehazi did that. The woman came and she stood in front of Elisha. 13 Elisha said to Gehazi, ‘Say to her, “You have done a lot to take care of us. So what can we do for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king, or to the officer who leads the army?” ’ The woman replied, ‘I live here safely among my own people.’ 14 But Elisha asked Gehazi again, ‘What can we do to help her?’ Gehazi said, ‘She has no son. But her husband is an old man.’ 15 Elisha said, ‘Ask her to come here.’ When Gehazi did that, she came and she stood near the door. 16 Elisha said to her, ‘About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms.’ The woman said, ‘No, my master! You are a man of God. Please do not tell me lies.’

17 But the woman did become pregnant. At that time next year she gave birth to a son. Elisha had said that this would happen.

18 One day, when the child was older, he went out to see his father. His father was working in a field with his men at harvest time. 19 He said to his father, ‘My head is hurting! Yes, it hurts!’ His father said to a servant, ‘Carry the boy to his mother.’ 20 So the servant lifted him up and he carried him to his mother. The boy sat on his mother's knees until midday. Then he died. 21 She took the boy upstairs and she put him on the bed of the man of God. Then she went out of the room and she shut the door. 22 She sent a message to her husband. She said, ‘Send to me one of the servants with one of the donkeys. I must go quickly to see the man of God and then I will return.’ 23 Her husband asked, ‘Why do you want to go and see him today? It is not a special day with a new moon. It is not a Sabbath day.’ She said, ‘All is well.’ 24 Then she prepared the donkey. She said to her servant, ‘You go ahead and lead! Go as fast as you can unless I say, “Go more slowly.” ’

25 So the woman went to see Elisha, the man of God, at Mount Carmel. Elisha saw her when she was a long way away. He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look! There is the woman from Shunem! 26 Run to meet her. Ask her, “Are you well? Is your husband well? Is your son well?” ’ The woman replied, ‘All is well.’ 27 But when she reached the man of God at Mount Carmel, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, ‘Leave her alone. She is very upset. But the Lord has hidden the reason from me. He did not tell me about her problem.’

28 The woman said, ‘My master, I did not ask you for a son, did I? I told you not to tell me lies. ’

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, ‘Tie your belt around you. Prepare to travel! Take my stick with you and run there quickly. If you meet anyone, do not stop to speak. If anyone speaks to you, do not stop to answer them. When you get there, put my stick on the boy's face.’ 30 But the child's mother said, ‘I promise you, as surely as the Lord lives and you live, I will not leave you.’ So Elisha got up and he went back to Shunem with her.

31 Gehazi ran ahead and he arrived before they did. He put Elisha's stick on the boy's face. But the boy did not move or make any sound. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha. He said to him, ‘The boy did not wake up.’

32 When Elisha arrived at the house, the boy was lying on the bed. He saw that the boy was dead. 33 Elisha went into the room by himself. He shut the door. Elisha prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got onto the bed and he lay across the boy. He put his mouth on the boy's mouth. He put his eyes over the boy's eyes. He put his hands on the boy's hands. When he lay across the boy's body, it became warm.

35 Elisha went away from the bed. He walked round the room a few times. Then he got onto the bed again. He lay down across the boy. The boy sneezed seven times and then he opened his eyes. 36 Then Elisha called Gehazi to come to him. He said, ‘Tell the boy's mother to come here.’ Gehazi did that. When the woman came, Elisha said to her, ‘Take your son.’ 37 She came in to the room. She bent down low near Elisha's feet with her face towards the ground. Then she took her son and she left the room.

4:35‘sneezed’ means that he suddenly blew air out through his nose.

Elisha does some more miracles

38 After that, Elisha went back to Gilgal. There was a famine in that region. The group of prophets came to meet with Elisha. He said to his servant, ‘Put the large pot over the fire. Cook some soup for the prophets.’ 39 One of the prophets went out into the fields to get some herbs to put in the soup. He found a wild plant and he picked some of its fruits. He filled the pockets of his coat with them. He brought the fruits back with him and he cut them into pieces. He put the pieces into the pot of soup. But he did not know what they were.

40 They poured out the soup for the men to eat. But when they started to eat it, they shouted, ‘Man of God, this soup will kill us!’ They could not eat it. 41 Then Elisha said, ‘Bring some flour.’ He put the flour into the pot. He said, ‘Now pour out some more soup for the people to eat.’ Then there was nothing in the soup that would hurt them.

42 One day, a man came from Baal Shalishah. He brought 20 bread loaves for the man of God. The flour for the bread was made from the first barley that he had picked at harvest time. He also brought some fresh grain. Elisha said, ‘Give this food to the people to eat.’ 43 But his servant said, ‘There is not enough food here to feed 100 men!’ Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people for them to eat. Do it, because the Lord says, “They will all eat as much as they want. There will even be some food left.” ’ 44 So the servant gave the bread to the prophets to eat. They ate as much as they wanted and some food still remained. The Lord had said that this would happen.