This is Episode #112 and today we’ll read 2 Kings chapters 4&5 together. Elisha saves a widow and her sons and forms a tremendous bond with a Shunammite woman and her family. Naaman is cured of his skin disease and his devotion to a false god.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #112 and today we’ll read 2 Kings chapters 4&5 together. Elisha saves a widow and her sons and forms a tremendous bond with a Shunammite woman and her family. Naaman is cured of his skin disease and his devotion to a false god.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
2 Kings Chapter 4
The Widow’s Oil Multiplied
One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.”
Elisha asked her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”
Then he said, “Go out and borrow empty containers from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.” So she left.
After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”
But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest.”
The Shunammite Woman’s Hospitality
One day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman who lived there persuaded him to eat some food. So whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. Then she said to her husband, “I know that the one who often passes by here is a holy man of God, so let’s make a small, walled-in upper room and put a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp there for him. Whenever he comes, he can stay there.”
The Shunammite Woman’s Son
One day he came there and stopped at the upstairs room to lie down. He ordered his attendant Gehazi, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her and she stood before him.
Then he said to Gehazi, “Say to her, ‘Look, you’ve gone to all this trouble for us. What can we do for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’”
She answered, “I am living among my own people.”
So he asked, “Then what should be done for her?”
Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.”
“Call her,” Elisha said. So Gehazi called her, and she stood in the doorway. Elisha said, “At this time next year you will have a son in your arms.”
Then she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your servant.”
The woman conceived and gave birth to a son at the same time the following year, as Elisha had promised her.
The Shunammite’s Son Raised
The child grew and one day went out to his father and the harvesters. Suddenly he complained to his father, “My head! My head!”
His father told his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” So he picked him up and took him to his mother. The child sat on her lap until noon and then died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut him in, and left.
She summoned her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so I can hurry to the man of God and come back again.”
But he said, “Why go to him today? It’s not a New Moon or a Sabbath.”
She replied, “It’s all right.”
Then she saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Go fast; don’t slow the pace for me unless I tell you.” So she came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her at a distance, he said to his attendant Gehazi, “Look, there’s the Shunammite woman. Run out to meet her and ask, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your son all right?’”
And she answered, “It’s all right.”
When she came up to the man of God at the mountain, she clung to his feet. Gehazi came to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone — she is in severe anguish, and the Lord has hidden it from me. He hasn’t told me.”
Then she said, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Didn’t I say, ‘Do not lie to me?’”
Elisha Sent Gehazi
So Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your mantle under your belt, take my staff with you, and go. If you meet anyone, don’t stop to greet him, and if a man greets you, don’t answer him. Then place my staff on the boy’s face.”
The boy’s mother said to Elisha, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.
Gehazi went ahead of them and placed the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or sign of life, so he went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy didn’t wake up.”
When Elisha got to the house, he discovered the boy lying dead on his bed. So he went in, closed the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. Then he went up and lay on the boy: he put mouth to mouth, eye to eye, hand to hand. While he bent down over him, the boy’s flesh became warm. Elisha got up, went into the house, and paced back and forth. Then he went up and bent down over him again. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
Elisha called Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.” He called her and she came. Then Elisha said, “Pick up your son.” She came, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; she picked up her son and left.
The Deadly Stew
When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. The sons of the prophets were sitting before him. He said to his attendant, “Put on the large pot and make stew for the sons of the prophets.”
One went out to the field to gather herbs and found a wild vine from which he gathered as many wild gourds as his garment would hold. Then he came back and cut them up into the pot of stew, but they were unaware of what they were.
They served some for the men to eat,but when they ate the stew they cried out, “There’s death in the pot, man of God!” And they were unable to eat it.
Then Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Serve it for the people to eat.” And there was nothing bad in the pot.
The Multiplied Bread
A man from Baal-shalishah came to the man of God with his sack full of twenty loaves of barley bread from the first bread of the harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
But Elisha’s attendant asked, “What? Am I to set this before a hundred men?”
“Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said, “for this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat, and they will have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and as the Lord had promised, they ate and had some left over.
2 Kings Chapter 5
Aram Sends Naaman to Israel
Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a man important to his master and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a valiant warrior, but he had a skin disease.
Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.”
So Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. Therefore, the king of Aram said, “Go, and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.”
So he went and took with him 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read:
When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.
When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and asked, “Am I God, killing and giving life, that this man expects me to cure a man of his skin disease? Recognize that he is only picking a fight with me.”
Elisha Instructs Naaman
When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king: “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.
Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your skin will be restored and you will be clean.”
But Naaman got angry and left, saying, “I was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the skin disease. Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and left in a rage.
Naaman’s Disease Healed
But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he only tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.
Then Naaman and his whole company went back to the man of God, stood before him, and declared, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel. Therefore, please accept a gift from your servant.”
But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, in whose presence I stand, I will not accept it.” Naaman urged him to accept it, but he refused.
Naaman responded, “If not, please let your servant be given as much soil as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other god but the Lord. However, in a particular matter may the Lord pardon your servant: When my master, the king of Aram, goes into the temple of Rimmon to bow in worship while he is leaning on my arm, and I have to bow in the temple of Rimmon — when I bow in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.”
So he said to him, “Go in peace.”
Gehazi’s Greed Punished
After Naaman had traveled a short distance from Elisha, Gehazi, the attendant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “My master has let this Aramean Naaman off lightly by not accepting from him what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?”
Gehazi said, “It’s all right. My master has sent me to say, ‘I have just now discovered that two young men from the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them seventy-five pounds of silver and two sets of clothing.’”
But Naaman insisted, “Please, accept one hundred fifty pounds.” He urged Gehazi and then packed one hundred fifty pounds of silver in two bags with two sets of clothing. Naaman gave them to two of his attendants who carried them ahead of Gehazi. When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the gifts from them and deposited them in the house. Then he dismissed the men, and they left.
Gehazi came and stood by his master. “Where did you go, Gehazi?” Elisha asked him.
He replied, “Your servant didn’t go anywhere.”
“And my heart didn’t go when the man got down from his chariot to meet you,” Elisha said. “Is this a time to accept silver and clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, flocks and herds, and male and female slaves? Therefore, Naaman’s skin disease will cling to you and your descendants forever.” So Gehazi went out from his presence diseased, resembling snow.
I just love these stories about Elisha. Don’t you just love imagining the joy and wonder filling the house of the widow and her sons? On the one hand, this little family must have had deep conviction that, as a prophet of the Living God, they were to obey and trust what Elisha said would come true. On the other hand, the instructions probably raised a few eyebrows. But the wonder of having a bottomless supply of oil, the joy that her sons would not be sold as slaves. The gratitude to Elisha and to God. Amazement, pure amazement.
But I think our takeaway should be that the flow of blessing was proportionate to the faith that gathered the containers. Do you think they regretted not asking one more neighbor for containers? Likewise, God’s provision isn’t always glitzy, but it is sure, as we learned in the story of Naaman. There are so many lessons to be learned in these two chapters, even that, like Gehazi, we must be constantly on guard against our own evil desires. I would love to know your thoughts at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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