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Bible Commentaries

Pett's Commentary on the Bible

2 Kings 5

Verses 1-27

SECTION 8. The Wonder-working Ministry Of Elisha (2 Kings 4:1 to 2 Kings 8:15 )

It will be noted that from this point on, until 2 Kings 8:15, no king of Israel is mentioned by name, even though, for example, Naaman’s name is given in chapter 5, and Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, is mentioned in 2 Kings 6:24; 2 Kings 8:7. (The reign of Jehoram then recommences in 2 Kings 8:16). It is clear that the prophetic author was concerned at this point that our attention should be taken away from the kings to the wonder-working power of YHWH through His prophet Elisha. The kings (and the chronology) were not considered important. It was the events, and the advancement of God’s kingdom through Elisha that were seen as important in contrast with the failure of the kings.

Overall Analysis.

a A prophet’s widow comes to Elisha in her destitution and Elisha multiplies oil for her (2 Kings 4:1-12.4.7).

b Elisha raises to life and restores to a Shunammite her only son (2 Kings 4:8-12.4.37).

c Elisha restores a stew for his followers and feeds a hundred men on twenty small cakes of bread (2 Kings 4:38-12.4.44).

d The skin of the skin-diseased Naaman of Aram, who comes seeking Elisha in peace, is made pure as a babe’s (2 Kings 5:1-12.5.27).

e The borrowed axe-head is made to float, a symbol of the need for Israel to have its sharp edge restored by Elisha (2 Kings 6:1-12.6.7).

d The Aramaeans, who came seeking Elisha in hostility, are blinded (2 Kings 6:8-12.6.23).

c Elisha restores food to the people at the siege of Samaria, and feeds a large number on Aramaean supplies (2 Kings 6:24 to 2 Kings 7:20).

b The king restores to the Shunammite her land (2 Kings 8:1-12.8.6).

a Benhadad of Aram sends to Elisha in his illness and is assured that he will not die of his illness, but Elisha declares that nevertheless he will die, as it turns out, through assassination by Hazael (2 Kings 8:7-12.8.15).

Note that in ‘a’ Elisha is approached by a prophet’s widow in her need and is provided for, and in the parallel Elisha is approached on behalf of the king of Aram in his need and is reassured, although then being assassinated. Once more we have the contrast between blessing and judgment. In ‘b’ the Shunammite receives her son back to life, and in the parallel she receives her land back. In ‘c’ the stew is restored as edible in the midst of famine and the bread is multiplied to feed the sons of the prophets, and in the parallel food is restored to the besieged in a time of famine, and is multiplied to them. In ‘d’ Naaman an Aramaean comes in peace and is restored to health, and in the parallel Aramaeans come in hostility and are blinded. Centrally in ‘e’ the borrowed axe-head, symbolic of Israel’s cutting edge, is restored to its possessor.

Verses 1-27

SECTION 8. The Wonder-working Ministry Of Elisha (2 Kings 4:1 to 2 Kings 8:15 )

It will be noted that from this point on, until 2 Kings 8:15, no king of Israel is mentioned by name, even though, for example, Naaman’s name is given in chapter 5, and Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, is mentioned in 2 Kings 6:24; 2 Kings 8:7. (The reign of Jehoram then recommences in 2 Kings 8:16). It is clear that the prophetic author was concerned at this point that our attention should be taken away from the kings to the wonder-working power of YHWH through His prophet Elisha. The kings (and the chronology) were not considered important. It was the events, and the advancement of God’s kingdom through Elisha that were seen as important in contrast with the failure of the kings.

Overall Analysis.

a A prophet’s widow comes to Elisha in her destitution and Elisha multiplies oil for her (2 Kings 4:1-12.4.7).

b Elisha raises to life and restores to a Shunammite her only son (2 Kings 4:8-12.4.37).

c Elisha restores a stew for his followers and feeds a hundred men on twenty small cakes of bread (2 Kings 4:38-12.4.44).

d The skin of the skin-diseased Naaman of Aram, who comes seeking Elisha in peace, is made pure as a babe’s (2 Kings 5:1-12.5.27).

e The borrowed axe-head is made to float, a symbol of the need for Israel to have its sharp edge restored by Elisha (2 Kings 6:1-12.6.7).

d The Aramaeans, who came seeking Elisha in hostility, are blinded (2 Kings 6:8-12.6.23).

c Elisha restores food to the people at the siege of Samaria, and feeds a large number on Aramaean supplies (2 Kings 6:24 to 2 Kings 7:20).

b The king restores to the Shunammite her land (2 Kings 8:1-12.8.6).

a Benhadad of Aram sends to Elisha in his illness and is assured that he will not die of his illness, but Elisha declares that nevertheless he will die, as it turns out, through assassination by Hazael (2 Kings 8:7-12.8.15).

Note that in ‘a’ Elisha is approached by a prophet’s widow in her need and is provided for, and in the parallel Elisha is approached on behalf of the king of Aram in his need and is reassured, although then being assassinated. Once more we have the contrast between blessing and judgment. In ‘b’ the Shunammite receives her son back to life, and in the parallel she receives her land back. In ‘c’ the stew is restored as edible in the midst of famine and the bread is multiplied to feed the sons of the prophets, and in the parallel food is restored to the besieged in a time of famine, and is multiplied to them. In ‘d’ Naaman an Aramaean comes in peace and is restored to health, and in the parallel Aramaeans come in hostility and are blinded. Centrally in ‘e’ the borrowed axe-head, symbolic of Israel’s cutting edge, is restored to its possessor.

Verses 1-27

SECTION 8. The Wonder-working Ministry Of Elisha (2 Kings 4:1 to 2 Kings 8:15 )

It will be noted that from this point on, until 2 Kings 8:15, no king of Israel is mentioned by name, even though, for example, Naaman’s name is given in chapter 5, and Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, is mentioned in 2 Kings 6:24; 2 Kings 8:7. (The reign of Jehoram then recommences in 2 Kings 8:16). It is clear that the prophetic author was concerned at this point that our attention should be taken away from the kings to the wonder-working power of YHWH through His prophet Elisha. The kings (and the chronology) were not considered important. It was the events, and the advancement of God’s kingdom through Elisha that were seen as important in contrast with the failure of the kings.

Overall Analysis.

a A prophet’s widow comes to Elisha in her destitution and Elisha multiplies oil for her (2 Kings 4:1-12.4.7).

b Elisha raises to life and restores to a Shunammite her only son (2 Kings 4:8-12.4.37).

c Elisha restores a stew for his followers and feeds a hundred men on twenty small cakes of bread (2 Kings 4:38-12.4.44).

d The skin of the skin-diseased Naaman of Aram, who comes seeking Elisha in peace, is made pure as a babe’s (2 Kings 5:1-12.5.27).

e The borrowed axe-head is made to float, a symbol of the need for Israel to have its sharp edge restored by Elisha (2 Kings 6:1-12.6.7).

d The Aramaeans, who came seeking Elisha in hostility, are blinded (2 Kings 6:8-12.6.23).

c Elisha restores food to the people at the siege of Samaria, and feeds a large number on Aramaean supplies (2 Kings 6:24 to 2 Kings 7:20).

b The king restores to the Shunammite her land (2 Kings 8:1-12.8.6).

a Benhadad of Aram sends to Elisha in his illness and is assured that he will not die of his illness, but Elisha declares that nevertheless he will die, as it turns out, through assassination by Hazael (2 Kings 8:7-12.8.15).

Note that in ‘a’ Elisha is approached by a prophet’s widow in her need and is provided for, and in the parallel Elisha is approached on behalf of the king of Aram in his need and is reassured, although then being assassinated. Once more we have the contrast between blessing and judgment. In ‘b’ the Shunammite receives her son back to life, and in the parallel she receives her land back. In ‘c’ the stew is restored as edible in the midst of famine and the bread is multiplied to feed the sons of the prophets, and in the parallel food is restored to the besieged in a time of famine, and is multiplied to them. In ‘d’ Naaman an Aramaean comes in peace and is restored to health, and in the parallel Aramaeans come in hostility and are blinded. Centrally in ‘e’ the borrowed axe-head, symbolic of Israel’s cutting edge, is restored to its possessor.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Kings 5". "Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pet/2-kings-5.html. 2013.