Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

2 Kings 4

Introduction

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

Verse 1

Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
A. M. 3110. B.C. 894. sons
38; 2:3,5; 1 Kings 20:35
thy servant did fear
Genesis 22:12; 1 Kings 18:3; Nehemiah 7:2; Psalms 103:11,17; 112:1,2; 115:13; 147:11; Ecclesiastes 8:12; 12:13; Malachi 3:16; 4:2; Acts 13:26; Revelation 15:4; 19:5
the creditor
Leviticus 25:39,40,48; Nehemiah 5:2-5; 10:31; Jeremiah 34:14; Matthew 18:25,30,35; James 2:13
Reciprocal: Exodus 21:2 - an Hebrew;  Exodus 22:25 - GeneralRuth 1:3 - and she was;  2 Kings 2:15 - bowed;  2 Kings 6:1 - the sons;  2 Kings 9:1 - the children;  Nehemiah 5:5 - we;  Job 24:9 - GeneralPsalm 37:21 - borroweth;  Proverbs 18:23 - poor;  Proverbs 22:7 - the borrower;  Proverbs 22:27 - GeneralIsaiah 50:1 - or which;  Hosea 9:8 - with;  Zechariah 11:5 - sell;  Matthew 14:20 - and they took

Verse 2

And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
What shall I
2:9; 6:26,27; Matthew 15:34; John 6:5-7; Acts 3:6; 2 Corinthians 6:10
save a pot of oil
1 Kings 17:12; James 2:5
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 17:14 - The barrel of meal;  Proverbs 18:23 - poor;  Mark 8:8 - they took;  John 2:7 - Fill;  John 6:13 - and filled

Verse 3

Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
empty vessels
3:16; John 2:7
borrow not a few
Heb. scant not.
13:18,19; Psalms 81:10; John 16:24
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 8:4 - all the great;  Luke 5:6 - they enclosed

Verse 4

And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
thou shalt shut
32,33; 1 Kings 17:19,20; Isaiah 26:20; Matthew 6:6; Mark 5:40; Acts 9:40
and shalt pour
Mark 6:37-44; 8:5-9; John 2:7-9; 6:11; Ephesians 3:20
Reciprocal: Genesis 7:16 - the;  Mark 7:33 - he took;  Luke 8:51 - he suffered

Verse 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.
she went
5:11; 1 Kings 17:15,16; Luke 1:45; Hebrews 11:7,8
Reciprocal: Genesis 7:16 - the

Verse 6

And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
when the vessels
43,44; Matthew 9:29; 13:58; 14:20; 15:37; Luke 6:19; 2 Chronicles 6:12,13
And the oil
13:19; Joshua 5:12; 1 Kings 17:14; John 6:12
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 25:26 - as the Lord liveth;  2 Kings 13:18 - he smote thrice

Verse 7

Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
pay
Psalms 37:21; Romans 12:17; Philippians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:9,10; 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
debt
or, creditor.
Reciprocal: Exodus 22:25 - General2 Kings 6:5 - for it was borrowed;  2 Kings 6:7 - Take it up;  2 Peter 1:21 - in old time

Verse 8

And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.
it fell on
Heb. there was.
11,18
Shunem
This city was situated in the tribe of Issachar, five miles south from mount Tabor, according to Eusebius; and is probably the place which he calls Sanim, in Acrabatene, in the neighbourhood of Samaria or Sebaste.
12; Joshua 19:18; 1 Samuel 28:4; 1 Kings 1:3
a great woman
2 Samuel 19:32; Job 1:3; 32:9; Luke 1:15
she constrained him
Heb. she laid hold on him.
Genesis 19:3; Judges 19:20; Proverbs 7:21; Luke 14:23; 24:29; Acts 16:15
Reciprocal: Genesis 38:1 - turned;  1 Samuel 28:23 - compelled him;  2 Kings 5:1 - a great;  Psalm 107:39 - they are;  Matthew 10:41 - that receiveth a prophet;  Matthew 25:17 - he also;  Hebrews 13:2 - not

Verse 9

And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.
she said
Proverbs 31:10,11; 1 Peter 3:1
this is
Matthew 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Titus 1:8; 2 Peter 1:21; 3:2
man of God
Deuteronomy 33:1; 1 Kings 13:1; 17:18,24; 1 Timothy 6:11
Reciprocal: Joshua 14:6 - the man;  Judges 13:6 - A man;  2 Kings 4:40 - O thou

Verse 10

Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
Let us
Isaiah 32:8; Matthew 10:41,42; 25:40; Mark 9:41; Luke 8:3; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 10:24; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9,10
a little chamber
An âleeyah, or oleäh, as the Arabs call it; a small back house annexed to the principal dwelling, in which the prophet could live in a great privacy as in his own house, and to which he could retire at pleasure, without breaking in upon the private affairs of the family, or being in his turn interrupted by them in his devotions. See the notes on Jud 3:20.
1 Kings 17:19
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 4:21 - the bed;  Proverbs 31:11 - General

Verse 12

And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
Gehazi
29-31; 5:20-27; 8:4,5
servant
3:11; 1 Kings 18:43; 19:3; Acts 13:5
Reciprocal: Joshua 19:18 - Shunem;  2 Kings 4:8 - Shunem;  2 Kings 4:36 - Call this Shunammite;  2 Kings 4:43 - his servitor

Verse 13

And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
thou hast
Matthew 10:40-42; Luke 9:3-5; Romans 16:2,6; Philippians 4:18,19; 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13; 2 Timothy 1:16-18; Hebrews 6:10
to the king
3:15-18; 8:3-6; Genesis 14:24; 2 Samuel 19:32-38
to the captain
9:5; 2 Samuel 19:13; 1 Kings 2:32
I dwell
1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5
among mine
8:1; Ruth 1:1-4; Psalms 37:3
Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 19:2 - I will show

Verse 14

And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.
she hath no child
Genesis 15:2,3; 17:17; 18:10-14; 25:21; 30:1; Judges 13:2; 1 Samuel 1:2,8; Luke 1:7

Verse 16

And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
About this
Genesis 17:21; 18:10,14
season
Heb. set time. thou shalt.
Genesis 17:16,17; Luke 1:13,30,31
my lord
2:19
do not lie
28; 5:10,11; Genesis 18:12-15; 1 Kings 17:18; 18:9; Psalms 116:11; Luke 1:18-20
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:19 - Sarah;  Genesis 21:2 - conceived;  Joshua 14:6 - the man;  Judges 13:3 - but thou;  Judges 13:6 - A man;  Judges 20:38 - sign;  1 Kings 12:22 - General2 Kings 8:4 - all the great;  2 Kings 13:19 - the man of God;  Ecclesiastes 3:2 - time to be born;  Matthew 1:21 - she;  Matthew 10:41 - that receiveth a prophet;  Luke 7:12 - the only

Verse 17

And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
Genesis 21:1; 1 Samuel 1:19,20; Psalms 113:9; Luke 1:24,25,36; Hebrews 11:11
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:19 - Sarah;  Genesis 18:10 - according;  Genesis 21:2 - conceived;  2 Kings 8:4 - all the great;  Matthew 1:21 - she;  Matthew 10:41 - that receiveth a prophet;  Luke 1:13 - thy prayer

Verse 18

And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.
to the reapers
Ruth 2:4
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 17:17 - the son of the woman;  2 Kings 4:8 - it fell on;  2 Kings 8:1 - whose son

Verse 19

And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.
My head
From this peculiar exclamation, and the season of the year, it is probable he was affected by the coup de soleil, or stroke of the sun, which is by no means uncommon in hot climates, and often proves fatal.
Job 14:1,2; Jeremiah 4:19

Verse 20

And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
his mother
Isaiah 49:15; 66:13; Luke 7:12
and then died
Genesis 22:2; 37:3,5; 1 Kings 17:17; Ezekiel 24:16-18; Luke 2:35; John 11:3,5,14

Verse 21

And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
the bed
10; 1 Kings 17:19

Verse 22

And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
I may run
24,26; John 11:3; Acts 9:38
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 12:22 - GeneralProverbs 31:11 - General2 Peter 1:21 - in old time

Verse 23

And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
new moon
Numbers 10:10; 28:11; 1 Chronicles 23:31; Isaiah 1:13-15
well
Heb. peace.
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 20:5 - the new moon;  Psalm 74:8 - all the synagogues;  Psalm 81:3 - new;  Proverbs 31:11 - GeneralIsaiah 66:23 - that from;  Amos 8:5 - When;  Colossians 2:16 - the new

Verse 24

Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
Then she
Exodus 4:20; 1 Samuel 25:20; 1 Kings 13:13,23
an ass
These animals were not anciently, as now, used only by the lower classes, but were in general use among the noble and chief personages of the East, and it was not unusual for even the husband to walk by the side of his wife while thus riding; the driver, as was the custom, following. The Shunammite, when she went to the prophet, did not desire so much attendance; but only requested her husband to send her an ass and its driver.
Drive
1 Samuel 25:19
slack not thy riding for me
Heb. restrain not for me to ride.
Reciprocal: Joshua 10:6 - Slack;  2 Kings 4:22 - I may run;  Luke 10:4 - and

Verse 25

So she went and came unto 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 Shunammite:
to mount
2:25; 1 Kings 18:19,42; Isaiah 35:2
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 1:3 - Shunammite;  1 Kings 12:22 - General

Verse 26

Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
Run now
Zechariah 2:4
Is it well with thee
Genesis 29:6; 37:14; 1 Samuel 17:18; Matthew 10:12,13; Acts 15:36
It is well
23; Leviticus 10:3; 1 Samuel 3:18; Job 1:21,22; Psalms 39:9
Reciprocal: Judges 18:15 - saluted him;  2 Kings 4:22 - I may run;  2 Kings 5:21 - Is all well;  2 Kings 9:11 - Is all well

Verse 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, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
him by the feet
Heb. by his feet.
Matthew 28:9; Luke 7:38
thrust
Matthew 15:23; 20:31; Mark 10:13; John 4:27; 12:4-6
Let her alone
Mark 14:6; John 12:7
vexed
Heb. bitter.
1 Samuel 1:10; Job 10:1; Proverbs 14:10; 18:14
hid it from me
6:12; Genesis 18:17; 2 Samuel 7:3; Amos 3:7; John 15:15
Reciprocal: Joshua 1:1 - Moses' minister;  1 Samuel 30:6 - grieved;  1 Kings 1:27 - and thou;  1 Kings 12:22 - General1 Kings 14:5 - the Lord;  2 Kings 4:37 - fell at his feet;  2 Kings 6:9 - thither the Syrians;  Esther 8:3 - fell;  Job 3:20 - the bitter;  Job 7:11 - the anguish;  Job 27:2 - vexed my soul;  Psalm 109:22 - and my;  Proverbs 31:6 - of heavy hearts;  Isaiah 38:15 - in the;  Hebrews 11:35 - Women

Verse 28

Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
Did I desire
Genesis 30:1
Do not
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 8:12 - my Lord;  Job 7:11 - the anguish;  Acts 9:38 - desiring

Verse 29

Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
Gird up thy loins
9:1; 1 Kings 18:46; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Peter 1:13
take my
2:14; Exodus 4:17
salute him not
Luke 10:4
lay my staff
2:8,14; Exodus 7:19,20; 14:16; Joshua 6:4,5; Acts 3:16; 19:12
Reciprocal: Genesis 47:7 - And Jacob;  2 Kings 4:12 - Gehazi;  Proverbs 31:17 - girdeth;  Jeremiah 1:17 - gird up;  Matthew 17:16 - and they;  Mark 9:18 - and they;  Mark 16:8 - neither;  John 20:17 - Touch

Verse 30

And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
As the Lord
2:2,4
I will not
Exodus 33:12-16; Ruth 1:16-18
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 1:26 - as thy soul;  2 Samuel 15:21 - As the Lord;  1 Kings 1:29 - As the

Verse 31

And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
neither voice
1 Samuel 14:37; 28:6; Ezekiel 14:3; Matthew 17:16-21; Mark 9:19-29; Acts 19:13-17
hearing
Heb. attention.
1 Kings 18:26,29
not awaked
Job 14:12; Daniel 12:2; Mark 5:39; John 11:11,43,44; Ephesians 5:14
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 5:20 - Gehazi;  2 Kings 8:1 - whose son;  Luke 9:40 - and they

Verse 32

And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
the child
1 Kings 17:17; Luke 8:52,53; John 11:17
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 17:19 - into a loft;  2 Kings 4:4 - thou shalt shut;  Matthew 9:25 - the people;  Matthew 10:41 - that receiveth a prophet;  Luke 7:15 - GeneralJohn 5:21 - as;  Acts 9:40 - and prayed

Verse 33

He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.
shut the door
4; Matthew 6:6
prayed
5:11; 6:17,18,20; 1 Kings 17:20,21; 18:26,27; John 11:41,42; Acts 9:40; James 5:13-18
Reciprocal: Hosea 9:8 - with;  Mark 5:40 - when;  Mark 7:33 - he took;  Mark 9:29 - by prayer;  John 11:43 - Lazarus;  James 5:14 - pray;  James 5:16 - The effectual

Verse 34

And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
1 Kings 17:21; Acts 20:10
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 13:16 - Elisha;  Mark 7:33 - he took;  Mark 9:29 - by prayer;  Luke 8:51 - he suffered

Verse 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.
to and fro
Heb. once hither and once thither. and the child opened.
8:1,5; 13:21; 1 Kings 17:22; Luke 7:14,15; 8:55; John 11:43,44; Acts 9:40
Reciprocal: Acts 20:10 - and fell

Verse 36

And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.
Call this Shunammite
Take up
1 Kings 17:23; Luke 7:15; Hebrews 11:35
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 5:20 - Gehazi;  2 Kings 6:7 - Take it up;  Luke 9:42 - and delivered

Verse 37

Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
fell at his feet
27; 2:15; 1 Kings 17:24
Reciprocal: Genesis 48:12 - he bowed himself;  1 Samuel 25:24 - fell;  1 Kings 17:23 - thy son liveth

Verse 38

And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Elisha
2:1; 1 Samuel 7:16,17; Acts 10:38; 15:36
a dearth
8:1; Leviticus 26:26; Deuteronomy 28:22-24,38-40; 2 Samuel 21:1; Jeremiah 14:1-6; Ezekiel 14:13; Luke 4:25
the sons
2:3; 1 Samuel 19:20
were sitting
Proverbs 8:34; Luke 2:46; 8:35,38; 10:39; Acts 22:3
Set on the great pot
Mark 6:37; 8:2-6; Luke 9:13; John 21:5,9
Reciprocal: Genesis 12:10 - was a;  1 Samuel 10:5 - a company;  1 Kings 20:35 - of the sons;  2 Kings 4:1 - sons;  2 Kings 4:42 - bread;  2 Kings 6:1 - the place;  Job 30:4 - for their meat;  Amos 4:6 - and want;  Amos 7:14 - neither

Verse 39

And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
a wild vine
Isaiah 5:4; Jeremiah 2:21; Matthew 15:13; Hebrews 12:15
wild gourds
The word pakküôth, from peka, in Chaldee, to burst, and in Syriac, to crack, thunder, is generally supposed to be the fruits of the coloquintida, or colocynth; whose leaves are large, placed alternately, very much like those of the vine, whence it might be called a wild vine: the flowers are white, and the fruit of the gourd kind, of the size of a large apple, and when ripe, of a yellow colour, and a pleasant and inviting appearance. It ranks among vegetable poisons, as all intense bitters do; but, judiciously employed, it is of considerable use in medicine. It is said that the fruit, when ripe, is so full of wind that it bursts, and throws its liquor and seeds to a great distance: and if touched, before it breaks of itself, it flies open with an explosion, and discharges its foetid contents in the face of him who touched it.
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 6:18 - knops;  2 Chronicles 4:3 - oxen;  Job 30:4 - for their meat;  Mark 16:18 - if

Verse 40

So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
O thou
9; 1:9,11,13; Deuteronomy 33:1; 1 Kings 17:18
death
Exodus 10:17; 15:23; Mark 16:18
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 13:19 - the man of God

Verse 41

But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
he cast
2:21; 5:10; 6:6; Exodus 15:25; John 9:6; 1 Corinthians 1:25
there
Acts 28:5
harm
Heb. evil thing.
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 20:7 - Take a lump;  Hosea 9:8 - with

Verse 42

And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
Baal-shalisha
1 Samuel 9:4,7
bread
38; Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 12:6; 26:2-10; 1 Samuel 9:7; 2 Chronicles 11:13,14; Proverbs 3:9,10; 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6
of barley
7:1,16-18; Deuteronomy 8:8; 32:14; John 6:9,13
the husk thereof
or, his scrip, or garment. Note: Parched corn, or corn to be parched; full ears before they are ripe, parched on the fire: a very frequent food in the East. The loaves were probably extremely small, as their loaves of bread still are in eastern countries. But small as this may appear, it would be a considerable present in the time of famine; though very inadequate to the number of persons. Baal-shalisha, of which the person who made this seasonable present was an inhabitant, was situated, according to Eusebius and Jerome, fifteen miles north of Diospolis, or Lydda.
Reciprocal: Exodus 22:29 - shalt not delay;  Leviticus 2:14 - corn beaten;  Joshua 14:6 - the man;  1 Kings 14:3 - And take;  1 Kings 17:14 - The barrel of meal;  Daniel 1:15 - their;  Matthew 4:4 - but;  Matthew 14:16 - they;  Matthew 15:33 - Whence;  Mark 6:37 - give;  Mark 6:42 - GeneralMark 8:4 - From;  Mark 8:8 - they took;  Luke 9:13 - Give

Verse 43

And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
his servitor
What
Matthew 14:16,17; 15:33,34; Mark 6:37-39; 8:4; Luke 9:13; John 6:9
They shall eat
Matthew 14:20; 15:37; 16:8-10; Mark 6:42,43; 8:20; Luke 9:17; John 6:11-13
Reciprocal: Ruth 2:14 - she did;  2 Kings 4:6 - when the vessels;  2 Chronicles 31:10 - we have had;  Hosea 9:8 - with;  John 6:7 - Two

Verse 44

So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.
Reciprocal: Ruth 2:14 - she did;  2 Kings 4:6 - when the vessels;  2 Chronicles 31:10 - we have had;  Matthew 14:20 - were;  Luke 9:17 - and there

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsk/2-kings-4.html.