2 Kings 4 – God’s Power in Elisha’s Deeds

English: Elisha raising the Shunammites Son

English: Elisha raising the Shunammites Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The creditors are about to take the children of a widow of a prophet as slaves for debt she cannot pay.  Elisha becomes her redeemer, as she has no kin to do so for her.  In verses 2-7, the oil God provides in abundance from the little that she has is enough to pay her debts and provide for her and her sons.

The kindness of the Shunnamite woman in providing food and generous shelter for Elisha whenever he came her way (verses 8-10) prompts him to desire to do something for her.  She was wealthy, and needed no help in the same regard as the widow.  When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, tells him that the woman has no son and that her husband is old, he tells the disbelieving woman that she will embrace a son the next year; and it was so.  Some years passed, as the child had grown, was struck ill, then died (verse 18-20).  So the woman went to Mount Carmel to appeal to Elisha, “the man of God” she had befriended.  Elisha sends Gehazi with his staff, and instructions to raise the boy; but the woman stayed with him, sure that no less than Elisha’s own intervention would do.  That did turn out to be the case; and Elisha’s healing of the boy reminds us of the similar deed of Elijah for the widow in 1 Kings 17:17-22.

Then in verses 38-44, Elisha purifies a pot of stew that the famine-stricken prophets had perceived to have been poisoned by the wild gourds one of them had added; and then provides in abundance for a hundred more men, using meager resources (this latter, on a smaller scale, being similar to Jesus feeding the multitude in Matthew 14:13-21). This chapter is intended to once again demonstrate God’s awesome power; and that His will is going to be done.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 18 – The Prophets of Baal Defeated

Verse one says it has been three years since it rained (James confirms in James 5:17) since Elijah proclaimed that the Lord would shut the heavens up; and the Lord sent word to Elijah to go to Ahab and he would make it rain.  Obadiah was the head of the house of Ahab and Jezebel, but he feared the Lord, and had hidden a hundred prophets from them.  But he is afraid that Elijah is setting a trap for him.  Elijah reassures him, and Obadiah tells Ahab of Elijah’s requested meeting.  Elijah lets him know in verse 18 that the crisis they are in is the result of his abandonment of the Lord to worship Baal.  He then challenges Ahab to meet him at Carmel with their Baal prophets.

University of Haifa atop Mount Carmel in 1996

University of Haifa atop Mount Carmel in 1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Mount Carmel Elijah challenges the people and the prophets of Baal, as he points out that it only he against the 450 of them.  The challenge is for each side to be given a bull and some wood but they may use no fire themselves.  Instead, Elijah will call upon the Lord, and they will call upon Baal; and the God who answers by fire is God.  The people agree that this is a worthy challenge, and they begin.  Notice Elijah’s rebuke of the people “limping” between serving God and Baal (trying to hedge their bets?) in verse 21.  Then in verse 26, the Baal prophets were described as “limping” their altar, as they call out to a god that does not exist.  Elijah’s mockery and taunting of the false prophets efforts in verses 26-27 is amusing.

Elijah builds an altar with twelve stones (for the twelve tribes of Israel that God would rather be still united), and digs a trench around it.  Then he has the people pour water from 4 jars onto the sacrifice three times, filling the trench with water.  Then, Elijah called upon God and fire consumed the bull, the wood, the stones, and the water (verse 38).  The people fell on their faces as they realized the true God was the Lord, and Elijah had them seize all the prophets. The fact that Elijah slaughtered the prophets of Baal in verse 40 was necessary, and is best explained by the law in Deuteronomy 13:13-15.

(Side note: There are good photos of the area around Mount Carmel in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.3

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