2 Kings 4:1-7

The Widow’s Olive Oil

1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.
4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.
6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

2 Kings 4:1-7 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 4

This chapter treats of the miracles of Elisha, of his multiplying a poor widow's pot of oil for the payment of her husband's debts, 2Ki 4:1-7 of obtaining a son for a Shunamitish woman, who had been very hospitable to him, 2Ki 4:8-17, of his raising up her son to life when dead, 2Ki 4:18-37, of his curing the deadly pottage made of wild gourds, 2Ki 4:38-41, and of his feeding one hundred men with twenty barley loaves, 2Ki 4:42-44.

2 Kings 4:1-7 In-Context

1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.
4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.
6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat.
9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.
10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there.

Cross References 4

  • 1. S 1 Samuel 10:5; 2 Kings 2:3
  • 2. S Exodus 22:26; Leviticus 25:39-43; Nehemiah 5:3-5; Job 22:6; Job 24:9
  • 3. S 1 Kings 17:12
  • 4. S 1 Kings 12:22