Melachim Bais 4

1 Now there cried out a certain isha of the nashim of the Bnei HaNevi’im unto Elishah, saying, Thy eved my ish is dead; and thou knowest that thy eved did fear Hashem: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two yeladim to be avadim (slaves).
2 And Elishah said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the bais? And she said, Thine shifchah hath not anything in the bais, except a flask of shemen.
3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee kelim from all around of all thy shchenim, even empty kelim; borrow not a few.
4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the delet behind thee and behind thy banim, shalt pour out into all those kelim, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
5 So she went from him, and shut the delet behind her and behind her banim, who were bringing to her; and she poured.
6 And it came to pass, when the kelim were full, that she said unto her ben, Bring me another keli. And he said unto her, There is not any more keli. And the shemen stopped.
7 Then she came and told the Ish HaElohim. And he said, Go, sell the shemen, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy banim on the rest.
8 And then one day Elishah passed over to Shunem, where was an isha gedolah; and she constrained him to eat lechem. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in there to eat lechem.
9 And she said unto her ish, Hinei now, I perceive that this is an Ish Elohim Kadosh, which passeth by us tamid.
10 Please, let us make a small aliyyat kir (walled upper room); and let us set for him there a mittah (bed), and a shulchan (table), and a kisse (chair), and a menorah: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in there.
11 And then one day he came there, and he turned in the aliyyah (upper room), and lay there.
12 And he said to Geichazi his na’ar, Call this Shunamit. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
13 And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Hinei, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? Wouldest thou be spoken for to HaMelech, or to the Sar HaTzava? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
14 And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Geichazi answered, Verily she hath no ben, and her ish is zaken.
15 And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the petach (doorway).
16 And he said, About this mo’ed, according to the et chayyah (Gen. 18:10), thou choveket ben (shalt embrace a son). And she said, No, adoni, thou Ish HaElohim, do not give false hope unto thine shifchah.
17 And the isha conceived, and bore ben at that mo’ed that Elishah had said unto her, according to the et chayyah.
18 The yeled grew, and it happened one day, that he went out to Aviv to the kotzerim (harvesters, reapers).
19 And he said unto Aviv, My rosh, my rosh. And he said to the na’ar, Carry him to immo.
20 And when he had lifted him, and brought him to immo, he sat on her birkayim (knees) till tzohorayim, and then died.
21 And she went up, and laid him on the mittat Ish HaElohim, and shut [the door] behind her and went out.
22 And she called unto her ish, and said, Send me now, please, one of the ne’arim, and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the Ish HaElohim, and return.
23 And he said, Madu’a (why) wilt thou go to him today? It is neither Rosh Chodesh, nor Shabbos. And she said, Shalom.
24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her na’ar, lead on, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
25 So she went and came unto the Ish HaElohim at Mt Carmel. And it came to pass, when the Ish HaElohim saw her afar off, that he said to Geichazi his na’ar, Hinei, over there is that Shunamit:
26 Run now, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it shalom with thee? Is it shalom with thy ish? Is it shalom with the yeled? And she answered, Shalom:
27 And when she came to the Ish HaElohim at the har, she took hold of him by the raglayim: but Geichazi came near to thrust her away. And the Ish HaElohim said, Let her alone; for her nefesh is marah within her: and Hashem hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
28 Then she said, Did I make request of adoni for a ben? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?
29 Then he said to Geichazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my mishe’net (staff) in thine yad, and run: if thou meet any ish, salute him not; and if any ish salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my mishe’net (staff) upon the face of the na’ar.
30 And the em hana’ar said, As Hashem liveth, and as thy nefesh liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
31 And Geichazi passed on ahead of them, and laid the mishe’net (staff) upon the face of the na’ar; but there was neither kol (voice), nor keshet (attention). So he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, The na’ar is not awakened.
32 And when Elishah was come into the bais, hinei, the na’ar was dead, and lying upon his mittah.
33 So he went in, and shut the delet on the two of them, and davened unto Hashem.
34 And he went up, and lay upon the yeled, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his palms upon his palms: and stretched himself upon him; and the basar of the yeled grew warm.
35 Then he turned away, and paced in the bais to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him; and the na’ar sneezed seven times, and the na’ar opened his eyes.
36 And he summoned Geichazi, and said, Call this Shunamit. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy ben.
37 Then she went in, and fell at his raglayim, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her ben, and went out.
38 And Elishah returned to Gilgal; and there was a ra’av (famine) in the land; and the Bnei HaNevi’im were sitting before him; and he said unto his na’ar, Put on the siyr hagedolah, and cook stew for the Bnei HaNevi’im.
39 And one went out into the sadeh to gather orot (herbs), and found a gefen sadeh, and gathered thereof pakku’ot sadeh (wild gourds), the fold of his beged he filled, and came and cut them up into the siyr of stew; though no one knew what they were.
40 So they poured out for the anashim to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the stew, that they cried out, and said, O thou Ish HaElohim, there is mavet in the siyr. And they could not eat thereof.
41 But he said, Then bring kemakh (meal, flour). And he cast it into the siyr; and he said, Serve to HaAm, that they may eat. And there was no rah in the siyr.
42 And there came an ish from Ba’al Shalishah, and brought the Ish HaElohim lechem bikkurim, twenty loaves of se’orim (barley), and [roasted] ears of corn in his sack. And he [Elishah] said, Give unto HaAm, that they may eat.
43 And the one serving him said, What, should I set this before a hundred ish? He said again, Give HaAm, that they may eat; for thus saith Hashem, They shall eat, and there shall be shirayim.
44 So he set it before them, and they did eat, and there was shirayim thereof, according to the Devar Hashem.

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Melachim Bais 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Elisha multiplies the widow's oil. (1-7) The Shunammite obtains a son. (8-17) The Shunammite's son restored to life. (18-37) The miracle of healing the pottage, and of feeding the sons of the prophets. (38-44)

Verses 1-7 Elisha's miracles were acts of real charity: Christ's were so; not only great wonders, but great favours to those for whom they were wrought. God magnifies his goodness with his power. Elisha readily received a poor widow's complaint. Those that leave their families under a load of debt, know not what trouble they cause. It is the duty of all who profess to follow the Lord, while they trust to God for daily bread, not to tempt him by carelessness or extravagance, nor to contract debts; for nothing tends more to bring reproach upon the gospel, or distresses their families more when they are gone. Elisha put the widow in a way to pay her debt, and to maintain herself and her family. This was done by miracle, but so as to show what is the best method to assist those who are in distress, which is, to help them to improve by their own industry what little they have. The oil, sent by miracle, continued flowing as long as she had empty vessels to receive it. We are never straitened in God, or in the riches of his grace; all our straitness is in ourselves. It is our faith that fails, not his promise. He gives more than we ask: were there more vessels, there is enough in God to fill them; enough for all, enough for each; and the Redeemer's all-sufficiency will only be stayed from the supplying the wants of sinners and saving their souls, when no more apply to him for salvation. The widow must pay her debt with the money she received for her oil. Though her creditors were too hard with her, yet they must be paid, even before she made any provision for her children. It is one of the main laws of the Christian religion, that we pay every just debt, and give every one his own, though we leave ever so little for ourselves; and this, not of constraint, but for conscience' sake. Those who bear an honest mind, cannot with pleasure eat their daily bread, unless it be their own bread. She and her children must live upon the rest; that is, upon the money received for the oil, with which they must put themselves into a way to get an honest livelihood. We cannot now expect miracles, yet we may expect mercies, if we wait on God, and seek to him. Let widows in particular depend upon him. He that has all hearts in his hand, can, without a miracle, send as effectual a supply.

Verses 8-17 Elisha was well thought of by the king of Israel for his late services; a good man can take as much pleasure in serving others, as in raising himself. But the Shunammite needed not any good offices of this kind. It is a happiness to dwell among our own people, that love and respect us, and to whom we are able to do good. It would be well with many, if they did but know when they are really well off. The Lord sees the secret wish which is suppressed in obedience to his will, and he will hear the prayers of his servants in behalf of their benefactors, by sending unasked-for and unexpected mercies; nor must the professions of men of God be supposed to be delusive like those of men of the world.

Verses 18-37 Here is the sudden death of the child. All the mother's tenderness cannot keep alive a child of promise, a child of prayer, one given in love. But how admirably does the prudent, pious mother, guard her lips under this sudden affliction! Not one peevish word escapes from her. Such confidence had she of God's goodness, that she was ready to believe that he would restore what he had now taken away. O woman, great is thy faith! He that wrought it, would not disappoint it. The sorrowful mother begged leave of her husband to go to the prophet at once. She had not thought it enough to have Elisha's help sometimes in her own family, but, though a woman of rank, attended on public worship. It well becomes the men of God, to inquire about the welfare of their friends and their families. The answer was, It is well. All well, and yet the child dead in the house! Yes! All is well that God does; all is well with them that are gone, if they are gone to heaven; and all well with us that stay behind, if, by the affliction, we are furthered in our way thither. When any creature-comfort is taken from us, it is well if we can say, through grace, that we did not set our hearts too much upon it; for if we did, we have reason to fear it was given in anger, and taken away in wrath. Elisha cried unto God in faith; and the beloved son was restored alive to his mother. Those who would convey spiritual life to dead souls, must feel deeply for their case, and labour fervently in prayer for them. Though the minister cannot give Divine life to his fellow-sinners, he must use every means, with as much earnestness as if he could do so.

Verses 38-44 There was a famine of bread, but not of hearing the word of God, for Elisha had the sons of the prophets sitting before him, to hear his wisdom. Elisha made hurtful food to become safe and wholesome. If a mess of pottage be all our dinner, remember that this great prophet had no better for himself and his guests. The table often becomes a snare, and that which should be for our welfare, proves a trap: this is a good reason why we should not feed ourselves without fear. When we are receiving the supports and comforts of life, we must keep up an expectation of death, and a fear of sin. We must acknowledge God's goodness in making our food wholesome and nourishing; I am the Lord that healeth thee. Elisha also made a little food go a great way. Having freely received, he freely gave. God has promised his church, that he will abundantly bless her provision, and satisfy her poor with bread, ( Psalms 132:15 ) ; whom he feeds, he fills; and what he blesses, comes to much. Christ's feeding his hearers was a miracle far beyond this, but both teach us that those who wait upon God in the way of duty, may hope to be supplied by Divine Providence.

Chapter Summary


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.

Melachim Bais 4 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.