The widow’s olive oil
1The 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.’
2Elisha 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.’
3Elisha said, ‘Go round and ask all your neighbours for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4Then 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.’
5She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6When 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.
7She 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.’
The Shunammite’s son restored to life
8One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. 9She said to her husband, ‘I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10Let’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.’
11One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call the Shunammite.’ So he called her, and she stood before him. 13Elisha said to him, ‘Tell her, “You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?” ’
She replied, ‘I have a home among my own people.’
14‘What can be done for her?’ Elisha asked.
Gehazi said, ‘She has no son, and her husband is old.’
15Then Elisha said, ‘Call her.’ So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16‘About this time next year,’ Elisha said, ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’
‘No, my lord!’ she objected. ‘Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!’
17But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
18The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19He said to his father, ‘My head! My head!’
His father told a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ 20After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.
22She called her husband and said, ‘Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.’
23‘Why go to him today?’ he asked. ‘It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.’
‘That’s all right,’ she said.
24She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, ‘Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.’ 25So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look! There’s the Shunammite! 26Run to meet her and ask her, “Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?” ’
‘Everything is all right,’ she said.
27When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.’
28‘Did I ask you for a son, my lord?’ she said. ‘Didn’t I tell you, “Don’t raise my hopes”?’
29Elisha said to Gehazi, ‘Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.’
30But the child’s mother said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So he got up and followed her.
31Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, ‘The boy has not awakened.’
32When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got onto the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
36Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, ‘Call the Shunammite.’ And he did. When she came, he said, ‘Take your son.’ 37She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.
Death in the pot
38Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, ‘Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these prophets.’
39One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild gourd plant and picked as many of its gourds as his garment could hold. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no-one knew what they were. 40The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, ‘Man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.
41Elisha said, ‘Get some flour.’ He put it into the pot and said, ‘Serve it to the people to eat.’ And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
Feeding of a hundred
42A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe corn, along with some ears of new corn. ‘Give it to the people to eat,’ Elisha said.
43‘How can I set this before a hundred men?’ his servant asked.
But Elisha answered, ‘Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: “They will eat and have some left over.” ’ 44Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.