Friday, August 27, 2010

2 Kings, Chapter 4

A woman comes up to Elisha and complains that her husband has died and her two sons are about to be put into slavery to pay off his debts. He tells her to go and get all the pots she can find. Then he repeats Elijah's trick with the olive oil, filling all the pots to the brim. Then he tells her to sell the bread and free her sons.

Next, as he's walking, a woman asks him to come inside and 'eat bread.' He starts going there a lot to 'eat bread.' He 'eats' so much 'bread' that the woman turns to her husband and says, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. 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. (v 9-10). Finally, it occurs to Elisha to thank the woman for all her 'bread.' He asks her what she wants: an introduction to the king? to the general? Nah, she's happy at home. What she doesn't have is a child, and her husband is old. Elisha promises her a son in one year. It shouldn't take long with all that 'bread eating' he's been doing.

One day a few years later, the kid goes outside to where his father is threshing, complaining of a headache. They carry him into the house, where he promptly dies. His mother lays him on the bed then rides off to find Elisha. She collapses at his feet and tells him the story. He sends his servant home with her with instructions to tap the boy on the face with his staff. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work. Elisha then repeats the trick of lying on the boy, along with a little mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which has better success, as the boy awakes with seven sneezes.

Later on, Elisha comes to Gilgal, where there is a famine. He instructs his servant to put a pot on the fire and cook up some soup. The men, clearly not the sharpest spoons in the drawer, go around gathering up herbs and spices without any knowledge of which ones might be poisonous, and lo and behold, the resulting stew is tainted. Elisha nonchalantly orders them to bring him some meal, which he throws into the pot, curing them all.

For his final party trick Elisha turns a man's few ears of corn and barley into a feast for the whole village.

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