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Monday, June 9 2014

2 Kings 4: The Beginning Of Elisha's Miracles

"He set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD"

Elisha had been chosen by the prophet Elijah when Elijah returned from Mount Sinai (see 1 Kings 19: Elijah's Journey To Mount Sinai). From that time, Elisha grew from Elijah's servant to the successor of Elijah's responsibilities. When Elijah was taken away into retirement in the eastern Israelite lands (see 2 Kings 2: Where Did That Chariot Of Fire Take Elijah?), Elisha was ready to work on his own.

Among the first of Elisha's miracles was the assistance provided to a prophet's widow (considering how much the Word of God was hated, there were likely many widow's of prophets).

Chariot of Fire

"4:1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

4:2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?

And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

4:3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4:4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

4:5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 4:6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel.

And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.

4:7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest." (2 Kings 4:1-7 KJV)

A couple in Shunem were next in the recorded miracles of Elisha - all of which were made possible by the Holy Spirit.

"4:8 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. 4:9 And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. 4:10 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.

4:11 And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. 4:12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. 4:13 And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?

And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.

4:14 And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. 4:15 And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. 4:16 And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.

And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.

4:17 And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life." (2 Kings 4:8-17 KJV)

Although given to be born by miraculous assistance, the boy was normal as any other - subject to illness or injury. When the boy died from an apparent broken blood vessel in his brain ("Intracranial hemorrhage in children often causes death or lifelong disability"; The Journal of the American Medical Association), Elisha, by means of the Holy Spirit, restored him to life.

Elisha Raising the Son of the Shunemmite

"4:18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. 4:19 And he said unto his father, My head, my head.

And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.

4:20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.

4:21 And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 4:22 And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.

4:23 And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath.

And she said, It shall be well.

4:24 Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. 4:25 So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel.

And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: 4:26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child?

And she answered, It is well.

4:27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.

4:28 Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?

4:29 Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.

4:30 And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her. 4:31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.

The Jordan River 4:32 And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. 4:33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. 4:34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 4:35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

4:36 And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. 4:37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out." (2 Kings 4:18-37 KJV)

As we read, Elisha's first miracles were for practical purposes. That continued with the "healing" of toxic plants (see the Fact Finder question below).

"4:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

4:39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. 4:40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.

4:41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot." (2 Kings 4:38-41 KJV)

Elisha then provided a miracle that the Messiah would also do centuries later. The incident with Elisha was even quoted by the Messiah when He did it i.e. "he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD."

"4:42 And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.

4:43 And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men?

He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. 4:44 So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD." (2 Kings 4:42-44 KJV)

Fact Finder: Seed-bearing plants were created as "good" (Genesis 1:11-12 KJV). How did poisonous seed-bearing plants (such as the type of gourds that Elisha healed in the verses quoted above) happen? Who created toxic "weeds"?
See Seed-Bearing Plants: For Food Or For Folly?


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This Day In History, June 9

411 BC: A coup formed a short-lived oligarchy (a political system governed by a few people) in Athens (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).

53: Roman Emperor Nero (see Nero's Torches) married his stepsister Claudia Octavia, the 13 year old niece of Emperor Tiberius (Tiberius was the emperor at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ) and the daughter of Emperor Claudius (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) and Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).

Cartier 62: Roman Emperor Nero had his wife Claudia Octavia executed. She was 22.

68: Roman Emperor Nero committed suicide (see also Did Nero Really Fiddle While Rome Burned?).

721: Odo, the duke of Aquitaine, defeated the Moors (the name given to the medieval Muslim occupants of Spain and southern Europe) at the Battle of Toulouse.

1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew became the first known Europeans to sail into the St. Lawrence River.

1549: The Church of England adopted The Book of Common Prayer, compiled by Thomas Cranmer.

1597: Jose de Anchieta died at age 63. The Portuguese Jesuit is considered to be the founder of national literature of Brazil, and is "credited" with helping over 1 million "Indians" (the incorrect term applied to the natives of the continents of North and South America by European explorers who thought that they were in India) to become "Christian" i.e. Roman Catholic.

1732: British General and Member of Parliament James Oglethorpe received a royal charter to form the colony of Georgia (named after King George II) on the southeast coast of North America.

1762: British forces began the siege and capture of Havana, Cuba during the Seven Years' War.

1800: During Napoleon's Italian campaign, the first Battle of Montebello was fought.

1815: The Congress of Vienna closed with the signing of the Final Act. Among its provisions, Belgium and Luxembourg united with Holland to form the Netherlands, Switzerland was neutral, East Poland ceded to Russia and its western provinces to Prussia.

1898: An agreement was signed under which Hong Kong was leased to Britain from China for a period of 99 years.

1908: King Edward VII of Britain met Czar Nicholas II of Russia on board the royal yacht anchored in the Baltic. It was the first meeting between a czar and a British monarch.

1931: Robert Goddard patented the rocket-fueled aircraft design.

1940: That day was appointed by the British as a national day of Thanksgiving to God for "the miracle of Dunkirk" a week before (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy). Overcast had kept the Hitler's Luftwaffe grounded, while the normally rough and treacherous English Channel was unusually calm. People who had lived all their lives on its shore said that they had never seen the Channel so tranquil, which enabled all sorts of small civilian craft to take part in the successful evacuation of 338,000 British and allied troops - many of whom survived to return a few years later on the D Day landings at Normandy.

1959: The first submarine to carry nuclear "weapons of mass destruction," the USS George Washington, was launched.

1964: William Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, died at age 85. The Canadian financial baron and statesman was one of only two people (the other was Winston Churchill) to sit in the British cabinet during both World Wars. He was Prime Minister Churchill's minister of aircraft production (Fighters: 14,200 Hurricane, 20,300 Spitfire; Bombers: 11,400 Wellington, 7,300 Lancaster, 6,100 Halifax and 7,700 Mosquito) during the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1967: During the Six-Day War, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria (see also Israel's Wars In The Twentieth Century).

1968: U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declared a national day of mourning after the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy.

1978: An original Gutenberg Bible, one of only 21 known to exist, sold for $2.4 million in London.

1991: Mount Pinatubo, a Philippine volcano that had been dormant for 600 years, erupted.


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