2 Kings Chapter 4  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: 2 Kings 4
2Ki 4:1(top)
2Ki 4:2(top)
2Ki 4:3(top)
2Ki 4:4(top)
2Ki 4:5(top)
2Ki 4:6(top)
2Ki 4:7(top)
2Ki 4:8

“a prominent woman.” The exact meaning of “prominent” is not clear. It could mean “wealthy,” but the woman could be prominent for other reasons.

2Ki 4:9(top)
2Ki 4:10(top)
2Ki 4:11(top)
2Ki 4:12(top)
2Ki 4:13(top)
2Ki 4:14(top)
2Ki 4:15(top)
2Ki 4:16

“according to the time of life.” The Hebrew text is literally, “according to the time of life” but that is considered an idiom, although it may be literal and refer to the time of pregnancy. Many scholars believe the phrase is an idiom and understand it to mean “next year,” but there is no universal agreement as to that being the meaning. Another potential meaning is in the spring of the year.

2Ki 4:17(top)
2Ki 4:18

“And the boy grew.” He was not yet old enough to work, so he was likely six or less.

2Ki 4:19(top)
2Ki 4:20

“lap.” The Hebrew is more literally “knees,” but it means “lap.”

2Ki 4:21(top)
2Ki 4:22(top)
2Ki 4:23

All is well.” In the Hebrew text, the woman gives a one-word answer: shalom. “Shalom” means more than just “peace,” it means to be well, to be whole (and thus to have peace). It is really impossible to say exactly what the woman meant with so little context to go on. She could have meant “all is well” (ESV), or “it will be well” (NASB), or simply, “never mind” (NJB). Given the fact that the woman’s husband did not know the child was dead and the woman did not want to appear rude, the rendering “all is well” seems the most likely.

2Ki 4:24

“made ready.” The Hebrew word translated “made ready” is chabash (#02280 חָבַשׁ), and it means to tie, bind, bind on, bind up, saddle, restrain, bandage, govern. In the context of a camel, donkey, or horse it usually referred to putting something like a blanket in place so that it could be sat upon. Although the translation “saddle” is common in English versions, that is anachronistic and gives the wrong impression because the saddle even as a primitive saddle was not invented until much closer to the time of Christ, and the stirrup as we know it was not invented until after the biblical era.

2Ki 4:25(top)
2Ki 4:26(top)
2Ki 4:27(top)
2Ki 4:28(top)
2Ki 4:29

“Tuck your cloak under your belt.” This refers to the custom of a man tying up his long clothing so he could move more quickly. In the biblical culture of the Old Testament, both men and women wore long outer robes, with the man’s robe being slightly shorter than the woman’s robe. When men wanted to move quickly, they would take the bottom part of their robe and pull it up around their waist and secure it with a belt so that the bottom of the robe was a little shorter or longer than around the knees. This was called “girding up the loins.” 1 Peter 1:13 (KJV) says, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,” basically meaning, “prepare for action.” The custom of girding the loins, or belting your cloak around your waist, can be seen in 2 Kings 4:29; 9:1; Job. 38:3; 40:7; Jeremiah 1:17; Isaiah 5:27; and 1 Peter 1:13 KJV).

“do not greet him.” It was the common custom in the biblical world that greeting people and saying goodbye took a very long time, which is why when Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to heal a child, he told him not to greet anyone or return a greeting (2 Kings 4:29). It is also why, when Jesus sent his disciples out to evangelize, he told them not to greet anyone on the road (Luke 10:4). The ungodly religious leaders loved the elaborate greetings in the marketplaces (Matt. 23:7; Mark 12:38; Luke 11:43; 20:46).

2Ki 4:30(top)
2Ki 4:31(top)
2Ki 4:32

“the child was dead and had been laid on his bed.” It is worth noting here that the child was dead and on the bed. The child was not alive somewhere and only his body was on the bed. The “child” was dead.

[For more on the dead being dead and not alive anywhere in any form, see Appendix 3: “The Dead Are Dead.”]

2Ki 4:33(top)
2Ki 4:34

“He bent down over him.” The child was little, so Elisha could not stretch himself full length upon the child, but Elisha could get on his knees and bend the top half of his body over the child so that he matched the child more exactly, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and hands to hands. The only other use of the word translated “bent down” is 1 Kings 18:42 when Elijah bent down and prayed to God to send rain on Israel.

2Ki 4:35

“and walked in the house back and forth.” The Hebrew uses the word “once,” but it is idiomatic, like “once here, once there,” in other words Elisha paced back and forth.

2Ki 4:36(top)
2Ki 4:37

“bowed down.” The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body and face to the earth. The word translated “bowed down,” shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה), is the same Hebrew word as “worship.”

[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chronicles 29:20.]

2Ki 4:38

“Gilgal.” This is likely the Gilgal that is just north of Bethel, not the one close to Jericho.

“there was a famine in the land.” This is the same phrase as in Ruth 1:1. Israel had abandoned God in the time of Elijah and Elisha and famine was one of the signs of the judgment of God (Lev. 26:19-26; Deut. 28:23-24, 38-42). When people abandon God they open themselves up to the cruel attacks of the Devil. A nation that defies God will suffer many hardships.

[For more on famines, see commentary on Ruth 1:1.]

2Ki 4:39

“but they did not know what they were.” Ordinarily, people would not put plants that they did not recognize into a stew for people to eat—some are poisonous while most others are simply not good tasting or nutritious. But this was a famine, so the man who gathered the gourds took a risk, thinking that at worst they would taste bad but would fill their stomachs. In this case, however, the man made a bad decision because the gourds were poisonous as we learn in 2 Kings 4:40.

2Ki 4:40

“there is death in the pot!” This is a case of God saving the lives of the prophets by giving them revelation that the food was poisonous. The stew may have tasted bad, but many things that taste bad are not deadly. To be sure that the stew was deadly, they would have had to have revelation from God. The phrase, “as they were eating” in this context means “as they began to eat.” It is not like halfway through the meal God finally told the prophets they were eating poisonous food. God told them just as they started to eat.

God is a God of grace and mercy, and we see that in this record. God’s mercy covered the prophets when the cook took a risk and put an unknown gourd into the stew, and God’s grace covered them when He told Elisha what to do to heal the stew and healed it by a miracle so that the prophets had food in the famine.

2Ki 4:41

“And there was nothing harmful in the pot.” This is a genuine miracle. God told Elisha what to do and Elisha obeyed so God healed the stew. Putting flour into a poisonous stew will not heal it without a miracle from God. The Hebrew word translated “harmful” is more literally “evil,” but in this case, it means “harmful.”

2Ki 4:42

“Baal-shalishah.” This is usually identified as a site in the Western Samarian foothills.

“and brought the man of God bread from the firstfruits.” It is noteworthy that this man brings the firstfruits of the grain harvest to Elisha and not to Bethel, which was the chief center of worship for Samaria. This man recognized that the way to honor God was to honor the true follower of God.

“20 loaves of barley bread.” This is possibly a sign the famine is breaking and more food was becoming available. A “loaf” of bread is about like a pancake, and 20 pancakes are not much for a hungry crowd of men.

2Ki 4:43

“They will eat, and will have some left over.” This parallels Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000 because in both those times Jesus fed the multitude and there was some left over.

2Ki 4:44(top)

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