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2 Kings - Chapter 4

2 Kings Chapters

1 The wife of a member of the prophetic brotherhood appealed to Elisha. 'Your servant my husband is dead,' she said, 'and you know how your servant revered Yahweh. A creditor has now come to take my two children and make them his slaves.'

2 Elisha said, 'What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you got in the house?' 'Your servant has nothing in the house,' she replied, 'except a flask of oil.'

3 Then he said, 'Go outside and borrow jars from all your neighbours, empty jars and not too few.

4 When you come back, shut the door on yourself and your sons, and pour the oil into all these jars, putting each aside when it is full.'

5 So she left him; and she shut the door on herself and her sons; they passed her the jars and she went on pouring.

6 When the jars were full, she said to her son, 'Pass me another jar.' 'There are no more,' he replied. Then the oil stopped flowing.

7 She went and told the man of God, who said, 'Go and sell the oil and redeem your pledge; you and your children can live on the remainder.'

8 One day as Elisha was on his way to Shunem, a woman of rank who lived there pressed him to stay and eat there. After this he always broke his journey for a meal when he passed that way.

9 She said to her husband, 'Look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God.

10 Let us build him a small walled room, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.'

11 One day when he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down.

12 He said to his servant Gehazi, 'Call our Shunammite.' He called her and when she appeared, Elisha said,

13 'Tell her this: "Look, you have gone to all this trouble for us, what can we do for you? Is there anything you would like said for you to the king or to the commander of the army?" ' But she replied, 'I live with my own people about me.'

14 'What can I do for you then?' he asked. Gehazi replied, 'Well, she has no son and her husband is old.'

15 Elisha said, 'Call her.' The servant called her and she stood at the door.

16 'This time next year', he said, 'you will hold a son in your arms.' But she said, 'No, my lord, do not deceive your servant.'

17 But the woman did conceive, and she gave birth to a son at the time that Elisha had said she would.

18 The child grew up; one day he went to his father who was with the reapers,

19 and exclaimed to his father, 'Oh, my head! My head!' The father told a servant to carry him to his mother.

20 He lifted him up and took him to his mother, and the boy lay on her lap until midday, when he died.

21 She went upstairs, laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door on him and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, 'Send me one of the servants with a donkey. I must hurry to the man of God and back.'

23 'Why go to him today?' he asked. 'It is not New Moon or Sabbath.' But she replied, 'Never mind.'

24 She had the donkey saddled and said to her servant, 'Lead on, go! Do not draw rein until I give the order.'

25 She set off and made her way to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her in the distance, he said to his servant Gehazi, 'Look, here comes our Shunammite!

26 Now run and meet her and ask her, "Are you well? Is your husband well? Your child well?" ' 'Yes,' she replied.

27 When she came to the man of God there on the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi stepped forward to push her away, but the man of God said, 'Leave her; there is bitterness in her soul and Yahweh has hidden it from me, he has not told me.'

28 She said, 'Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say: Don't deceive me?'

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, 'Hitch up your clothes, take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; if anyone greets you, do not answer him. You are to stretch out my staff over the child.'

30 But the child's mother said, 'As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.' Then he stood up and followed her.

31 Gehazi had gone ahead of them and had stretched out the staff over the child, but there was no sound or response. He went back to meet Elisha and told him. 'The child has not woken up,' he said.

32 Elisha then went to the house, and there on his bed lay the child, dead.

33 He went in and shut the door on the two of them and prayed to Yahweh.

34 Then he climbed on to the bed and stretched himself on top of the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes to his eyes, and his hands on his hands, and as he lowered himself on to him, the child's flesh grew warm.

35 Then he got up and walked to and fro inside the house, and then climbed on to the bed again and lowered himself on to the child seven times in all; then the child sneezed and opened his eyes.

36 He then summoned Gehazi. 'Call our Shunammite,' he said. He called her. When she came to him, he said, 'Pick up your son.'

37 She went in and, falling at his feet, prostrated herself on the floor and then picked up her son and went out.

38 Elisha went back to Gilgal while there was famine in the country. As the brotherhood of prophets were sitting with him, he said to his servant, 'Put the large pot on the fire and cook some soup for the brotherhood.'

39 One of them went into the fields to gather herbs and came on some wild vine, off which he gathered enough gourds to fill his lap. On his return, he cut them up into the pot of soup; they did not know what they were.

40 They then poured the soup out for the men to eat, but they had no sooner tasted the soup than they cried, 'Man of God, there is death in the pot!' And they could not eat it.

41 'Bring some meal then,' Elisha said. This he threw into the pot, and said, 'Pour out, for the company to eat!' And there was nothing harmful in the pot.

42 A man came from Baal-Shalishah, bringing the man of God bread from the first-fruits, twenty barley loaves and fresh grain still in the husk. 'Give it to the company to eat,' Elisha said.

43 But his servant replied, 'How can I serve this to a hundred men?' 'Give it to the company to eat,' he insisted, 'for Yahweh says this, "They will eat and have some left over." '

44 He served them; they ate and had some left over, as Yahweh had said.

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New Jerusalem Bible

The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.

Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.

Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.

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