Reading 103/341, 2 Kings 4.12-6.33

...2 Kings...

He said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. When he had called her, she stood before him. He said to him, Say now to her, Behold, you have been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for you? would you be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the army? She answered, I dwell among my own people. He said, What then is to be done for her? Gehazi answered, Most certainly she has no son, and her husband is old. He said, Call her. When he had called her, she stood in the door. He said, At this season, when the time comes round, you shall embrace a son. She said, No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid. The woman conceived, and bore a son at that season, when the time came round, as Elisha had said to her. When the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. He said to his father, My head, my head. He said to his servant, Carry him to his mother. When he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees until noon, and then died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door on him, and went out. She called to her husband, and said, Please send me one of the servants, and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. He said, Why will you go to him today? it is nor new moon nor Sabbath. She said, It shall be well. Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; do not slacken me the riding, except I bid you. So she went, and came to the man of God to Mount Carmel. It happened, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is the Shunammite, please run now to meet her, and ask her, Is it well with you? is it well with your husband? is it well with the child? She answered, It is well. When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi came near to thrust her away; but the man of God said, Let her alone, for her soul is vexed within her, and the Lord has hid it from me, and has not told me. Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? Did not I say, Do not deceive me? Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up your waist, and take my staff in your hand, and go your way, if you meet any man, Do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not answer him again, and lay my staff on the face of the child. The mother of the child said, As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. He arose, and followed her. Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was nor voice, nor hearing. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, saying, The child has not awakened. When Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid on his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door on them both, and prayed to the Lord. He went up, and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, and his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him, and the flesh of the child grew warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up, and stretched himself on him, and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. He called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. When she was come in to him, he said, Take up your son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and she took up her son, and went out. Elisha came again to Gilgal. There was a dearth in the land, and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, and he said to his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets. One went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered of it wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of stew; for they did not recognize them. So they poured out for the men to eat. It happened, as they were eating of the stew, that they cried out, and said, man of God, there is death in the pot. They could not eat of it. But he said, Then bring meal. He cast it into the pot, and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. There was no harm in the pot. There came a man from Baal Shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack. He said, Give to the people, that they may eat. His servant said, What, should I set this before a hundred men? But he said, Give the people, that they may eat; for thus says the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave of it. So he set it before them, and they ate, and left of it, according to the word of the Lord. Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria, he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. The Syrians had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maiden, and she waited on Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! then would he recover him of his leprosy. One went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maiden who is of the land of Israel. The king of Syria said, Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. He departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothing. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may recover him of his leprosy. It happened, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he tore his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man does send to me to recover a man of his leprosy? but consider, I pray you, and see how he seeks a quarrel against me. It was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Why have you torn your clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean. But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. His servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing, wouldn't you have done it? how much rather then, when he says to you, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God, and his flesh came again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. He returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him, and he said, See now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel, now therefore, please take a present from your servant. But he said, As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none. He urged him to take it; but he refused. Naaman said, If not, yet, please let there be given to your servant two mules' burden of earth; for your servant will henceforth offer nor burnt offering nor sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. In this thing the Lord pardon your servant, when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this thing. He said to him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way. But Gehazi the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving at his hands what he brought, as the Lord lives, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. When Naaman saw one running after him, he alighted from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? He said, All is well. My master has sent me, saying, Behold, now there are come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; please give them a talent of silver, and two changes of clothing. Naaman said, Be pleased to take two talents. He urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants, and they bore them before him. When he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house, and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, Whence come you, Gehazi? He said, Your servant went no where. He said to him, Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive groves and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave to you, and to your seed forever. He went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, See now, the place where we dwell before you is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray you, to the Jordan, and take there every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. He answered, Go you. One said, Be pleased, I pray you, to go with your servants. He answered, I will go. So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water, and he cried, and said, Alas, my master! for it was borrowed. The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" He showed him the place. He cut down a stick, threw it in there, and made the iron float. He said, "Take it." So he put out his hand and took it. Now the king of Syria was warring against Israel, and he took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. The man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, Beware that you not pass such a place; for there the Syrians are coming down. The king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and he saved himself there, not once nor twice. The heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing, and he called his servants, and said to them, Will not you show me which of us is for the king of Israel? One of his servants said, No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber. He said, Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him. It was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he there horses, and chariots, and a great army, and they came by night, and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. His servant said to him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? He answered, Do not be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Elisha prayed, and said, the Lord, Please open his eyes, that he may see. The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, Please smite this people with blindness. He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Elisha said to them, This is not the way, nor is this the city, follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek. He led them to Samaria. It happened, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, the Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. The king of Israel said to Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I strike them? shall I strike them? He answered, You shall not strike them, would you strike those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. He prepared great provision for them, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel. It happened after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up, and besieged Samaria. There was a great famine in Samaria, and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, there cried a woman to him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. He said, If the Lord does not help you, whence shall I help you? out of the threshing floor, or out of the winepress? The king said to her, What ails you? She answered, This woman said to me, Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow. So we boiled my son, and ate him, and I said to her on the next day, Give your son, that we may eat him, and she has hid her son. It happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes (now he was passing by on the wall), and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth within on his flesh. Then he said, God do so to me, and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day. But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him, and the king sent a man from before him, but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See you how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? behold, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold the door fast against him, is not the sound of his master's feet behind him? While he was yet talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him, and he said, Behold, this evil is of the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?

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