2Kings 4-6

Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 28, 2002


We are looking at events in the northern kingdom of Israel.  The king at the moment is named Joram, the son of Ahab and Jezebel.  The prophet of the moment is Elisha.

2Kings 4

:1-7 The Oil pots

:1  my husband is dead ... the creditor is come

Apparently the woman's husband, one of the prophets, had run up his credit cards.

The custom in those days was to put the family into slavery to pay off the debt if it was not met.

This woman's sons were going to be made slaves to pay off their father's debt.


Pay off your debts!

(Rom 13:8 KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Mathew Henry said:  It is the duty of all who profess to follow the Lord, while they trust to God for daily bread, not to tempt him by carelessness or extravagance, nor to contract debts; for nothing tends more to bring reproach upon the gospel, or distresses their families more when they are gone.
(Prov 13:22 KJV)  A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

:2  what hast thou in the house?

Elijah knows that God is going to do a miracle. But it will start with what she already has.


God will start to meet your needs with what you have.

Sometimes we can get caught up in a fantasy thinking and wishing for something that we don’t have ...
“If I’d only win the Lottery ...”
“If I only had a rich uncle that was really, really old and sick ...”
But God often starts with what you do have, and works first with that.
When Jesus was faced with a crowd of 10,000 people to feed for lunch

(John 6:8-9 KJV)  One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, {9} There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

Jesus took that boy's lunch, and fed the whole crowd with it.

When Jesus was in a situation where He and Peter had to pay taxes,

(Mat 17:24-27 KJV)  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? {25} He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? {26} Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. {27} Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

What was happening here?

What was Peter's occupation?

He was a fisherman.

Jesus used Peter's own occupation to raise the funds miraculously.

:2 a pot of oil.

Oil is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures.

:4 shut the door

This was to be a miracle just to meet the needs of this family, not the whole city.

:6  the oil stayed

or, “stopped moving” or, “ceased”

The woman kept pouring out oil until she reached the top of the last vessel, and then the oil stopped flowing.


Make room for God's abundance.

As long as there were vessels to be filled, the oil flowed.
It’s kind of like Murphy’s law for children’s toys:

“Toys multiply to fill every available space in the house.”

Sometimes I get to thinking that the only thing that hinders us from seeing more of God’s hand in our lives is simply because we don’t make room for it.
We get a couple of pots full of oil, and say, “Well, better stop there Lord, I’m all filled up now!”
Make room for more and more of God’s work in your life!
If you ever start to think that you’re full, or that you’ve “arrived”, you’re in a dangerous spot.
If you’re constantly hungering and thirsting for more and more of the Lord, then you’re in a good place.
Jesus said,

(John 7:37-38 KJV)  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. {38} He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

There’s so much more ...
(Eph 3:20 KJV)  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

God is able to do way above what we can ask or think.

So don’t limit Him with small pots to fill!


Outreach and oil

I think there’s a little bit of a picture of God’s work here, a picture of outreach.
As long as you keep bringing empty vessels to be filled, the oil is poured out.
I think that there’s a real sense in which we experience a tremendous outpouring of God’s Spirit when we are reaching out to others, serving others, being used in the lives of others.
But when we get too comfortable and just sit back in our chair and try to get by with doing nothing, it seems that the “oil” runs out.

:7  pay thy debt

God takes care of widows

:8-10 Elisha takes a room in Shunem

:8 Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread

ShunemShuwnem – “double resting place”; a city in Issachar, located 5 miles (8 km) south of Mount Tabor.  see map

great woman – Great wealth and riches, of great benevolence and hospitality, and of great grace and piety; that feared sin, as the Targum paraphrases it; a woman of great credit and reputation on all accounts.

This gal practiced the simple gift of hospitality.

In the ancient days, travelers didn’t go to the Holiday Inn, they had to depend on people asking them to stay in their homes.

:9 I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.

This woman hasn’t seen Elisha perform any miracles.  But she senses that there’s something special about him.  She decides she wants to do something special for Elisha and builds him a room to stay in.

:11-17 The Shunammite gets a son

:12  Gehazi his servant

Here's the first time we meet Elisha's servant.

We’ve often talked about how serving others is at the heart of ministry.  It’s what ministry is all about.  Many of the great men in the Bible learned ministry by being a servant.

Joshua took over from Moses.  Joshua was Moses’ servant.

Elisha was chosen by Elijah to take his place.  He was a servant to Elijah.

Gehazi is Elisha’s servant.

Keep your eye on Gehazi.    He’s going to be a problem.  In fact, if you were around Gehazi, you’d better also keep an eye on your pocketbook as well.

Gehazi is in the “batter’s circle”.  He’s “on deck”.  In a sense, he’s the next in line to be a great prophet in Israel.

Will he take the baton?

He’s going to have “heart” problems.

:13  wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?

Or, “Can I use my influence with the higher political powers to get you a favor?”

:13  I dwell among mine own people

Gill:  She was content and satisfied with her present state of life, and the situation she was in.

:16  Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.

Her reward for her service would be a baby boy.

This was too good to be true. She doesn't want him making any false promises!

:18-37 The son is raised from the dead

:18  when the child was grown

Gill:  Perhaps was six or seven years of age, or more.

:21 laid him on the bed of the man of God

She took the boy to Elisha’s room and put him on Elisha’s bed.

:22 Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses

I think the idea is that the young man would run and guide the donkey, upon which the woman would ride.

:23   it is neither new moon, nor sabbath.

Apparently these were the most common times to go visit a prophet, times when there were regular sacrifices and such.

Her husband is kind of saying, “Why would you want to go to church at a time like this?”

:25 So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel.

Carmel – Shunem is about 18 miles from Mount Carmel.  see map

This wasn’t a quick little trip.  Even if everybody is running, it’s going to take at least a full day to go to Carmel and back.

:26  And she answered, It is well.

Why does she say “it is well” when it’s not?

(2 Ki 4:26 NLT)  Run out to meet her and ask her, 'Is everything all right with you, with your husband, and with your child?'" "Yes," the woman told Gehazi, "everything is fine."

Perhaps she doesn’t like talking with Gehazi.  We’re going to see that Gehazi isn’t exactly a likeable guy.  Perhaps she just wants to talk with Elisha.

:27  Gehazi came near to thrust her away

Isn’t is just like some of us that when some people are in the greatest need, we’re so busy about protocol and such that we can in fact hinder ministry?


Don't be a hindrance to ministry!

Jesus almost didn't heal one man:
(Luke 18:35-43 KJV)  And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: {36} And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. {37} And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. {38} And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. {39} And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. {40} And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, {41} Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. {42} And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. {43} And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
When you find yourself hindering something, better check to make sure you have the heart of God.

:27  the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.

Elisha is a man who has an incredible gift of the word of knowledge.  God is constantly showing all kinds of things to Elisha. Later on, it will be said of him:

(2 Ki 6:12 KJV)  …the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

But here, he's clueless.


Prophets don’t know everything

Ultimately, God is the one who knows everything.  He’s the one who decides what we should know and what we shouldn’t know.
Sometimes God justs wants you to talk to the person!
Sometimes ministry is much better when you sit down and allow the other person to pour out their heart.

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

(2 Ki 4:28 NLT)  Then she said, "It was you, my lord, who said I would have a son. And didn't I tell you not to raise my hopes?"

She doesn’t tell Elisha what is wrong.  She just reminds him that she hadn’t wanted to be hurt with hopes for a son.

:29  Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand

Gehazi has orders to run from Carmel to Shunem with Elisha’s staff.  The rest of the group will proceed at a slower pace.

:30 I will not leave thee

She’s not leaving Elisha until Elisha goes to see her son.

:31  The child is not awakened


Delegation doesn’t always work

Delegation is a fine thing to do.
There are many things that we need to allow others to help us with, or we will burn out.
 But there are times when delegation just isn't proper, and you must do the work!

:33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.

This is the key to the whole miracle. Don’t be thinking that it’s Elisha that is going to do a miracle here, it’s the LORD!

prayed palal - to intercede; to pray. Verb tense:  imperfect. The imperfect expresses an action, process or condition which is incomplete. Something done not so much as to one occasion, as to a continued condition.


God uses people that pray.

God uses people who are serious about prayer.
I’m not just talking about praying before you eat your dinner.
I’m not just talking about a few sentences you shoot up before bed time.
I’m not talking about quick little prayers whispered through the day (as important as they are).
E.M.Bounds (Power through Prayer, pg.37):
“Much time spent with God is the secret of all successful praying.  Prayer which is felt as a might force is the immediate product of much time spent with God.  Our short prayers owe their point and efficiency to the long ones that have preceded them.  The short prevailing prayer cannot be prayed by one who has not prevailed with God in a mightier struggle of long continuance.  Jacob’s victory of faith could not have been gained without that all-night wrestling.  God’s acquaintance is not made by quick visits.  God does not bestow his gifts on the casual or hasty comers and goers.  Much time with God alone is the secret of knowing him and of influence with him.  He yields to the persistency of a faith that knows him.  He bestows his richest gifts on those who declare their desire for and appreciation of those gifts by the constancy as well as earnestness of their importunity.”

:34  he went up

This seems to indicate that Elisha was laying prone on the floor.

Flat out, face on the ground.

:35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro

He leaves the bedroom, and begins to pace back and forth around the house, probably continuing in prayer.

:35 the child sneezed seven times

An odd thing to record.

:37 took up her son, and went out


God can do great things.

:38-41 Death in the pot

:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land

Gilgal – there were several Gilgals in Israel, not sure which one, except we see here that there was a school of the prophets there.   see map

There is a famine in the land.  Elisha tells his servant (perhaps Gehazi) to make a stew for the men.

:39  gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full

Be careful who you send to do the grocery shopping.

They didn’t know what they were putting into the pot.  I guess this is what you can expect when you have a bunch of guys do the cooking.

:40  there is death in the pot

Talk about being critical of the cook!

The concoction they’ve made is poisonous.

:41 Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot…there was no harm in the pot.

This is obviously a miracle that was done, turning something poisonous into something edible.

I can’t help but think that it’s also a picture of what God wants to do in our lives.


Healing a poisoned pot

I think that there’s a sense in which we’re all cooking a “stew”.  We call it life.
We add all kinds of things into the pot.  It cooks.  It “stews”.
Sometimes we aren’t too careful about the kinds of things we add to our lives.  Sometimes we add those “wild gourds”.

And we find there’s “death in the pot”.

Maybe I’m stretching this a bit, but in the Bible, “bread” can be a picture of God’s Word.  We “feed” daily on God’s Word, just as the Israelites went out into the wilderness each day to collect their daily “manna”.
When we find “poison in the pot”, perhaps we need to throw in a little bit of “meal”.  Perhaps we need to be sure we’re adding God’s Word into our life as well.
Sometimes we can allow things into our lives that cause us to become bitter and angry.  And there’s “death in the pot”.

God’s Word says we are to forgive.

God’s Word says we are to be gracious.

God’s Word says we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers.

God’s Word says we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Throw in some meal.

:42-44 Multiplying food

:42 a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits

BaalshalishaBa‘al Shalishah – “thrice-great lord”.   see map

bread of the firstfruits

This was in obedience to the Law, giving back to God from the very first of the harvest:

(Lev 23:10 KJV)  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:

This is kind of amazing act of obedience, to be giving some of your harvest away when you're in the middle of a famine!

:42  give unto the people, that they may eat.

You know, this isn’t a lot of food.

Elisha could be keeping this for himself.

But instead he’s sharing it!

:43  before an hundred men?

It seems there might have been a hundred men of the sons of the prophets there.

He should be glad he doesn't have five thousand sitting before him!

Jesus had even less to work with than this!

:43  They shall eat, and shall leave thereof

NAS  'They shall eat and have some left over.'"

:44  they did eat, and left thereof ...

Just like God promised, there were even left-overs!


God is generous to those who are generous.

Both the man and Elisha were being generous and giving to the people.
And in response, God let there even be leftovers!
(2 Cor 9:6-8 KJV)  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. {7} Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

2Kings 5

:1-8 Naaman is a leper

:1  Naaman

Naaman = “pleasantness”

:1  captain of the host of the king of Syria

This was head of the Syrian army, the chief general, kind of like a Syrian Tommy Franks.

He was the chief general in Benhadad’s army.

:1  a great man with his master

His boss liked him a lot.

:1  by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria

Naaman would probably have been the general in charge during the last great battle with Israel, when Ahab and Jehoshaphat fought against Ramoth-gilead, and Ahab was killed.

During that battle:

(2 Chr 18:33 KJV)  And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

According to the Jewish Targum (commentary), that “certain man” was none other than Naaman.

:1  but he was a leper


He’s got all these great things going for him, but he’s got one problem.

Leprosy was like AIDS of today.

It’s uncertain just what disease the “leprosy” of the Bible was.

The modern disease “leprosy” is not contagious, so I’m not so sure it was like our modern disease.

It made you an outcast, because nobody wanted to catch the disease.

:2  brought away captive ... a little maid


God can turn bad circumstances to the good

Imagine what life would be like taken captive as a slave during a war.
Removed from all your friends. Living as a slave.
Yet God’s going to use this little girl.
Think of Joseph, sold by his brothers into Egypt as a slave, then going further downhill into prison.
(Gen 50:20 KJV)  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
The early church’s first persecution, scattered the believers around the world.

It started out as bad, persecution.

It ended up for a greater good.

It may be that what you think is “evil” isn’t evil at all, but just a little uncomfortable, because God is using it to change you, and get you where you need to go.
(2 Cor 4:16-18 KJV)  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. {17} For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; {18} While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

:3  Would God my lord were with the prophet ...

That’s all she says.

But her few words get the ball rolling.


It doesn’t take much to start great things

Ray Comfort’s story:  “I Got Off At George Street”

How a little old man faithfully handed out tracts in Sidney Australia and asked the people the question, “Are you saved?  If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven?”

It doesn’t take much.  Just faithfulness. Commitment.  Being obedient.

:5  ten talents of silver ...

(2 Ki 5:5 NLT)  taking as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing.

This is a HUGE amount of money. Some estimates put it in the millions of dollars.

The king of Syria is willing to pay BIG BUCKS to have his general healed.

:7  see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

The king of Israel thinks that he’s being asked to heal the man.  He doesn’t understand.  He thinks its all a trap.

:8 Elisha the man of God had heard …

It seems that Elisha must have heard about this from a person, not from the Lord.  A prophet doesn’t hear everything from the Lord.

:9-14 Naaman is healed

:10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him

Elisha himself doesn’t come out.  Perhaps Gehazi is sent out with the instructions.

:10  wash in Jordan seven times

This actually seems to be an abbreviated version of what the Mosaic Law says to do when a leper is “cleansed”.

Part of the ritual involved sprinkling with water seven times.

(Lev 14:7 KJV)  And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

Finally, after seven days, the leper was to have a complete bath:

(Lev 14:9 KJV)  But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.


Points of contact

It seems that Elisha uses a lot of simple things to help people put their trust in the Lord.  It’s not the things themselves that cause the miracle, it’s the Lord.  But God will at times use simply physical things to help us get over the hump of trusting in Him.
Putting salt in a polluted spring.  Putting meal in a poisonous stew.
Chuck’s story of the woman and her furnace.
Elders and oil.

:11 surely come out to me…strike his hand over the place…

Naaman was expecting some kind of show.

:11-12 Naaman was wroth ... rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?


Why are you angry?

He’s misunderstood Elisha
He seems to think that Elisha is simply saying that he needs a bath.  Elisha is asking him to take a step of faith.
Naaman’s pride
Perhaps Naaman thought that Elisha himself should have come out.  Perhaps he thinks that he’s being snubbed by Elisha. Perhaps he thinks that Elisha is trying to say that Israel is better than Syria.

:13 if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?



Simplicity of believing

Some people think it’s too simple to just “believe” in Jesus.

:14  then went he down … a little child

I think the language used is interesting.  He went “down”.  His flesh became like a “little child”.


Humility brings blessing

How often are we missing out on the blessings and miracles of the Lord in our lives because we're simply too proud to admit we're wrong, and turn around and obey?
(1 Pet 5:5-6 KJV)  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

We can choose to either be stubborn and proud, and find God Himself resisting us, or we can humble ourselves, and find God giving us grace!

:15-19 Naaman’s gratitude

:15 now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel

It sounds to me as if Naaman has become a God follower.

:16  I will receive none

That’s not to say that Elisha never received gifts from people, we just saw how he had received the gift of a man’s firstfruits (2Ki.4:42).

But in this instance, it would be very improper to do so.

This is Naaman’s first contact with the Lord.

He needs to know that God operates on of mercy and grace, not money.


God’s gifts are free!

There is a proper place to support ministries with financial help.
But there is something terribly wrong when a ministry begins to give the impression that it’s a business, and is only there to take your money.
Jesus said:
(Mat 10:8 KJV)  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

We have all received freely from Jesus, and we should give freely in return.

:17  nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD

Naaman’s heart was that he was going to put away all other gods in his life, and serve only the Lord.

You have to keep in mind that this isn’t quite according to the Mosaic Law!

If he was to truly sacrifice to the Lord, then he would have to go to God’s altar, not build his own.

He would have to have a Levite offer the sacrifice, not do it himself.


New believer’s don’t have to be perfect, just headed in the right direction!

Sometimes we expect a new believer to learn all the intricacies of the Lord and change all the sin in their life all at once.
Give them some time!
Just make sure they’re headed in the right direction!
God will help them grow and make whatever changes when it’s right!
The important thing is that in his heart, Naaman is putting away all other gods.
That’s the place to start!

:18  the house of Rimmon

The “god” of Damascus was “Hadad-Rimmon”

This “house” would be a temple to this god.

:18  the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing

Naaman gets to thinking about when he gets back home, and his boss asks him to go to the pagan church.

He wants God to forgive him for bowing to the god Rimmon when his boss asks him to.

:19  go in peace


Give grace.

Elisha isn’t condoning the worship of Rimmon, or the act of bowing before Rimmon.
I think this is another example of grace - give the guy a break.
When Naaman grows up a little more in the Lord, he’ll hopefully know better.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego - though youths, were mature believers, and knew they couldn’t bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s giant idol.
They didn’t say, “God forgive us when we bow before this idol ...”
Peter and the early church didn’t stop preaching the gospel just because the Jewish leaders threatened them and told them to stop preaching.
They didn’t say, “God forgive us if we stop preaching because of these mean guys...”
Naaman is just a new believer.
Give him a break.

:20-27 Gehazi’s Greed

:20  my master hath spared

It sounds to me like Gehazi is kind of like a con-man. His master has just let the “mark” or the “sucker” get away without taking him for all he’s worth.

:22  a talent of silver

That’s something close to $400,000.

But after all, didn’t he bring ten talents with him?

He’s only going to relieve him of a little excess weight!

:23  Be content, take two talents

Naaman’s heart is so filled with gratitude for his healing and his conversion, that he’s willing to give twice as much as he’s asked.

And that’s just what Gehazi is hoping for.

:23  laid them upon two of his servants

Two talents is about 150 pounds of silver (some would say 300 pounds).

Gehazi not only gets all this money, but he gets it delivered to his front door!

:24  when he came to the tower

tower ‘ophel – hill, mound, fort, stronghold, Ophel

When they get back to Elisha’s house, Gehazi takes the stuff from the servants, sends them on their way, and hides the stuff.

:25  Thy servant went no whither

or, “thy servant went nowhere”

More lies from Gehazi.

:26  went not mine heart with thee

Here’s that old word of knowledge of Elisha’s popping up again! Gehazi is caught!

:27  the leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee ...

There were other times when a person contracted leprosy as a punishment.

Moses’ sister Miriam had leprosy for a while because of her attitude towards her brother (Num. 12).

King Uzziah would become a leper because he thought he could do priestly things when he wasn’t a priest. (2Chr. 26:19)

Now Gehazi is given the leprosy that Naaman had because of his greed.

This is the one time you don’t want to be “white as snow”!


Guard against Greed!

What’s your motive, prophet?  Or, what’s your “prophet motive”?
Here we see the dangers of greed in ministry, but it applies to all of life.
(1 Tim 6:9-10 KJV)  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Greed for money will do all kinds of rotten things to your heart.

Monkey Traps

Monkey trappers in North Africa have a clever method of catching their prey. A number of gourds are filled with nuts and firmly fastened to a branch of a tree.  Each has a hole just large enough for the unwary monkey to stick his forepaw into it. When the hungry animal discovers this, he quickly grasps a handful of nuts, but the hole is too small for him to withdraw his clenched fist.  And he doesn’t have enough sense to open up his hand and let go in order to escape, so he is easily taken captive.

This is a picture of many Christians.  The devil with his crafty devices tried to ensnare them.  He appeals to the appetites of the flesh which can lead to their spiritual downfall.  As long as they hold on to worldly bait, they cannot escape from Satan’s trap.  But he keeps on urging, “Don’t let go! Enjoy the pleasure of your sin just a little bit longer!”  So, listening to the tempter’s alluring voice, they continue in their evil way.

2Kings 6

:1-7 Floating Axe Head

:1 the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.

The school of the prophets was growing.  They needed more room. They had outgrown their current facilities.

The Jews say that the increase in numbers of disciples was due to the departure of Gehazi.  They say that he used to abuse the disciples so much, that when he left, the school grew quickly in numbers.

:2 take thence every man a beam

A simple building project is proposed. Every guy will get his own log, and together they'll build a new house.

:6 he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither

stick ‘ets – tree, wood, timber, stock, plank, stalk, stick, gallows

Some see here a picture of ministry here.

We throw the cross into the water of the world, and hard hearts will float to the surface.

:6-7  the iron did swim

There’s no way around this. It’s a miracle. Sticks to not make iron float!  Let alone do the backstroke!


God cares about you paying even your little debts.

Many people would have said, “Borrowed ax, huh?  Bad news for the owner!”
But God is just as concerned as this man was about paying your debts.
(Rom 13:8 KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

:8-12 Intelligence leak

:8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel

I wonder if Naaman a part of any of this?

:9 And the man of God sent

This is Elisha.  He’s giving warnings to the king of Israel of each Syrian attack.

:12 And one of his servants said

Could this have been Naaman?  Or someone else who came along on Naaman’s trip?

:12 Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

bedchambercheder – chamber, room, parlour, innermost or inward part, within

Could be the idea of a bedroom, or maybe even a bathroom.

It certainly means that there’s no secrets from this guy!


The Word of Knowledge.

God reveals things to people, even today.
This is an example of the gift of “Word of Knowledge” in operation.
This is one of the gifts that the Holy Spirit can give to people.
It is the ability to learn or know things without having any prior firsthand experience or knowledge.

Jesus with the woman at the well:

(John 4:17-19 KJV)  The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: {18} For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. {19} The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.


The source of the knowledge is God.

It is not Elisha somehow being able to read people's minds.
We're not talking ESP or something.
Elisha only knew what God told him, whenever God chose to tell him.
We saw several weeks ago:

(2 Ki 4:27 KJV)  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.

:13-23 Elisha captures an army

:13  Behold, he is in Dothan.

DothanDothan – “two wells”; 12 miles north of Samaria, the home of Elisha.  see map

I find it interesting that Elisha had asked Elijah for a “double portion” of the Spirit.  He then hangs out at “Shunem”, which means “double resting place” and at “Dothan” which means “two wells”.

:14  horses, and chariots, and a great host

No, he didn’t send Martha Stewart.

“great host” means a “large army”.

:14  compassed the city about

This army was big enough to surround the entire city of Dothan.

That’s not a few guys!

:15 his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

his servant – is this Gehazi?  It’s possible that this might be a new servant since Gehazi has become a leper.

:16  they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

Elisha isn’t talking about the people in Dothan.

He’s talking about the angels protecting them.


You’re not alone

They’re here to help us.
(Psa 34:7 KJV)  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
(Heb 1:14 KJV)  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Even as we’re meeting, there’s probably a sense in which this room has more individuals in it than meet the eye.


God’s army is bigger and better than the other guy’s.

Satan’s army only consists of 1/3 of all the angels (Rev.12:4).  God’s got a bigger army!
But not just bigger, better too!
God Himself is WAY bigger than the other guy.

(1 John 4:4 KJV)  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

:17  I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see

I think one of our biggest problems in life is our lack of spiritual perception.

Sometimes things look pretty safe and calm, but in the spirit realm, things might be pretty scary.

Think of Samson waking up after a little nap at his girlfriend’s house, and he didn’t know that the Lord had departed from him.
Think of Balaam and his donkey, stopping in the middle of the road, when there was an angel ready to kill him!

Sometimes things look pretty scary with our eyes, but in the realm of the spirit, we’re a lot safer than we think.


Prayer is the key to spiritual enlightenment.

Prayer opens the eyes of other people.
Paul prays:

(Eph 1:15-19 KJV)  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, {16} Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; {17} That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: {18} The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, {19} And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Paul sets a good example of things to pray for people:

That people would understand the hope in Jesus.

What tremendous treasure there is in God's people.

How great God's power is toward us.

Sometimes we struggle when it seems that people don’t see what we see.  I think we need to handle it with prayer.  Elisha did.

:17  the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw

When this young man begins to look at the things in the realm of the spirit, that’s when he begins to perk up!


Learn to look at the spiritual side of things.

Too often we are only looking at things outwardly, physically.
And that’s when it starts getting scary.
(Mat 14:25-31 KJV)  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. {26} And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. {27} But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. {28} And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. {29} And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. {30} But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. {31} And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Peter took a step out of the boat onto the water.

Good job!  He at least got out of the boat - how many of us would have done that!

But it wasn’t long before the wind and the waves got his attention, and that’s when he began to sink beneath the storm.

Learn to “walk by faith”
(2 Cor 5:7 KJV)  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Walking by faith is learning to make your moment by moment decisions in life based on the invisible things of the Lord, rather than the physical, visible circumstances around you.

:17  the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha

What is it this guy is seeing?

Remember who picked up Elijah for a ride?

(2 Ki 2:11 KJV)  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

God’s angels sometimes have a fiery appearance:

(Psa 104:4 KJV)  Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

The word “seraphim” (Is.6) means “burning ones”.

Modern day example:

John Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands.  One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them.  Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them.  When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave.  A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ.  Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them.  The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men with you there?”  Paton knew no men were present—but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.

:18  Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness.

Elijah called fire down from heaven.  Elisha asks for blindness.

I don’t think this is true physical blindness, but a blindness in the mind.  If they were physically blinded, how could Elisha guide an entire army of blind men to Samaria, ten miles away?

Modern example:

Brother Andrew smuggling Bibles into communist countries, an illegal activity, reported that the customs inspectors miraculously kept missing the Bibles, or looking at them and ignoring them.

:19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city …

Samaria – the capital of the northern kingdom.  About ten miles south of Dothan. see map

Sounds like a “Jedi mind trick” J.  Do you think the guys repeated back to Elisha, “This is not the way …”

:20  behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

Do you think the Syrians were surprised?  I think so.

:21 the king of Israel said

This is King Joram.

:22  wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive

The way Elisha is asking the question, it’s apparent that the answer is “no”.

:22  Thou shalt not smite them ...

God’s purpose was to save Elisha and Israel here, not to wipe out the Syrians.

(2 Ki 6:22 NLT)  “Of course not!” Elisha told him. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.”

:23  he prepared great provision for them

The Jewish Targum says it was a great feast that was prepared.

:23  So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel

This doesn’t mean that Syria isn’t going to attack Israel any more.  It just means that these smaller bands of raiders won’t be coming back.  I don’t blame them.

I wonder what they told their king.  “Well, the reason we didn’t bring Elisha back is because we walked right into the middle of Samaria and got captured …”

:24-33 Samaria’s siege

:24  and besieged Samaria

The idea is that he has now surrounded Samaria, which was situated up on top of a hill.

Ben-hadad has now cut off all trade going in or coming out of the city.

He’s going to starve them out.

:25  an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver

We’re now going to get an idea of just how bad the famine is.

First off, a donkey was considered an “unclean” animal (Lev.11:3), one that a good Jew wasn’t supposed to be eating. That means that we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as animal meat is concerned. And the head of a donkey isn’t going to have a lot of meat on it either.

Fourscore pieces of silver (80 shekels) is worth (80 x $128) $10,240.

:25  the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver

For those with NIV, it says “a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels”

I checked 12 other translations, and they all translate this as some variation of “dove dung”.

Bottom line:  One cup of dove poop was going for $640.

:27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee …

(2 Ki 6:27 NLT)  "If the LORD doesn't help you, what can I do?" he retorted. "I have neither food nor wine to give you."

:29  So we boiled my son, and did eat him

The woman is upset because the other gal didn’t let them eat her son.

This was prophesied as one of the signs of God’s judgment on the nation when they would not follow after the Lord (Deut. 28:52-58)

It would happen again when Nebuchadnezzar would come against Jerusalem in 586 b.c. (Lam. 4:10)

:31 God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.


Blame the prophet

Is this just because he wants to blame some one?
Is this because he’s in trouble for all the information that Elisha has given him in the past which caused the king of Syria to get really mad at him?
It is because Elisha didn’t forewarn him of this particular trouble?
I wonder if Elisha hasn’t been telling Joram to just calm down and trust the Lord because the Lord would bring a great deliverance for them (we’ll see a hint of this in verse 33)
Sometimes when we obey the Lord, we go through tough times.  Don’t blame the Lord.

:32  this son of a murderer

The king is Joram, who is one of the sons of Ahab and Jezebel.

Jezebel had a man named Naboth killed in order to give Naboth’s vineyard to Ahab.

:32  hold him fast at the door

Elisha instructs the elders to keep the messenger at the door until the king arrives, so Elisha can talk to the king.

It’s interesting that the leaders of the nation are sitting with Elisha.

(2 Ki 6:32 NLT)  Elisha was sitting in his house at a meeting with the leaders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the leaders, "A murderer has sent a man to kill me. When he arrives, shut the door and keep him out. His master will soon follow him."

:33  what should I wait for the LORD any longer?

NAS - “Behold, this evil is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”

It sounds as if the king has been instructed by Elisha to “wait for the LORD”.


Don’t give up

It appears the nation is being severely disciplined from the Lord because of their sin.
And Joram wants to bail out on it now!
It’s kind of like the Christian who wants to take the short cut out of the trial he’s in.
Or the person who wants to bail on their marriage because it’s a little tough right now.
Let God finish the work He set out to do.
(Heb 12:11 KJV)  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
In fact, God’s work might be finished quicker than you think!! (like in the next chapter!)