2 Kings 4-5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Elisha Helps a Poor Widow
4 One day the widow of one of the Lord’s prophets said to Elisha, “You know that before my husband died, he was a follower of yours and a worshiper of the Lord. But he owed a man some money, and now that man is on his way to take my two sons as his slaves.”
2 “Maybe there’s something I can do to help,” Elisha said. “What do you have in your house?”
“Sir, I have nothing but a small bottle of olive oil.”
3 Elisha told her, “Ask your neighbors for their empty jars. And after you’ve borrowed as many as you can, 4 go home and shut the door behind you and your sons. Then begin filling the jars with oil and set each one aside as you fill it.” 5 The woman left.
Later, when she and her sons were back inside their house, the two sons brought her the jars, and she began filling them.
6 At last, she said to one of her sons, “Bring me another jar.”
“We don’t have any more,” he answered, and the oil stopped flowing from the small bottle.
7 After she told Elisha what had happened, he said, “Sell the oil and use part of the money to pay what you owe the man. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
Elisha Brings a Rich Woman’s Son Back to Life
8 Once, while Elisha was in the town of Shunem,[a] he met a rich woman who invited him to her home for dinner. After that, whenever he was in Shunem, he would have a meal there with her and her husband.
9 Some time later the woman said to her husband, “I’m sure the man who comes here so often is a prophet of God. 10 Why don’t we build him a small room on the flat roof of our house? We can put a bed, a table and chair, and an oil lamp in it. Then whenever he comes, he can stay with us.”
11 The next time Elisha was in Shunem, he stopped at their house and went up to his room to rest. 12-13 He said to his servant Gehazi, “This woman has been very helpful. Have her come up here to the roof for a moment.” She came, and Elisha told Gehazi to say to her, “You’ve gone to a lot of trouble for us, and we want to help you. Is there something we can request the king or army commander to do?”[b]
The woman answered, “With my relatives nearby, I have everything I need.”
14 “Then what can we do for her?” Elisha asked Gehazi.
Gehazi replied, “I do know that her husband is old, and that she doesn’t have a son.”
15 “Ask her to come here again,” Elisha told his servant. He called for her, and she came and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s room.
16 Elisha said to her, “Next year at this time, you’ll be holding your own baby son in your arms.”
“You’re a man of God,” the woman replied. “Please don’t lie to me.”
17 But a few months later, the woman got pregnant. She gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had promised.
18 One day while the boy was still young, he was out in the fields with his father, where the workers were harvesting the crops. 19 Suddenly he shouted, “My head hurts. It hurts a lot!”
“Carry him back to his mother,” the father said to his servant. 20 The servant picked up the boy and carried him to his mother. The boy lay on her lap all morning, and by noon he was dead. 21 She carried him upstairs to Elisha’s room and laid him across the bed. Then she walked out and shut the door behind her.
22 The woman called to her husband, “I need to see the prophet. Let me use one of the donkeys. Send a servant along with me, and let me leave now, so I can get back quickly.”
23 “Why do you need to see him today?” her husband asked. “It’s not the Sabbath or time for the New Moon Festival.”
“That’s all right,” she answered. 24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Let’s go. And don’t slow down unless I tell you to.” 25 She left at once for Mount Carmel to talk with Elisha.[c]
When Elisha saw her coming, he said, “Gehazi, look! It’s the woman from Shunem. 26 Run and meet her. And ask her if everything is all right with her and her family.”
“Everything is fine,” she answered Gehazi. 27 But as soon as she got to the top of the mountain, she went over and grabbed Elisha by the feet.
Gehazi started toward her to push her away, when Elisha said, “Leave her alone! Don’t you see how sad she is? But the Lord hasn’t told me why.”
28 The woman said, “Sir, I begged you not to get my hopes up, and I didn’t even ask you for a son.”
29 “Gehazi, get ready and go to her house,” Elisha said. “Take along my walking stick, and when you get there, lay it on the boy’s face. Don’t stop to talk to anyone, even if they try to talk to you.”
30 But the boy’s mother said to Elisha, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I won’t leave without you.” So Elisha got up and went with them.
31 Gehazi ran on ahead and laid Elisha’s walking stick on the boy’s face, but the boy didn’t move or make a sound. Gehazi ran back to Elisha and said, “The boy didn’t wake up.”
32 Elisha arrived at the woman’s house and went straight to his room, where he saw the boy’s body on his bed. 33 He walked in, shut the door, and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed and stretched out over the dead body, with his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hand on his hands. As he lay there, the boy’s body became warm. 35 Elisha got up and walked back and forth in the room, then he went back and leaned over the boy’s body. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
36 Elisha called out to Gehazi, “Have the boy’s mother come here.” Gehazi did, and when she was at the door, Elisha said, “You can take your son.”
37 She came in and bowed down at Elisha’s feet. Then she picked up her son and left.
Elisha Makes Some Stew Taste Better
38 Later, Elisha went back to Gilgal, where there was almost nothing to eat, because the crops had failed.
One day while the prophets who lived there were meeting with Elisha, he said to his servant, “Fix a big pot of stew for these prophets.”
39 One of them went out into the woods to gather some herbs. He found a wild vine and picked as much of its fruit as he could carry, but he didn’t know that the fruit was very sour. When he got back, he cut up the fruit and put it in the stew.
40 The stew was served, and when the prophets started eating it, they shouted, “Elisha, this stew tastes terrible! We can’t eat it.”
41 “Bring me some flour,” Elisha said. He sprinkled the flour in the stew and said, “Now serve it to them.” And the stew tasted fine.
Elisha Feeds One Hundred People
42 A man from the town of Baal-Shalishah[d] brought Elisha some freshly cut grain and twenty loaves of bread made from the first barley that was harvested. Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.”
43 “There’s not enough here for a hundred people,” his servant said.
“Just give it to them,” Elisha replied. “The Lord has promised there will be more than enough.”
44 So the servant served the bread and grain to the people. They ate and still had some left over, just as the Lord had promised.
Elisha Heals Naaman
5 Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. The Lord had helped him and his troops defeat their enemies, so the king of Syria respected Naaman very much. Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had leprosy.[e]
2 One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a girl, and she became a servant of Naaman’s wife. 3 Some time later the girl said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”
4 When Naaman told the king what the girl had said, 5 the king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.”
Naaman left and took along seven hundred fifty pounds of silver, one hundred fifty pounds of gold, and ten new outfits. 6 He also carried the letter to the king of Israel. It said, “I am sending my servant Naaman to you. Would you cure him of his leprosy?”
7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in fear and shouted, “That Syrian king believes I can cure this man of leprosy! Does he think I’m God with power over life and death? He must be trying to pick a fight with me.”
8 As soon as Elisha the prophet[f] heard what had happened, he sent the Israelite king this message: “Why are you so afraid? Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”
9 Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”
11 But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. 12 What about the Abana River[g] or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.”
13 His servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.”
14 Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.
15 Naaman and his officials went back to Elisha. Naaman stood in front of him and announced, “Now I know that the God of Israel is the only God in the whole world. Sir, would you please accept a gift from me?”
16 “I am a servant of the living Lord,” Elisha answered, “and I swear that I will not take anything from you.”
Naaman kept begging, but Elisha kept refusing. 17 Finally Naaman said, “If you won’t accept a gift, then please let me take home as much soil as two mules can pull in a wagon. Sir, from now on I will offer sacrifices only to the Lord.[h] 18 But I pray that the Lord will forgive me when I go into the temple of the god Rimmon and bow down there with the king of Syria.”
19 “Go on home, and don’t worry about that,” Elisha replied. Then Naaman left.
Elisha Places a Curse on Gehazi
After Naaman had gone only a short distance, 20 Gehazi said to himself, “Elisha let that Syrian off too easy. He should have taken Naaman’s gift. I swear by the living Lord that I will talk to Naaman myself and get something from him.” 21 So he hurried after Naaman.
When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he got out of his chariot to meet him. Naaman asked, “Is everything all right?”
22 “Yes,” Gehazi answered. “But my master has sent me to tell you about two young prophets from the hills of Ephraim. They came asking for help, and now Elisha wants to know if you would give them about seventy-five pounds of silver and some new clothes?”
23 “Sure,” Naaman replied. “But why don’t you take twice that amount of silver?” He convinced Gehazi to take it all, then put the silver in two bags. He handed the bags and the clothes to his two servants, and they carried them for Gehazi.
24 When they reached the hill where Gehazi lived, he took the bags from the servants and placed them in his house, then sent the men away. After they had gone, 25 Gehazi went in and stood in front of Elisha, who asked, “Gehazi, where have you been?”
“Nowhere, sir,” Gehazi answered.
26 Elisha asked, “Don’t you know that my spirit was there when Naaman got out of his chariot to talk with you? Gehazi, you have no right to accept money or clothes, olive orchards or vineyards, sheep or cattle, or servants. 27 Because of what you’ve done, Naaman’s leprosy[i] will now be on you and your descendants forever!”
Suddenly, Gehazi’s skin became white with leprosy, and he left.
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