2 Kings 4

1 This widow's husband had been a prophet, which meant his family was already poor when he died. Widows did not have many resources, and apparently had gotten in debt. The taking of children was a legal means of collecting on a debt. In desperation she goes to Elisha. Elisha probably did not have means to support her, but God has endless resources to provide for the needs of believers.
5 Although these instructions sound strange, she acts in faith.
6 God worked to the extent of her faith. He is only limited in working in our lives to the extent that we are able or willing to receive.
7 God provided the materials, but it was up to the woman to market the oil and then manage her money for the rest of her life.
9 There were still a few Israelites that believed in God. This wealthy woman supported Elisha through the gift of hospitality.
10 She wanted Elisha to have a private room of his own so he could come and go as he pleased.
13 The woman was content and had been generous to Elisha with no expectation for repayment.
16 God promised the woman a son. At the moment the words seemed unbelievable, and her response was probably similar to that of Sarah's (Gen 18:12-15).
17 We are not told whether or not the woman had any real faith in the promise, but God does fulfill His promise.
19 Although we can only speculate about the nature of the problem, several have suggested sunstroke.
20 She was at a loss on how to treat her child, and could only attempt to comfort him in his last moments.
21 It is apparent that the woman realized that the God who gave her the child would be able to bring him back to life again. Such miracles were exceedingly rare, but she believed that God could use Elisha to do this.

The upper room would have been the coolest place in the house (especially at night), so she placed the body there to prevent it from rapidly decomposing.

23 The husband is oblivious about his son's death. Perhaps he had underestimated the extent of the child's illness and was distracted by the work that had to be done.

The scriptures do not say that the woman visited Elisha on a regular basis, but the husband felt that if someone were going to visit a holy man it would be on a religious day. I get the impression that the husband is not as close to God as the woman, so it is a household where she is the good influence.

24 She did not panic, but she knew she must act quickly.
25 The woman would have followed the Kishon River from the mountains to near the coast. It was approximately 20 miles (32 km), and probably took 8-10 hours to get there.
26 Elisha recognized the woman from a distance and sent Gehazi as a greeter. She wanted to bring her request to Elisha, so she brushed off Gehazi's questions.
27 The woman is so overwhelmed with grief that she can only cry at Elisha's feet. Gehazi may have been hurt by the woman's refusal to talk with him, but he also shows a lack of compassion towards her.

It appears that God and Elisha are so close that God often reveals the hearts of people to him before they approach. In this case God does not reveal the problem -- the woman must explain it.

28 The son had been a joyous and unexpected event. Now her joy and hopes were dashed. Her emotions are wrenched because her grief now is greater than her joy was before. She is not blaming God, but she is expressing her feelings with the hope that God will remedy the situation.
29 As his personal representative, Elisha sent Gehazi to perform the miracle. Gehazi was to tie his loose clothing around him so he could run as quickly as possible. He was not to waste any time by greeting anyone on the road. This would seem exceedingly rude, but time was of the essence.
30 By his actions Elisha silently promised that the boy would be raised back to life again. The woman said she would not leave Elisha until she was certain that it had occurred as he had said. He decided it would be best to accompany the woman back to her home.
31 Gehazi returned with the disappointing news that the boy had not recovered. This "failed" miracle is our first clue that Gehazi will not inherit the position of prophet from Elisha. Only later will the true nature of Gehazi's heart be revealed (2 Ki 5:20-27).
32 By this time the boy had likely been dead for at least 24 hours.
33 Usually God performs miracles publicly, but this time He chooses to work in secret. Elisha prays and acknowledges that God has the power to bring the boy back to life.
34 We are not told how or why this was necessary, but we must remember that God was using Elisha as a "power conduit" to return life to the boy.
37 The woman's joy returned with her son, and she bows in complete gratitude.
38 Elisha then headed south to visit a guild of prophets there. It appears that these were second generation prophets who had been chosen by God to inherit their fathers' gifts.
39 In this region there are some vines that produce poisonous fruit that look similar to the edible ones.
40 The gourds were bitter, which is a common clue that it is not good to eat. The problem is that food is already scarce, and now this very large batch of food has proven to be inedible.
41 There is no scientific explanation that I know of that would explain how a little ground grain could render a poison harmless. We must conclude that this is the power of God in action.
42 The Law of Moses specified that people were to bring a portion of their first harvest to the Levites who ministered before God. It is likely that there were no priests in the area, so the man brought the first fruits to Elisha.
43 It would be surprising to anyone that 20 pieces of bread and some grain could satisfy 100 men in the midst of a famine.
44 Jesus would later perform similar miracles where He had less bread to feed more people (Mat 14:16-21, 15:33-38)