Good News Translation (GNB)
4

Elisha Helps a Poor Widow

41The widow of a member of a group of prophets went to Elisha and said, “Sir, my husband has died! As you know, he was a God-fearing man, but now a man he owed money to has come to take away my two sons as slaves in payment for my husband's debt.”

2“What shall I do for you?” he asked. “Tell me, what have you got at home?”

“Nothing at all, except a small jar of olive oil,” she answered.

3“Go to your neighbours and borrow as many empty jars as you can,” Elisha told her. 4“Then you and your sons go into the house, close the door, and start pouring oil into the jars. Set each one aside as soon as it is full.”

5So the woman went into her house with her sons, closed the door, took the small jar of olive oil, and poured oil into the jars as her sons brought them to her. 6When they had filled all the jars, she asked if there were any more. “That was the last one,” one of her sons answered. And the olive oil stopped flowing. 7She went back to Elisha, the prophet, who said to her, “Sell the olive oil and pay all your debts, and there will be enough money left over for you and your sons to live on.”

Elisha and the Rich Woman from Shunem

8One day Elisha went to Shunem, where a rich woman lived. She invited him to a meal, and from then on every time he went to Shunem he would have his meals at her house. 9She said to her husband, “I am sure that this man who comes here so often is a holy man. 10Let's build a small room on the roof, put a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp in it, and he can stay there whenever he visits us.”

11One day Elisha returned to Shunem and went up to his room to rest. 12He told his servant Gehazi to go and call the woman. When she came, 13he said to Gehazi, “Ask her what I can do for her in return for all the trouble she has had in providing for our needs. Maybe she would like me to go to the king or the army commander and put in a good word for her.”

“I have all I need here among my own people,” she answered.

14Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can I do for her then?”

He answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is an old man.”

15“Tell her to come here,” Elisha ordered. She came and stood in the doorway, 16

4.16:
Gen 18.14
and Elisha said to her, “By this time next year you will be holding a son in your arms.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “Please, sir, don't lie to me. You are a man of God!”

17But, as Elisha had said, at about that time the following year she gave birth to a son.

18Some years later, at harvest time, the boy went out one morning to join his father, who was in the field with the harvest workers. 19Suddenly he cried out to his father, “My head hurts! My head hurts!”

“Carry the boy to his mother,” the father said to a servant. 20The servant carried the boy back to his mother, who held him in her lap until noon, at which time he died. 21She carried him up to Elisha's room, put him on the bed and left, closing the door behind her. 22Then she called her husband and said to him, “Send a servant here with a donkey. I need to go to the prophet Elisha. I'll be back as soon as I can.”

23“Why do you have to go today?” her husband asked. “It's neither a Sabbath nor a New Moon Festival.”4.23 SabbathNew Moon Festival: Such holy days were thought to be the best time to consult a prophet.

“Never mind,” she answered. 24Then she had the donkey saddled, and ordered the servant, “Make the donkey go as fast as it can, and don't slow down, unless I tell you to.” 25So she set out, and went to Mount Carmel, where Elisha was.

Elisha saw her coming while she was still some distance away, and said to his servant Gehazi, “Look — there comes the woman from Shunem! 26Hurry to her and find out if everything is all right with her, her husband, and her son.”

She told Gehazi that everything was all right, 27but when she came to Elisha she bowed down before him and took hold of his feet. Gehazi was about to push her away, but Elisha said, “Leave her alone. Can't you see she's deeply distressed? And the LORD has not told me a thing about it.”

28The woman said to him, “Sir, did I ask you for a son? Didn't I tell you not to raise my hopes?”

29Elisha turned to Gehazi and said, “Hurry! Take my stick and go. Don't stop to greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, don't take time to answer. Go straight to the house and hold my stick over the boy.”

30The woman said to Elisha, “I swear by my loyalty to the living LORD and to you that I will not leave you!” So the two of them started back together. 31Gehazi went on ahead and held Elisha's stick over the child, but there was no sound or any other sign of life. So he went back to meet Elisha and said, “The boy didn't wake up.”

32When Elisha arrived, he went alone into the room and saw the boy lying dead on the bed. 33He closed the door and prayed to the LORD. 34

4.34–35:
1 Kgs 17.21
Then he lay down on the boy, placing his mouth, eyes, and hands on the boy's mouth, eyes, and hands. As he lay stretched out over the boy, the boy's body started to get warm. 35Elisha got up, walked about the room, and then went back and again stretched himself over the boy. The boy sneezed seven times, and then opened his eyes. 36Elisha called Gehazi and told him to call the boy's mother. When she came in, he said to her, “Here's your son.” 37She fell at Elisha's feet, with her face touching the ground; then she took her son and left.

Two More Miracles

38Once, when there was a famine throughout the land, Elisha returned to Gilgal. While he was teaching a group of prophets, he told his servant to put a big pot on the fire and make some stew for them. 39One of them went out in the fields to get some herbs. He found a wild vine, and picked as many gourds as he could carry. He brought them back and sliced them up into the stew, not knowing what they were. 40The stew was poured out for the men to eat, but as soon as they tasted it they exclaimed to Elisha, “It's poisoned!” — and wouldn't eat it. 41Elisha asked for some meal, threw it into the pot, and said, “Pour out some more stew for them.” And then there was nothing wrong with it.

42Another time, a man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing Elisha twenty loaves of bread made from the first barley harvested that year, and some freshly-cut ears of corn. Elisha told his servant to feed the group of prophets with this, 43but he answered, “Do you think this is enough for a hundred men?”

Elisha replied, “Give it to them to eat, because the LORD says that they will eat and still have some left over.” 44So the servant set the food before them, and, as the LORD had said, they all ate and there was still some left over.

5

Naaman is Cured

51

5.1–14:
Lk 4.27
Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was highly respected and esteemed by the king of Syria, because through Naaman the LORD had given victory to the Syrian forces. He was a great soldier, but he suffered from a dreaded skin disease. 2In one of their raids against Israel, the Syrians had carried off a little Israelite girl, who became a servant of Naaman's wife. 3One day she said to her mistress, “I wish that my master could go to the prophet who lives in Samaria! He would cure him of his disease.” 4When Naaman heard of this, he went to the king and told him what the girl had said. 5The king said, “Go to the king of Israel and take this letter to him.”

So Naaman set out, taking 30,000 pieces of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and ten changes of fine clothes. 6The letter that he took read: “This letter will introduce my officer Naaman. I want you to cure him of his disease.”

7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and exclaimed, “How can the king of Syria expect me to cure this man? Does he think that I am God,5.7 God; or a god. with the power of life and death? It's plain that he is trying to start a quarrel with me!”

8When the prophet Elisha heard what had happened, he sent word to the king: “Why are you so upset? Send the man to me, and I'll show him that there is a prophet in Israel!”

9So Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and stopped at the entrance to Elisha's house. 10Elisha sent a servant out to tell him to go and wash himself seven times in the River Jordan, and he would be completely cured of his disease. 11But Naaman left in a rage, saying, “I thought that he would at least come out to me, pray to the LORD his God, wave his hand over the diseased spot,5.11 the diseased spot; or this place. and cure me! 12Besides, aren't the rivers Abana and Pharpar, back in Damascus, better than any river in Israel? I could have washed in them and been cured!”

13His servants went up to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can't you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?” 14So Naaman went down to the Jordan, dipped himself in it seven times, as Elisha had instructed, and he was completely cured. His flesh became firm and healthy, like that of a child. 15He returned to Elisha with all his men and said, “Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel; so please, sir, accept a gift from me.”

16Elisha answered, “By the living LORD, whom I serve, I swear that I will not accept a gift.”

Naaman insisted that he accept it, but he would not. 17So Naaman said, “If you won't accept my gift, then let me have two mule-loads of earth to take home with me,5.17 earth to take home with me: It was then believed that a god could be worshipped only on his own land. because from now on I will not offer sacrifices or burnt offerings to any god except the LORD. 18So I hope that the LORD will forgive me when I accompany my king to the temple of Rimmon, the god of Syria, and worship him. Surely the LORD will forgive me!”

19“Go in peace,” Elisha said. And Naaman left.

He had gone only a short distance, 20when Elisha's servant Gehazi said to himself, “My master has let Naaman get away without paying a thing! He should have accepted what that Syrian offered him. By the living LORD, I will run after him and get something from him.” 21So he set off after Naaman. When Naaman saw a man running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him, and asked, “Is something wrong?”

22“No,” Gehazi answered. “But my master sent me to tell you that just now two members of the group of prophets in the hill country of Ephraim arrived, and he would like you to give them 3,000 pieces of silver and two changes of fine clothes.”

23“Please take 6,000 pieces of silver,” Naaman replied. He insisted on it, tied up the silver in two bags, gave them and two changes of fine clothes to two of his servants, and sent them on ahead of Gehazi. 24When they reached the hill where Elisha lived, Gehazi took the two bags and carried them into the house. Then he sent Naaman's servants back. 25He went back into the house, and Elisha asked him, “Where have you been?”

“Oh, nowhere, sir,” he answered.

26But Elisha said, “Wasn't I there in spirit when the man got out of his chariot to meet you? This is no time to accept money and clothes, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, or servants! 27And now Naaman's disease will come upon you, and you and your descendants will have it for ever!”

When Gehazi left, he had the disease — his skin was as white as snow.

6

The Recovery of the Axe Head

61One day the group of prophets that Elisha was in charge of complained to him, “The place where we live is too small! 2Give us permission to go to the Jordan and cut down some trees, so that we can build a place to live.”

“All right,” Elisha answered.

3One of them urged him to go with them; he agreed, 4and they set out together. When they arrived at the Jordan, they began to work. 5As one of them was cutting down a tree, suddenly his iron axe head fell in the water. “What shall I do, sir?” he exclaimed to Elisha. “It was a borrowed axe!”

6“Where did it fall?” Elisha asked.

The man showed him the place, and Elisha cut off a stick, threw it in the water, and made the axe head float. 7“Take it out,” he ordered, and the man bent down and picked it up.

The Syrian Army is Defeated

8The king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his officers and chose a place to set up his camp. 9But Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, warning him not to go near that place, because the Syrians were waiting in ambush there. 10So the king of Israel warned the people who lived in that place, and they were on guard. This happened several times.

11The Syrian king became greatly upset over this; he called in his officers and asked them, “Which one of you is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12One of them answered, “No one is, Your Majesty. The prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel what you say even in the privacy of your own room.”

13“Find out where he is,” the king ordered, “and I will capture him.”

When he was told that Elisha was in Dothan, 14he sent a large force there with horses and chariots. They reached the town at night and surrounded it. 15Early the next morning Elisha's servant got up, went out of the house, and saw the Syrian troops with their horses and chariots surrounding the town. He went back to Elisha and exclaimed, “We are doomed, sir! What shall we do?”

16“Don't be afraid,” Elisha answered. “We have more on our side than they have on theirs.” 17Then he prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD answered his prayer, and Elisha's servant looked up and saw the hillside covered with horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha.

18When the Syrians attacked, Elisha prayed, “O LORD, strike these men blind!” The LORD answered his prayer and struck them blind. 19Then Elisha went to them and said, “You are on the wrong road; this is not the town you are looking for. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are after.” And he led them to Samaria.

20As soon as they had entered the city, Elisha prayed, “Open their eyes, LORD, and let them see.” The LORD answered his prayer; he restored their sight, and they saw that they were inside Samaria.

21When the king of Israel saw the Syrians, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, sir? Shall I kill them?”

22“No,” he answered. “Not even soldiers you had captured in combat would you put to death. Give them something to eat and drink, and let them return to their king.” 23So the king of Israel provided a great feast for them; and after they had eaten and drunk, he sent them back to the king of Syria. From then on the Syrians stopped raiding the land of Israel.

The Siege of Samaria

24Some time later King Benhadad of Syria led his entire army against Israel and laid siege to the city of Samaria. 25As a result of the siege the food shortage in the city was so severe that a donkey's head cost eighty pieces of silver, and 200 grammes of dove's dung6.25 dove's dung: This may be a popular term for a vegetable such as wild onions. cost five pieces of silver.

26The king of Israel was walking by on the city wall when a woman cried out, “Help me, Your Majesty!”

27He replied, “If the LORD won't help you, what help can I provide? Have I got any wheat or wine? 28What's your trouble?”

She answered, “The other day this woman here suggested that we eat my child, and then eat her child the next day. 29

6.29:
Deut 28.57
Lam 4.10
So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her that we would eat her son, but she had hidden him!”

30Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in dismay, and the people who were close to the wall could see that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31He exclaimed, “May God strike me dead if Elisha is not beheaded before the day is over!” 32And he sent a messenger to get Elisha.

Meanwhile, Elisha was at home with some elders who were visiting him. Before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “That murderer is sending someone to kill me! Now, when he gets here, shut the door and don't let him come in. The king himself will be just behind him.” 33He had hardly finished saying this, when the king6.33 Probable text king; Hebrew messenger. arrived and said, “It's the LORD who has brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for him to do something?”