The multiplication of the barley loaves (2 Kings 4:42-4:44)

“A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits, to the man of God. He had twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said. ‘Give it to the people. Let them eat it.’ But his servant said. ‘How can I set this before a hundred people?’ So he repeated. ‘Give it to the people. Let them eat it. Thus says Yahweh. ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ He set it before them. They ate and had some left, according to the word of Yahweh.”

Along came a man from Baal-shalishah with food for the man of God. There was 20 barley loaves and fresh ears of grain. This is the only mention of Baal-shalishah in the biblical literature, so that it is hard to locate. Obviously the use of Baal in the name indicates that it might be from Baal territory. Anyway, Elisha tells his servant to feed 100 people with this food. The servant objected saying that it was not enough. Elisha repeated his command to feed them. There would be some left over because Yahweh has commanded it. Thus we have a mini-multiplication of the loaves that will reappear in the gospels about Jesus.

The Shunammite woman goes to Elisha (2 Kings 4:22-4:28)

“Then she called to her husband, and said. ‘Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so that I may quickly go to the man of God, and come back again.’ He said. ‘Why go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.’ She said. ‘It will be all right.’ Then she saddled the donkey. She said to her servant. ‘Urge the animal on. Do not hold back for me unless I tell you.’ So she set out. She came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant. ‘Look, there is the Shunammite woman. Run at once to meet her. Say to her. ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is the child all right?’ She answered. ‘It is all right.’ When she came to the man of God at the mountain, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi approached to push her away. But the man of God said. ‘Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress. Yahweh has hidden it from me. He has not told me.’ Then she said. ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say? Do not mislead me?’”

The Shunammite woman called her husband and asked him to bring a servant and a donkey. She was going to see the man of God at Mount Carmel. He wanted to know why she was going today since it was not the Sabbath or a new moon. She did not tell him that his son had died. She simply said that it would be okay. She set out quickly on the donkey until she got to Mount Carmel, which is on the northern coast. Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to greet her to find out if everything was all right. She said yes, but when she got to Elisha, she grabbed his feet. Gehazi wanted to protect his master, but Elisha knew that Yahweh had hidden sometime from him. She responded that she did not want to be tricked about having a son. Elisha knew that she was in distress.

Another fifty men get burned (2 Kings 1:11-1:12)

“Again King Ahaziah sent to Elijah another captain of fifty with his fifty men. He went up and said to him. ‘O man of God, this is the king’s order. ‘Come down quickly!’ But Elijah answered them. ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.’ Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.”

For a second time, King Ahaziah sent another 50 men to Elijah. This time they had orders that Elijah should come quickly. However, Elijah answered like he did for the first fifty. If I am a man of God, may you and your men be consumed with fire. Once again, right on cue, the fire from heaven devoured the captain and his 50 men. This was beginning to look like this was not an easy task for King Ahaziah’s men.

Elijah and the burning of the fifty men (2 Kings 1:9-1:10)

“Then King Ahaziah sent to Elijah a captain of fifty with his fifty men. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill. He said to him. ‘O man of God, the king says. ‘Come down.’ But Elijah answered the captain of the fifty. ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.’ Then fire came down from heaven. This fire consumed him and his fifty men.”

King Ahaziah sent a troop of 50 men with its captain to have Elijah come down to Samaria. However, Elijah had a response. If I am a man of God, then let fire from heaven come down and consume you and your men. Right on cue, the fire from heaven came down and consumed him and his 50 men.


Condemnation of the altar at Bethel (1 Kings 13:1-13:10)

“While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer incense, a man of God came out of Judah, by the order of Yahweh, to Bethel. He proclaimed against the altar by the order of Yahweh. He said. ‘O altar, altar, thus says Yahweh. A son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name. He shall sacrifice your priests of the high places who offer incense for you. Human bones shall be burned for you.’ He gave a sign the same day, saying. ‘This is the sign that Yahweh has spoken. The altar shall be torn down. The ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’ When the king heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying. ‘Seize him.’ But the hand that he stretched out against him withered so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down. The ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the order of Yahweh. The king said to the man of God. ‘Entreat now the favor of Yahweh your God. Pray for me, so that my hand may be restored to me.’ So the man of God entreated Yahweh. The king’s hand was restored to him. It became as it was before. The king said to the man of God. ‘Come home with me, and dine. I will give you a reward gift.’ The man of God said to the king. ‘If you give me half your kingdom, I will not go in with you. I will not eat food or drink water in this place. Thus I was commanded by Yahweh. You shall not eat food, or drink water, or return by the way that you came.’ So he went another way. He did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.”

While Jeroboam was sacrificing at the altar in Bethel, a man of God from Judah came up to him. He was both a man of God, thus a prophet, and from Judah, the land under King Rehoboam. This prophet made a proclamation, condemning the altar. Josiah from Judah would come and burn human bones on this altar. King Jeroboam stretched out his hand and ordered the man of God seized. However, the hand of Jeroboam withered up. In fact, the altar was torn down and ashes spread all over the place. Then Jeroboam asked the man of God for a favor. He wanted his hand restored. The man of God restored his hand. Then Jeroboam was happy and wanted to reward him by inviting him to dine with him. The man of God said that he had orders from Yahweh. ‘Do not eat or drink in that place.’ In fact, he was to return a different way than the way that he went there. The prophet, this man of God, left by a different way as he also refused to eat or drink with Jeroboam.