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2 Kings 4:38-41 – Death in the Pot

Summary

Elisha ministers to a serious situation inadvertently caused.

Analysis

When Elisha visits the company of the prophets in Gilgal, the problem of feeding the group in the midst of a famine is compounded by the unwitting addition of poisonous gourds, gathered earlier, to the stewpot. Elisha comes to the rescue with a simple solution that purifies the stew and allows the festivities to proceed, covering the mistakes that necessarily occur in our service to God. The story may have an echo in Matthew 17:24-27 where Jesus miraculously provides the temple tax Peter foolishly told the tax collectors Jesus would pay.

2 Kings 4:38-41

Elisha Purifies the Pot of Stew

38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. As the company of prophets was* sitting before him, he said to his servant, ‘Put the large pot on, and make some stew for the company of prophets.’* 39One of them went out into the field to gather herbs; he found a wild vine and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40They served some for the men to eat. But while they were eating the stew, they cried out, ‘O man of God, there is death in the pot!’ They could not eat it. 41He said, ‘Then bring some flour.’ He threw it into the pot, and said, ‘Serve the people and let them eat.’ And there was nothing harmful in the pot.

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10 February 2011

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