Elisha And The Widow’s Oil

One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, “Jump! I’ll catch you.” He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, … More


The place where this incident took place is not stated but probably the widow lived in one of the cities where the schools of the prophets were situated. It records about Elisha and the widow in need. The wife of one of the prophets appealed to him on the basis that her husband is dead and the creditor is about to take her two sons.  It shares the miracle of Elisha concerning the provision of oil for the prophet’s widow (vv. 1-2). At the time this occurred, women were considered inferior so for God to send Elisha to help this widow was indicative of divine direction.


This widow turned to Elisha in her hour of need. She appealed to him on the basis that her husband had been faithful to the Lord. Elisha told her to collect empty jars and that God would fill them with oil (vv. 3-6). This was oil that was used for food and fuel. It doesn’t say how many jars she collected, but this would indicate the measure of the widow’s faith.


Once the jars were collected, the door was shut providing privacy for the pouring of the oil. Only the widow and her sons were to see the miracle take place (v. 7). God provided enough oil to fill all the jars. When she returned to Elisha with a report of the miracle, he told her to sell the oil and pay her debts. Selling the oil she was able to pay off all her debt, save her sons from starving, and have money left over to live on. This event demonstrates God’s care for his faithful followers who lived in apostate Israel at this time and His concern for widows and their special needs.





God’s provision of oil in this passage was only limited by the number of jars they gathered which was an indication of their faith. I will limit God by my lack of faith and obedience. He wants to do more than I can ask or think (Eph. 3:20).




II Kings 4:1-17 (English Standard Version)

Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves." And Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?" And she said, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil." Then he said, "Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside." So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." And he said to her, "There is not another." Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest." One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. And she said to her husband, "Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there." One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, "Call this Shunammite." When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, "Say now to her, 'See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?'" She answered, "I dwell among my own people." And he said, "What then is to be done for her?" Gehazi answered, "Well, she has no son, and her husband is old." He said, "Call her." And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. And he said, "At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant." But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Elisha had said to her.

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