Raising the Dead; Blessed Again (2 Kings 4:18-37; 8:1-6) February 3
There are only a few episodes in the Old Testament wherein a dead person is brought back to life. Elijah had raised the son of the widow of Zarephath. And now we see Elisha performing a like miracle for one with whom he had a friendship similar to the one Elijah had with the Zarephathite widow. The Shunammite woman's son, who had been miraculously conceived, suddenly died of an unexplained cause. The mother traveled to Elisha and begged him to accompany her to her dead son, obviously fully believing that Elisha could bring him back to life. Elisha prayed to God and then established personal contact with the child twice, until the child awoke (2 Kings 4:33-35). We find that Christ often would touch people when He healed or resurrected them (see Luke 8:54-55), and His ministry is instructed to anoint a sick person with oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit (James 5:14), and to lay their hands on the head of a sick person (Mark 16:18). This signifies the power of the Holy Spirit flowing from God through the agency of His human representative into the sick person to heal, again establishing the important truth that God alone, through His Spirit, has the power and ability to perform right and profitable miracles. Also, God shows who His human representatives are by working through them, and the whole process of going to God's ordained servants for anointing helps strengthen the bonds His people have with these representatives and with God Himself.
Later, in 2 Kings 8, the Shunammite woman follows Elisha's instruction to leave Israel during a famine. This section appears to fall here sequentially since Gehazi is still in Elisha's service. (In our next reading, though an earlier chapter than 8, it appears that Gehazi departs from Elisha's presence.) Upon the Shunnamite woman's return, all her property is restored to her, and all the proceeds from her field are given to her as well. Thus, she was again blessed for following the instructions of God's prophet.