Friday, September 17, 2010

2 Kings 4-5

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

4:1-7 - The wife of a member of a company of prophets cried to Elisha that her husband was dead, and creditors were coming to take her two children as slaves. Elisha asked what he should do for he and if she had anything in the house. The woman replied that she had nothing except a jar of oil. Elisha told her to go outside and borrow many empty vessels from her neighbors. Then go inside her home and shut the door and with her and her children start pouring oil into each vessel until each was full, and then set the vessel aside. So the woman did this and filled vessel after vessel with oil. When she called to her so to bring her another vessel her son replied that there were no more vessels, and only then did the oil stop flowing. Elisha then told her to sell the oil and pay her debts, and she and her children could live off what was left.
4:8-37 - One day when Elisha was passing through Shunem, he passed by the house of a wealthy woman, who invited him inside to eat. So every time Elisha passed by her would stop to have a meal with her. The wife asked her husband if they could set up a room for Elisha to stay in whenever he came by, since she was certain he was a man of God. So one day when he came there he lay down in his chamber. He called to his servant Gehazi to summon the Shunammite woman to him. When she came to him he asked what he may do for her since she had gone through so much trouble to set up a room for him. Should he speak a word on her behalf to the king or to the commander of the army? The woman said no, she lives among her people. Elisha asked what may be done for her and Gehazi mentioned that she had no son and her husband is old. So Elisha asked for the woman to be called again. She stood in the door and Elisha said, "At this season, in due time, you shall embrace a son." The woman replied, "No, my lord, O man of God, do not deceive your servant." So the woman bore a son in due season just as Elisha had said.

When the son was older, he worked out in the fields with his dad. One day he cried out about his head. The father said to his servant to carry the boy to his mother. The child was brought to his mother. He sat in her lap all afternoon and then died. She laid him on Elisha's bed, closed the door on him and left. She asked her husband to get her one of the servants and a donkey so that she may go to the man of God and come back again. She saddled the donkey and told the servant to urge it on and do not hold back unless she told him to. So they set out and came to Elisha on Mount Carmel. Elisha told Gehazi to run down to the Shunammite woman and ask if she was alright, if her husband was alright, and if her child was alright. The woman answered that it was alright. When she came to Elisha she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi moved to push her away but Elisha said to leave her alone for she was in bitter distress, but he did not know why. The woman said, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not mislead me?" So Elisha told Gehazi to take his staff and go to the boy without speaking to anyone and touch the boy's forehead with it. The woman would not leave without Elisha. So Gehazi did as he was told but the child did not awaken. So Elisha went to the child himself. He saw the child lying dead on the bed, closed the door behind him and prayed to God. He lay on the child, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and hands to hands. The child became warm and opened his eyes. Elisha told Gehazi to summon the Shunammite woman, and when she arrived Elisha told her to take her son. She came and fell on her feet, bowing to the ground, then took her son and left.

5:2 - hen the Arameans were on a raid they took a young girl captive from Israel and she served Naaman's wife. Naaman was suffering from leprosy, and the girl told her mistress of the prophet in Sumaria who could cure Naaman of his leprosy. So Naaman went and told his lord what the girl had said.
5:26 - Elisha asks Gehazi, "Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and t accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves?"

My Comments

Am I think only one who thinks Elisha's beginning to sound alot like Jesus? So far he's done two miracles where he turned very little into a whole lot (the oil trick with the widow and feeding 100 men with very little food), brought a kid back from the dead, and cured a guy of leprosy. That right there is a lot of the same miracles Jesus did, and supposedly part of the reason why Jesus was so special. So how was Jesus so special when there had already been a guy who'd done all this before? I understand that Jesus filled alot of the prophecy that was written in the old testament, the most important being the sacrifice and rising from the dead thing. But still, Elisha is being really badass and I just have to wonder why no one seems to mention him that often. Or at least I wasn't taught a lot about Elisha when I was going through Sunday school and church services. Maybe church leaders don't feel like trying to answer questions about why Elisha and Jesus are so similar? Who knows, but I think it's really odd.

On another note, why is it that men seem to know when women need to have (or in some cases not have) babies? Like when Isaac prayed for Rebekah to have children, a pregnancy during which Rebekah was in immense pain and she even cried out to God why she must live through such pain. Deuteronomy makes mention that if a woman's husband dies and she has no sons then the husband's brother shall come into the woman, presumably the woman's wishes do not play a part in this (or at least the only time her wishes are mentioned is only in the case that the brother will not "perform"). Or in an instance when it is decided the woman shouldn't have children, their ability to have children can also be taken away without their consent much like how God played with Rachel and Leah's wombs, pitting the two against each other and never giving a thought as to what the two women would want. Even in the cases when the woman is barren and wants to be pregnant, like when Hannah wept and prayed to God to provide her a son, it is still ultimately God's decision on whether she will have that child or not. So it seems men know what needs to be done with a woman's body, whether it should be with child or without. And so often they make this decision and have it done without even checking with the woman first to see if that is what she actually want. Doesn't this seem like a gross violation of the woman's body? The woman takes NO PART in this decision whatsoever. Why isn't this seen as horrible? Though with this attitude strew all throughout the Bible, I guess it makes sense that pro-lifers feel that a woman has to choice over a fetus being in a woman's body or not. This idea, that a woman doesn't get to be an active participant in her own child bearing (including a participant in the decision on whether she even wants a baby or not) as become pretty ingrained in our culture, and I honestly blame alot of that on the Bible. When you think about it every year we're bombarded with the ultimate tale of a woman's body and what happens to it being completely not her choice. A woman who, without her consent at all, was impregnated and expected to carry that child to term and raise it and never had a chance to consent or say no.

Any guesses so far of whom I'm talking about?

Did you guess the virgin Mary?

Mary is raised up as the very model of a virtuous woman. But it seems her only real virtue is her ability to submit to men who have decided all on their own what will be done to her and when. This is something we are reminded of every year, whether we actually believe in the story or not. This reaffirmation just makes it harder for women to convince others that they can make choices about their own bodies, and that their decision are more valid than the decisions of others.

Monday: 2 Kings 6-8

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