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all who read the history of how fearful punishments God sometimes sends upon what careless people are apt to call trifling sins. It cannot be too often repeated that no sin against our Pure Holy God can be little. “ Whoso despiseth small things shall fall by little and little."
The next time that we are told of Elisha's using his miraculous power, is in the exercise of mercy and pity. A widow woman who feared the LORD came to Elisha to intreat help, as her husband's creditor was going to seize her two sons for bondsmen, because she could not pay her debt. Elisha answered, “ What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?” She said, “ Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.” Then Elisha bade her borrow as many empty vessels as she could, and then, having shut her door, she was to pour the oil into them. The widow obeyed, and went on pouring until her son had no more vessels to bring her. Then the oil was stayed, and ceased to flow. The widow hastened to tell Elisha what had come to pass, and he bade her sell the oil, and having paid her debt, to take the rest of its produce for herself and her children.
Another time, a number of the sons of the prophets at Gilgal began to eat some pottage into which by mistake some poisonous wild gourds had been put. When the men had tasted the pottage, they cried out to him, “O thou man of God, there is death in the pot !" But Elisha directly called for some meal, and having put it into the pot, he said, “ Pour out for the people, that they may eat ;” and they ate, and it was now good and wholesome food.
Another miracle recorded is still more striking, as being a very wonderful type of our Blessed LORD, when He fed the multitude in the wilderness. A man brought Elisha twenty barley loaves, and some full ears of corn, as a first-fruit offering, and he commanded that the food might be given to the people. Just as in after days the disciples asked our Saviour how it was possible to feed so many with a few loaves, so now Elisha's servant asked, “What, should I set this before an hundred men ?" But the Prophet answered, “Give the people that they may eat, for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.” So the food was set before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the Word of the LORD.
Another time, one of the sons of the prophets, hewing wood by the Jordan, lost his axehead in the water. He cried out, “Alas, master !” for it was a borrowed axe.
Then Elisha asked, “Where fell it ?” and when he knew the place, he cut a stick, and cast it into the water, and forth with the iron did swim and rose up, so that the man took it again. All these wonders caused Elisha to have a very great fame in Israel, and in the countries round.
THE SHUNAMMITE WOMAN.
THERE lived at Shunem a great woman,” a person of great riches and importance, with her husband. She seems also to have been a woman of piety and good works, and rejoicing in the presence of God's Prophet, for having once induced Elisha to eat in her house, he continued to stay there every time that he passed by. Then the woman said to her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God,
I which passeth by us continually; let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall, and let us set for him there a bed and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick, and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.”
Her husband agreed, and the little chamber was prepared with its simple furniture. One day when the Prophet was resting therein, he sent for his hostess, and asked her how he could reward her for her kindness, saying, “Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care, what is to be done for thee? Wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host ?"
But the Shunammite woman had no ambition, she was content to remain in the position given her by God; and she answered, “I dwell among mine own people.” She did not press forward with what was probably the real wish of her heart, but Elisha's servant Gehazi answered his master's “ What then is to be done for her ?”. by saying that she had no child, and doubtless that was the thing she most desired. Once more Elisha sent for the woman and told her that God would give her a son. mise was fulfilled, and in course of time a son was born to her.
Years passed on, and then one harvest, when the boy was well-grown, he went out to his
father, who was with the reapers, and became suddenly ill, owing probably to the heat of the
He said to his father, “My head ! my head !” The father told a lad that was near to
" carry the boy to his mother, and then this cherished only child sat upon her knees till noon, and died. The poor mother in her anguish of spirit, still turned to God and His Prophet as her only help. She carried the little corpse up to Elisha's room, and laid it on his bed, and having carefully shut the door, went to her husband. She did not tell him what had happened, she only asked him to let her have one of the asses, and one of his servants to attend on her that she might go to the man of God, and come again.
Her husband was rather surprised at her wish, as it was no day appointed to be kept holy; but she answered, “It shall be well,” and he let her go. She went with all the speed possible towards Mount Carmel ; and it came to pass, that when the man of God saw her afar off, he said to Gehazi, “ Behold, yonder is that Shunammite; run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband ? is it well with the child ?"