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2 Kings 4:38 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Elisha came again to Gilgal. And there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and [there was] a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets [were] sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— When Elisha returned to Gilgal, [there was] a famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And Elisha came again to Gilgal. And [there was] a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets [were] sitting before him: and he said to his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Elisha came again to Gilgal. And there was a famine in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him. And he said to his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Now, Elisha, returned to Gilgal, and there was, a famine, in the land, and, the sons of the prophets, being seated before him, he said to his young man—Put on the large pot, and boil a mess of food, for the sons of the prophets.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Elisha hath turned back to Gilgal, and the famine [is] in the land, and the sons of the prophets are sitting before him, and he saith to his young man, 'Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And Eliseus returned to Galgal, and there was a famine in the land, and the sons of the prophets dwelt before him: And he said to one of his servants: Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And Elisha came againe to Gilgal, and there was a dearth in the land, and the sonnes of the Prophets [were] sitting before him: and hee said vnto his seruant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sonnes of the Prophets.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And Elisha{gr.Elisaie} returned to Gilgal{gr.Galgala}: and a famine [was] in the land; and the sons of the prophets sat before him: and Elisha{gr.Elisaie} said to his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and [there was] a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets [were] sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And l` אֱלִישָׁע 477
{0477} Prime
אֱלִישָׁע
'Eliysha`
{el-ee-shaw'}
Contracted for H0474; Elisha, the famous prophet.
came again 7725
{7725} Prime
שׁוּב
shuwb
{shoob}
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
to Gilgl גִּלגָּל: 1537
{1537} Prime
גִּלְגָּל
Gilgal
{ghil-gawl'}
The same as H1536 (with the article as a properly noun); Gilgal, the name of three places in Palestine.
and [there was] a dearth 7458
{7458} Prime
רָעָב
ra`ab
{raw-awb'}
From H7456; hunger (more or less extensive).
in the land; 776
{0776} Prime
אֶרֶץ
'erets
{eh'-rets}
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
and the sons 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of the prophets 5030
{5030} Prime
נָבִיא
nabiy'
{naw-bee'}
From H5012; a prophet or (generally) inspired man.
[were] sitting 3427
{3427} Prime
יָשַׁב
yashab
{yaw-shab'}
A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry.
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
before 6440
{6440} Prime
פָּנִים
paniym
{paw-neem'}
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
him: and he said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto his servant, 5288
{5288} Prime
נַעַר
na`ar
{nah'-ar}
From H5287; (concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication a servant; also (by interchange of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age).
Set y8239
[8239] Standard
שָׁפַת
shaphath
{shaw-fath'}
A primitive root; to locate, that is, (generally) hang on or (figuratively) establish, reduce.
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
on x8239
(8239) Complement
שָׁפַת
shaphath
{shaw-fath'}
A primitive root; to locate, that is, (generally) hang on or (figuratively) establish, reduce.
the great 1419
{1419} Prime
גָּדוֹל
gadowl
{gaw-dole'}
From H1431; great (in any sense); hence older; also insolent.
pot, 5518
{5518} Prime
סִיר
ciyr
{seer}
From a primitive root meaning to boil up; a pot; also a thorn (as springing up rapidly); by implication a hook.
and seethe 1310
{1310} Prime
בָּשַׁל
bashal
{baw-shal'}
A primitive root; properly to boil up; hence to be done in cooking; figuratively to ripen.
z8761
<8761> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 446
pottage 5138
{5138} Prime
נָזִיד
naziyd
{naw-zeed'}
From H2102; something boiled, that is, soup.
for the sons 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of the prophets. 5030
{5030} Prime
נָבִיא
nabiy'
{naw-bee'}
From H5012; a prophet or (generally) inspired man.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Kings 4:38

_ _ 2 Kings 4:38-41. Purifies deadly pottage.

_ _ there was a dearth in the land — (see on 2 Kings 8:1).

_ _ the sons of the prophets were sitting before him — When receiving instruction, the scholars sat under their masters. This refers to their being domiciled under the same roof (compare 2 Kings 6:1).

_ _ Set on the great pot — As it is most likely that the Jewish would resemble the Egyptian “great pot,” it is seen by the monumental paintings to have been a large goblet, with two long legs, which stood over the fire on the floor. The seethed pottage consisted of meat cut into small pieces, mixed with rice or meal and vegetables.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

2 Kings 4:38-44

_ _ We have here Elisha in his place, in his element, among the sons of the prophets, teaching them, and, as a father, providing for them; and happy it was for them that they had one over them who naturally cared for their state, under whom they were well fed and well taught. There was a dearth in the land, for the wickedness of those that dwelt therein, the same that we read of, 2 Kings 8:1. It continued seven years, just as long again as that in Elijah's time. A famine of bread there was, but not of hearing the word of God, for Elisha had the sons of the prophets sitting before him, to hear his wisdom, who were taught, that they might teach others. Two instances we have here of the care he took about their meat. Christ twice fed those to whom he preached. Elisha was in the more care about it now because of the dearth, that the sons of the prophets might not be ashamed in this evil time, but, even in the days of famine, might be satisfied, Psalms 37:19.

_ _ I. He made hurtful food to become safe and wholesome. 1. On the lecture-day, the sons of the prophets being all to attend, he ordered his servant to provide food for their bodies, while he was breaking to them the bread of life for their souls. Whether there was any flesh-meat for them does not appear; he orders only that pottage should be seethed for them of herbs, 2 Kings 4:38. The sons of the prophets should be examples of temperance and mortification, not desirous of dainties, but content with plain food. If they have neither savoury meats nor sweet meats, nay, if a mess of pottage be all the dinner, let them remember that this great prophet entertained himself and his guests no better. 2. One of the servitors, who was sent to gather herbs (which, it should seem, must serve instead of flesh for the pottage), by mistake brought in that which was noxious, or at least very nauseous, and shred it into the pottage: wild gourds they are called, 2 Kings 4:39. Some think it was coloquintida, a herb strongly cathartic, and, if not qualified, dangerous. The sons of the prophets, it seems, were better skilled in divinity than in natural philosophy, and read their Bibles more than their herbals. If any of the fruits of the earth be hurtful, we must look upon it as an effect of the curse (thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee), for the original blessing made all good. 3. The guests complained to Elisha of the unwholesomeness of their food. Nature has given man the sense of tasting, not only that wholesome food may be pleasant, but that that which is unwholesome may be discovered before it comes to the stomach; the mouth tries meat by tasting it, Job 12:11. This pottage was soon found by the taste of it to be dangerous, so that they cried out, There is death in the pot, 2 Kings 4:40. The table often becomes a snare, and that which should be for our welfare proves a trap, which is a good reason why we should not feed ourselves without fear; when we are receiving the supports and comforts of life we must keep up an expectation of death and a fear of sin. 4. Elisha immediately cured the bad taste and prevented the bad consequences of this unwholesome pottage; as before he had healed the bitter waters with salt, so now the bitter broth with meal, 2 Kings 4:41. It is probable that there was meal in it before, but that was put in by a common hand, only to thicken the pottage; this was the same thing, but cast in by Elisha's hand, and with intent to heal the pottage, by which it appears that the change was not owing to the meal (that was the sign only, not the means), but to the divine power. Now all was well, not only no death, but no harm in the pot. We must acknowledge God's goodness in making our food wholesome and nourishing. I am the Lord that healeth thee.

_ _ II. He made a little food to go a great way. 1. Elisha had a present brought him of twenty barley-loaves and some ears of corn (2 Kings 4:42), a present which, in those ages, would not be despicable at any time, but now in a special manner valuable, when there was a dearth in the land. It is said to be of the first-fruits, which was God's due out of their increase; and when the priests and Levites were all at Jerusalem, out of their reach, the religious people among them, with good reason, looked upon the prophets as God's receivers, and brought their first-fruits to them, which helped to maintain their schools. 2. Having freely received, he freely gave, ordering it all to be set before the sons of the prophets, reserving none for himself, none for the hereafter. “Let the morrow take thought for the things of itself, give it all to the people that they may eat.” It well becomes the men of God to be generous and open-handed, and the fathers of the prophets to be liberal to the sons of the prophets. 3. Though the loaves were little, it is likely no more than what one man would ordinarily eat at a meal, yet with twenty of them he satisfied 100 men, 2 Kings 4:43, 2 Kings 4:44. his servant thought that to set so little meat before so many men was but to tantalize them, and shame his master for making so great an invitation to such short commons; but he in God's name, pronounced it a full meal for them, and so it proved; they did eat, and left thereof, not because their stomachs failed them, but because the bread increased in the eating. God has promised his church (Psalms 132:15) that he will abundantly bless her provision, and satisfy her poor with bread; for whom he feeds he fills, and what he blesses comes to much, as what he blows upon comes to little, Haggai 1:9. Christ's feeding his hearers was a miracle far beyond this; but both teach us that those who wait upon God in the way of duty may hope to be both protected and supplied by a particular care of divine Providence.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

[[no comment]]

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

2 Kings 4:38

And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and [there was] a dearth in the (s) land; and the sons of the prophets [were] sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

(s) That is, in the land of Israel.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Elisha:

2 Kings 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
1 Samuel 7:16-17 And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. ... And his return [was] to Ramah; for there [was] his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Acts 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, [and see] how they do.

a dearth:

2 Kings 8:1 Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.
Leviticus 26:26 [And] when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver [you] your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.
Deuteronomy 28:22-24 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. ... The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
Deuteronomy 28:38-40 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather [but] little in; for the locust shall consume it. ... Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint [thyself] with the oil; for thine olive shall cast [his fruit].
2 Samuel 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, [It is] for Saul, and for [his] bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
Jeremiah 14:1-6 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth. ... And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because [there was] no grass.
Ezekiel 14:13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
Luke 4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

the sons:

2 Kings 2:3 And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your peace.
1 Samuel 19:20 And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing [as] appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

were sitting:

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Luke 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luke 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
Acts 22:3 I am verily a man [which am] a Jew, born in Tarsus, [a city] in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, [and] taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

Set on the great pot:

Mark 6:37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
Mark 8:2-6 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: ... And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before [them]; and they did set [them] before the people.
Luke 9:13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
John 21:5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
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Lv 26:26. Dt 28:22, 38. 1S 7:16; 19:20. 2S 21:1. 2K 2:1, 3; 8:1. Pv 8:34. Jr 14:1. Ezk 14:13. Mk 6:37; 8:2. Lk 2:46; 4:25; 8:35, 38; 9:13; 10:39. Jn 21:5, 9. Ac 10:38; 15:36; 22:3.

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