Prophet Pearls #4 – Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

Dr. Nehemia Gordon - Bible Scholar at

Nov. 8, 2022

In this week's episode of Prophet Pearls, Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-4:37), the miracles of Elisha yield fascinating pearls as Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the similarities and differences of Elisha’s and Elijah’s stories, the measure of spirit that Elisha really asked for, whether the Shunammite was full of faith or just evasive—and why her travels on Shabbat present problems for both rabbis and Karaites. Gordon looks at other instances of resurrection in the Tanakh and gives chapter and verse explaining how the books of the Tanakh are grouped according to three fields of knowledge. We also learn that whether the prophets are considered “classical” or “literary,” these guys completely expected to be kept in the loop.

The image at the top of this page entitled Elisha Prays Over the Shunnamite's Son is an original work of art created specially for this week's episode of Prophet Pearls by artist Timothy Welchel.

"When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed.
He went in...  and he prayed to Yehovah." (2 Kings 4:32-33)

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Prophet Pearls #4 - Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

You are listening to Prophet Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

Keith: Shalom chaverim shelanu! That means “Peace to you, our friends,” in Hebrew. This is Keith Johnson with Nehemia Gordon, ready to take another peek into the Prophets to see if we can find some pearls to share with you. Shalom chaver sheli, ata muchan? Are you ready?

Nehemia: Ani muchan! I’m ready, Keith. Shalom.

Keith: Hey, listen, Nehemia, a couple of times ago you talked about the meaning of “chaver.” Now, when I said “chaverim,” what did I say?

Nehemia:Chaverim” is friends, plural.

Keith: Plural. So, again remind us of the meaning of that word, “chaver.”

Nehemia, Yes, “chaver” is to be connected, someone you’re connected with. There’s this great word that we have in Hebrew, the word chevruta. Chevruta is this Jewish, Hebrew concept, which is two people who come together for study. They read Scripture together and they discuss it back and forth, and they argue and discuss and they look for the truth together. It is a form of fellowship and bonding between people. That’s really the meaning of the word “chaver,” to bond, to be bonded with someone.

Keith: So to be honest, these folks have been listening now this would be the… I think it is the fourth time that we’ll be speaking, and so when I said “chaverim shelanu”, these are the people that are with us, they’re connected with us.

Nehemia: You are our chaverim.

Keith: You are our chaverim. You’re the ones that are with us on this. So let’s get right into this. Nehemia, what we talk about in the portion is language, history, and context. We’re about to switch from what I would’ve traditionally understood as historical books. In other words, when we’re dealing with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Prophets, to have Kings connected, the first time I heard about that, it kind of threw me off. Because I think the Prophets are the names of the Prophets. So let’s talk a little bit about why Kings is a part of the Prophets.

Nehemia: Yes, so in ancient Hebrew culture you really had three fields of information of knowledge, and history wasn’t one of them. There were three fields of knowledge, and this is actually referred to in… and can we look at those verses?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: There are actually two verses that refer to this. There is the Torah, the Prophets, and the writings. Today we call them the Torah, the Prophets, and the writings, and that’s where we get the word Tanakh, which is the acronym for the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. But in ancient Israel they were described slightly differently, and it actually gives us a really cool perspective. For example, if we look at… let’s see…

Keith: It’s really interesting, while you continue looking in the computer, the reason that I’m bringing this up is that sometimes, at least in our English Bibles, there’s a different order that happens. For example, Chronicles is at the end of the Tanakh, in the Hebrew Bible, but it’s right after Kings in the English.

Nehemia: Right, because when they translated the Bible into Greek, the Greek way of thinking was that you had prophecy as one subject and another subject was history. That was just the way they thought. And so it’s broken into, I believe, five sections in the Greek Bible, which has carried over into your English, like in your King James Bible.

But in Hebrew we have three fields of knowledge. And so for example, there’s this great verse that references this, it’s in Ezekiel chapter 7 verse 26, and I love it because it starts off, “Hova hova al hova tavo.” I don’t think we have time to talk about that, but that’s the word that people translate as “disaster.” They say Yehovah is “hail disaster.” That’s like saying if you assume you’re making… can I say this?

Keith: No.

Nehemia: You know what happens if you assume - you make something out of “u” and “me”.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: That’s the kind of logic, which is saying Yehovah has anything to do with this word “Hova.” In Hebrew, it just sounds idiotic. Like, saying that assume has to do with that other word, which actually comes from Latin, it doesn’t have anything to do with that first part.

Anyway so, “Hova Hova al Hova tavo,” and really, it’s more like a rumor or a bad report. “Bad report upon bad depart shall come and rumor upon rumor shall be.” And it says, “U’bikshu chazon minavi.” “And they will seek vision,” chazon, “from the Prophet.” “Torah tuabad miKohen,” “Torah will be lost from the Kohen,” from the priest, “v’etzah mizkenim.” “And wisdom,” literally, good counsel, “wisdom from the elders.”

So we’ve got three fields of knowledge here: the Torah, the Prophets, and the wisdom. If you think about it, Tanakh really is Torah, Prophets, and wisdom. So we’ve got the Torah, that’s a no-brainer. The Prophets is a second section, it’s called that. The third field of information starts with Proverbs and it has Ecclesiastes. And then you ask the question, why isn’t Daniel… in the Hebrew Bible, why isn’t it in the Prophets? The answer, for me, is obvious. Daniel is not in the Prophets because it’s a wisdom book. It starts off talking about how he was trained in wisdom, and yes, he had prophecies, but primarily it’s not prophecy in what we call the classical prophet sense.

Keith: So we’re going to be starting in Kings, which is a part of the Prophets.

Nehemia: In the Hebrew, it’s a part of the Prophets. And one more verse that references this is in Jeremiah, just as a second witness, because I think it’s important that people know we have this concept of there are three fields of knowledge, but in ancient Israel there were… I mean, we actually have the liberal arts, how many of those are there, like eight or something?

So here in Jeremiah 18:18, which is the second verse, I’ll just skip into the middle of it, it says, “Ki lo tuvad Torah mi’Kohen,” For Torah is not lost from the priest, “v’etzah mi’chaham,” and good counsel or wisdom from the sage - so here it’s replaced “elder” with “sage” - “vedavar minavi,” and word from the Prophet. So it’s interesting - in Ezekiel he used the word chazon, vision, and here he uses the word “word,” devar. If you think about it, think about where that phrase that we have, the word of Yehovah came to so and so saying; devar actually means word, but also prophecy.

Keith: Amen. So here we are. We’ve got two connections with that. One, when I talk a lot about what changed my life, really changed my life, was being able to find this Torah scroll in Israel, and it’s right downstairs. Here, we’re together right now, still at the house. We’re here in Charlotte, and when you come in the house and you look to the left, you see that Torah scroll. The first thing that was sort of the thing that brought us together. And the words on the front of that Torah scroll, being the word of the Lord, and it’s the word devar.

But the thing that really has gotten me excited, and the reason that I have I’ve been encouraged about wanting to do Prophet Pearls and continuing to remind people about the original Torah Pearls, is just that I have in the last few months been reminded of how important it is to teach God’s people His word. I mentioned this when I was in San Diego. Early in the morning, Andrea and I were out there, I was speaking at an event, and I had one of those moments where I was praying early in the morning, it was dark, I was on Israel time; I had just gotten back from Israel. And I kept hearing five words over and over again: “Teach My people My word. Teach My people My word. Teach My people My word.”

And it’s so funny. So I come back and I’ve had my spiritual experience. And you’re really one of the first people that I told about this, Nehemia, after I got back from my “upside down in the earth” trip. And what did you do? You brought that verse, because I said to you, “Nehemia, I kept hearing this over and over again.” Now, take those verses and bring them in context.

Nehemia: Yes, so, to me, it’s obvious. The first verse says… and I hadn’t thought about this in the first verse, where it says, “Ki mi’tzion tetzeh Torah, udvar Yehovah mi’yerushalayim,” what it says in the front of your Torah scroll. “From Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of Yehovah from Jerusalem.” And I always just took those to be the same thing, but maybe they’re not. Meaning, we’ve got Torah, which is one thing, and then devar, which is prophecy, which is the other.

Keith: Wow.

Nehemia: And there’s that balance with Torah and prophecy. We did the Torah Pearls four years ago, and then we were discussing doing these Prophet Pearls when you told me about this experience you had. My first reaction was, “Well, there it is. You’re supposed to do the Prophet Pearls. God is telling you, teach My people My word.” And “word” in this biblical context means prophecy.

Keith: See this is amazing, folks…

Nehemia: We did the Torah and now the Prophets.

Keith: Again, we did the Torah and now we’re doing the Prophets. And so check those verses for yourself. But can we get right in, Nehemia, to 2nd Kings?

Nehemia: It’s pretty cool. Let’s do it.

Keith: We’re in 2nd Kings chapter 4, which I have to tell you right now, I’m going to change the game on you.

Nehemia: Why?

Keith: I’m going to change the game because this is three weeks in now, it’s the fourth week, and so I’m supposed to be here reading my little NIV, and then you get to say, “What you’re going to pass over that? You’re going to pass over that?” So I want you to open up the JPS. Could you tell people what the JPS is?

Nehemia: The Jewish Publication Society.

Keith: And read the English, I’m going to tell you why I want you to do that. So folks have enjoyed, Nehemia, hearing the portion in Hebrew on both of the sites - and At the Prophet Pearls, we have a recording of you reading the passage in Hebrew, and some people are like, “That’s not enough! Now, we want the translation, too!” We’re not going to do that, don’t worry. But I want to tell you much we appreciate that.

But could you open the JPS and read this story? Then I’ll kind of follow along, and we’ll stop where we need to stop. Folks, we want you to have at least one, at least, hopefully, two versions open, and let’s get started with 2nd Kings chapter 4. Read a couple verses, and we’ll stop every once in a while.

Nehemia: Yes, so this is the corresponding Prophets portion for the section of Vayeira, which is Genesis 18 through 22.

Keith: Tell them what “va’yeira means?

Nehemia:Vayeira” – “and he appeared”.

Keith: And he appeared.

Nehemia: That’s when Abraham had the vision. And what’s interesting about… when you read it it’s obvious in Hebrew why this was chosen as the corresponding portion. But let’s read it and then we’ll see. “A certain woman, the wife of one of the disciples of the prophets, cried out to Elisha: ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know how your servant revered the LORD.’” That’s, of course, in Hebrew “Yehovah”.

Keith: Wait, the JPS – say that again, the JPS does what?

Nehemia: Has “LORD” in capital letters.

Keith: Really?

Nehemia: Which represents “Yehovah” in the Hebrew.

Keith: Okay. Go ahead.

Nehemia: “‘And now a creditor is coming to seize my two children as slaves.’ Elisha said to her, ‘What…’”

Keith: Can I stop you?

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: You said it says – I learned this, is that what it says in the JPS? I’m going to do your thing. “Is that what it says in the JPS?”

Nehemia: Yes, can I read from the JPS?

Keith: No, you’re going to do both because you’re that talented. So what’s amazing is I want to ask the question. What it actually says, at least it’s my understanding, in the English Bible here that I have in the NIV, it says, “A man from the company of the prophets.” You said, “from the disciples of the prophets.”

Nehemia: That’s in JPS, yes.

Keith: I think the Hebrew says, “the sons”.

Nehemia: Right, “bnei hanevi’im.”

Keith: Okay, so what is your understanding of that?

Nehemia: It’s a really good question. So we first hear about these “sons of the prophets” back in the story with Saul, where he starts prophesying and they say, “Gam Shaul banevi’im,” “Is Saul also among the prophets.” It has a double meaning later. But there’s a band of prophets and he’s prophesying with it. So there were like these groups of companies, groups of prophets, chaverim of prophets that were bonded together, that would… it’s not exactly clear what these guys did.

Keith: I’m just asking this question to find out, since we’re doing Prophet Pearls, and where you and I are physically together, can we be teaching the Prophets?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: I’m not a prophet nor a son of a prophet.

Nehemia: And isn’t that interesting, the phrase, “I’m neither a prophet or the son of a prophet”?

Keith: Yes, there it is.

Nehemia: He doesn’t mean, “I’m not saying my father was a prophet.” What he means is, “I’m not part of that group called the Sons of the Prophets.”

Keith: You see how the JPS makes us stop and slows down? Keep reading.

Nehemia: All right. Yes, and the exact meaning isn’t exactly clear. “Elisha said to her,” and just, again, there are these two characters in these stories. There’s Elijah and Elisha. And I guess in English you say Elisha.

Keith: Yes, Elisha.

Nehemia: Which sounds a lot like Elijah. In Hebrew, they don’t sound the same at all. One is called Eliyahu, Elijah (El-i-jah), and the other is called Elisha (El-ee-shah), which is Elisha. I’m just going to say Elisha. “Elisha said to her, ‘What can I do for you? Tell me, what…’”

Keith: Stop, please. I’m sorry, Nehemia. Please bear with me. How can we pass, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? We’re going to pass by the meaning of his name? Tell us what his name means, Nehemia. When I’m looking at the Hebrew Bible, it seems kind of interesting to me. It’s worth slowing down to tell us the names. And then I want us to do something just a little bit in terms of context, that I think will bless you, that actually brings back history for you and me. So tell us about the meaning of his name.

Nehemia: So the name Eliyahu, Elijah, means, “My God is Yehovah.” And Elisha means “My God saves.”

Keith: And what are the two Hebrew words?

Nehemia:Eli,” “asha,” and it’s the same root as Yeshua, salvation; the same as Yehoshua, “Yehovah saves,” or Yeshua for short.

Keith: Amen. Thank you. That’s good teaching.

Nehemia: So Elisha is “My God saves.”

Keith: And also, before we get to going too far in this story, folks, and bear with me, I want to give a little context. We had the prophet Elijah and then Elisha, and there was this interaction. I still remember this from 12 years ago, you’re not going to remember it. We were in the Old City of Jerusalem and we were reading the Bible, and I peeked over your shoulder and you were reading, you were translating in English, but I thought you were reading English. And so I said to you, “Nehemia, it’s like the situation with Elijah and Elisha. Elisha asked for the double portion.” And what did you say?

Nehemia: “That’s not what it says in Hebrew.”

Keith: You think I’m going to let us skip by that. Come on, two chapters earlier, go to the Word of the Week. Would you be willing to go to the word of the week and read what he said?

Nehemia: That’s the Word of the Week?

Keith: No, it’s not the Word of the Week. I was just excited. It’s just a word.

Nehemia: So here we have the word. 2 Kings chapter 2 verse 9 in the Hebrew…

Keith: Verse what?

Nehemia: Chapter 2 verse 9. In the English, yeah, it’s the same thing in the English. “And it came to pass when they passed over and Eliyahu said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I will do for you before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said…”

Keith: “Give me the double portion.” That’s what it says in English.

Nehemia: No.

Keith: We’ve preached messages on this. Are you kidding? This is huge! “I want the double portion.”

Nehemia: He says, “And let please two-thirds of your spirit be to me.” He’s asking for two-thirds.

Keith: What’s the word, Nehemia?

Nehemia: And the word is “pi,” pei yud. And it’s really cool, they found in ancient Israel this weight that said on it these letters “pi” and it’s a third of a shekel. And they found the “pi” and pei yud mem, which is two of these “pi’s” and it’s two-thirds of a shekel. Shekel was a weight then, not money.

And then we have another verse in Zechariah 13:8, where it says, “‘And it shall come to pass, that in all the land,’ sayeth the LORD, ‘two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.’” And all the translations admit that that’s two-thirds. And that’s the same exact phrase in Hebrew. Like, there it has to be two-thirds. It doesn’t make sense. And you could say, “‘And it shall come to pass in all the earth,’ sayeth the LORD, ‘a double portion in it shall be cut off and shall die; and a third will be…’” that doesn’t even make sense.

Keith: Now, a little context, a little history. So here you’ve got…

Nehemia: Yes, because that’s the disciple.

Keith: …the disciple coming to the teacher, and it isn’t coming saying, “I want to be two times better than you.” That’s kind of what happens in society. Instead, he’s saying, “Can I just have two-thirds of you? Can I just have that section?” And I thought that was really interesting. That was the first time - you don’t remember, it was the first time when I thought, “Wait a minute, he’s reading from the Hebrew, I’m reading from the English. I use words here once in a while to impress the congregation, but I’m not reading in context. I need to learn to read it like that.” And that was the story, and like I said, you don’t remember this, that actually convicted me. It made me say, “Wait a minute, what do you mean that’s what it says?” Sure enough, I went and checked, and can I say?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: You were right.

Nehemia: Of course I was right!

Keith: No. Now let’s go. This is the two-thirds prophet. The two-thirds prophet is going now… and we’re going to see in the chapters following, in our section, how it was that it showed that that prayer was answered.

Nehemia: I think it’s cool that’s he’s… like the way your Christian version, where it’s “double”, which, that’s a little alien to me, he wants to be greater than him. Whereas where he says, “I just want two-thirds of your spirit.” That’s humility.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Isn’t that amazing?

Keith: That is amazing. So now, I won’t stop you.

Nehemia: And it makes sense. I mean we have these patterns in the Bible. We’ve got Moses and Joshua. Joshua wasn’t twice as great as Moses. He was a shadow of Moses. And Elisha, in a sense, is a shadow of Elijah.

Keith: Awesome. Now continue. I won’t stop often.

Nehemia: Okay. “Elisha said to her, ‘What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you in the house?’ She replied, ‘Your maidservant has nothing at all in the house, except a jug of oil.’”

Keith: So, literally, “I have nothing.”

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: But Elisha says…

Nehemia: “All I’ve got is a jug of oil.”

Keith: “How can I help you?” And then he immediately says… he doesn’t let her even answer. He says, “How can I help you? Tell me what you have in your house.”

Nehemia: Well, he’s got an idea how he can help her.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: He knows where this is going.

Keith: Because she gave context. She said, “Look, I’ve got… there’s a problem.” And if we go into this idea of the creditor and the debtor and what you owe and how far that debt can go, we have stories about that throughout Scripture. So I think this is kind of interesting for those who are reading different sections of the Bible, you actually see this story and this concept coming out. So go ahead.

Nehemia: “Go,” he said, “and borrow vessels outside from all your neighbors, empty vessels, as many as you can. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your children, and pour oil into all those vessels, removing each one as it is filled.” So this is the never-ending pouring oil.

Keith: The never-ending pouring oil. Go ahead.

Nehemia: It’s kind of like the Big Gulp at these fast food restaurants where they’ve got the never-ending refills.

Keith: Exactly. Yes.

Nehemia: “She went away and shut the door behind her and her children. They kept bringing vessels to her and she kept pouring. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ He answered her, ‘There are no more vessels’, and the oil stopped. She came and told the man of God, and he said…” I think that’s cool he’s called here, “Ish ha’Elohim,” the man of God.

Keith: Ish ha’Elohim.

Nehemia: Like, we know who he is, why don’t you just call him Elisha? But yes, he’s “Ish ha’Elohim,” the man of God. “And he said, ‘Go sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your children can live on the rest.’” I think that’s cool.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: I think that’s cool, the principle there, because he could have said, “Well, save everything you’ve got because you’re starving and forget that debt, or just renege on your debt.” Instead, I think it’s interesting he says first thing, you pay your debt, get out of debt, get that gorilla off your back.

Keith: Get the gorilla off your back.

Nehemia: And then you go and eat what you have. Whatever is leftover, that’s what you’re going to survive on.

Keith: What actually jumped off the page for me is just this idea of him coming to her, and he could have been completely spiritual about it. He could have been real spiritual. And she says, “Here’s the situation. I’ve got the debtors. I got this,” and he could’ve said, “Let me just pray for you. Let me pray for peace for you. Let me pray for protection for you.”

But he doesn’t do that in this situation. What he says is, “How can I help you? What do you have in your house? I know it’s time to get to work.” And to be honest with you, what I love about the story is he puts action to the faith. It’s a spiritual thing that took place. I mean, look, the oil didn’t run out? I mean this oil just kept going and going? That’s spiritual. What’s practical about it? She’s in debt. She needs financial help. And he doesn’t come and say, “Well, let’s just overly spiritualize this.”

Nehemia: Well, he could have said, “Show me the bill of debt,” and then waved his hand over it and said, “This is not the debt you are looking at.” And made it disappear. He could have miraculously made the ink fade from the bill of debt and made it go. Instead, he said, “We’re going to pay the debt. You’re legitimately in debt. You owe the money. Let’s pay.”

Keith: Now, let me get a little - it’s okay for me because I’m talking about my tradition. One of the things that I really, really have struggled with in being a part of the tradition I come from is the way that money is sometimes manipulated and people are sometimes manipulated by money.

So in this situation, from my tradition, what would have happened is she would have come forward and said, “Here’s my situation, I’m in debt.” And what many people from my background would have said is, “Give us the seed of your debt, and it will then be magnified.” They would’ve told the lady who is poor, “You give that money.” In other words, I’m just telling you now. “You give me whatever it is that you have. And then we’re going to pray that somehow it will be increased.”

Nehemia: Can…

Keith: Let me finish. So one of the things that I think is so interesting about this story is that there’s none of that. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, because we have another story.

Nehemia: Now can I play the Methodists advocate?

Keith: What? No, just a second. We have another story where in fact there was something that was given to the prophet, Elijah.

Nehemia: Right. And that was with Elijah where he said, “What do you have?” And she’s like, “I’ve got very little stuff.” He’s like, “First, make me some bread and then you can eat.”

Keith: “Make me some bread and then you can eat.”

Nehemia: So there in that situation he said, “If you sow into my ministry first.” I have seen some of the exploitation that you’re talking about, “Get yourself out of debt,” which, wait a minute, first let’s take care of our responsibilities. But there definitely is this idea that if you give to God you can… can I say this?

Keith: You can say what you like.

Nehemia: That He will bless you.

Keith: Yes. Amen. Like I said, I’ve seen a lot of…

Nehemia: That’s 2 Kings 17 verse 10, for those who were wondering.

Keith: Yes. I’ve seen a lot of what I call not the big picture, not the context, but just the focusing only on the one aspect rather than the whole. And I think that’s what’s amazing about these stories. And I’ve got to be honest with you, Nehemia. I love the prophets. I love Jeremiah. I love Isaiah. I love the prophets. And now, understanding this is a part of the prophets, I have to tell you when these kinds of stories come across and I’m reading, I can read them over and over again. They just get better and better as we go.

Nehemia: So can we talk about… you brought up Jeremiah and Isaiah and Ezekiel and whomever else you mentioned. So when one of the concepts that they talk about is that there are actually two types of prophets in the Tanakh from the Hebrew perspective.

There is what’s sometimes called the classical prophets, who you just mentioned, Jeremiah, and et cetera. And I love the image particularly of Jonah, because we actually see in action how his prophecy functioned. When it comes to Isaiah we rarely see what was the context; we have to imagine the context in which he spoke those words.

With Jonah, we see what was the context. He’s walking through the streets of Nineveh for three days, and he’s just walking back and forth, up and down the streets saying, “arba’im yom ve’Nineveh nehepechet,” “40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” That’s the entire sum of his prophecy in Hebrew, four words - “arba’im yom ve’Nineveh nehepechet.” So that’s how his prophecy took place.

But, by and large, these are what are sometimes called literary prophets. Whereas Elijah and Elisha, as far as we know, as far as we can tell from reading these accounts, they’re what are referred to as miracle workers. Meaning we don’t have the prophecy of… we’ve got little snippets, all right. But we don’t really have the Book of Elijah or the Book of Elisha. Where are those books? Did Elijah and Elisha prophesy like that, with all this beautiful poetry? I mean, what we see a lot from Elijah is he’s mocking the prophets of Baal. “What’s the matter, is you’re God asleep? Is he walking on the way?” But we don’t have this kind of elaborate literary prophecy, and that’s just worth noting. I mean, I don’t know that we can make anything of it. It just is what it is. There were two different callings, and each calling has its place.

Keith: Yes. Well, let’s do this...

Nehemia: Can we quickly read 1 King 17 since you brought it up?

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: And this is Elijah. So, he went to Sarepta, or Zaephath, “And when he came to the entrance of the town, a widow was there gathering wood; and he called to her, ‘Please, bring me a little water in your pitcher and let me drink.’” Which, of course, brings back the image of Genesis 24. “And she went to fetch it. He called out to her, ‘Please, bring me a piece of bread for me, as Yehovah your God lives.’” I love that. He says, “as Yehovah your God,” because she’s a Canaanite in Sarepta. “‘As Yehovah your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I have nothing baked, nothing but a handful of flour in the jar, and a little oil in a jug. I’m just gathering a couple of sticks so that I can go home and prepare it for me and my son, we shall eat it, and then we shall die.’” This was during the famine.

Then verse 13, “‘Don’t be afraid,’ said Elijah to her. ‘Go and do as you have said, but first make me a small cake from what you have there and bring it out to me. Then make something for yourself and your son. For thus says Yehovah, the God of Israel: The jar of flour shall not give out, and the jug of oil shall not fail, until the day that Yehovah sends rain upon the ground.’”

So the parallel between 1 Kings 17 and what we just read in 2 Kings 4 is obvious. We’ve got this never-ending oil, and the never-ending flour, and in a sense, Elijah’s miracle is greater, right? Elijah’s miracle wasn’t just until you run out of vessels, it was until the famine ends. As long as you need, it’s going to be given to you, whereas that wasn’t the case in the story with Elisha. And it’s different, he’s saying, “First feed me,” whereas Elisha’s saying, “First pay your debt.” It’s interesting.

Keith: Amen. Okay, now, I’m going to read this next part. You can stop me, and we’ll read a paragraph, and then we’ll have you read a paragraph. I’m going to read 8 through 10, and if there’s something that jumps off the page you stop. “One day Elisha” - or “God saves” - “went to Shunem, and a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, ‘I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.’” And I’m convinced, and I want to know for sure, Nehemia, whether or not this is a Prophet portion or whether you slipped this in. I’m dead serious. Is this actually historically a portion from the Prophets?

Nehemia: It is.

Keith: Because, folks, I want to give a little context here. I feel like I’m reading this story, and it’s exactly what I’ve done for Nehemia. He’s in an upper room. Andrea said, “Make sure you put a lamp in there for him and a table.” So Andrea and I, we set this room up and whenever he comes by now, he’s been here a while. But the story, come on. And he’s traveling along and the different people… I mean I assume he didn’t have his own shtick. He must have had someone…

Nehemia: Right. He was a Wandering Jew, like me. And for the last two years, I’ve actually really started to identify with Elisha. He wandered, he didn’t have a place of his own. He would go from house to house, from city to city. And that’s really what I’ve done. I spent about a year in China. But other than that, since mid-2012, I’ve had this experience, and I do want to give a shout-out to my friends, Mark and Karen and my friend Stan who have opened their homes to me, and also others who open their homes to me and took me in. Now, Tim and Deb, as well, who, like this woman, said, “We’ve got a room for you.”

Keith: Look, are you going to say Keith and Andrea? Are you kidding?

Nehemia: Keith and Andrea! What do you mean? You just plugged yourself. Thank you, Andrea. No, but seriously, I really feel blessed, and I really get some little inkling of what Elisha must have felt. “Okay, so where do you live, Elisha?” “Well, where am I sleeping tonight?”

Keith: Exactly. And I think that’s what’s amazing, and this is where the story is going to get exciting. Would you just read the next three verses here?

Nehemia: Sure. Okay. “One day he came there; he retired to the upper chamber and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call that Shunammite woman.’ He called her, and she stood before him. He said to him, ‘Tell her, you have gone to all this trouble for us. What can we do for you? Can we speak in your behalf to the king or to the army commander?’ She replied, ‘I live among my own people.’”

Keith: Now, Nehemia, I want to tell you - so I’m reading this, and I mean this is context. We’ve got to get the context. So he comes and says, “What can we do for you? Shall we speak to the king or shall we speak to the commander?” Why does he ask that? And why does she say, “No, I live among my own people.” If you’re just reading…

Nehemia: So he wants to reward her somehow, and here’s the really interesting thing, that is really easy to miss. If you look at Elijah, Eliyahu, and Elisha - Elijah versus Elisha - Elisha has some issues with the king and the ruling regime, but he really backs up and he’s a man of the establishment, whereas Elijah is completely anti-establishment. Elijah is hunted like a dog by Jezebel and Ahab, and they hate him, and the establishment literally wants to kill him.

Whereas Elisha, the establishment is wary of him, but they know they’re indebted to him. There are battles where he’s the decisive factor. And it’s interesting, I love that when Elijah goes up to heaven in the chariot of fire, do you remember what Elisha says to him? He calls him, “rechev Israel u’parashav,” “the chariots of Israel and its cavalry, its horsemen.” And then that becomes the title of Elisha. And why is that the title of Elisha? Because Israel goes out to battle and they realize the prophet… if we’re not right with God, and this is his representative through this prophet, then we’re not going to win these battles. And even when they’ve sinned, they can come to Elisha - and these are sinning kings who deserve punishment, but when it comes to defending God’s people, he steps in and says, “I’m not going to let them be utterly destroyed by the Syrians,” who are our enemy to this very day, interestingly enough. So there’s this contrast. So Elisha can go to the king and the general; Elijah can’t do that can.

Keith: He can’t do that.

Nehemia: He goes to the general and says, “Hey, this woman I think she has favor with me.” “Oh, I’ll kill that woman.” That would have been their response to Elijah, but Elisha’s a different story. It’s two really different approaches to establishment

Keith: It really is. And Nehemia, I want to do something if it’s okay, we’re plugging along here. But I think it’s really interesting that the first story is about a poor woman, the second story is about a rich woman and she said that she’s well-to-do. And then in her answer, she says, “Now, listen, I have a home among my own people.” Is there something that we’re missing? In other words, why is that her response? Why does she say, “I have a home among my own people”?

Nehemia: My understanding of that is she’s not really interested in what’s going on with the king or the army commander.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: She lives in the village, and she’s doing really well in the village.

Keith: “I’m doing fine.”

Nehemia: She’s like a noblewoman.

Keith: She’s like we’ve got some friends that are friends with us. They’re the kind of people that live off in an area, they’re kind of off the grid, if I can say, and they love being off the grid, “We’re not on Facebook.” I hope some of them are able to click in to listen to us, but they’re like the woman, they’re like, “Listen, don’t go speak to the government for me. Don’t put my name in that. I’m fine, I’m doing just fine.” But then he goes beyond that.

And before we move on, Nehemia, in all seriousness, you have been going from place to place and doing thing to thing. And before we move on, certainly in this particular episode, we don’t have any Prophet Pearl partners that have said they’re going to help us; it’s on you and me. So would you be willing to take… you know, it’s time for a Ministry Minute. Can you just give us a little context about what your ministry is? You say your going from place to place - what does that mean?

Nehemia: Keith and I each have different ministries. Mine, as I’ve mentioned, is called Makor Hebrew Foundation. My website is In addition to experiencing the experience of Elisha as the Wandering Jew, and I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I’m definitely wandering around teaching the words of the prophets to the best of my ability. The name of my ministry, Makor, M-A-K-O-R, really came from this idea of, it’s a spring of water. That’s another reason I just love that word. There’s the verse in Jeremiah I’ve mentioned where it says, “They’ve abandoned Yehovah the makor,” he has that word, the spring of living water. And then we’ve got the story about Elisha, where he goes to Jericho, it’s a few chapters later, we’re not going to get to it in this section, or maybe it’s a few chapters earlier. He goes to Jericho and there’s this spring of water that’s causing death, and he heals the water, and those very same waters that cause death, they then become the source of life. And that’s what I want to share with people, this makor, this Hebrew makor, this Hebrew source, which is a source of life. That’s why I called my ministry that, because that’s really what it’s about for me - empowering people, giving them the water so they can drink, and teaching them to have these tools so they can access the Word of God directly, because those really are living waters that give life.

Keith: Amazing. So people can actually go to and they’re able to support what you’re doing. They can actually become a group of supporters, it’s my understanding.

Nehemia: Yes, it’s a support team.

Keith: Yes, a support team. So folks, if you’re listening to this, obviously, that means that you’re getting some of the water that’s come forth. Nehemia, I don’t know where you’ll be by the time we record this. Right now you’re in the upper room in my place, the Wandering Jew, and it’s an honor, it’s a blessing to have you here, but I know that that’s not where you going to be long term. You’re going to continue to be led as you go, and people that open their homes, et cetera.

For me, inspiring people around the world to build a biblical foundation for their faith. The number one thing I want to challenge people to consider is, we’ve got three groups of people. We’ve got folks who come in to look and see, they just want to see what we’re doing, and, literally, they can go to the front page of and spend - I think, that the number right now is something like two and a half to three hours and never leave the home page, just watching previews and that sort of thing.

And then you’ve got episodes, the first episodes. And then you’ve got Scripture bytes on the front that you can click to. And then you’ve got the Prophet Pearls on the front. But the second group of people - and I have to give you some serious kudos right now - folks, Nehemia, while he’s up here, he’s not just hanging around and eating, and drinking out of my cup, and sleeping in the bed. He actually is helping me find the oil. Because you helped me Nehemia - there’s a group of people that are free members, many of you that are listening, you’ve registered on our site. This is really hilarious. We didn’t know that there was a whole group of people that hadn’t been getting our email that are free members. These are people that are registered at, and we struggled back and forth, and finally, we put Nehemia on it and he - how can I say it? He helped us find you. We now have a list that’s almost as big as his.

Nehemia: You must sign up for my email list, though, it’s better than Keith’s!

Keith: This is my Ministry Minute!

Nehemia: Sign up for free.

Keith: But the thing is, for those people - we are going to continue to challenge and pray for them to consider taking the next step, which is to become premium content library members, because there are two things that happen. One, you get even more information. But two, as a result of that minor $9.99 a month, it helps us to prepare for the other many things that we have that we do. We’re not a big fundraising ministry. We are a ministry that wants to continue to push getting the information out there, and that’s what we’ve done. So go to, become a free member, and upgrade to a premium content library member so we can keep putting out amazing information, inspiration, and revelation. Good enough? Can we move on?

Nehemia: Yes. Can I just say one more thing about ministry and this whole thing of my ministry being called “Makor,” which is the source of water, living water? And that’s actually one of the themes that we see if we…, and again, it just the way I think - we’ve got to compare Eliyahu and Elisha. Elijah, some people have said, was the prophet of fire. Think about Mount Carmel, and we’ll get to that in one of the Prophet portions. He brings down the fire. And Elisha is the prophet of water. It’s pretty cool. Elijah brings the famine, and the famine actually was that there was no rain, and it’s dry, and the land is burning up. So he’s all about fire. Not all about, but that’s one of the themes in the stories of Elijah, of his ministry. And in the ministry of Elisha, the theme is water. He’s referred to in one passage, as the man who washed the hands of Elisha. Meaning, he’s pouring the water over Elijah’s hands. I think perhaps me being Makor, I’m Elisha, and you’re Elijah the prophet - no, not the prophet, but the Ministry of Fire.

Keith: Fire!! I love the fire.

Nehemia: You give the firebrand sermons.

Keith: We need the fire and we need water sometimes.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So, can we continue? She says, “‘I have a home among my people.’ ‘What can be done for her?’ He asked. And then the servant said,” and I think this is interesting, he says, “She has no son, and her husband is old.” When I see that line, Nehemia, I have to be honest, I’m just reminded of what the dynamics must be that Elisha is busy about his business, he’s preparing, he’s praying, et cetera. He hadn’t had time to sit down and find out what her family’s circumstances are. His servant who’s with him however, did. So, he knew how old the husband was, that she didn’t have a son. And where I give a lot of credit to Elisha there is that he’s asking, “Well, what’s her situation? What is her family circumstance? What can we do for her? She’s well to do. Her house is big enough for me to live in.”

Nehemia: She doesn’t need oil. She doesn’t need flour. She needs a child.

Keith: Well, that’s what the verse says, so can you read in the JPS and see what it says?

Nehemia: Yes. So, verse 15, “‘Call her,’ he said. He called her, and she stood in the doorway. And Elisha said, ‘At this season next year, you will be embracing a son.’ She replied, ‘Please, my lord, man of God, do not delude your maidservant.’”

Keith: I’m sorry, Nehemia, are you reading from the…

Nehemia: JPS, verses 15-16.

Keith: Would you read verses 15 and 16 again?

Nehemia: “‘Call her,’ Elisha said. He called her, and she stood in the doorway. And Elisha said, ‘At this season next year, you will be embracing a son.’ She replied, ‘Please, my lord, man of God, do not delude your maidservant.’”

Keith: That’s the best the JPS can do?

Nehemia: That’s what we have in the JPS. Do you want me to read it from Hebrew?

Keith: Well, I wanted to stop you for a second, you JPS reader, you English translation reader. When I look in the Hebrew in verse 15, it says, “And he called onto her,” and he said, “lamo’ed hazeh ka’et chayah.” Does it say that in the Hebrew, or maybe I’ve got a different…

Nehemia: That’s what it says in the Hebrew.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: Do you want me to read from the Hebrew?

Keith: No.

Nehemia: I prefer to read from the Hebrew.

Keith: Nehemia, you’ve got to work with me on this. When I see that line, “lamo’ed hazeh,” I think it’s almost like he’s saying, “at the appointed time.”

Nehemia: That’s exactly what he’s saying.

Keith: At the appointed time.

Nehemia: Mo’ed is the appointed time.

Keith: At the time of life, could it be? I mean, he gives this phrase - when this phrase comes up I immediately stop and I say, “If I’m her and I’m hearing that, she’s saying…” It isn’t so simple. Let me read the NIV in verse 15. “Then Elisha said, ‘Call her.’ So he called her, and she stood in the doorway.’” And here’s what it says in the NIV, “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you’re going to will hold a son in your arms.” “About this time next year.” He says at the “mo’ed,” at the appointed time. In other words, it’s already on the calendar. It’s like he’s making this prophetic statement and for her, she’s got to be like, “Wait a minute, you’re telling me that this is like a setup. It’s all figured out. It’s going to be an appointed time.” And the second part of the phrase is what made me slow down. What does the second? Now, you can go ahead. You want to get from the JPS?

Nehemia: No, I don’t want to read the JPS. Can I…

Keith: Go to the Hebrew.

Nehemia: Can I read from Genesis?

Keith: Please.

Nehemia: So why was the section chosen? Because of the verse we just read. Because the exact phrase appears in Genesis 18, when the three angels appear to – I mean it’s uncanny. In fact, it’s so close, I really have to conclude that when the prophet wrote this he had burned in his mind the story of Sarah, and he had to describe it in those terms.

So let’s look at the elements we have here. So we have the exact phrase, “lamo’ed.” It doesn’t say “hazeh,” it says, “lamo’ed.” Actually, it says, “At the appointed time I will return to,” Genesis 18:14, “ka’et chayah,” which is a very unusual phrase.

Keith: Very. And we went through literally many battles back and forth on this. You don’t remember?

Nehemia: On Torah Pearls?

Keith: No, not on Torah Pearls. I said, “Nehemia, there’s this phrase, we’ve got to find out what this phrase is. It’s amazing.”

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: So let’s talk about it again.

Nehemia: So “kah,” is “like,” or “according to,” it could also mean. “Et,” is the time. So, “like the time,” or “according to the time.” “Chayah,” of life, of an animal. Some people would say “the time that it takes for gestation like an animal giving birth”, or what it’s not… time of life.

Keith: The time of life.

Nehemia: Or life to be.

Keith: In other words, let’s put it in context.

Nehemia: Come to fruition. Be born.

Keith: Be the woman. When he says this phrase, do you think she’s thinking anything other than, “Wait a minute, you’re telling me at an appointed time.” And then he uses this phrase, he’s saying, you’re going to… In other words, if he just said that and didn’t keep talking - he keeps talking. He says at the appointed time, what’s going to happen? What is the next phrase after that? “At the time,” Go ahead. What does it say?

Nehemia: In Genesis or in Kings?

Keith: No, in Kings. What does it say? For context.

Nehemia: So it says, “lamo’ed hazeh,” at this appointed time, “ka’et chayah,” “at the time of life.”

Keith: And then what?

Nehemia:Aht choveket ben,” “you will be holding a son.”

Keith: Okay. Come on. The context for me, when I’m reading this I’m like, he’s telling her, “Listen, at the appointed time.” Do you want to say it’s confusing? “This period of time where there’s going to be the process of life, you’re going to…”

Nehemia: And here’s really the question. It’s usually in Jewish sources interpreted as being a year later. Meaning exactly the same time next year. But it’s possible he means, when he says this phrase, “ka’et chayah,” like the time of life, he means nine months from now.

Keith: Come on, ladies, can I get an amen? You understand what’s happening here. Elisha is going and he’s telling her, “Look, you’re going to have a nine-month period of time that that child will - I’m not saying that…

Nehemia: Maybe he’s not saying you’re going to get pregnant immediately.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: And here are two more little points. One is in both Genesis 18 and 2 Kings 4 she’s standing at the entrance, and it uses the same word for entrance, “petach,” which is not unusual, but it could have said “delet,” door, or something. But she’s listening or standing at the entrance. And the other thing is there’s a response of disbelief in both passages.

Keith: Yes, absolutely.

Nehemia: So you can’t say there’s no connection, anybody who would hear this, standing in the synagogue when the Jews were forbidden from reading the Torah portion under the Greek persecution…

Keith: They would think about Mama Sarah.

Nehemia: They’d say, “Well, we don’t need to read the Sarah story. Everybody knows the Sarah story. Let’s read 2 Kings 4, which hasn’t been forbidden by the Greeks, and everyone will know and think back to the story of Sarah, because it’s the same exact phraseology, the same exact terms. Look, we also have an old husband and a woman without a child in both cases.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Now one of the interesting things is that Abraham did have a child at that point. He had Ishmael, but it wasn’t his heir.

Keith: It wasn’t the promised.

Nehemia: It wasn’t the promised child. I suspect - and I can’t prove this - but I suspect from the story in 2 Kings 4 that this man already had a child. Because when the child dies he barely seems interested.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: And maybe he had a whole bunch of children, and, you know, “Oh, her?”

Keith: Who knows?

Nehemia: It is shocking that he doesn’t seem to care. Or even, my son…

Keith: Let’s get into the story.

Nehemia: Or maybe she’s hiding from… anyway…

Keith: So now, Nehemia, it’s going to get a little deeper here because it goes… and I want you, if you could, if you would read… it says in the NIV, she says, she literally stops him and says, “‘No. No,’ she objected. ‘Don’t mislead me or don’t lie to me. You’re playing with my…’”

Nehemia: It’s disbelief.

Keith: It’s disbelief, but not only that. It almost seems like it’s not only disbelief but not on this. “Let’s not play on this one. Let’s talk about whether I’m going to have enough food or not. Or whether I’m getting a new house or not. But now we’re talking about something deep in my heart.” It’s almost like she says, “Tell me anything, but don’t tell me that because if that doesn’t happen...”

Nehemia: And another parallel with Sarah is that she didn’t ask for this.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: And she brings that up later. Can I just point out something in the JPS here?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: So “ka’et chayah,” the time of life, that phrase is translated in the JPS as, “the following year.” So they’ve already in interpolated the interpretation and taken the information out of your hands.

Keith: Exactly. So I wanted to be sensitive. You know, we go back and forth on this, I’ll read the NIV and you say, “It’s a what? It says what?” So I read the translation ahead of time. I was going to set you up. But I’m so excited. We’re going to use different translations, sometimes I’ll read, sometimes you’ll read. But again, this is the challenge, folks, we want you to have one or two translations open. You’re going to find some things that we’re not going to be able to address. And when you find those things, would you do us a favor? Would you go to or; if it’s really good, go to both sites and comment, because other people need to hear what you came up with. Would you agree?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: All right. Now, let’s continue, because this is where it gets really exciting. She says, “No,’ she objected, ‘don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!’ But the woman became pregnant,” and in the NIV it says, “and the next year about that same time.” What is the phrase that it says there? Would you read that for us?

Nehemia: Again, it’s the same exact phrase, “lamo’ed hazeh,” at this appointed time, “ka’et chayah,” according to the time of life.

Keith: My goodness, that’s is so powerful. So she became pregnant next year about that same time, in English, but at the appointed time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her. And then things get tragic. Can we continue?

Nehemia: Sure. Let’s do it.

Keith: Go ahead and read 18 to 21, and I’ll read 22 and beyond.

Nehemia: “The child grew up. One day, he went out to his father among the reapers. Suddenly he cried to his father, ‘Oh, my head, my head!’ He said to a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’” Like… what?

Keith: He’s out working, Nehemia. He’s out in the field, he’s doing his work. Go ahead.

Nehemia: “He picked him up and brought him to his mother, and the child sat on her lap until noon, and he died. She took him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and left him and closed the door.”

Keith: And she went out. So there’s something happening here. Here’s one of the things that’s happening - and now, this is a really minor thing, but I just want to bring it up. It’s a connection in the stories. In the previous story, what happened? Elisha says, “Go in and take the oil and go in and shut the door,” and she shuts the door. And in this one, we get, again, and she goes in and she shuts the door. We’re going to see this again, another time as we’re going forward. Why does she do that? It doesn’t say just yet.

And then in verse 22 it says, “She called to her husband and said, ‘Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.’” Would you read what it says actually in Hebrew? What does she say she’s going to do?

Nehemia:Vatikra el isha,” and she called to her husband, “va’tomer,” and she said, “shilchana li echad min hane’arim,” send me one of the boys, “ve’echat ha’atonot,” and one of the asses, “ve’arutza ad ish ha’Elohim, ve’ashuva,” and I will run and I will come.

Keith:Ve’arutza,” and I will do what?

Nehemia: I will run.

Keith: I will run.

Nehemia: And I will return.

Keith: Now, here’s the thing, she says, “I’m going to run. I’m in a hurry. I’ve got to do this.” Now, this is where we get into the husband and wife thing. I love the next phrase. She says here… He says… and we have to stop and slow down. I’m going to put you on the spot.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the new moon or the Sabbath.” So wait a minute, what does that mean?

Nehemia: So that’s interesting. It’s the first time we’re hearing in the Tanakh that there’s this practice of going to the prophet, or the man of God, on Shabbat and new moon. Today, to us, it’s intuitive - I mean you go to the synagogue, and if you don’t go to synagogue, you go to church. If you don’t go to church, you go to wherever you go to. But that’s the first time in history we’re hearing about that. It’s pretty interesting.

Keith: You just want to go past it? You think I’m not going to put you on the spot again?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: For it says… it doesn’t say “new moon”, Nehemia.

Nehemia: Well sure it does.

Keith: No it doesn’t.

Nehemia: Sure it does.

Keith: It sure doesn’t in Hebrew say new moon.

Nehemia: It says “chodesh,” and “chodesh” means new moon.

Keith: Oh, really? Based on what, Nehemia? Based on the dark moon?

Nehemia: No, based on the Hebrew language. The word in the Hebrew language is “chodesh.”

Keith: And this is the Word of the Week - he didn’t know it. I’m going to make him teach you the Word of the Week. Would you teach it?

Nehemia: All right. The Hebrew letters chet, dalet, shin, which is pronounced chodesh. If you have trouble with “ch,” don’t say “kodesh,” because kodesh is a different word. Kodesh is the word holy, kuf, dalet, shin. So if you can’t say “ch,” just say “h,” “hodesh.”

Keith: You Texans, I want a hoedown.

Nehemia: “We’re going to the hodesh.” And so chodesh is from the root chet, dalet, shin, which means new, and it’s related to the moon. We know that because the other word for it also means month.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: And the other word for month is “yerach,” and “yare’ach” is “moon.” So there’s a whole series of connections there. But chodesh literally means new moon. Whenever you see the phrase “new moon” in your Hebrew Bible…

Keith: In your English Bible.

Nehemia: Well, in your English translation of the Hebrew Bible, it is in the Hebrew chodesh. What’s really cool to me, is in some of the ancient Hebrew sources, which were written at a time when people still spoke Hebrew. For example, there’s this great story that takes place during the last century of the Second Temple, in the first century A.D., and it’s written in Hebrew. It talks about these three people, it says, “ra’u et ha’chodesh.” They saw the chodesh. They saw the new moon. So the new moon was understood in ancient Hebrew to be this visible thing, the renewing of the moon.

When I see this phrase, “Why are you going to him? It’s neither Shabbat nor new moon,” it automatically draws my mind to Isaiah chapter 66 verse 23.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: There it’s talking about this future period… it says in verse 22, “‘For as the new heaven and the new earth which I will make shall endure by My will,’ declares Yehovah, ‘so shall your seed and your name endure. And new moon after new moon, and Sabbath after Sabbath…’” in the Hebrew it literally says, “Every new moon and every Shabbat, midei chodesh vechodsho,” “Each new moon and its new moon, and each Sabbath and its Sabbath,” “‘…all flesh shall come,’” literally, it says in the Hebrew, “lehishtachavot,” “‘to bow down before Me,’ says Yehovah.”

So there’s going to be this period in the future history when all human beings will come before Yehovah, every new moon and every Shabbat. And I think that’s really cool. The first time we’re hearing about this idea of coming before Yehovah, coming, in that case, to the man of God to learn the word of God, to hear the word of God is in this passage. It’s almost like a “by the way”. It’s not a systematic statement, “This is what they did.” It’s assumed that everybody knows. “Why are you going to him? It’s not new moon or Shabbat.”

Keith: “I look upon the sky, I don’t see it’s the new moon, it certainly isn’t Shabbat, I’m out here working. So what are you doing?” Now, I’ve been waiting for this next phrase, and I’ve been waiting for it for...

Nehemia: Hold on. We’ve got to talk about one really controversial thing here. This is really controversial. I don’t even know if we should talk about this.

Keith: Well, continue.

Nehemia: So this is a really problematic verse for the rabbis - 2 Kings 4:23, and I’ll admit for many Karaites, as well. And why is it such a problem? Can you tell me why it’s a problem?

Keith: Possibly, it might be the fact that she’s traveling.

Nehemia: She’s going to ride a donkey?

Keith: She’s going to ride a donkey.

Nehemia: On Shabbat?

Keith: On Shabbat.

Nehemia: And apparently, yes. Now what we were taught, what I was taught, what I believed for many years is that - and here’s the example, that driving a car is work on the Sabbath. This is what I was taught. And why is it? Because there’s a fire inside the car, and it says in Exodus, “Lo tiva’aru esh bechol meshavatchem beyom ha’Shabbat,” do not kindle a fire in all your habitation on the Sabbath. And so for the Rabbinical mind, and for many Karaites, as well, it’s a given that it’s better for me to walk five miles than to get in my car and drive five miles. Because if I get in the car and drive, and turn the key ignition - and look, I’ve thought this - then that’s work. But walking five miles isn’t work because it hasn’t violated an explicit verse in the Torah. I suppose you could not travel the five miles anyway. But here, apparently she would get on her donkey every Shabbat and every new moon, a female donkey, and go see the prophet.

Keith: And the donkey worked.

Nehemia: I think that challenges us to re-evaluate - certainly, for me, it challenges me to re-evaluate what I’ve been taught and what’s been handed down to me. Really, what I grew up with and was given, that this is what it means to keep Shabbat. And it’s all… I’m not going to go into this whole thing.

But I think this is a really interesting verse. Meaning, “Oh, you want the donkey today, but it’s not new moon or Shabbat. Why would you want the donkey?” Think about it.

Keith: Well, Nehemia, it’s okay, and that’s your challenge and that’s your struggle, that part of the verse. The end of the verse is the part that I am most excited about.

Nehemia: Because it’s my middle name?

Keith: No, but because I want to speak to the women listening right now, my sisters that are listening. It’s really interesting - I read this in preparation for this and I was grieved a little bit, Nehemia, to be honest with you.

Nehemia: You were grieved?

Keith: I was grieved because we had two powerful stories about two women, and we never hear their names. The one woman - they don’t hear a name, she’s just there. The other one is called the Shunammite, she’s like the Charlotte woman, the woman from Texas, the woman from New York. We don’t even hear her name.

Nehemia: Texas is a state, not a city.

Keith: Okay… smarty, there’s a smarty.

Nehemia: The lady from Dallas.

Keith: The lady from wherever she’s from, wherever she’s from, the state, the city. We don’t hear her name. In fact, I’m not convinced Elisha knew her name because he says, “Call the Shunammite woman.” Now, I want to talk to the women for a second, because there’s a powerful thing in this story that I want to give a shout-out to the women.

If there’s one little phrase for women that I think is so powerful it’s the next phrase. Read the JPS, Nehemia. Read the end of the verse that you’re so troubled about and is so controversial. Just read that for me, would you?

Nehemia: In the JPS it says, “She answered, ‘It’s all right.’”

Keith: Now, Nehemia, I’m going to stop you right there because ladies, I want you to open your Bibles, and you’re going to see something really, really interesting that’s not only a word, but that is an attitude of this woman. She says to her husband when he says, “It’s not new moon. It’s not Sabbath... I’m out here working. What about my dinner? What about my situation? Don’t you understand?” She says one word, she says, “Shalom.”

Nehemia: Shalom. My middle name.

Keith: No, no! It’s bigger than that, Nehemia! She’s saying, “Look, my son’s dead. Shalom. This situation’s bad. Shalom. I got to run to the prophet. Shalom.” And I just see this, I don’t know this lady’s name, but I feel the spirit of so many women that have to say shalom in a bad circumstance. You know, this is going wrong. This is going wrong. And there’s the spirit of the Shunammite woman that says, “shalom”. She says shalom and doesn’t even know the end of the story. Her son’s dead; her husband’s complaining; she’s got to run on the donkey. In fact, the Scripture says she goes on to tell the servant. It says, “She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, ‘Lead on, don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.’” Think about this - it’s not always comfortable to be on a donkey.

Nehemia: Oh, I’ve been on some donkeys. They’re very unpleasant.

Keith: We’ve been on some camels. We’ve been on some donkeys.

Nehemia: Actually, camels are a lot more…

Keith: Oh, my gosh.

Nehemia: If you’re a big guy, I’d take a camel over a donkey any day.

Keith: So in most stories, we never hear their names, but we see a powerful picture of faith, obedience, and peace in the midst of the storm.

Nehemia: I think there’s more than what… you’re saying what she’s saying is “peace.” I think she’s actually being evasive.

Keith: Well, let’s see.

Nehemia: I mean clearly, later on, when Gehazi comes to her and says, “Hashalom lach?” is there peace to you, and she responds, “Shalom.” And it’s a lie.

Keith: No, I want to argue with you about this.

Nehemia: That’s a lie.

Keith: No, I think that this is a woman of faith.

Nehemia: She’s in peace?

Keith: No, she’s not in peace.

Nehemia: She’s obviously not in peace. Her son’s dead.

Keith: We’ll continue. This is what the spirit of the women I’m talking to, the women who have to say peace when there is no peace. They’re able to say peace when there is no peace. “And you know what Gehazi? I’m not here to see you. Peace to you, husband.” “I want to argue with you, you can’t go.” “Peace to you. I’ve got a mission I’m on and I’m going to get there. So until I get there…”

Nehemia: Come on.

Keith: So I’m telling you these women… I think they know what I’m talking about. Let’s keep reading because I’m going to get too excited here.

Nehemia: Can I read the next few verses?

Keith: You can. Please, would you read the next verses?

Nehemia: Or the next few words. “She had the ass saddled, and said to her servant, ‘Urge the beast on; see that I don’t slow down unless I tell you.’ She went on until she came to the man of God on Mount Carmel.”

Keith: And why Mount Carmel?

Nehemia: Because that’s where he was hanging out?

Keith: And why was he there?

Nehemia: Because he had a cave there where he lived? I don’t know.

Keith: What are you talking about? It’s connected to his teacher.

Nehemia: That’s where his teacher… yeah.

Keith: In other words, one of the most powerful…

Nehemia: Well, we know there’s an altar there.

Keith: Yes. It’s really amazing. Go ahead.

Nehemia: Okay. “When the man of God saw her from afar, he said to his servant Gehazi, ‘There is that Shunammite woman.’”

Keith: Doesn’t say her name.

Nehemia: No. “Go, hurry toward her and ask her, ‘How are you?’”

Keith: It actually says “run”. She’s running. He tells Gehazi, you run. Come on.

Nehemia: I think the donkey is probably running. “Go, hurry toward her and ask her, ‘How are you? How is your husband? How is the child?’” “We are well,” she replied.

Keith: That’s not what it says. Tell them what it says, Nehemia.

Nehemia: It says, “Hashalom lach?” is there peace to you? “Hashalom le’ishech?” is there peace to your husband? “Hashalom la’yaled?” is there peace to the boy?

Keith: So she says three shalom’s, for she says shalom first to her husband…

Nehemia: Yes, because he asked three times “Shalom, shalom, shalom.”

Keith: And then three shalom, shalom, shalom, and what does she say?


Keith:Shalom.” I think this is a woman of faith, a woman of purpose. This is a woman who is going to get what she believes God has asked for her. She’s not going to give up on the promise. Her son is dead, Nehemia, and she says, shalom. Continue.

Nehemia: “But when she came up to the man of God on the mountain, she clasped his feet. Gehazi stepped forward to push her away; but the man of God said, ‘Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and Yehovah has hidden it from me and has not told me.’”

Keith: Interesting word, “He has hidden it.” What is the word there?

Nehemia:He’elim,” which is from the same root as “olam,” which we talked about last week.

Keith: Which we talked about with the word of the week. That’s amazing. That’s the one where they say, “That’s why His name is hidden.” But, okay, let’s continue.

Nehemia: And that’s actually the hefil form, not the…

Keith: Yep.

Nehemia: Okay. “Then she said, ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Didn’t I say, Don’t mislead me?’”

Keith: Didn’t I say - yes!

Nehemia: “He said to Gehazi, ‘Tie up your skirts, take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him. And place my staff on the face of the boy.’”

Keith: And verse 30?

Nehemia: “But the boy’s mother said, ‘As Yehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you!’” So he arose and followed her.

Keith: Now, here’s this woman of faith. Here’s this woman of trust. This woman who believes, who says, shalom. Can we unpack for a second the phrase, “As Yehovah lives and as your soul lives”? In other words, she’s doing something really powerful.

Nehemia: That’s an oath.

Keith: An oath.

Nehemia: She’s taking an oath, yeah.

Keith: Can we slow down and talk about that oath, and how important that is that she’s actually using that phrase and what that phrase means?

Nehemia: So it’s an oath, and this is an oath that we see in ancient Israel that you would swear by someone’s life. What you’re basically saying is, “I am proclaiming by the life of this person, or in this case God, that I’m going to do what I say.” And if you don’t, you’re essentially denying the life of God, that God doesn’t live, which is blasphemy. So that’s a very powerful oath.

Keith: So when she says this, and actually in the text, she actually says, “By the life of Yehovah,” is what she says, correct?

Nehemia: She says, “Chai Yehovah v’chai nafshecha.” “As Yehovah lives and as your soul lives.” “Im e’azvecha,” I will not leave you.

Keith: I can’t wait until we… I mean we’re going to be able to get under this more and more.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: But she basically says, “Look, I’ve reached my goal. I came to see you. My husband couldn’t stop me. The donkey is not going to slow me down. Your servant isn’t who I want to see, who asks the questions. I’ve come to you, the one who made the promise, and I’ve had this miracle.” She said, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: And now, we’re about to do something a little controversial here. It says, “Elisha said him to, go.” So what he did is, in verse 31, “Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So he went back to meet Elisha and told him, ‘The boy has not awakened.’” That could’ve been the end of the story.

Nehemia: I think it’s really interesting, because he makes a statement, “Yehovah has hidden this from me.” He’s surprised. And there’s this great verse in Amos, and I know we’re running out of time so I’ll just read it real quick - great verse in Amos chapter 3 verse 7. It says in the JPS, “Indeed, my Lord Yehovah does nothing without having revealed His purpose to His servants the prophets.”

Keith: Yes, sir.

Nehemia: And it’s not exactly what it says, but it’s pretty close. For our purposes, it’s sufficient now. So there is this idea that the prophet expects if there’s some big thing going on Yehovah is going to tell him about. And Elisha says, “What’s going on here? Do I only have two-thirds or something? How come He didn’t tell me about this?”

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: And then he thought he could solve it by sending his servant with the staff, and, well, that didn’t work either. Well, what’s going on here?

Keith: It’s so funny I’m reading this story, Nehemia, and I can’t help but think of the stories that I read when I grew up, folks. And I need to divert a little bit, Nehemia, you talked about your tradition, the Sabbath tradition, et cetera. But when I read the stories, I was offered a skinny book or a big book. I was offered the New Testament or the big book to read, and I just went with the skinny book. So I would read the skinny book, until I eventually came across these concepts that I couldn’t understand unless I understood the big book.

But one of the things that’s really powerful about this story - and we talked a little bit about this, folks you should know this - is that when you’re reading this, and when I’m reading this story, I’m kind of reminded of a parallel. You and I talked about this. There are stories of Yeshua where he does something, or his ministry has some shadowing of this. Would you agree?

Nehemia: So let’s talk about the elephant in the room, since you’ve brought it up.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: So I think in the New Testament tradition, the Christian tradition, it’s understood that Eliyahu and Elisha are foreshadows, or prefigurations is the technical term, of Jesus, of Yeshua, because they’re miracle workers and he’s described as a miracle worker. What’s interesting is the response I’ve heard from some Jewish sources. They say, “Well, wait a minute - the stories are too similar.” They’re so similar, they’ve actually made the accusation that the stories about Yeshua were made up based on, patterned after, the stories of Elisha and Elijah.

Keith: So I’m supposed to stop and say, “Stop. We’ve got to cut and edit this. You can’t say this.” No, lean into this. Tell me what your thought is about that.

Nehemia: I do think it’s really interesting that you definitely have these parallels. What I find interesting is, look at the early Jewish tradition. There is no attempt to say, “Oh, no, those miracles that are attributed to Jesus didn’t really happen.” On the contrary. So then the rabbis can say, “Well, he did it through magic. He did it through the power of the name of Yehovah.” That’s actually what they say. You know, the “Shem hamefurash,” the explicit name, the unequivocal name, that he used this power that he wasn’t supposed to use, that other rabbis knew how to use.

Keith: Okay. Awesome. Well, let me read this, because it’s really interesting. It says here, “The child’s mother said, ‘As sure as he lives, you will not go.’ Gehazi went.” And the reason I brought up the parallel story is that there were also examples where there was a young man that was dead, and the disciples went and they couldn’t do anything about it. And then he had to come and he went in and shut the door.

Nehemia: Can we finish the passage and talk about this resurrection?

Keith: Yes. And it says here, “When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door…” come on, say “shut the door.”

Nehemia: Shut the door.

Keith: “…on the two of them and prayed to Yehovah.”

Nehemia: That’s awesome.

Keith: He didn’t get in there and start doing his medical thing. The first thing he did is he got in there and said, “Okay. Papa, I’m in a little trouble here.”

Nehemia: “I know I can’t do this without you.”

Keith: “Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands.” Check me if I’m wrong here. “As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.” And then he says, “Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, ‘Call the Shunammite.’” He still doesn’t use her name.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: And it says, “And he did. When she came, he said, ‘Take your son.’ She came in, fell at his feet,” and did what, in the Hebrew, to the ground?

Nehemia: And bowed down to the ground.

Keith: Yes. And what does that mean there? She bowed down to the ground. She took her son and went out. I almost wonder, Nehemia, if she didn’t have a little time of worship right there when she bowed down. In fact, there’s this sense that it wasn’t just a simple thank you, but rather she realizes the weight of what just happened to her. This is a woman of faith. This is a woman of purpose. She’s on a journey, et cetera. And what happens? This very thing that she was promised, an amazing thing - her son came to life.

Nehemia: So now we’ve got to talk about this issue of resurrection. Can we talk about it?

Keith: Yes, please.

Nehemia: He’s a dead guy, a dead boy, and he brings him back to life. Of course, it immediately evokes 1 Kings chapter 17, where Elijah brings another situation like that back to life. And then there’s a third situation - 2 Kings 13:21. Can we read that? We’ve got to read both of these, because this is such a powerful situation here, where there’s a dead person, and through the power of Yehovah, the person’s brought back to life.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: So where is this in 1 Kings 17?

Keith: While you’re looking for that, the reason it has been exciting for me is that so many times people will come and say, “So your belief is in resurrection?” I’m like, well, I see it happen. We’ve had this conversation. I mean, we talk about it in the Tanakh that there’s resurrection. I mean what is God unable to do? Bring from death to life. We saw stories of that.

Nehemia: Amen. So 1 Kings 17:18 - we’re not going to read the whole thing. “She said to Elijah, ‘What harm have I done you, O man of God, that you should come here to recall my sin and cause the death of my son?’” By the way, this boy is not an Israelite. This is a woman from a place called Sarepta or Tzarfat, which is a city of Sidon. She’s a Canaanite. She’s a Canaanite woman. And we talked about the parallel, so there’s a parallel in the New Testament with Jesus and a Canaanite woman.

So she said, “You’ve come here to recall my sin and cause the death of my son?” And in verse 19, he says, “‘Give me the boy,’ he said to her in taking him from her arms, he carried him to the upper chamber,” again, an upper chamber, “where he was staying, and laid him down on his own bed.” The parallel is just so clear. “He cried out to Yehovah and said, ‘O Yehovah my God, will You bring calamity upon this widow whose guest I am, and let her son die?’ Then he stretched out over the child three times, and cried out to Yehovah, saying, ‘O Yehovah my God, let this child’s life return to his body!’ Yehovah heard Elijah’s plea; the child’s life returned to his body, and he revived. Elijah picked up the child and brought him down from the upper room into the main room and gave him to his mother. ‘See,’ said Elijah, ‘your son is alive.’ And the woman answered Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of Yehovah is truly in your mouth.’”

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: So, I mean, wow. We’ve got almost the same exact story. It’s obviously a little different because we have different people, different places. But in both cases, there’s a dead boy to a woman who doesn’t have any other children. And the prophet prays to Yehovah, does some other kinds of things, laying on him, and stretching out, and I’m not sure what that’s about, but it’s what it says. And then the boy comes back to life. In both cases, the woman sees this and says, “This really is from Yehovah, it’s a miracle.”

Keith: Amen. I think what’s interesting is I don’t think that she came and she bowed… again, looking at this word that she came down and she came to bow. I just get this picture, Nehemia, when I read that, that it was a time of bowing, it was a time of worship.

Nehemia: So, is she bowing to Elisha?

Keith: No, she’s not bowing to Elisha. She’s bowing to Yehovah. She knows that this has come from Him. That’s why I’m saying that sometimes, for those of us that have been walking this walk of faith, circumstances can really look bad sometimes, and the only response in those times that look bad is, “shalom,” peace because peace is coming. It may not be here right now, but I believe that peace is coming. I know for myself, this story is one of those that I’ve seen so many stories of so many different people where they’ve had to speak peace in the midst of struggle and bad news. I mean that’s certainly been the case with our family. If you talked to the Johnsons, we’ve had a lot of stuff that’s happened. But saying “shalom” in the middle of it has been something almost like a bit of a…

Nehemia: You’re saying to say “shalom” even when you don’t want to say “shalom.”

Keith: Well, and mean shalom, because there is peace.

Nehemia: So we’ve got to read the next one, which is 2 Kings 13:21 and here it’s talking about these bands of marauders that came into Israel. It says, “Once a man was being buried, when the people caught sight of such a band; so they threw the corpse into Elisha’s grave and made off. When the dead man came in contact with Elisha’s bones, he came to life and stood up.” That’s the third story about resurrection in the Tanakh.

Can we look at just a few other verses that talk about this in other places? We won’t do a whole session here on resurrection because we are running out of time, but one verse I’ve got to read is Deuteronomy 32:39, it’s the song here. It says, “See, then, that I am He; There is no god beside Me. I deal death and give life; I wounded, and I will heal: None can deliver from My hand.” And I’ve got to read it from Hebrew, he says, “ani amit v’acheye,” which means, “I cause to die and I bring to life.” So Yehovah is the one who brings resurrection, who causes life.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Then we have a few other verses - Isaiah 26:19 is a famous one. Apparently, according to many people referring to the final resurrection, where it says, “Oh, let your dead revive!” And in Hebrew, it says “live”. “Let corpses arise! Awake and shout for joy, You who dwell in the dust! For Your dew is like the dew on fresh growth; You make the land of the shades,” meaning of the dead souls, “come to life.” So we’ve got this image of the final resurrection Isaiah 26:19.

Another one, one last one, and we’ll leave the topic unless you’ve something to say about it. Daniel 12:2, “Many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, others to reproaches, to everlasting abhorrence.” We could talk about Ezekiel 37, but there’s a Prophet Pearls on that so we’ll wait.

Keith: We’ll wait, and we are going to continue doing Prophet Pearls. I will say this, Nehemia, as we’ve come to a close, it’s our goal, it’s our hope, that we’re going to be able to walk all the way through these Prophet Pearls, 54 different portions. We’re going to ask people to continue to share with their family, to share with their friends, to bring people along and that they can actually interact us with the Word of God. And as we do that, one of the reasons we’re doing it the way we are so that people can go to both websites and interact with us, even on Facebook. You’re a Facebook beast. Your Facebook has, I don’t know, thousands of people, tens of thousands of people. You put forth Scripture Bites, and I don’t know what the number is.

Nehemia: Keith has thousands and Nehemia has tens of thousands.

Keith: Tens of thousands!

Nehemia: Facebook fans.

Keith: Come to my Facebook real quick ask me to be a friend right now, got to let you in right away. But let me say this - is there anything else you want to say, Nehemia? We want to bring closure to this because we’ve got some more things coming really soon. So, is there anything you want to say before we bring closure?

Nehemia: Can we end in prayer?

Keith: Would you be willing to do that?

Nehemia: I would love to end in prayer.

Keith: Awesome.

Nehemia:Yehovah, Avinu sheh’bashamayim, Yehovah, our Father in heaven, uncover our eyes that we may see the hidden wonderful things of your Torah.” Father, you are the one hamemit u’hamechayeh, who brings death and also causes to live, to resurrect. Yehovah, resurrect the souls of every person who is listening to this spiritually, and in the future, in the end time, when we come before You in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Yehovah, I ask that You bring us back to life and that we stand before You and we drink those life-giving waters that You are the source of. Yehovah may we all be blessed with the words of the Psalm Chaim Ad Ha’olam, Psalm 133:3, Life Everlasting. Amen.

Keith: Amen. So until next week, we pray that you will keep reading, keep listening, and keep watching until we meet again. And everyone said together, “Amen”.

Nehemia: Amen.

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