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

Elisha and the Shunnamite's Son by Timothy Welchel, Prophet Pearls Vayeira, 2 Kings 4:1-37, elisha, elijah, keith johnson, nehemia gordon, parsha, prophet, tanakh, resurrection, Shunnamite, yehovah, yhvh, yhwhIn this week's episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeira covering 2 Kings 4:1-4:37. The miracles of Elisha yield fascinating pearls as Gordon and 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.

"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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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.

36 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #4 – Vayeira (2 Kings 4:1-37)

  1. Shalom,
    We enjoyed the ‘Pearls’ for today. I was wondering if the the word ‘yalak’ in verse 24 is a derivative of ‘valak’ which is the word in my Bible? Also, taking a donkey on Shabbat doesn’t mean she rode it there but could simply have used it after Shabbat for the tiring ride home. Who knows, but as a Cananite may not have been well educated in All of Torah, since it does forbid this.
    “…is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle (livestock)…” Ex.20

  2. Nehemia and Keith…

    Shalom! Thank you so much for your teachings… You both make scripture come to life in a way that helps us know Yehovah’s truth.

    Keith… I can SO relate to what you are talking about.. the woman speaking PEACE when there was no peace…

    13 years ago, Sept. 22 I lost my husband to lung cancer… just 12 DAYS after being diagnosed.

    Our son, Rick, was born with a crippling disease and has had 7 spine surgeries, 6 leg surgeries and is now in a wheelchair.

    3 weeks after my husband’s death, our son and his best friend were in a car accident which fractured Rick’s spine and broke his pelvic apart..
    On the way to the hospital I was wondering why I wasn’t more upset… why wasn’t I crying hysterically?… and the scripture Philippians 4:7 about ‘the peace of God that doesn’t make sense’ came to mind…. that was when I got it!

    Those moments when I finally really understand what a scripture means to my life today are what I call my ‘Kiss on the forehead moments.” I feel as though Papa… my nickname for Yehovah… has taken my face in His hands, tilted my head back just a bit and has kissed me on the forehead. These moments are so precious to me.

    Again… thank you both so much for your teachings. I learn so much from them.

    • I also meant to thank your for the clarification on the blessing Elisha was asking for… even growing up I thought that was rather arrogant of him to ask for a double portion… to be greater than his teacher.

      These mis-translations are what frustrates me about so many translations today… and as Keith said, without knowing Hebrew it is almost impossible to know Yehovah’s truth! I don’t know Hebrew… yet… but I’m working on it a little at a time.

  3. So, why was the door being shut mentioned a few times? I believe Keith touched on it, but never really answered it. Love the Torah and Prophet Pearls, by the way!

  4. Shalom Nehemia! I have been so blessed by these teachings. My absolute hearts desire is searching and learning from our Father. I have always been curious about the people who were brought back to life and Yeshua who was brought back to life from death. I was thinking “where is the difference?” And I realized through reading that there is a very big difference. These people had died and Yehovah had given them breath again in their bodies. Their bodies never left. (If I have missed something, please correct me). When Yeshua died and was resurrected his body was not found. Although he was seen by many. I am not a textual scholar and I know very little Hebrew but I personally think knowing the meaning of resurrection is very important. And I think you’re teachings are very important. Thank you for all your hard work! I have been praying for Yehovah to bless you and your ministry. Shalom shalom!

  5. Very glad to hear the many parallels between Sarah’s and Shunamite woman’s motherhood-prophesy; as a youngster in sunday school I got that connection very early, and as the text was being heard again tonight my mind’s eye was on Sarah at the doorway of the tent! Perhaps I had better teachers back then than I realized. Also, clarity of 2/3 of Eliyahu’s spirit being requested makes better sense. Greatly appreciate these things confirmed in the original language, culture/context. YHVH bless you both. Shalom.

  6. What a beautiful portion!The story of how Yehovah impacted those women through his prophet is inspiring. It’s long been one of my favorites, and hearing your perspectives on it makes it even richer.

  7. If I may, I would like to raise a few questions on the topic of the resurrection..

    I believe, those people having been resurrected at the time of the prophets, also died at the end of it all. This means the fall in the garden of Eden has not been made undone, otherwise it may have been mentioned. At least all the prophets would have been made immortal immediately. If anybody deserved it, they did. But they all died.

    Which takes me to the next question – why would Jehovah, who doesn’t change, suddenly change and make the fall in the garden of Eden of no effect without some intervention or new plan ?

    And , if he has had a plan of Salvation from the beginning, he would have worked it out in a way of being understandable to at least some?

    But how?

    I believe, that choosing a nation to reveal himself through, he has done just that. The nation Israel stands as a witness to Jehovah, yet they too have missed the mark.

    Which takes me to the last question,
    Who qualifies??

  8. Thank you again Nehemiah and Keith for revealing more truth and insight of the Hebrew scriptures regarding; Elijah and Elisha the fire and water that was awesome! The two woman, one being poor and one being rich. It is true that provision comes when they helped and supported Yehovah’s servants. I loved it!

    Like you I also am drawn to the Spirit of Elijah! It has a strong connection and part of my life and calling! Especially the proclaiming and declaring of His name, Yehovah!

    Blessings and Shalom in
    Yehovah’s name!

  9. A wise person said “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” Nehemiah, you mentioned many resurrection verses but Keith, you shied away from mentioning the greatest resurrection of all……Yeshua’s! Paul said, “if Yeshua was not resurrected, we are still dead in our sins.”
    Yeshua said he who denies me, my Father will deny him at the last day.
    It’s time to preach “thus say’s Yehovah……..”with a circumcised heart.
    In these latter days people need the whole gospel more than ever.

  10. Really great job; you two. This is also reminiscent of Abraham and Sarah, who were well psssed child bearing age. However, HaShem comes and promises them a son, next year at the appointed time or time of life, passover. And Issac is born. Abraham takes him up the hill to offer his son to YeHoVah, and is resurrected from The Father raises His son from the dead.

    There are many similar patterns in the Tanak, which would be said, someone just wrote repeats, just like some Jewish might think Yeshua’s similarities were just made up. What we learn is obediance brings blessing, which is life giving, and that could mean a Revelation from Yehovah. Yeshua sais, If you don’t know Moses, then you don’t know Me. It is important to follow the words given to Moses, that are written, so that we may receive real revelation, rather than a forced revelation from adding to or subtracting from Yehova’s words.

    Kings may speak a command or decree, but they are always written down just as He said. The written is the confirmation of the spoken, they must match, or the mesage is not from the Kings. Any deviation from the written, can lead us astray, off the derek.

  11. I need a clarification : In 2 Kings 2 : 11 – Eliyahu is taken up by a chariot of fire and in and in 2 Chronicles 21: 12 Eliyahu sents a letter to Yahoram the King of the southern Kingdom . Going by the dates of the reigns of the King of Israel and Judah this letter seems to be written after he was transported by the chariot of fire .
    Was Eliyahu taken up and put into the Southern Kingdom ?

    Joy Mathew
    Hyderabad , India

  12. All glory be to YHVH and thanks to you for the pearls you are enabled to reveal .
    I usually listen to the portions before the Sabbath so that when I read the Torah and prophets on Sabbath it gives me a better understanding . May YHWH bless you both .

    Joy Mathew
    Hyderabad , India
    +91 – 7306032138

  13. I’ve very much enjoyed this discussion/teaching, as I have all the Prophet Pearls and Torah Pearls. I like hearing the meanings of the words. In Hebrew, and also the benefit of Nehemia’s research in ancient cultures.

  14. Great commentary!! Because you both did such a wonderful job, we insist you continue. I love to know exactly what it says in Hebrew. Todah rabbah!

  15. First, I would like to thank both Nehemia and Keith for the study, preparation, and presentation of Torah Pearls and Prophet Pearls. Many times y’all are my “guest” for Shabbat! It is truly a privilege and joy to entertain your ideas and insights.

    Perhaps because Elisha only asked for 2/3 the “spirit” of Elijah he was given the privilege of preforming twice as many miracles as Elijah. Even my JPS translates the 2Kings 2:9 verse as “double portion of your spirit”. But in the footnotes it says “literally ‘two-thirds'”. Do you think the translations are prejudiced toward “double” because of the outcome rather than the actual words? Definitely another example of interpretation rather than translation.

    Nehemia, in the Hebrew is there any indication that the father knew of the death of the Shunammite woman’s son? I have read the English translations and find no reason to think she told him or anyone else what had transpired. The distance from Shunam to Mt. Carmel is about 20 miles according to or 15 miles according to Donkeys can travel at 8-10 miles per hour ( if carrying a light load. This jenny carried two, or the servant ran very fast! (Twenty year old men marathon runners average pace of 9:01:10 minuets per mile.) All in all it was probably at minimum a 2 1/2 hour trip each direction. So they probably arrived at Shunam after 6 pm. with the father still in the fields supervising the harvest.

    Shalom, Shalom. May you all have a delightful week of study!

    • Thanks for the additional information you bring! I believe that these guys actually could run faster in those days–see 1 Kings 18:46. And they probably did it barefooted. ?

  16. I was an empty vessel, and I owed a debt I could not afford to pay.

    But it was paid for me, and now I live on the oil that is the sustenance from God himself.

  17. I enjoyed Nehemia and Keith again this week and I can definitely relate to the woman’s purposeful handling of each possible derailment. Anyone of those conversations could have meant the permanent loss of her son. Even in the natural, successful businessmen don’t spend time talking to people about their product and end goal if those people are not part of they’re market. It distracts from the mission and can possibly prevent the vision they have from coming to fruition. Momma took care of business. There were so many lessons to learn in the this portion. I think it’s best not to try to build doctrines on the details of the expression of Jehovah’s character presented here, as some in my tradition are want to do, but to see how certain is His desire for us to be taken care of and when He sees to us, there is no limit to His creativity in doing so, even with fallible human beings involved. Of course, there is much more in this portion. This is just what stood out the furthest for me. Shalom

  18. is it possible that the moedim appointed time in Torah and prophet portion being actually be on one of the Feast Days? Is there way to get uncut script or audio. Would love to hear more of Nehemia’s thoughts on Sabbath and on miracles of Yeshua that he started.

  19. P.S..A More Probable Site:

    Although public opinion supports this site, there is much to be said for the proposal, promulgated by Robinson and supported by Conder and other good authorities, that the pool was at the “Virgin’s Fount” (see GIHON), which is today an intermittent spring whose “troubled” waters are still visited by Jews for purposes of cure. As the only source of “living water” near Jerusalem, it is a likely spot for there to have been a “sheep pool” or “sheep place” for the vast flocks of sheep coming to Jerusalem in connection with the temple ritual. See Biblical World, XXV, 80 ff.

    E. W. G. Masterman.

  20. Thank you very much for all the effort and hard work.

    Talking about Elisha and miracles and living waters…
    On a similar note—-could there possibly be a connection ?

    “house of mercy”

    be-thez’-da (Bethesda; Textus Receptus of the New Testament, Joh 5:2 (probably beth chicda’, “house of mercy”); other forms occur as Bethzatha and Bethsaida):

  21. If I’m in shape, walking around the block isn’t work.
    If I’m on death’s door, walking beyond the front porch may be so much work that it’s impossible.
    I’ve been in both circumstances.
    Torah doesn’t define how far is work, and how far is not.
    There’s freedom in Torah, when we release the pre-conceived, human-imposed notions.

  22. It has been my heartfelt desire to have Nehemiah record the Tanakh–spoken in Hebrew, and not glossing over the pronunciation of YHWH–and make it available to the world. Hearing Nehemiah speak the Prophets in Hebrew is awesome! Our Creator indeed answers the desires of our hearts.

  23. Prophets come along when the nation is not doing what the nation is suppose to do.She may be a schulemite but she has heard him in her village .and is leaning into the message of God.God creates events to solidify the belief. Her husband and nothing else can prevent her from taking hold.

    It’s not considered work for the priests to work for Gods service,intercess and she and the donkey could be considered not working because she is on an intercession request mission.

  24. I agree with Rachel, it has taken me about 2 hours to get through this portion, stopping at the related verses cited. I am nowhere near finished, you have no idea how this portion has touched me personally; I am that Shunamite woman — Shalom.

  25. Finished listening… Amazing Prophet pearl portion, I think I need to listen to it 5 more times to completely understand…. solid packed with information


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