Reflection on 2 Kings 4:1-7

“Now a certain woman of the wives of the prophets cried to Eliseus, saying: Thy servant my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant was one that feared God, and behold the creditor is come to take away my two sons to serve him.And Eliseus said to her: What wilt thou have me to do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in thy house? And she answered: I thy handmaid have nothing in my house but a little oil, to anoint me.And he said to her: Go, borrow of all thy neighbours empty vessels not a few.And go in, and shut thy door, when thou art within, and thy sons: and pour out thereof into all those vessels: and when they are full take them away.So the woman went, and shut the door upon her, and upon her sons: they brought her the vessels, and she poured in.And when the vessels were full, she said to her son: Bring me yet a vessel. And he answered: I have no more. And the oil stood.And she came, and told the man of God. And he said: Go, sell the oil, and pay thy creditor: and thou and thy sons live of the rest.” (2 Kings 4:1-7)

Literal Sense:  In these verses, a widow cried out to the prophet Elisha for help since she was not able to pay a certain creditor and feared her two sons would be taken as recompense.  Elisha instructed the widow to go to her neighbors and gather as many jars as she could find.  Once the jars were presented, the little oil the widow owned was miraculously multiplied and filled each jar.  She was then able to sell the oil, pay the creditor and live on the rest of the money.

Allegorical Sense: Like the widow, Christians face creditors who wish to take their livelihood away when the enemy seeks to take away their faith.  Like the widow who sought assistance from her neighbors, the Christian finds strength against the enemy and faith in God through other Christians.  As the widow’s jars were miraculously filled with oil according to the limit of jars she had in her possession, the Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit according to his or her capacity (Romans 12:3). As the widow’s jars were filled with oil which enabled her to pay her creditor and live on the difference, the Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit by the sacraments and is able to repel the enemy and live eternally by their faith.

Moral Sense: These things were written in order to encourage us to have faith in God and his power to multiply the little faith and virtues we have in order that we might be prepared to face the difficulties of sin, Satan and the world.

Anagogical Sense: The miraculous filling of the jars is a sign of the Christian  who is filled with the Holy Spirit and receives life eternal by the giving of the Holy Spirit.

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