Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of II Kings Chapter 4
Metaphysically Interpreting II Kings 4:1-7
4:1Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear Jehovah: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two children to be bondmen. 4:2And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me; what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thy handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil. 4:3Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.4:4And thou shalt go in, and shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and pour out into all those vessels; and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 4:5So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons; they brought the vessels to her, and she poured out. 4:6And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 4:7Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy sons of the rest.
How I Used Truth: II Kings 4:1-7
[TruthUnity note: the following is from pp. 58-60 of How I Used Truth]
How, then, are we to get our abundant supply -- aye, even more than we can ask or think (for God gives not according to our need, but "according to his riches" we are told)? "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. ... If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up. ... And the Almighty will be thy treasure, and precious silver unto thee."
It is not enough to believe simply that God is our supplier -- the One who shall by His omnipotent power influence the mind of someone possessing an abundance to divide with us. This is limitation. God's being our health means far more than God's being our healer. God as our supply is infinitely more than God as our supplier. God is the Giver and the gift.
When Elisha multiplied the widow's oil, he did not, recognizing God simply as the supplier, ask, and then for answer receive a few barrels of oil from someone over-rich in that commodity, someone in whose heart the Spirit of God was working. That would have been a good but a very limited way, for had the demand continued, in time not only the village but the whole country around would have been destitute of oil.
Elisha understood the divine law of working, and put himself into harmony with it; then God Himself, the substance of all things, became manifest as the unlimited supply -- a supply which could easily have flowed until this time had there been need and vessels enough.
Jesus' increase of the loaves and fishes did not come up from the village in response to some silent word spoken by Him to a person having a quantity. He never recognized that He had any right to seek the surplus possessions of another, even though He was going to use them to benefit others. In order to feed the multitude, He did not reach out after that which belonged to any man, or even that which was already in manifestation. The extra supply was a new and increased manifestation of divine substance as bread and fish. So with the oil of Elisha, who was a man "of like passions with you." In both these cases, nothing came from without to supply the need, but the supply proceeded from within outward.
February 9, 1919: II Kings 4:1-7
What Truth is revealed in this lesson? The Truth revealed in this lesson is the increasing power of Spirit.
Where and how is the increase of Spirit realized? The increase of Spirit is realized in individual consciousness. It is brought about through turning the attention within, and acknowledging the reality and power of Spirit.
What does “Elisha” mean, and what in individual consciousness does “Elisha” represent? “Elisha” means “salvation of God.” “Elisha” represents man's spiritual I Am.
What in consciousness does the “widow” symbolize? The “widow” symbolizes that state of consciousness which believes in separation from God, the Source of Being.
What are the “empty vessels”? The “empty vessels” are the life centers throughout the body-consciousness that have become depleted through wrong use of mental powers.
What is symbolized by bringing the vessels into the widow's house? Bringing the vessels into the widow's house and shutting the door symbolizes concentration.
How is concentration accomplished? Concentration is the result of denial and affirmation (the widow's sons), based upon understanding of man's true being.
What does the “oil” symbolize? The “oil” symbolizes the oil of life, the vital fluid which renews and animates the body.
August 5, 1934: II Kings 4:1-7
Of what is the “widow” who asked help of Elisha a symbol? The widow symbolizes the objective phase of mind, when it loses contact with the subjective. When the vitality of the organism is lowered by such a separation, lack and burden (debt) become apparent.
From what lack do men most need to be relieved? Divine wisdom is what men need most in order to achieve complete freedom. “Wisdom is the principal thing.”
Give the meaning of the name Elisha that is applicable to this lesson and show the application. The meaning “God is rich” applies especially to this lesson, which contains two instances of Elisha's use of the law of increase. Elisha here represents the consciousness of divine substance as unfailing.
What is the secret of the increase of substance? The right use of what one has, and the right state of mind in regard to it, whether it be little or much, is the secret of increase.
What are the “empty vessels” into which the widow poured the oil? In a physical sense these represent depleted nerve cells, which need to be restored to their original connection with the vital forces of the organism. Borrowed thoughts may also be empty vessels, as may words that lack the substance of thought.
How do we work in harmony with the law of increase? By recognizing divine substance as infinite and omnipresent, and by possessing ourselves in thought of the boundless riches of the inner kingdom, we work in harmony with this law.
What is the divine order of growth? Growth from within outward is the divine order. He who would follow this order must first unify the subjective and the objective sides of his nature.
May 13, 1945: II Kings 4:8-11
Everyone should bestir himself to accomplish what is worthwhile in the realm of true thought. Elisha “passed to Shunem,” where he was entertained by “a great woman” and her husband. The name Shunem signifies a doubly restful, peaceful state of being, but restfulness and peace may come from inaction. We need zeal to reinforce our faith in the possibility of quickened life.
– UNITY magazine.
Metaphysically Interpreting II Kings 4:8-37
4:8And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. 4:9And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, that passeth by us continually. 4:10Let us make, I pray thee, a little chamber on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a seat, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
4:11And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber and lay there. 4:12And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. 4:13And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people. 4:14And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no son, and her husband is old. 4:15And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. 4:16And he said, At this season, when the time cometh round, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thy handmaid.
4:18And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. 4:19And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to his servant, Carry him to his mother. 4:20And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.4:21And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 4:22And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the servants, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. 4:23And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day? it is neither new moon nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. 4:24Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slacken me not the riding, except I bid thee. 4:25So she went, and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel.
And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is the Shunammite: 4:26run, I pray thee, now to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. 4:27And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came near to thrust her away; but the man of God said, Let her alone: for her soul is vexed within her; and Jehovah hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.4:28Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? 4:29Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thy hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. 4:30And the mother of the child said, As Jehovah liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her. 4:31And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he returned to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
4:32And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. 4:33He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto Jehovah. 4:34And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon him; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 4:35Then he returned, and walked in the house once to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 4:36And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. 4:37Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground; and she took up her son, and went out.
January 12, 1919: II Kings 4:25-37
This lesson, like all Scripture, has reference to certain phases of individual soul development. It can also be applied to the external life. All things without have their principle within man, and he can read their message from either state. But as the without is based upon the within, man cannot understand fully and have dominion over the outer things, until he has made himself acquainted with the powers within. So we give most study to inner states, and through them master the outer.
It is also possible and proper to study and interpret Scripture from both states at the same time. The feeding of the five thousand by Jesus had its possibility in his capacity to increase the substance of his own soul. When, through this inner mastery of the principle immanent in all forms, he had gained this ability, he was equal to what seemed a miracle to those who were ignorant of the law through which it was done. Those who see the form only, are in Egyptian darkness; those who see both the form and glimpses of the animating principle are the children of Israel in the wilderness; and those who see both the within and the without in proper relation are in the Promised Land. This lesson may be profitably studied from both viewpoints, as it brings out some modes of procedure in metaphysical practice that have been proven true by the modern students.
The son of the Shunammite woman had apparently died of sunstroke. She laid him on the prophet's bed in the room on the roof of her house and arranged to go at once for the help of the holy man, who was on Mount Carmel. When asked by her husband the cause of her going, she merely answered “It shall be well.” In this she showed a discretion which is universally found to be necessary. Do not admit the error nor talk about it. If you have in view the restoration of life do not think about anything but life. The very ethers about you are filled with a substance that is formed and transformed at your every thought and word. It is more sensitive to thought than the mariner's compass to the magnetic flow, or the atmosphere to waves of sound. A word of fear thrills the sensitive ethers of sympathetic souls and they tremble, until they sometimes fall. Hence the “It shall be well” of this Shunammite woman is a lesson for all. She showed her wisdom again, when the prophet asked about her family. Her answer was, “It is well.”
The prophet proposed sending his servant, Gehazi, whose name means “sight” or perception, to do the healing in his power (staff). But the woman would not leave unless the prophet himself accompanied her. She was very thorough and did not propose to rest with half measures. There are cases that the “word” cannot reach. There must be a receptive mind to carry the spiritual impetus. Jesus recognized this as faith in the case of the centurion and his servant. Where the patient has faith in the healer, or there is someone in close touch who is strong in spiritual trust, the way is open for demonstration in absent healing.
Elisha found it necessary in this case to go within and “shut the door” and pray unto the Lord. Jesus gave this form of procedure as part of the way to pray. We are to go within our own soul and shut every door that leads to the sense-realm without. This means seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. In this inner chamber you must be immersed in the Spirit of God, then pray.
The restoration of life in this case not only required prayer and spiritual treatment, but a physical contact, if we take the narrative literally. Some healers find that when they have not reached a case by the power of perception of truth, and the prayer of faith, they can sometimes start the life current in the organism by touching the patient, as did Jesus the eyes of the blind man, or the “many” upon whom he “laid hands.” But this laying on of hands is a dangerous process to one who has not a clear understanding of the spiritual source of all things. “Laying on of hands” must always be accompanied by “prayer,” and the prayer should be the important thing. There is no power in the hand save it come from the mind, and the mind is the Son of God.
When we sneeze, the life current is animating some nerve center; to sneeze “seven times” means the animation of all the life centers in the organism. In some parts of Europe the peasants say, “God bless you!” whenever anyone sneezes.
– UNITY magazine.
January 12, 1919: II Kings 4:25-37
Who Was “Elisha,” and what in consciousness does he represent? “Elisha” was a prophet of the Lord, a man of God. In this day we would call him a spiritual healer and a teacher of Truth. In consciousness, “Elisha” represents willing obedience and receptivity to the Word of God, which lifts the whole man into spirituality.
What does “Mount Carmel” stand for, and where in man's body-consciousness is it located? “Mount Carmel” stands for the center of spirituality, and is located in man's body-consciousness in the top of the head.
Who was the “Shunammite” woman, and what in consciousness does she represent? The “Shunammite” woman was the hostess of “Elisha.” She represents that loving, faithful attitude of mind which entertains and gives substance to the spiritual side of life.
Who was “Gehazi” and what in consciousness does he symbolize? “Gehazi” was Elisha’s servant and messenger. “Gehazi” means sight, and symbolizes intellectual perception, which is not always to be relied upon, judges by appearances, and does not discern the inner work of the soul. Gehazi’s theft and falsehoods were punished with leprosy.
What do the Shunammite’s “husband” and “child” represent? The Shunammite's “husband” represents the more materialistic side of the consciousness, dealing with the manifest realm. It has its place in the soul's development, but is liable to give way to weak sympathy, when confronted with negative conditions unless, it is unified with more spiritual forces of faith and love. The “husband” receives the assurance that “It shall be well.” The “child” is the sensitive offspring of these two qualities, which cannot yet cope with the seeming powers of material conditions. While with “the reapers” he was overcome by sunstroke.
What does the “Shunammite's” coming to “Elisha” symbolize? During a trial of faith, when darkness or death seems to have overcome some faculty or activity in consciousness, one must turn in loving trust to God, through the center of spirituality (Elisha).
Why was it necessary for “Elisha” to go with the “Shunammite” woman into the presence of the dead child? Intellectual perception and speaking of the Word is not enough to restore life. The servant, Gehazi, was sent with Elisha's staff, but returned reporting failure. In restoring order and life in any part of the organism, it is necessary to first make a union with the Spiritual I Am (Elisha), then to go in that consciousness of power, faith, love, and life, to the place needing attention, and there to set up new activity through the positive force thus engendered and breathed forth.
Why did “Elisha” go into the room with the child and shut out the mother and servant? In true prayer all the attention is turned to Spirit, and one, for the time, ceases to function in relative qualities. “Elisha” (I Am), in the Silence, receives the inflow of pure spiritual Life and distributes it throughout the seven life centers. The child sneezed “seven times.” The whole organism is quickened, revitalized, and restored to health.
February 12, 1922: II Kings 4:18-35
What slate of mind does Elisha represent? Elisha represents the state of mind which has given up the natural life, and which has been identified with the spiritual. Elisha left his plowing, sacrificed a yoke of oxen, and became a prophet in place of Elijah.
What do the Shunammite woman and her son represent? The Shunammite woman represents the soul-love, and the son represents the body.
What does the death of the son mean? The death of the son represents a state of mind in which the body has lost contact with its animating life principle.
Why does the woman refuse to believe in the reality of the condition? She knew of the spiritual principle, Elisha. He had a room on the top of her house. In high states of consciousness, she communed with him, and she knew that by having his help, she could revive her son, the body.
What was her dominant attitude? “It is well.”
Why did she run to the man of God on Mount Carmel? She knew that she must make contact with the spiritual I AM, so she called upon him for help, continuing to affirm mentally: “It is well with me, it is well with my husband, it is well with the child.”
What is the meaning of Elisha going into the house and shutting the door and praying unto Jehovah? “This procedure is identical with that taught by Jesus: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.” It means that when we pray, we should realize the Spirit of God in his kingdom within us, and close outer avenues of consciousness.
What is the meaning of Elisha putting his mouth, his eyes, and his hands upon the boy's mouth and eyes and hands? The meaning is that the animating life should be realized in all the avenues of expression.
What is symbolized by “and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes”? Sneezing indicates that the quickening life of the Spirit is animating some of the nerve centers. The body has seven large nerve centers, and sneezing seven times symbolizes that they have all been quickened.
Metaphysically Interpreting II Kings 4:38-41
4:38And Elisha came again to Gilgal. And there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets. 4:39And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage; for they knew them not. 4:40So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof. 4:41But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
Metaphysically Interpreting II Kings 4:42-44
4:42And there came a man from Baal-shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the first-fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. 4:43And his servant said, What, should I set this before a hundred men? But he said, Give the people, that they may eat; for thus saith Jehovah, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. 4:44So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of Jehovah.
August 5, 1934: II Kings 4:42-44
Did Elisha and Jesus make use of the same principle in feeding the multitude? Yes, both recognized substance as limitless, and controlled it by the word of Truth.
How is the prosperity consciousness exemplified in the proverb “Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread”? By awakening to the inner realm of ideas, man opens his mind to the consciousness of abiding prosperity.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 02-07-2014