2 Kings 4:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a small jar of olive oil."

New Living Translation
"What can I do to help you?" Elisha asked. "Tell me, what do you have in the house?" "Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil," she replied.

English Standard Version
And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”

New American Standard Bible
Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil."

King James Bible
And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Elisha asked her, "What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" She said, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil."

International Standard Version
Elisha responded, "What shall I do for you? Tell me what you have in your house." She replied, "Your servant has nothing in the entire house except for a flask of oil."

NET Bible
Elisha said to her, "What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" She answered, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a small jar of olive oil."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Elisha asked her, "What should I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" She answered, "I have nothing in the house except a jar of olive oil."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me what thou hast in the house? And she said, Thy handmaid has nothing in the house except a flask of oil.

King James 2000 Bible
And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for you? tell me, what have you in the house? And she said, Your handmaid has not anything in the house, except a pot of oil.

American King James Version
And Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? tell me, what have you in the house? And she said, Your handmaid has not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

American Standard Version
And 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.

Douay-Rheims Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
And Elisha said to her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thy handmaid has not anything at all in the house but a pot of oil.

English Revised Version
And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me; what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Elisha said to her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thy handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

World English Bible
Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me: what do you have in the house?" She said, "Your handmaid has nothing in the house, except a pot of oil."

Young's Literal Translation
And Elisha saith unto her, 'What do I do for thee? declare to me, what hast thou in the house?' and she saith, 'Thy maid-servant hath nothing in the house except a pot of oil.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:1-7 Elisha's miracles were acts of real charity: Christ's were so; not only great wonders, but great favours to those for whom they were wrought. God magnifies his goodness with his power. Elisha readily received a poor widow's complaint. Those that leave their families under a load of debt, know not what trouble they cause. It is the duty of all who profess to follow the Lord, while they trust to God for daily bread, not to tempt him by carelessness or extravagance, nor to contract debts; for nothing tends more to bring reproach upon the gospel, or distresses their families more when they are gone. Elisha put the widow in a way to pay her debt, and to maintain herself and her family. This was done by miracle, but so as to show what is the best method to assist those who are in distress, which is, to help them to improve by their own industry what little they have. The oil, sent by miracle, continued flowing as long as she had empty vessels to receive it. We are never straitened in God, or in the riches of his grace; all our straitness is in ourselves. It is our faith that fails, not his promise. He gives more than we ask: were there more vessels, there is enough in God to fill them; enough for all, enough for each; and the Redeemer's all-sufficiency will only be stayed from the supplying the wants of sinners and saving their souls, when no more apply to him for salvation. The widow must pay her debt with the money she received for her oil. Though her creditors were too hard with her, yet they must be paid, even before she made any provision for her children. It is one of the main laws of the Christian religion, that we pay every just debt, and give every one his own, though we leave ever so little for ourselves; and this, not of constraint, but for conscience' sake. Those who bear an honest mind, cannot with pleasure eat their daily bread, unless it be their own bread. She and her children must live upon the rest; that is, upon the money received for the oil, with which they must put themselves into a way to get an honest livelihood. We cannot now expect miracles, yet we may expect mercies, if we wait on God, and seek to him. Let widows in particular depend upon him. He that has all hearts in his hand, can, without a miracle, send as effectual a supply.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Elisha acknowledges at once the call upon him to do something for the woman. This is, no doubt, in part, because she is a widow. Widows were, in the Law, especially commended to the attention and care of the faithful. As Bahr says, "It is a well-known feature of the Mosaic Law, one which is distinctly prominent, that it often and urgently commands to succor the widows and the fatherless, and to care for them (Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 24:17, 19; Deuteronomy 26:12; Deuteronomy 27:19). They are mentioned as representatives of the forsaken, the oppressed, and the necessitous as a class (Isaiah 10:2; Jeremiah 6:6; Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:10; Matthew 3:5; Baruch 6:37). It is especially emphasized and praised in Jehovah, that he is the Father and Judge (i.e. Protector of the rights) of the widows and the fatherless (Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5; Psalm 146:9; Isaiah 9:17, etc.). Neglect and contempt of them are counted among the heaviest offences (Psalm 94:6; Job 22:9; Ezekiel 22:7); just as, on the other hand, compassion and care for them is a sign of the true fear of God, and of true piety. (Job 29:12; Job 31:16; Tobit 1:7; James 1:27). Elisha could also gather from the tone of the woman's address that she, like her late husband, was God-fearing. Tell me, what hast thou in the house? Hast thou anything, that is, which thou canst soil, and so pay the debt? And she said, Thins handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil; literally, save an anointing of oil; i.e. so much oil as will suffice for one anointing of my person.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And Elisha said unto her, what shall I do for thee?.... Or can I do, being poor himself, and unable to relieve her out of his substance, and not knowing where to get anything for her; and so what could she expect from him? signifying, that he pitied her case, but all that he could do was to give her his best advice, and pray for her:

tell me what thou hast in thy house? that she could part with and dispose of, in order to pay her debt; and satisfy her creditor:

and she said, thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil; that is, nothing of any value; she might have some things, some sort of household goods, though perhaps she had parted with most of them in her poverty; this was the most valuable thing she had.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2-4. a pot—or cruet of oil. This comprising her whole stock of domestic utensils, he directs her to borrow empty vessels not a few; then, secluding herself with her children, [the widow] was to pour oil from her cruse into the borrowed vessels, and, selling the oil, discharge the debt, and then maintain herself and family with the remainder.

2 Kings 4:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
Elisha Multiplies the Widow's Oil
1Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves." 2Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil." 3Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few.…
Cross References
1 Kings 17:12
"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die."

2 Kings 4:3
Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few.
Treasury of Scripture

And Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? tell me, what have you in the house? And she said, Your handmaid has not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

What shall I

2 Kings 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said to …

2 Kings 6:26,27 And as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, there cried …

Matthew 15:34 And Jesus said to them, How many loaves have you? And they said, …

John 6:5-7 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come …

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have …

2 Corinthians 6:10 As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; …

save a pot of oil

1 Kings 17:12 And she said, As the LORD your God lives, I have not a cake, but …

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, Has not God chosen the poor of this …

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