“A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” (II Kings 4:42)
The verses preceding this section tell me there was famine in the land of Gilgal (verse 38a) so food would have been a very welcome thing, and a “Godsend” to the household of Elisha. But Elisha was not a prophet that only saw to his own needs and the needs of a select few, but understood and carried the burden for all who made up his household.
“But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” (Verse 43)
I have never feed a hundred people, or at least have not been responsible to supplying food for a hundred people. I feed a family of five each week. But if I would consider all the food that would be necessary to feed these five people for twenty weeks, I could see where twenty loaves (and these were not what we would consider large loaves but small loaf cakes) and a bag of corn would not be enough for my five for twenty weeks – an rough equivalent of one hundred for a sit down meal.
“He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. “ (Verse 44)
I missed it with the first few readings of this passage; but after re-reading it I came to realize that this gift had not taken Elisha by surprise. Maybe he did not have long forehand knowledge about it, but clearly the Lord God had spoken to him about it.
While we have started on a new week, this Old Testament vignette reminds me of the Psalm passage (Ps. 23) that we heard just a few days ago. Whether it comes by miraculous means, or just as part of an ordinary day – The Divine provides! Shalom & Selah!