Increase of the Widow’s Oil & The History of the Southern Kingdom

I see that just believing in You isn’t the same as walking with You.  Believing that You are who You say You are won’t give us Life Eternal (Jn 3:16), we have to be reborn (Jn 3:3).

Because Abraham, Moses, all up to Elisha, had walked with You and because of that 1 anything they did You made work.

Shunem was a city in the Jezreel Valley, at the base of the hill of Moreh.

The first mention of it occurs in the list of cities conquered by Thutmosis III (15th century B.C.).

In the Tell el-Amarna period (14th century B.C.), the city was destroyed by Labaia, the king of Shechem, and its fields were cultivated by the king of Meggido, using forced labor (el-Amarna Letter 248a, 250).

In the Bible, it is described as a city in the territory of Issachar, together with Jezreel and Chesulloth (Josh. 19:18).

The Philistines camped there before going to battle against Saul in Gilboa (I Sam. 28:4).

Shunem was the birthplace of Abishag,

David’s companion in his old age (I Kgs 1:3, 15; cf. Song 7:1).

In 925 B.C. Shishak overran the city and it is mentioned in his list of conquered cities between Beth-Shean and Taanach (no. 28).

In the time of Eusebius, who places Shunem 5 mi. (8 km.) S. of Mt. Tabor (Onom. 158:11), the “house of Elisha” was shown to pilgrims there.

In Crusader times, it was a benefice of the abbey of Mt. Tabor.

The Jerusalem Talmud mentions R. Justa of Shunem, who lived in c. 400 C.E. (Shek. 1:1, 46a).

The biblical site of Shunem is identified with the Muslim Arab village of Sūlim at the foot of the hill of Moreh, 3 mi. (5 km.) southeast of Afulah.

Surface pottery on the ancient mound, situated northeast of the village, dates from the Middle Bronze Age to the Arab period.

In 1968 the village had 725 inhabitants, increasing to 2,240 in 2002.

Field crops and fruit orchards have been the main branches of farming.

Increase of the Widow’s Oil

There was a widow that came to Elisha, and said,

“Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear theLord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

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.

Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full” (2 Kgs 4:1-4).

So she did what he told her to do, and ended with more oil then she had vessels for.  Elisha then told her to sell the oil and pay her debt and her and her children would be fine.

There came a day that Elisha passed to Shunem, and there was a great woman and she asked him to eat bread, so he did.  Later she asked her husband to add another room, with a bed, table, stool, and candlestick so whenever Elisha came by he would stay with them. 

And one day Elisha told his servant, Gehazi to summon her and when she came he asked her what he could do for her; if she wanted favors from the king, and she said no, she basically wanted nothing to do with the government, she was happy with her people. 

He then asked Gehazi what he could do for her and he told her that she had no children.  Elisha then told her that the next year she would have a son.  She didn’t believe him, even asked him not to lie to her, but the next year she gave birth to a son.

When the boy was grown and was out working with his father he was injured and died.  So she laid him on Elisha’s bed, shut the door, and left.  She then said to her husband,

“Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.  And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him today?  It is neither new moon, nor Sabbath. And she said, It shall be wel” (2 Kgs 4:22-24).

Life with Neanderthal Man and Napoleon too at the Mt. Carmel caves and the beach at Tel Dor.
The caves are located on the western slopes of Mt. Carmel, some 20 km. south of Haifa, where Nahal Me’arot (Valley of the Caves) emerges into the Coastal Plain.

They were first excavated in the 1920s and 1930s.

Then new digs were conducted from the late 1960s onwards, using advanced scientific methods based on modern geological, archaeological and palynological (paleontological study of pollen, fossils, etc.) research.

Flint tools, animal bones and human burials found in the Carmel Caves contribute greatly to the understanding of the physical and cultural evolution of man in the early phases of his existence.

The Tabun Cave (Cave of the Oven)
The Tabun Cave was occupied intermittently during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic ages (half a million to some 40,000 years ago).

In the course of this extremely long period of time, deposits of sand, silt and clay of up to 25 m. accumulated in the cave.

Excavation proved that it has one of the longest sequences of human occupation in the Levant.

The earliest deposits contain large amounts of sea sand.

This, and pollen traces found, suggest a relatively warm climate.

The melting glaciers which covered large parts of the globe caused the sea level to rise and the Mediterranean coastline to recede.

The Coastal Plain was narrower than it is today, and was covered with Savannah vegetation.

The cave dwellers used hand-axes of flint or limestone for killing animals (gazelle, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and wild cattle which roamed the Coastal Plain) and for digging out plant roots.

The tools improved slowly over a period of tens of thousands of years.

The hand-axes became smaller and better shaped and scrapers, made of thick flakes chipped off flint cores, were probably used for scraping meat off bones and for processing animal skins.

When she arrived to Mount Carmel Elisha saw her and told Gehazi to go her and ask her,

“Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well:

And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.

Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?

Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine 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.

And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.

And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked” (2 Kgs 4:26-31).

When Elisha reached the woman’s house he saw the dead man on his bed and closed the door and prayed to the Lord.  He then went and lay upon the child, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and hands to  hands, and the boy’s body became warm. 

He then walked around the house, back and forth, and then stretched himself on the child again and the child sneezed seven times and he opened his eyes.

“And 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.

Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

And 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 seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

And 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.

Wooden tools
12th dynasty spindle and wooden 19th dynasty tools found at Gurob Wood, ivory, bone and stone have been used for making tools since earliest times.

Wood has marvelous qualities for which it is used and loved to this day.

It combines toughness and pliability and can be given almost any shape.

It was part of many tools, generally forming the handle.

But some tools were made entirely of wood and remained so through the millennia:

Ploughs did not have a European-style ploughshare.

There was no need to turn over the soil, as the Nile deposited nutrients with every yearly flooding.

Used only to break up the topsoil, they continued to be lightly built.

Hoes, rakes and grain scoops too were made of wood as were some tools mostly women used, such as spindles and looms.

Carpenters’ mallets were often just blocks of wood with a handle.

Fire drills consisted of a wooden bow and a plant fiber string.

Many of these tools changed but little over the centuries.

The spindles of the twelfth dynasty for instance had whorl of greater depth than those of the New Kingdom and at the top a long spiral groove for the thread.

In Roman times this groove was replaced by a metal hook.

So 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 thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.

But 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.

And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.

And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.

So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord” (2 Kgs 3:36-44).

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Ps 1).

2 This is the same that Jesus did with the 4,000 and 5,000 men (Lk 9:13-17; Mk 8:1-9).

The History of The Southern Kingdom

The southern kingdom of Judah came into being when the northern ten tribes broke away from the united monarchy in approximately 930 B.C. (I Kgs 12:1-24).

The remaining kingdom, consist­ing of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, retained Jerusalem, the capital of the united monarchy, as its capital.

The Temple of Amun, which actually houses a number of integrated temples and chapels, is both the central and principal construct at Karnak.

It’s primary modern entrance is on the west (northwest), and consists of a number of structures and statues leading up and through the first Pylon.

In the approach to the Temple of Amun at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), a canal was originally dug out to the Nile terminating at a quay built by Ramesses II located on the western extremity of an avenue bordered with two rows of ram-headed sphinxes.

The avenue comes to a holt about twenty meters before the first pylon on the northeast of the main structure which faces the Nile River.

The avenue is cut into by the royal highway which went from Coptos to Syrene (Aswan) by way of Thebes, passing between the seventh and eighth sphinxes.

Twenty kings ruled the southern kingdom through­out its 345-year span. All were from the line of David, with one exception – Atha-liah, daughter of Ahab, king of the northern kingdom (2 Kgs 8:18).

She married into the royal Judean family and became queen for six years, from 841-835 B.C. (ch. 11).

Of those twenty kings, seven are attested in records outside the Bible. In addition, seals or seal impressions have been discovered for fif­teen Judean officials and priests named in the Bible.

In the fifth year of Rehoboam, the first king of the southern kingdom after the divi­sion of the land, Egypt’s Pharaoh Shishak campaigned against Judah, plundering the temple and the royal palace (2 Chr 12:1-9).

Inscribed on a wall of the temple of Amon in Thebes, Egyptis a list of places Shishak conquered. Rehoboam was compelled to buy off Shishak with a large payment of tribute.

While the 9th century B.C. saw skir­mishes with the small king­doms bordering Judah, the 8th century was largely one of peace – the most prosperous era of Judean history.

It is estimated that the population of the southern kingdom was 120,000-150,000 at this time, with the majority of people living in Jerusalem and its environs.

All of this changed, however, with the coming of the Assyrians during the last quarter of the century.

In 701 B.C. Sennacherib ravaged Judah (2 Kgs 18:13), and for the next half century Judah was dominated by Assyria.

When this world power grew weak, Josiah (641-609 B.C.) was able to focus again on internal mat­ters and to lead a religious revival (2 Chr 34:3-35:19).

From 609-605 B.C. the southern kingdom was sub­ject to Egypt (2 Kgs 23:31-35).

With the defeat of Pharaoh Neco at Carchemish by Neb­uchadnezzar in 605 B.C., Jeru­salem fell under Babylonian domination.

Nebuchadnezzar crushed one rebellion at Jeru­salem in 597 B.C. (24:10-16) and 11 years later destroyed the city, bringing the southern kingdom to an end (25:1-21).