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Women in the Bible: The Widow’s Oil


The widow of one of Elisha’s followers comes to him for help. Her husband left her with an outstanding debt, Since she has no means to pay off the debt, the creditor demands her two sons become his slaves.

Elisha asks what resources she has. “Nothing,” she replies, “except for a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha has a plan. He tells her to borrow empty jars from her neighbors, lots of them. Then she is to go home, close the doors, and begin pouring olive oil from her small jar into all the other jars.

She does and the oil continues flowing until every jar is full. Then it is gone.

She sells the oil. With the proceeds, she pays off her debt and has extra to live on.

What if she had borrowed more jars? What if she only borrowed a few? When God tells us to do something, do we do it half way (and possibly miss his bounty) or go all out?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Kings 1-4 and today’s post is on 2 Kings 4:1-7.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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