Death in the pot - part 2

When we left Elisha and the sons of the prophets in part 1, they were eating from a great death-pot of bitter gourds. Yum yum.

The salient points from this story included the error of one man causing all to go hungry, and the introduction of coarse grain to mitigate the effect of the beguiling fruit. We noted how this was a parable for Adam's sin, and the eventual introduction of the Law.

Here's the next story in the Kings narrative; it's only short so I'll quote it in full.

"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 Kings 4v42-44 (KJV)

It's a tale made up of one surprising twist after another. There's not quite the drama of the Death Pot, but it gets much more interesting when you pay attention to the meta story...

  • Surprise - An man brings an unexpected gift to the man of God. It's a gift of firstfruits (c.f. Lev2v14-16?).

  • Incredulity - There's an assumption that the food provided is insufficient. Was it really going to be enough to feed all these people?

  • Astonishment - As it turns out, there is actually a great abundance of food! The feeding of the 5000 and 4000 spring to mind.

You may remember the passage that we found unlocked the shadow in the previous part was in Romans. Take a look at what else it says:

"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." - Romans 5v15 (KJV)

One man. A suffering saviour who through death (not many people were expecting that), was able to bring many to salvation. A free gift to all, and the firstfruits of them that sleep.

This second story in Kings describes the new covenant. A gracious free gift which outwardly appeared foolishness, but ultimately abounded to the saving of many. Jesus, the Messiah who died; foolishness to the Gentiles, but the power of God to those who believe (1 Cor 3v23-25).

Which of the two provisions would you prefer to partake of? The poisoned, bitter stew with a handful of coarse flour, or the fresh firstfruits of the harvest?

We needed the story of the Death Pot to help us recognise how much of a better provision the free gift really was, in much the same as the Law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The two stories are placed together to draw out this contrast for us: two different provisions made to save God's people.

That brings this two-part series to a close. As usual, please drop comments on your favourite social media platform (@biblesnippets on Twitter, or like/comment on the Bible Snippets Facebook page).

Photo credit: Fields of Gold by marfis75 - via photopin (cc)


Bible enthusiast, husband, Dad, and tech-head with too many projects and not enough time.