Haftarah for Va-yera
II Kings 4:1-37
This translation was taken from the JPS Tanakh
1 A certain woman, the wife of one of the disciples of the prophets, cried out to Elisha: "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know how your servant revered the Lord. And now a creditor is coming to seize my two children as slaves." 2 Elisha said to her, "What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you in the house?" She replied, "Your maidservant has nothing at all in the house, except a jug of oil." 3 "Go," he said, "and borrow vessels outside, from all your neighbors, empty vessels, as many as you can. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind you and your children, and pour [oil] into all those vessels, removing each one as it is filled."
5 She went away and shut the door behind her and her children. They kept bringing [vessels] to her and she kept pouring. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." He answered her, "There are no more vessels"; and the oil stopped. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your children can live on the rest."
8 One day Elisha visited Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to have a meal; and whenever he passed by, he would stop there for a meal. 9 Once she said to her husband, "I am sure it is a holy man of God who comes this way regularly. 10 Let us make a small enclosed upper chamber and place a bed, a table, a chair, and a lampstand there for him, so that he can stop there whenever he comes to us." 11 One day he came there; he retired to the upper chamber and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, "Call that Shunammite woman." He called her, and she stood before him. 13 He said to him, "Tell her, 'You have gone to all this trouble for us. What can we do for you? Can we speak in your behalf to the king or to the army commander?'" She replied, "I live among my own people." 14 "What then can be done for her?" he asked. "The fact is," said Gehazi, "she has no son, and her husband is old." 15 "Call her," he said. He called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 And Elisha said, "At this season next year, you will be embracing a son." She replied, "Please, my lord, man of God, do not delude your maidservant."
17 The woman conceived and bore a son at the same season the following year, as Elisha had assured her.
18 The child grew up. One day, he went out to his father among the reapers.
19 [Suddenly] he cried to his father, "Oh, my head, my head!" He said to a servant, "Carry him to his mother."
20 He picked him up and brought him to his mother. And the child sat on her lap until noon; and he died.
21 She took him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and left him and closed the door.
22 Then she called to her husband: "Please, send me one of the servants and one of the she-asses, so I can hurry to the man of God and back."
23 But he said, "Why are you going to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath." She answered, "It's all right."
Sepharadim end here
24 She had the ass saddled, and said to her servant, "Urge [the beast] on; see that I don't slow down unless I tell you." 25 She went on until she came to the man of God on Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her from afar, he said to his servant Gehazi, "There is that Shunammite woman. 26 Go, hurry toward her and ask her, 'How are you? How is your husband? How is the child?'" "We are well," she replied. 27 But when she came up to the man of God on the mountain, she clasped his feet. Gehazi stepped forward to push her away; but the man of God said, "Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress; and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me." 28 Then she said, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Didn't I say: 'Don't mislead me'?"
29 He said to Gehazi, "Tie up your skirts, take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him. And place my staff on the face of the boy." 30 But the boy's mother said, "As the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you!" So he arose and followed her.
31 Gehazi had gone on before them and had placed the staff on the boy's face; but there was no sound or response. He turned back to meet him and told him, "The boy has not awakened." 32 Elisha came into the house, and there was the boy, laid out dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he mounted [the bed] and placed himself over the child. He put his mouth on its mouth, his eyes on its eyes, and his hands on its hands, as he bent over it. And the body of the child became warm. 35 He stepped down, walked once up and down the room, then mounted and bent over him. Thereupon, the boy sneezed seven times, and the boy opened his eyes. 36 [Elisha] called Gehazi and said, "Call the Shunammite woman," and he called her. When she came to him, he said, "Pick up your son." 37 She came and fell at his feet and bowed low to the ground; then she picked up her son and left.
Used by permission of The Jewish Publication Society. Copyright ©1962, 1992
Third Edition by the Jewish Publication Society. No part of this text can be reproduced or forwarded without written permission.
Please visit the JPS website for more fine books of Jewish literature and tradition.