In this essay I approach the story of Elisha and the miraculous jar of oil (2 Kgs 4:1-7) through a close reading and attention to its literary genre – hagiography. The widow’s attitude toward Elisha, the miracle that Elisha performs for her, the contrast built up between Elisha and Elijah, and the parallels between Elisha and the Lord all emphasize what makes Elisha a unique figure in the Bible. Unlike other prophets, he is not described as a messenger-prophet. Instead, he is a holy man of God, endowed with supernatural powers that he uses to work miraculous deliverances for individuals and the community.
The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (JHS) is an internationally peer-reviewed, open-access journal established in 1996, to foster scholarly research on the Hebrew Bible, ancient Israel’s history, and cognate fields of study.