This can be answered simply; Gehazi did not have the faith required.  An insight into the character of the man, can be seen in 2 Kings 5:20-27.  Looking deeper there is further meaning.

Relevant verses — 2 Kings 4:29-36:

He said to Gehazi, “Tie up your garment and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child.”  (30)  Then the mother of the child said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her.  (31)  Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, “The child has not awakened.”  (32)  When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed.  (33)  So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the LORD.  (34)  Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm.  (35)  Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.  (36)  Then he summoned Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, “Pick up your son.”

As Elijah was like John the Baptist, Elisha is a type of Christ and as such, is used by God to typify aspects of Jesus Christ.  The Shunammite’s son seems to represent Israel — his death and resurrection are symbolic of Israel being casting off by God and then being grafted in again.

If this is true, it would not be appropriate for Gehazi to raise the boy.  The types wouldn’t fit.  Gehazi was a similar type of person to Judas Iscariot and Ananias and Sapphira — they were believers, but they had a fatal flaw — they loved money more than God.  Such a man would not a fitting type for God to use to perform this great miracle.

Reasons why the Shunammite’s son could be a type of Israel

  • The boy was the firstborn and miraculously conceived.  Israel was God’s son —

Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son.’ (Exodus 4:22)

  • The boy died and was resurrected.  Israel was cast off by God for their disbelief and disobedience, but in the future, will be gathered in again.

For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)

  • Elisha told the Shunammite to take her son out of the land “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the LORD has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.”  She took her son (it seems likely her husband had now died) and dwelt in the land of the Philistines for 7 years and others took possession of her house and land. Israel were sent out of their land to wander among the nations for almost 1900 years.

“Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.  (11)  For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished. (Jeremiah 30:10-11)

  • When the Shunammite and her son returned to their land, the King of Israel commanded Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.” Israel will be saved from the nations and become a favoured nation with Jesus as their King.

For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”  The wealth of the nations shall come to Israel at that time. (Jeremiah 30:3)

Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. (Isaiah 60:5)

  • The way the boy was resurrected, is like the resurrection of the nation of Israel as described in Ezekiel 37. The resurrection of the boy was done in stages.
    • 2 Kings 4:31  Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. 2 Kings 4:32  When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed.  

      cf  Ezekiel 37:2-3:   And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many [bones] on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.  (3)  And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”

    • 2 Kings 4:34  “Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm“. 

      cf  Ezekiel 37:7-8  …  as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  (8)  And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.

    • 2 Kings 4:35  Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 

      cf   Ezekiel 37:9-10  Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”  (10)  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

If the boy represents Israel, how does Elisha represent Jesus in this passage?

Many Scriptures, detail how the Messiah (Jesus), will save the Jewish nation from their time of final punishment.  For example, we know from Isaiah 63 that Jesus will come from Edom in the latter days, after saving Israel from Edom.

Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” (Isaiah 63:1)

Isaiah 63 identifies the time that this prophecy will be fulfilled — the year of redemption:

For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.  (5)  I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. (Isaiah 63:4-5)

The saviour in verse 1 is Jesus acting on behalf of God.  Verse 4 speaks of the day of vengeance and the year of redemption, which is identified in Isaiah 34:8 as being for the cause of Zion:

For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. (Isaiah 34:8)

So Jesus returns to save Israel as Elisha saved the dead boy.  Isaiah 59:20 also refers to this time:

“And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD.

Romans 11:25-27  explains how this salvation to Israel is also linked to the salvation of spiritual Israel, making this whole scenario very relevant to us as well:

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  (26)  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;  (27)  “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

I understand “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in”, to mean that the opportunity for Gentiles to accept the offer of salvation is at an end.  As we saw earlier, the acceptance of Israel is linked to the resurrection:

For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)

Therefore,  Elisha, the type of Christ, is the appropriate one to resurrect the Shunammite’s son.

 

 

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