If you just read the verses in Melachim Bet, Gechazi seems to faithfully serve his boss Elisha a few times, then he gets greedy and makes a couple of bucks off of the venture, at which point Elisha immediately realizes it and punishes him.

Chazal, however, indicate that Gechazi was rotten much earlier -- he touched the Shunamite woman inappropriately, and told everyone he was going to revive the dead when his instructions were "talk to no one at all."

So either Gechazi is doing all these wrong things and Elisha doesn't react ... or he's unaware.

By that logic, the Midrash is reducing Elisha's prophetic awareness. What lesson should we draw from that?

  • 1
    One lesson is to beware modern-day Gechazis who are close to great Jewish leaders but doing horrible stuff ... but still ...
    – Shalom
    Jul 13, 2022 at 0:07
  • 1
    Ace yet the Gemara Sanhedrin says Elisha was wrong for pushing him away totally - לא כאלישע שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידים. Obviously he had shortcomings, but not enough to be totally pushed away. Maybe Elisha knew, and tried to make him better, until he realized it was futile. To which chazal say, there still was some hope.
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 13, 2022 at 2:40
  • I am reminded of when Rabbi Akiva's attendants pushed away his wife when she came to greet him. Most likely these attendants were some of his students. These same students who are said to have been killed because they didn't respect one another...
    – Harel13
    Jul 13, 2022 at 5:14
  • @Harel13 yes but the students didn't touch R' Akiva's wife inappropriately!
    – Shalom
    Jul 13, 2022 at 12:34
  • According to p'shat Tanach, all he did was push her away, just like Rabbi Akiva's attendants.
    – Harel13
    Jul 13, 2022 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


For one thing, being a prophet does not mean being omniscient. We find many examples of prophets not knowing things. Samuel did not automatically know which son of Jesse to anoint as king, and G-d had to correct him. Elisha was a prophet that received communications from G-d; he did not know everything about everyone.

  • Good point, thanks.
    – Shalom
    Jul 13, 2022 at 12:35

It was possibly because Geichazi projected a very different persona to that which was his real character.

In Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 10:2 it lists Geichazi's three wrongdoings, however importantly it starts by saying...

גֵּיחֲזִי אָדָם גּיבּוֹר בַּתּוֹרָה הָיָה. אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיוּ בוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה דְבָרִים. עַיִן צָרָה וּפָרוּץ בָּעֶרְוָה וְלֹא הָיָה מוֹדֶה בִתְחִײַת הַמֵּתִים. עַיִן צָרָה

Geḥazi was great in Torah, but three things were the matter with him: He was grudging, dissolute in sexual matters, and denied the Resurrection of the Dead. Grudging. (Sefaria translation)

So perhaps, to the masses, he was deemed a big talmud chachum but his innate failings led to him sinning in several ways. It is not a failing in Elisha's prophetic ability, rather in most cases it is human nature to view people in the way they present themselves and we don't look at their inner potential to sin.

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