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2 Kings 6

More great things that Elisha did with God's help

1 A group of prophets said to Elisha, ‘The place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2 We must go to the river that is called Jordan. Each one of us can get a piece of wood there. Then we can build a place there in which we can live.’ And Elisha said, ‘Go there.’ 3 Then one of them said, ‘Please come with your servants.’ Elisha replied, ‘I will come with you.’ 4 And he went with them. They came to the river Jordan and they began to cut down trees. 5 While one of them was cutting down a tree, his iron axe fell into the water. ‘My master’, he said, ‘It was not my axe!’ 6 The man of God asked him, ‘Where did it fall?’ He showed Elisha the place. Then Elisha cut a stick and he threw it there. It caused the iron axe to swim on the water. 7 ‘Lift it out of the water’, Elisha said. Then the man took it out of the water with his hand.

8 Then there was a war between the king of Aram and Israel. The king of Aram talked with the officers of his army. Then he said to them, ‘I will put my army in a certain place.’ 9 The man of God sent a message to the king of Israel. He said, ‘Do not pass that certain place. The army from Aram is going down there.’ 10 So the king of Israel checked the place, about which the man of God had told him. Elisha told the king more than once that there was danger there. The king was very careful in that place.

11 This made the king of Aram very angry. He asked the officers of his army to come to him. He said to them, ‘Tell me this. Which of us is helping the king of Israel?’ 12 One of his officers said, ‘None of us is helping him, my master the king. Elisha is a prophet who lives in Israel. He tells the king of Israel every word that you speak in your bedroom.’ 13 ‘Go. Find the place where he is’, said the king of Aram. ‘Then I will send men and I will catch him.’ A report came back to him, ‘Elisha is in Dothan.’ 14 So the king of Aram sent horses and chariots and a strong group of soldiers to Dothan. They went by night and they stayed all round the city.

15 The servant of the man of God got up early the next morning. He went out and he saw an army with horses and chariots all round the city. ‘Oh, my master, what can we do?’ the servant asked Elisha. 16 ‘Do not be afraid’, the prophet answered him. ‘There are more people with us than there are with them.’ 17 Then Elisha prayed and he said, ‘LORD. Open the eyes of my servant so that he can see the angels.’ And the LORD opened the eyes of the servant. And he looked. And he saw that the hills round Dothan were full of horses and chariots. The chariots seemed to be on fire. They were God's servants, and they were all round Elisha. 18 When the enemy came down towards Elisha, he prayed to the LORD. He said, ‘Make these people so that they cannot see clearly.’ And the LORD did what Elisha had asked. The people could not see clearly. 19 And Elisha said to them, ‘This is not the road. And this is not the city that you are looking for. Follow me! And I will lead you to the man that you are looking for.’ And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they had gone into the city Samaria, Elisha prayed again. ‘LORD, open the eyes of these men so that they can see clearly.’ And the LORD opened their eyes and they saw clearly. And they saw that they were inside Samaria! 21 When the king of Israel saw the enemy army, he asked Elisha, ‘My father! Should I kill them? Should I kill them?’ 22 Elisha answered, ‘You must not kill them. You would not kill men that you had caught yourself with your sword or bow. Give them food and water. Then they can eat and drink. After that, they can go back to their master.’ 23 So the king of Israel gave a big meal to them. When they had finished the food and the water, he sent them away. So they returned to their master, the king of Aram. After this, groups of soldiers from Aram did not go into Israel.

24 But after that, King Ben-Hadad of Aram sent his whole army to Samaria. They marched there and they stayed all round the city. 25 Then there was a bad famine in the city. The army stayed all round the city for so long, that a donkey's head cost 80 shekels of silver. And a quarter of a litre of seeds cost 5 shekels. 26 While the king of Israel was walking past on the wall of the city, a woman shouted to him. ‘Help me, my master the king’, she said. 27 The king replied, ‘Do not shout to me for help. The LORD must help you, because I cannot help you. There is no flour and no wine.’ 28 Then he asked her, ‘What is the matter?’ She answered, ‘This woman who is with me spoke to me. She said, “Give to us your son, so that we can eat him today. Tomorrow we will eat my son.” 29 So we cooked my son and we ate him. The next day I said to her, “Give your son, so that we can eat him.” But she had hidden him.’ 30 When the king heard the woman's words, he tore his clothes. He was walking along the wall. And people saw that under his other clothes he was wearing sackcloth (hairy clothes) next to his body. 31 He said, ‘I want God to do this to me, and more. I want him to do this if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today!’

32 Elisha was sitting in his house. The important men of the city were with him. The king sent a man with a message. But before he arrived, Elisha said to the important men, ‘The king is sending a killer to cut off my head. When the man with the message comes, shut the door. Keep him outside the door. The sound of his master's feet is behind him.’ 33 While Elisha was still talking to them, the man with the message came down to him. The man said, ‘This bad thing is from the LORD. I cannot wait for the LORD any longer.’

Notes about chapter 6

6:33In verse 25, the donkey's head was to use for food. It was very, very expensive. The Hebrew word for seeds could mean dirt from a bird called a dove.
6:33In verse 27, the Hebrew words are not ‘flour and wine’. They are the words for the places where they made flour and wine.
6:33Some Bibles say that the king's name was Joram or Jehoram.
6:33In verse 33, many Bible students say that these are the words of King Joram (or Jehoram).