2 Kings 7:3-20

How the war finished

3 At this time, there were four men who had leprosy. They were at Samaria's gate where people went in to the city. They said to each other, ‘We should not stay here. If we wait here we will die. 4 There is no food in the city. If we go in there we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So we will go out to the camp of the Syrian army. We will ask them to be kind to us. They may let us stay alive, or they may kill us. But we would have died anyway.’

5 At evening time, the men went towards the Syrian army's camp. When they reached the edge of the camp, they saw that there was nobody there! 6 The Lord God had caused the Syrian soldiers to hear the sound of horses, chariots and a very big army. So they said among themselves, ‘Listen! The king of Israel has paid the king of the Hittites and the king of Egypt to come here and attack us!’

7 So, that evening, the Syrian soldiers all ran away. They left their tents, their horses and their donkeys. They did not take anything with them. They ran away to save their lives. 8 When the four men reached the edge of the camp, they went into one of the tents. They ate and they drank what was there. They carried away silver and gold and clothes. They went away and they hid those things. Then they came back and they went into another tent. They took the valuable things from there too and they hid them.

9 Then they said to each other, ‘We should not be doing this. It is not right! This is a day of good news and we have not told anyone. If we wait until the morning, we will be in trouble. We must go now and tell the king's officers what has happened.’ 10 So they went back to the city's gate and they called out to the guards. They said to them, ‘We went out to the camp of the Syrian army. There was nobody there! We did not hear anyone at all. The horses and donkeys are still there, where the soldiers had tied them. The tents are still there, as they were before.’

11 The guards at the city gate then shouted the news. People in the king's palace heard the news. 12 The king got up in the middle of the night. He said to his officers, ‘I will tell you what the Syrian soldiers have done to deceive us. They know that we have no food. So they have left their tents and they have hidden in the fields. They are thinking, “The Israelites will surely come out of the city. Then we will catch them while they are still alive. We will then get into their city.” ’

13 One of the king's officers answered him, ‘Send some men with five of the horses that are still in our city. We will see what happens to them. All of us Israelites in the city will soon die. If the Syrian soldiers kill those men, they would have died anyway. So send them out of the city to find out what is happening.’ 14 So they prepared two chariots with their horses. The king sent the men to see what had happened to the Syrian army. He commanded the men, ‘Go and look for them.’

15 The king's men followed the Syrian soldiers as far as the Jordan River. They saw many things that the soldiers had dropped along the road. They had dropped clothes and weapons because they were in a hurry to run away. So the men returned to the king. They told him what they had seen.

16 Then the people in Samaria went out of the city. They took all the valuable things from the Syrian soldiers' tents. So then people could buy five kilograms of good flour for one piece of silver. They could also buy ten kilograms of barley for one piece of silver. That is what the Lord had said would happen.

17 The king had told his special officer to stand at the gate of the city. When the people ran out of the city, they knocked him down. He fell under their feet and he died. The man of God had already said that this would happen, when the king had come to his house.

18 Elisha had said to the king, ‘This time tomorrow, five kilograms of good flour will cost only one piece of silver. Ten kilograms of barley will also cost one piece of silver. You will be able to buy this food at the gate of Samaria.’ 19 But the officer had replied to the man of God, ‘That will never happen! Even if the Lord opens the skies and sends us rain, it could not happen so soon.’ Elisha had said, ‘You yourself will see this happen, but you will not eat any of the food!’

20 That is what really happened to him! At the city gate, the people ran over the king's officer and he died.