When the king heard this, he tore his clothes in despair. And as the king walked along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing burlap under his robe next to his skin. “May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t separate Elisha’s head from his shoulders this very day,” the king vowed.
Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “A murderer has sent a man to cut off my head. When he arrives, shut the door and keep him out. We will soon hear his master’s steps following him.”
While Elisha was still saying this, the messenger arrived. And the king said, “All this misery is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
(2 Kings 6:30-33)
Deuteronomy 28:49-57 predicted that famine and other horrors would occur when the people of Israel rejected God’s leadership. Israel had long since forsaken God’s leadership. When a city like Samaria faced famine, it was no small matter.
Why did the king blame Elisha for the famine and troubles of the siege? Here are some possible reasons: (1) Some commentators say that Elisha must have told the king to trust God for deliverance. The king did this and even wore sackcloth (6:30), but at this point the situation seemed hopeless. Apparently the king thought Elisha had given him bad advice and not even God could help them. (2) For years there was conflict between the kings of Israel and the prophets of God. The prophets often predicted doom because of the kings’ evil, so the kings saw the prophets as troublemakers. Thus Israel’s king was striking out in frustration at Elisha. (3) The king may have remembered when Elijah helped bring an end to a drought and the resulting famine (1 Kings 18:41-46). Knowing Elisha was a man of God, perhaps the king thought he could do any miracle he wanted and was angry that he had not come to Israel’s rescue.
Have you ever felt disappointed, because you expected God to work in a certain way and he did not come through as you planned? Are you willing to lay aside those expectations and wait on the Lord’s timing and provision?