2 Kings 1-2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Lord Condemns Ahaziah
1 1-2 Soon after King Ahab of Israel died, the country of Moab rebelled against his son King Ahaziah.[a]
One day, Ahaziah fell through the wooden slats around the porch on the flat roof of his palace in Samaria, and he was badly injured. So he sent some messengers to the town of Ekron[b] with orders to ask the god Baalzebub if he would get well.
3 About the same time, an angel from the Lord sent Elijah the prophet from Tishbe to say to the king’s messengers, “Ahaziah has rejected Israel’s own God by sending you to ask Baalzebub about his injury. 4 Tell him that because he has done this, he’s on his deathbed! And Elijah did what he was told.
5 When the messengers returned to Ahaziah, he asked, “Why are you back so soon?”
6 “A man met us along the road with a message for you from the Lord,” they answered. “The Lord wants to know why you sent us to ask Baalzebub about your injury and why you don’t believe there’s a God in Israel. The man also told us that the Lord says you’re going to die.”
7 “What did the man look like?” Ahaziah asked.
8 “He was hairy[c] and had a leather belt around his waist,” they answered.
“It must be Elijah!” replied Ahaziah. 9 So at once he sent an army officer and fifty soldiers to meet Elijah.
10 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “God will send down fire on you and your fifty soldiers.” Fire immediately came down from heaven and burned up the officer and his men.
11 Ahaziah sent another officer and fifty more soldiers to Elijah. The officer said, “Man of God, the king orders you to come see him right now.”
12 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “fire will destroy you and your fifty soldiers.” And God sent down fire[f] from heaven on the officer and his men.
13 Ahaziah sent a third army officer and fifty more soldiers. This officer went up to Elijah, then he got down on his knees and begged, “Man of God, please be kind to me and these fifty servants of yours. Let us live! 14 Fire has already wiped out the other officers and their soldiers. Please don’t let it happen to me.”
15 The angel from the Lord said to Elijah, “Go with him and don’t be afraid.” So Elijah got up and went with the officer.
16 When Elijah arrived, he told Ahaziah, “The Lord wants to know why you sent messengers to Ekron to ask Baalzebub about your injury. Don’t you believe there’s a God in Israel? Ahaziah, because you did that, the Lord says you will die.”
17 Ahaziah died, just as the Lord had said. But since Ahaziah had no sons, Joram[g] his brother[h] then became king. This happened in the second year that Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was king of Judah.[i] 18 Everything else Ahaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
The Lord Takes Elijah Away
2 Not long before the Lord took Elijah up into heaven in a strong wind, Elijah and Elisha were leaving Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “The Lord wants me to go to Bethel, but you must stay here.”
Elisha replied, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I will stay with you no matter what!” And he went with Elijah to Bethel.
3 A group of prophets who lived there asked Elisha, “Do you know that today the Lord is going to take away your master?”
“Yes, I do,” Elisha answered. “But don’t remind me of it.”
4 Elijah then said, “Elisha, now the Lord wants me to go to Jericho, but you must stay here.”
Elisha replied, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life, that I will stay with you no matter what!” And he went with Elijah to Jericho.
5 A group of prophets who lived there asked Elisha, “Do you know that today the Lord is going to take away your master?”
“Yes, I do,” Elisha answered. “But don’t remind me of it.”
6 Elijah then said to Elisha, “Now the Lord wants me to go to the Jordan River, but you must stay here.”
Elisha replied, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I will never leave you!” So the two of them walked on together.
7 Fifty prophets followed Elijah and Elisha from Jericho, then stood at a distance and watched as the two men walked toward the river. 8 When they got there, Elijah took off his coat, then he rolled it up and struck the water with it. At once a path opened up through the river, and the two of them walked across on dry ground.
9 After they had reached the other side, Elijah said, “Elisha, the Lord will soon take me away. What can I do for you before that happens?”
Elisha answered, “Please give me twice as much of your power as you give the other prophets, so I can be the one who takes your place as their leader.”
10 “It won’t be easy,” Elijah answered. “It can happen only if you see me as I am being taken away.”
11 Elijah and Elisha were walking along and talking, when suddenly there appeared between them a flaming chariot pulled by fiery horses. Right away, a strong wind took Elijah up into heaven. 12 Elisha saw this and shouted, “Israel’s cavalry and chariots have taken my master away!”[j] After Elijah had gone, Elisha tore his clothes in sorrow.
13 Elijah’s coat had fallen off, so Elisha picked it up and walked back to the Jordan River. 14 He struck the water with the coat and wondered, “Will the Lord perform miracles for me as he did for Elijah?” As soon as Elisha did this, a dry path opened up through the water, and he walked across.
15 When the prophets from Jericho saw what happened, they said to each other, “Elisha now has Elijah’s power.”
They walked over to him, bowed down, 16 and said, “There are fifty strong men here with us. Please let them go look for your master. Maybe the Spirit of the Lord carried him off to some mountain or valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “they won’t find him.”
17 They kept begging until he was embarrassed to say no. He finally agreed, and the prophets sent the men out. They looked three days for Elijah but never found him. 18 They returned to Jericho, and Elisha said, “I told you that you wouldn’t find him.”
Elisha Makes the Water Pure at Jericho
19 One day the people of Jericho said, “Elisha, you can see that our city is in a good spot. But the water from our spring is so bad that it even keeps our crops from growing.”
20 He replied, “Put some salt in a new bowl and bring it to me.”
They brought him the bowl of salt, 21 and he carried it to the spring. He threw the salt into the water and said, “The Lord has made this water pure again. From now on you’ll be able to grow crops, and no one will starve.”
22 The water has been fine ever since, just as Elisha said.
Some Boys Make Fun of Elisha
23 Elisha left and headed toward Bethel. Along the way some boys started making fun of him by shouting, “Go away, baldy! Get out of here!”
24 Elisha turned around and stared at the boys. Then he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Right away two bears ran out of the woods and ripped to pieces forty-two of the boys.
25 Elisha went up to Mount Carmel, then returned to Samaria.
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