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2 Kings 6Amplified Bible (AMP)

The Axe Head Recovered

Now the [a]sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look now, the place where we [b]live near you is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan [River] and let each man take from there a beam [for the building]; and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one said, “Please be willing to go with your servants.” So he answered, “I shall go.” So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down [some of] the trees. But it happened that as one was cutting down a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron [axe head] float. He said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out with his hand and took it.

The Arameans Plot to Capture Elisha

Now the king of Aram (Syria) was making war against Israel, and he consulted with his servants, saying, “My camp shall be in such and such a place.” The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, “Be careful not to pass by this place, because the Arameans are pulling back to there.” 10 Then the king of Israel sent word to the place about which Elisha had warned him; so he guarded himself there repeatedly.

11 Now the heart of the king of Aram (Syria) was enraged over this thing. He called his servants and said to them, “Will you not tell me which of us is helping the king of Israel?” 12 One of his servants said, “None [of us is helping him], my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 So he said, “Go and see where he is, so that I may send [men] and seize him.” And he was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots and a powerful army there. They came by night and surrounded the city.

15 The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?” 16 Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. 18 When the Arameans came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people (nation) with [c]blindness.” And God struck them with blindness, in accordance with Elisha’s request. 19 Then Elisha said to the Arameans, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me and I will lead you to the man whom you are seeking.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, so that they may see.” And the Lord opened their eyes and they saw. Behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel (Jehoram) saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” 22 Elisha answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and bow? Serve them bread and water, so that they may eat and drink, and go back to their master [King Ben-hadad].” 23 So the king prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Aram did not come into the land of Israel again.

The Siege of Samaria—Cannibalism

24 But it came about after this, that Ben-hadad king of Aram (Syria) gathered his whole army together and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 Now there was a great famine in Samaria; and they [d]besieged it until a [e]donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a [f]kab of [g]dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 As the king of Israel (Jehoram) was passing by on the [city] wall a woman cried out to him, “Help, my lord, O king!” 27 He said, “If the Lord does not help you, from where shall I get you help? From the threshing floor, or from the wine press?” 28 And the king said to her, “What is the matter with you?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son so we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give your son so that we may eat him’; but she had hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he [h]tore his clothes—now he was still walking along on the wall—and the people looked [at him], and he had on [i]sackcloth underneath [his royal robe] next to his skin. 31 Then he said, “[j]May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today!”

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man ahead of him [to behead Elisha]; but before the messenger arrived, Elisha told the elders, “Do you see how this son of [Jezebel] a murderer has sent [a man] to remove my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it securely against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet [just] behind him?” 33 While Elisha was still talking with them, the messenger came down to him [followed by the king] and the king said, “This evil [situation] is from the Lord! Why should I wait for [help from] the Lord any longer?”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:1 See note 2:3.
  2. 2 Kings 6:1 Or sit before you. The Hebrew may refer to either a communal living area or an assembly area where the men would be taught by Elisha.
  3. 2 Kings 6:18 This is an unusual Hebrew word that implies they were blinded by a dazzling bright light (see Gen 19:11).
  4. 2 Kings 6:25 The purpose of a siege was to starve out or weaken the inhabitants of a fortified city, minimizing risk to the attacking army. The success of the siege depended on whether the city was sufficiently stocked with food and water. Here, with a famine, not only does the city fall well short of adequate provisions, but those inhabitants who have a surplus of anything edible or useful make the situation even worse by engaging in price-gouging.
  5. 2 Kings 6:25 Apparently the famine was so severe that the inhabitants were purchasing products that were barely edible as well as being ceremonially unclean.
  6. 2 Kings 6:25 One kab is about two quarts.
  7. 2 Kings 6:25 Normally dung was used as fertilizer or for fuel; however, in this verse “dove’s dung” may be a nickname for a wild pealike vegetable.
  8. 2 Kings 6:30 Usually an act symbolizing grief or anguish.
  9. 2 Kings 6:30 A coarse cloth usually made of goat’s hair and worn as a sign of mourning.
  10. 2 Kings 6:31 Jehoram, the king of Israel, may have been angry at Elisha because the prophet had persuaded him not to kill the enemy army when he had the chance (v 22). He may also have blamed Elisha for the famine (or for failing to ask God to end it), though there is no indication that Elisha had called for it or announced it.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

2 Kings 6New International Version (NIV)

An Axhead Floats

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”

And he said, “Go.”

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Famine in Besieged Samaria

24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels[a] of silver, and a quarter of a cab[b] of seed pods[c] for five shekels.[d]

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

27 The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” 33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.

The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 2 pounds or about 920 grams
  2. 2 Kings 6:25 That is, probably about 1/4 pound or about 100 grams
  3. 2 Kings 6:25 Or of doves’ dung
  4. 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams
New International Version (NIV)

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