2 Kings 6-7
New International Version
An Axhead Floats
6 The company(A) of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2 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.”
3 Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”
“I will,” Elisha replied. 4 And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. 5 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!”
6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw(B) it there, and made the iron float. 7 “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.
Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans
8 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.”
9 The man of God sent word to the king(C) 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(D) 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(E),” 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.”(F) 14 Then he sent(G) 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.
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(J) of fire all around Elisha.
18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.”(K) 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?(L) Shall I kill them?”
22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured(M) 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(N) from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
Famine in Besieged Samaria
24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad(O) king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege(P) to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine(Q) 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](R) 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(S) 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(T) his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth(U) 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(V) 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(W) is sending someone to cut off my head?(X) 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(Y) for the Lord any longer?”
7 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah[e] of the finest flour will sell for a shekel[f] and two seahs[g] of barley for a shekel(Z) at the gate of Samaria.”
“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat(AC) any of it!”
The Siege Lifted
3 Now there were four men with leprosy[h](AD) at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound(AE) of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired(AF) the Hittite(AG) and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled(AH) in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
8 The men who had leprosy(AI) reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.
9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.
12 The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide(AJ) in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’”
13 One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”
14 So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” 15 They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight.(AK) So the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered(AL) the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel,(AM) as the Lord had said.
17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died,(AN) just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. 18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
19 The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates(AO) of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” 20 And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.
- 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 2 pounds or about 920 grams
- 2 Kings 6:25 That is, probably about 1/4 pound or about 100 grams
- 2 Kings 6:25 Or of doves’ dung
- 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams
- 2 Kings 7:1 That is, probably about 12 pounds or about 5.5 kilograms of flour; also in verses 16 and 18
- 2 Kings 7:1 That is, about 2/5 ounce or about 12 grams; also in verses 16 and 18
- 2 Kings 7:1 That is, probably about 20 pounds or about 9 kilograms of barley; also in verses 16 and 18
- 2 Kings 7:3 The Hebrew for leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin; also in verse 8.