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Elisha: Pay attention to this prediction from the Eternal. This is His message: “By this time tomorrow, 7 quarts of flour and 13 quarts of barley will sell for 11 grams at the market in the gate of Samaria.”

Then the king’s first officer responded to the man of God.

First Officer: Even if the Eternal carved out windows in heaven, is this really possible?

Elisha: You will witness this event, but you will not be allowed to enjoy the feast.

Meanwhile four men with skin diseases were standing and conversing near the gate entrance.

Diseased Men (to each other): Why are we just sitting around here isolated, waiting to die? If we decide to go into the city where there is a famine, we will die just the same as if we stay here. So why don’t we walk over to the Aramean camp and see if we can get some food; it is our only hope. If we live, then we live; if we die, then we die.

Just before nightfall, they stood up and walked over to the Aramean camp, but when they got close to the camp, there was no one in sight. The Lord had fooled the Aramean army. He had caused them to imagine the monstrous noise of a mighty army of chariots and horses coming toward them.

Arameans (to one another): That’s not just the army of Israel. Israel’s king has commissioned the Hittite kings and the Egyptian kings to war against us.

So the Arameans ran away just before nightfall, without any fighting taking place. God caused them to abandon their tents, their horses, their donkeys, and the campsite, and run for their lives.

When the diseased men arrived at the camp, they walked into one tent and ate and drank. They gathered up all the valuables they could find—clothes, silver, gold—and went out and hid them in a secret place. Then they went into another tent and did the same thing.

Diseased Men (among themselves): This isn’t right. We have stumbled upon a good thing, and we have kept it to ourselves. If we wait until sunrise, we will surely be punished for our silence. Let’s go quickly now to tell the palace of this news.

10 So they returned to the city and called to the gatekeepers.

Diseased Men (to the gatekeepers): The Aramean camp is empty! We have just come from there, and there is not even a whisper of a man left there! The animals are still tied up, and the tents are still standing, but there is no one there!

11 The gatekeepers went and told the palace about this strange news. 12 The king woke up and listened to the report. He was immediately suspicious, so he explained his theory to his servants.

King of Israel: I don’t trust this. I think I know what the Arameans are up to. They are fully aware that we are all starving, so they have hidden themselves in a field outside of their camp and have created a plan: “As soon as they leave the city, we will attack them and capture them and overtake their city.”

Royal Servant: 13 Allow a few men to take five of the horses that are still alive in this miserable city. They are already doomed to the same destiny as all the Israelites left here and all the Israelites who have already died; therefore, let’s at least try to find a way to survive.

14 So a few men took a couple of chariots along with some of the horses that were still alive in the city, and Israel’s king told them, “Trail after the Aramean army, and get down to the bottom of this.” 15 The king’s messengers traveled to the Jordan River and found that the trail was covered with clothing and weapons and tools that the Arameans had left behind in their haste. The messengers immediately went back and told the king what they had found.

16 Everyone in the city went and raided the abandoned Aramean camp. So 7 quarts of premium flour were sold for 11 grams, and 13 quarts of barley were sold for the same, just as the Eternal had said they would be. 17 The king instructed his first officer to guard the gate, but everyone ran over him at the gate on their way to raid the abandoned Aramean camp. He was killed, as the man of God had said he would be when the king had spoken to him.

18 You recall that this man of God had told the king, “By this time tomorrow, 7 quarts of premium flour will sell for 11 grams, and 13 quarts of barley will sell for the same at the market in the gate of Samaria.” 19 The officer had then asked, “Even if the Eternal carved out windows in heaven, is it really possible?” Elisha had replied, “You will witness this event, but you will not be allowed to enjoy the feast.” 20 This was the truth about the officer’s destiny, for he was killed at the city entrance—trampled by the starving, miserable citizens of Samaria.

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