2 Kings 1-3 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
A Message for Ahaziah
1 After King Ahab died, Moab broke away from Israel’s rule.
2 One day Ahaziah was on the roof of his house in Samaria. He fell down through the wooden bars on top of his house and was badly hurt. He called messengers and told them, “Go to the priests of Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron, and ask them if I will get well from my injuries.”
3 But the Lord’s angel said to Elijah the Tishbite, “King Ahaziah has sent some messengers from Samaria. Go meet those men and ask them, ‘There is a God in Israel, so why are you men going to ask questions of Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron? 4 Since you did this, the Lord says, You will not get up from your bed. You will die!’” Then Elijah left.
5 When messengers came back to Ahaziah, he asked them, “Why did you come back so soon?”
6 The messengers said to Ahaziah, “A man came up to meet us and told us to go back to the king who sent us and tell him what the Lord says: ‘There is a God in Israel, so why did you send messengers to ask questions of Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron? Since you did this, you will not get up from your bed. You will die!’”
7 Ahaziah said to the messengers, “What did the man look like who met you and told you this?”
8 They answered Ahaziah, “This man was wearing a hairy coat[a] with a leather belt around his waist.”
Then Ahaziah said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”
Ahaziah Calls for Elijah
9 Ahaziah sent a captain and 50 men to Elijah. The captain went to Elijah, who was sitting on top of a hill. The captain said to Elijah, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”
10 Elijah answered the captain of 50, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your 50 men!”
So fire came down from heaven and destroyed the captain and his 50 men.
11 Ahaziah sent another captain with 50 men to Elijah. He said to Elijah, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down quickly!’”
12 Elijah told the captain and his 50 men, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your 50 men!”
Then God’s fire came down from heaven and destroyed the captain and his 50 men.
13 Ahaziah sent a third captain with 50 men. The third captain came to Elijah. He fell down on his knees and begged Elijah, saying to him, “Man of God, I ask you, please let my life and the lives of your 50 servants be valuable to you. 14 Fire came down from heaven and destroyed the first two captains and their 50 men. But now, have mercy and let us live!”
15 The Lord’s angel said to Elijah, “Go with the captain. Don’t be afraid of him.”
So Elijah went with the captain to see King Ahaziah.
16 Elijah told Ahaziah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘There is a God in Israel, so why did you send messengers to ask questions of Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron? Since you did this, you will not get up from your bed. You will die!’”
Joram Takes Ahaziah’s Place
17 Ahaziah died, just as the Lord said through Elijah. Ahaziah did not have a son, so Joram became the new king after Ahaziah. He began to rule during the second year that Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah.
18 The other things that Ahaziah did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel.
The Lord Makes Plans to Take Elijah
2 It was near the time for the Lord to take Elijah by a whirlwind up into heaven. Elijah and Elisha started to leave Gilgal.
2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, because the Lord told me to go to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “I promise, as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two men went down to Bethel.
3 The group of prophets[b] at Bethel came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?”
Elisha said, “Yes, I know. Don’t talk about it.”
4 Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, because the Lord told me to go to Jericho.”
But Elisha said, “I promise, as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you!” So the two men went to Jericho.
5 The group of prophets at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?”
Elisha answered, “Yes, I know. Don’t talk about it.”
6 Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, because the Lord told me to go to the Jordan River.”
Elisha answered, “I promise, as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you!” So the two men went on.
7 There were 50 men from the group of prophets who followed them. Elijah and Elisha stopped at the Jordan River. The 50 men stood far away from Elijah and Elisha. 8 Elijah took off his coat, folded it, and hit the water with it. The water separated to the right and to the left. Then Elijah and Elisha crossed the river on dry ground.
9 After they crossed the river, Elijah said to Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you before God takes me away from you?”
Elisha said, “I ask you for a double share of your spirit on me.”
10 Elijah said, “You have asked a hard thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it will happen. But if you don’t see me when I am taken from you, it will not happen.”
The Lord Takes Elijah Into Heaven
11 Elijah and Elisha were walking and talking together. Suddenly, some horses and a chariot came and separated Elijah from Elisha. The horses and the chariot were like fire. Then Elijah was carried up into heaven in a whirlwind.
12 Elisha saw it, and shouted, “My father! My father! The chariot of Israel and his horses![c]”
Elisha never saw Elijah again. Elisha grabbed his own clothes and tore them in two to show his sadness. 13 Elijah’s coat had fallen to the ground, so Elisha picked it up. He went back and stood at the edge of the Jordan River. 14 He hit the water and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” Just as Elisha hit the water, the water separated to the right and to the left! Then Elisha crossed the river.
The Prophets Ask for Elijah
15 When the group of prophets at Jericho saw Elisha, they said, “Elijah’s spirit is now on Elisha!” They came to meet Elisha. They bowed very low to the ground before him. 16 They said, “Look, we have 50 good men. Please let them go and look for your master. Maybe the Lord’s Spirit has taken Elijah up and dropped him on some mountain or in some valley.”
But Elisha answered, “No, don’t send men to look for Elijah!”
17 The group of prophets begged Elisha until he was embarrassed. Then Elisha said, “Send the men to look for Elijah.”
The group of prophets sent the 50 men to look for Elijah. They looked three days, but they could not find him. 18 So the men went to Jericho where Elisha was staying and told him. Elisha said to them, “I told you not to go.”
Elisha Makes the Water Good
19 The men of the city said to Elisha, “Sir, you can see this city is in a nice place, but the water is bad. That is why the land cannot grow crops.”
20 Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it.”
They brought the bowl to Elisha. 21 Then he went out to the place where the water began flowing from the ground. Elisha threw the salt into the water and said, “The Lord said, ‘I am making this water pure! From now on this water will not cause any more death or keep the land from growing crops.’”
22 The water became pure and is still good today. It happened just as Elisha had said.
Some Boys Make Fun of Elisha
23 Elisha went from that city to Bethel. He was walking up the hill to the city, and some boys were coming down out of the city. They began making fun of him. They said, “Go away, you bald-headed man! Go away, you bald-headed man!”
24 Elisha looked back and saw them. He asked the Lord to cause bad things to happen to them. Then two bears came out of the forest and attacked the boys. There were 42 boys ripped apart by the bears.
25 Elisha left Bethel and went to Mount Carmel and from there he went back to Samaria.
Jehoram Becomes King of Israel
3 Joram son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria. He began to rule during Jehoshaphat’s 18th year as king of Judah. Joram ruled 12 years. 2 He did what the Lord said was wrong. But he was not like his father and mother, because he removed the pillar that his father had made for worshiping Baal. 3 But he continued to do the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat who had caused the Israelites to sin. Joram did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam.
Moab Breaks Away From Israel
4 Mesha was the king of Moab. He owned many sheep. He gave the wool of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams to the king of Israel. 5 But when Ahab died, the king of Moab broke away from the rule of the king of Israel.
6 Then King Joram went out of Samaria and gathered together all the men of Israel. 7 Joram sent messengers to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. Joram said, “The king of Moab has broken away from my rule. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”
Jehoshaphat said, “Yes, I will go with you. We will join together as one army. My people will be like your people, and my horses will be like your horses.”
The Three Kings Ask Elisha for Advice
8 Jehoshaphat asked Joram, “Which way should we go?”
Joram answered, “We should go through the desert of Edom.”
9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. They traveled around for seven days. There was not enough water for the army or for their animals. 10 Finally, the king of Israel said, “Oh, I think the Lord really brought us three kings together only to let the Moabites defeat us!”
11 But Jehoshaphat said, “Surely one of the Lord’s prophets is here. Let’s ask the prophet what the Lord says we should do.”
One of the servants of the king of Israel said, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. Elisha was Elijah’s servant.[d]”
12 Jehoshaphat said, “The Lord’s word is with Elisha.”
So the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom went down to see Elisha.
13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do you want from me? Go to the prophets of your father and mother.”
The king of Israel said to Elisha, “No, we have come to see you because the Lord called us three kings together to let the Moabites defeat us.”
14 Elisha said, “I respect King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and I serve the Lord All-Powerful. As surely as he lives, I came here only because of Jehoshaphat. I tell you the truth, if he were not here, I would not pay any attention to you. I would ignore you completely. 15 But now bring me someone who plays the harp.”
When the person played the harp, the Lord’s power[e] came on Elisha. 16 Then Elisha said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Dig holes in the valley.’ 17 Yes, this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not see wind or rain, but that valley will be filled with water. Then you and your cattle and other animals will have water to drink.’ 18 This is an easy thing for the Lord to do. He will also help you defeat the Moabites. 19 You will attack every strong city and every good city. You will cut down every good tree. You will stop up all the springs of water. You will ruin every good field with stones.”
20 In the morning, at the time for the morning sacrifice, water began flowing from the direction of Edom and filled the valley.
21 The Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. So they gathered together all the men old enough to wear armor and waited at the border. 22 The Moabites got up early that morning. The rising sun was shining on the water in the valley, and it looked like blood to the Moabites. 23 They said, “Look at the blood! The kings must have fought against each other. They must have destroyed each other. Let’s go take the valuable things from the dead bodies!”
24 The Moabites came to the Israelite camp, but the Israelites came out and attacked the Moabite army. The Moabites ran away from the Israelites. The Israelites followed them into Moab to fight them. 25 The Israelites destroyed the cities. They threw their stones[f] at every good field in Moab. They stopped up all the springs of water and cut down all the good trees. The Israelites fought all the way to Kir Hareseth. The soldiers surrounded Kir Hareseth and attacked it too.
26 The king of Moab saw that the battle was too strong for him, so he took 700 men with swords to break through to the king of Edom. But they were not able to do it. 27 Then the king of Moab took his oldest son, who would become the next king after him. On the wall around the city, the king of Moab offered his son as a burnt offering. This upset the Israelites very much. So the Israelites left the king of Moab and went back to their own land.