2 Kings 5-7
New International Version - UK
Naaman healed of leprosy
5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.[a]
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 ‘By all means, go,’ the king of Aram replied. ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels[c] of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: ‘With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.’
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, ‘Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!’
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: ‘Why have you torn your robes? Make the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.’ 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleansed”!’ 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.’
16 The prophet answered, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.’ And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
17 ‘If you will not,’ said Naaman, ‘please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: when my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also – when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.’
19 ‘Go in peace,’ Elisha said.
After Naaman had travelled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, ‘My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.’
21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running towards him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. ‘Is everything all right?’ he asked.
22 ‘Everything is all right,’ Gehazi answered. ‘My master sent me to say, “Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent[d] of silver and two sets of clothing.”’
23 ‘By all means, take two talents,’ said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.
25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, ‘Where have you been, Gehazi?’
‘Your servant didn’t go anywhere,’ Gehazi answered.
26 But Elisha said to him, ‘Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes – or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants for ever.’ Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous – it had become as white as snow.
An axe-head floats
6 The company 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 axe-head 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 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 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 that 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 round Elisha.
18 As the enemy came down towards 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 that 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 mobilised 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[e] of silver, and a quarter of a cab[f] of seed pods[g] for five shekels.[h]
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 that 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 that 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?’
7 Elisha replied, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: about this time tomorrow, a seah[i] of the finest flour will sell for a shekel[j] and two seahs[k] of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’
2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, ‘Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?’
‘You will see it with your own eyes,’ answered Elisha, ‘but you will not eat any of it!’
The siege lifted
3 Now there were four men with leprosy[l] 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 of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!’ 7 So they got up and fled 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 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 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, ‘Make 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. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered 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, 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, 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 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 5:1 The Hebrew for leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin; also in verses 3, 6, 7, 11 and 27.
- 2 Kings 5:5 That is, about 340 kilograms
- 2 Kings 5:5 That is, about 69 kilograms
- 2 Kings 5:22 That is, about 34 kilograms
- 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 920 grams
- 2 Kings 6:25 That is, probably about 100 grams
- 2 Kings 6:25 Or of doves’ dung
- 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 58 grams
- 2 Kings 7:1 That is, probably about 5.5 kilograms of flour; also in verses 16 and 18
- 2 Kings 7:1 That is, about 12 grams; also in verses 16 and 18
- 2 Kings 7:1 That is, probably 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.