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2 Kings 6:24-7:20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

24 Some time later, King Ben-hadad of Aram brought all his military units together and marched up to besiege Samaria. 25 So there was a great famine in Samaria, and they continued the siege against it until a donkey’s head sold for 80 silver shekels,[a] and a cup[b] of dove’s dung[c] sold for five silver shekels.[d]

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, “My lord the king, help!”

27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor or the winepress?” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She said, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him today. Then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him, and I said to her the next day, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes. Then, as he was passing by on the wall, the people saw that there was sackcloth under his clothes next to his skin. 31 He announced, “May God punish me and do so severely if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger got to him, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door to keep him out. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”

33 While Elisha was still speaking with them, the messenger[e] came down to him. Then he said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Aram Defeated

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: ‘About this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria, six quarts[f] of fine meal will sell for a shekel[g] and 12 quarts[h] of barley will sell for a shekel.’”[i]

Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?”

Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”

Four men with a skin disease were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”

So the diseased men got up at twilight to go to the Arameans’ camp. When they came to the camp’s edge, they discovered that there was not a single man there, for the Lord[j] had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a great army. The Arameans had said to each other, “The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us.” So they had gotten up and fled at twilight, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys. The camp was intact, and they had fled for their lives.

When these men came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent to eat and drink. Then they picked up the silver, gold, and clothing and went off and hid them. They came back and entered another tent, picked things up, and hid them. Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing what is right. Today is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until morning light, our sin will catch up with us. Let’s go tell the king’s household.”

10 The diseased men went and called to the city’s gatekeepers and told them, “We went to the Aramean camp and no one was there—no human sounds. There was nothing but tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents were intact.” 11 The gatekeepers called out, and the news was reported to the king’s household.

12 So the king got up in the night and said to his servants, “Let me tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving, so they have left the camp to hide in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will take them alive and go into the city.’”

13 But one of his servants responded, “Please, let messengers take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their fate is like the entire Israelite community who will die,[k] so let’s send them and see.”

14 The messengers took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army, saying, “Go and see.” 15 So they followed them as far as the Jordan. They saw that the whole way was littered with clothes and equipment the Arameans had thrown off in their haste. The messengers returned and told the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered the Aramean camp.

It was then that six quarts[l] of fine meal sold for a shekel[m] and 12 quarts[n] of barley sold for a shekel,[o] according to the word of the Lord. 17 The king had appointed the captain, his right-hand man, to be in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him in the gateway. He died, just as the man of God had predicted when the king came to him. 18 When the man of God had said to the king, “About this time tomorrow 12 quarts[p] of barley will sell for a shekel[q] and six quarts[r] of fine meal will sell for a shekel[s] at the gate of Samaria,” 19 this captain had answered the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?” Elisha had said, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.” 20 This is what happened to him: the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 pounds of silver
  2. 2 Kings 6:25 Lit a fourth of a kab
  3. 2 Kings 6:25 Or seedpods, or wild onions
  4. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 ounces of silver
  5. 2 Kings 6:33 Some emend to king
  6. 2 Kings 7:1 Lit a seah
  7. 2 Kings 7:1 About ½ ounce of silver
  8. 2 Kings 7:1 Lit two seahs
  9. 2 Kings 7:1 About ½ ounce of silver
  10. 2 Kings 7:6 Some Hb mss read Lord
  11. 2 Kings 7:13 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg; other Hb mss read left in it. Indeed, they are like the whole multitude of Israel that are left in it; indeed, they are like the whole multitude of Israel who will die.
  12. 2 Kings 7:16 Lit a seah
  13. 2 Kings 7:16 About ½ ounce of silver
  14. 2 Kings 7:16 Lit two seahs
  15. 2 Kings 7:16 About ½ ounce of silver
  16. 2 Kings 7:18 Lit two seahs
  17. 2 Kings 7:18 About ½ ounce of silver
  18. 2 Kings 7:18 Lit a seah
  19. 2 Kings 7:18 About ½ ounce of silver

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