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2 Kings 1-5 Common English Bible (CEB)

Ahaziah’s death

After Ahab died, Moab rebelled against Israel.

Ahaziah fell out the window of his second-story room in Samaria and was hurt. He sent messengers, telling them, “Go to Ekron’s god Baal-zebub, and ask if I will recover from this injury.”

But the Lord’s messenger said to Elijah from Tishbe, “Go, intercept the messengers of Samaria’s king, and ask them, ‘Is it because there’s no God in Israel that you are going to question Ekron’s god Baal-zebub? This is what the Lord says: You will never get out of the bed you are lying in; you will die for sure!’” So Elijah set off.

The messengers returned to Ahaziah. He said to them, “Why have you come back?”

They said to him, “A man met us and said, ‘Go back to the king who sent you. Say to him, This is what the Lord says: Is it because there’s no God in Israel that you’ve come to question Ekron’s god Baal-zebub? Because of this, you will never get out of the bed you are lying in; you will die for sure!’”

Ahaziah said to them, “Describe the man who met you and said these things.”

They said to him, “He wore clothes made of hair[a] with a leather belt around his waist.”

Ahaziah said, “That was Elijah from Tishbe.”

So Ahaziah sent out a commander with fifty soldiers. The commander met up with Elijah while he was sitting on a hilltop. The commander said, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”

10 Elijah replied to the commander of the fifty soldiers, “If I really am a man of God, may fire come down from the sky and burn up you and your fifty soldiers.” Then fire came down from the sky and burned up the commander and his fifty soldiers.

11 Ahaziah then sent another commander with fifty soldiers. The commander said to Elijah, “Man of God, this is what the king says: ‘Hurry and come down!’”

12 Elijah said to them, “If I really am a man of God, may fire come down from the sky and burn up you and your fifty soldiers.” Then God’s fire came down from the sky and burned up the commander and his fifty soldiers.

13 For a third time Ahaziah sent a commander with fifty soldiers. So the third commander arrived. He kneeled before Elijah and begged him, “Man of God! Please have some regard for my life and the lives of these fifty soldiers who are your servants. 14 Look, fire came from the sky and burned up the two earlier commanders and their troops of fifty soldiers. Please have regard for my life.”

15 Then the Lord’s messenger said to Elijah, “Go down with him. Don’t be afraid of him.” So Elijah set out to go with him to the king.

16 Elijah said to the king: “This is what the Lord says: Why did you send messengers to question Ekron’s god Baal-zebub? Is there no God in Israel whose word you could seek? Because of this, you won’t ever get out of the bed you are lying in; you’ll die for sure!” 17 So Ahaziah died in agreement with the Lord’s word that Elijah had spoken.

Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram[b] became king after him in the second year of Judah’s King Jehoram, who was Jehoshaphat’s son. 18 The rest of Ahaziah’s deeds, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings?

Elijah goes to heaven

Now the Lord was going to take Elijah up to heaven in a windstorm, and Elijah and Elisha were leaving Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, because the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

The group of prophets from Bethel came out to Elisha. These prophets said to Elisha, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

Elisha said, “Yes, I know. Don’t talk about it!”

Elijah said, “Elisha, stay here, because the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

The group of prophets from Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

He said, “Yes, I know. Don’t talk about it!”

Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, because the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So both of them went on together. Fifty members from the group of prophets also went along, but they stood at a distance. Both Elijah and Elisha stood beside the Jordan River. Elijah then took his coat, rolled it up, and hit the water. Then the water was divided in two! Both of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you before I’m taken away from you?”

Elisha said, “Let me have twice your spirit.”

10 Elijah said, “You’ve made a difficult request. If you can see me when I’m taken from you, then it will be yours. If you don’t see me, it won’t happen.”

11 They were walking along, talking, when suddenly a fiery chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm.

12 Elisha was watching, and he cried out, “Oh, my father, my father! Israel’s chariots and its riders!” When he could no longer see him, Elisha took hold of his clothes and ripped them in two.

Elisha succeeds Elijah

13 Then Elisha picked up the coat that had fallen from Elijah. He went back and stood beside the banks of the Jordan River. 14 He took the coat that had fallen from Elijah and hit the water. He said, “Where is the Lord, Elijah’s God?” And when he hit the water, it divided in two! Then Elisha crossed over.

15 The group of prophets from Jericho saw him from a distance. They said, “Elijah’s spirit has settled on Elisha!” So they came out to meet him, bowing down before him. 16 “Look,” they told him, “there are fifty strong men among us, your servants. Please let them go and search for your master. Perhaps the Lord’s spirit has picked him up and put him down on some mountain or in some valley.”

Elisha said, “Don’t send them.” 17 They insisted until he became embarrassed and said, “Okay, send them.” So they sent fifty men who searched for three days. But they couldn’t find Elijah. 18 When these men returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

19 The citizens said to Elisha, “As you can see, sir, this city is in a good location, but the water is bad, and the land causes miscarriages.”

20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put some salt in it.” They did so. 21 Elisha then went out and threw salt into the spring. He said, “This is what the Lord has said: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death and miscarriage.” 22 The water has stayed pure right up to this very day, in agreement with the word that Elisha spoke.

Elisha and the bears

23 Elisha went up from there to Bethel. As he was going up the road, some young people came out of the city. They mocked him: “Get going, Baldy! Get going, Baldy!” 24 Turning around, Elisha looked at them and cursed them in the Lord’s name. Then two bears came out of the woods and mangled forty-two of the youths. 25 From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and then back to Samaria.

Moab’s rebellion

Joram,[c] Ahab’s son, became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, Judah’s king. He ruled for twelve years. He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes, but he wasn’t as bad as his father and mother. He removed the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made. But he nevertheless clung to the sins that Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, had caused Israel to commit. He didn’t deviate from them.

Now Moab’s King Mesha kept sheep. He would pay Israel’s king one hundred thousand lambs and the wool from one hundred thousand rams. But when Ahab died, Moab’s king rebelled against Israel’s king. So King Joram set out from Samaria at once. He prepared all Israel for war. He sent word to Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, “Moab’s king has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

Jehoshaphat responded, “Yes, I’ll go. We’ll fight as one: you and I, our troops and our horses.”

“Which road should we take?” Joram asked.

Jehoshaphat responded, “The road that goes through the Edomite wilderness.”

So Israel’s and Judah’s kings set out with the king of Edom. They marched around for seven days until there was no water left for the army or for the animals with them. 10 Israel’s king said, “This is terrible! Has the Lord brought us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?”

11 Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there any prophet of the Lord around, so we could question the Lord through him?”

One of the servants of Israel’s king answered, “Elisha, Shaphat’s son, is here. He used to pour water on Elijah’s hands.”

12 Jehoshaphat said, “He has the Lord’s word!” So Israel’s king and Jehoshaphat and Edom’s king went down to see Elisha.

13 Elisha said to Israel’s king, “What do we have to do with each other? Go to your father’s or mother’s prophets.”

Then Israel’s king said to him, “Don’t say that, because it is the Lord who has brought us three kings together—but only to hand us over to Moab!”

14 Elisha said, “I swear by the life of the Lord of heavenly forces, the one I stand before and serve, if I didn’t care about Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, I wouldn’t notice you or even look at you! 15 Now bring me a musician.” While the musician played, the Lord’s power came over Elisha. 16 He said, “This is what the Lord says: This valley will be filled with pools.[d] 17 This is what the Lord says: You won’t see any wind or rain, but that valley will be full of water. Then you’ll be able to drink—you, your cattle, and your animals. 18 This is easy for the Lord to do. He will also hand Moab over to you. 19 You will then attack every fort and every grand city, cutting down all the good trees, stopping up all the springs, and ruining the good fields with stones.”

20 The next morning, at the time to offer the grain offering, water came flowing from the direction of Edom. The land filled up with water.

21 Now all the Moabites had heard how these kings had come to fight against them. So all who were able to fight were summoned, and they took up positions along the border. 22 They got up early in the morning as the sun’s rays shone on the water. The Moabites saw the water from a distance. It looked as red as blood. 23 They said, “It’s blood! The kings must have fought each other and killed themselves! Now get the plunder, Moab!”

24 But when they entered Israel’s camp, the Israelites rose up and attacked the Moabites. The Moabites fled from them. Israel moved forward, striking the Moabites down as they went.[e] 25 Then the Israelites destroyed the Moabite cities. Each Israelite threw a stone on every piece of good land until it was covered. They stopped up every spring and cut down every good tree. Only Kir-hareseth remained with its stone wall intact,[f] but then stone throwers[g] surrounded it and attacked it.

26 Moab’s king saw that he was losing the battle. So he took seven hundred soldiers with him, each with sword in hand, to break through to Edom’s king. But they failed. 27 Then he took his oldest son, who was to succeed him as king, and he offered him on the wall as an entirely burned offering. As a result, outrage was expressed by Israel. So they pulled back from Moab’s king and returned to their own country.

A poor widow

Now there was a woman who had been married to a member of a group of prophets. She appealed to Elisha, saying, “My husband, your servant, is dead. You know how he feared the Lord. But now someone he owed money to has come to take my two children away as slaves.”

Elisha said to her, “What can I do for you? Tell me what you still have left in the house.”

She said, “Your servant has nothing at all in the house except a small jar of oil.”

He said, “Go out and borrow containers from all your neighbors. Get as many empty containers as possible. Then go in and close the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all those containers. Set each one aside when it’s full.”

She left Elisha and closed the door behind her and her sons. They brought her containers as she kept on pouring. When she had filled the containers, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”

He said to her, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped flowing, and she reported this to the man of God.

He said, “Go! Sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what remains.”

A rich woman

One day Elisha went to Shunem. A rich woman lived there. She urged him to eat something, so whenever he passed by, he would stop in to eat some food. She said to her husband, “Look, I know that he is a holy man of God and he passes by regularly. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof. We’ll set up a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp for him there. Then when he comes to us, he can stay there.”

11 So one day Elisha came there, headed to the room on the roof, and lay down. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call this Shunammite woman.” Gehazi called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha then said to Gehazi, “Say to her, ‘Look, you’ve gone to all this trouble for us. What can I do for you? Is there anything I can say on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’”

She said, “I’m content to live at home with my own people.”

14 Elisha asked, “So what can be done for her?”

Gehazi said, “Well, she doesn’t have a son, and her husband is old.”

15 Elisha said, “Call her.” So Gehazi called her, and she stood at the door. 16 Elisha said, “About this time next year, you will be holding a son in your arms.”

But she said, “No, man of God, sir; don’t lie to your servant.”

17 But the woman conceived and gave birth to a son at about the same time the next year. This was what Elisha had promised her.

18 The child grew up. One day he ran to his father, who was with the harvest workers. 19 He said to his father, “Oh, my head! My head!”

The father said to a young man, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 So he picked up the boy and brought him to his mother.

The boy sat on her lap until noon. Then he died. 21 She went up and laid him down on the bed for the man of God. Then she went out and closed the door. 22 She called her husband and said, “Send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys so that I can hurry to the man of God and come back.”

23 Her husband said, “Why are you going to him today? It’s not a new moon or sabbath.”

She said, “Don’t worry about it.” 24 She saddled the donkey, then said to her young servant, “Drive the donkey hard. Don’t let me slow down unless I tell you.” 25 So she went off and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

As soon as the man of God saw her from a distance, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, it’s the Shunammite woman! 26 Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Are things okay with you, your husband, and your child?’”

She said, “Things are okay.”

27 When she got to the man of God at the mountain, she grabbed his feet. Gehazi came up to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is distraught, but the Lord has hidden the reason from me and hasn’t told me why.”

28 She said, “Did I ask you for a son, sir? Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready, take my staff, and go! If you encounter anyone, don’t stop to greet them. If anyone greets you, don’t reply. Put my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 But the boy’s mother said, “I swear by your life and by the Lord’s life, I won’t leave you!” So Elisha got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead of them. He set the staff on the young boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So he went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy didn’t wake up.”

32 Elisha came into the house and saw the boy lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in and closed the door behind the two of them. Then he prayed to the Lord. 34 He got up on the bed and lay down on top of the child, putting his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boy’s eyes, his hands on the boy’s hands. And as he bent over him, the child’s skin grew warm. 35 Then Elisha got down and paced back and forth in the house. Once again he got up on the bed and bent over the boy, at which point the boy sneezed[h] seven times and opened his eyes. 36 Elisha called for Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.” Gehazi called her, and she came to Elisha. He told her, “Pick up your son.” 37 She came and fell at his feet, facedown on the ground. Then she picked up her son and left.

Miracles with food

38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. A group of prophets was sitting before him. He said to his servant, “Put on the big pot and cook some stew for the prophets.” 39 So one of them went out to the field to gather plants; he found a wild vine and gathered wild gourds from it, filling his garment. He came and cut them up into the pot of stew, but no one knew what they were.

40 The stew was served to the men, but as they started to eat it, they cried out and said, “There is death in that pot, man of God!” They couldn’t eat it.

41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Serve the people so they can eat.” At that point, there was nothing bad left in the pot.

42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God some bread from the early produce—twenty loaves of barley bread and fresh grain from his bag.[i] Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.”

43 His servant said, “How can I feed one hundred men with this?”

Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat! This is what the Lord says: ‘Eat and there will be leftovers.’” 44 So the servant gave the food to them. They ate and had leftovers, in agreement with the Lord’s word.

Naaman is healed

Naaman, a general for the king of Aram, was a great man and highly regarded by his master, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. This man was a mighty warrior, but he had a skin disease.[j] Now Aramean raiding parties had gone out and captured a young girl from the land of Israel. She served Naaman’s wife.

She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master could come before the prophet who lives in Samaria. He would cure him of his skin disease.” So Naaman went and told his master what the young girl from the land of Israel had said.

Then Aram’s king said, “Go ahead. I will send a letter to Israel’s king.”

So Naaman left. He took along ten kikkars of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. He brought the letter to Israel’s king. It read, “Along with this letter I’m sending you my servant Naaman so you can cure him of his skin disease.”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes. He said, “What? Am I God to hand out death and life? But this king writes me, asking me to cure someone of his skin disease! You must realize that he wants to start a fight with me.”

When Elisha the man of God heard that Israel’s king had ripped his clothes, he sent word to the king: “Why did you rip your clothes? Let the man come to me. Then he’ll know that there’s a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots. He stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent out a messenger who said, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored and become clean.”

11 But Naaman went away in anger. He said, “I thought for sure that he’d come out, stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the bad spot, and cure the skin disease. 12 Aren’t the rivers in Damascus, the Abana[k] and the Pharpar, better than all Israel’s waters? Couldn’t I wash in them and get clean?” So he turned away and proceeded to leave in anger.

13 Naaman’s servants came up to him and spoke to him: “Our father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? All he said to you was, ‘Wash and become clean.’” 14 So Naaman went down and bathed in the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said. His skin was restored like that of a young boy, and he became clean.

15 He returned to the man of God with all his attendants. He came and stood before Elisha, saying, “Now I know for certain that there’s no God anywhere on earth except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 But Elisha said, “I swear by the life of the Lord I serve that I won’t accept anything.”

Naaman urged Elisha to accept something, but he still refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, then let me, your servant, have two mule loads of earth. Your servant will never again offer entirely burned offerings or sacrifices to any other gods except the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master comes into Rimmon’s temple to bow down there and is leaning on my arm, I must also bow down in Rimmon’s temple. When I bow down in Rimmon’s temple, may the Lord forgive your servant for doing that.”

19 Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.”

But when Naaman had gone some distance from Elisha, 20 Gehazi (who was the servant of Elisha the man of God) thought, My master let this Aramean Naaman off the hook by not accepting the gift he brought! As surely as the Lord lives, I’ll go after him and accept something from him. 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman.

Naaman saw him running after him, so he got down off his chariot to meet him. He said, “Is everything okay?”

22 Gehazi answered, “Yes, but my master sent me to say, ‘Two young men who are members of a group of prophets have just now come to me from the hills of Ephraim. Give them a kikkar of silver and two changes of clothing.’”

23 Naaman said, “By all means, take two kikkars!” He encouraged Gehazi to accept them. He tied two kikkars of silver up in two bags, along with two changes of clothes. Naaman gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them in front of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi arrived at the elevated fortress,[l] he took the items from them and stored them in his house. Then he sent the servants away, and they left. 25 Gehazi then went and stood before his master.

Elisha said to Gehazi, “Where did you come from, Gehazi?”

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi replied.

26 Elisha said to him, “Wasn’t my heart going along with you[m] when the man got off his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to accept silver, clothes, olive trees, vineyards, sheep, cattle, or male and female servants? 27 Naaman’s skin disease will now cling to you and to your descendants forever!” And Gehazi left Elisha’s presence, flaky like snow with skin disease.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 1:8 Or He was a hairy man.
  2. 2 Kings 1:17 Heb Jehoram; the king’s name is variously spelled in either long Jehoram or short Joram form.
  3. 2 Kings 3:1 Heb Jehoram (also in 3:6); the king’s name is variously spelled in either long Jehoram or short Joram form.
  4. 2 Kings 3:16 LXX, Vulg Fill this valley with ditches.
  5. 2 Kings 3:24 Heb uncertain
  6. 2 Kings 3:25 Heb uncertain
  7. 2 Kings 3:25 Heb uncertain
  8. 2 Kings 4:35 Or gasped; Heb uncertain
  9. 2 Kings 4:42 Or still on its stem
  10. 2 Kings 5:1 Traditionally leprosy, a kind of scale skin disease
  11. 2 Kings 5:12 Or Amana
  12. 2 Kings 5:24 Or hillside; Heb uncertain
  13. 2 Kings 5:26 LXX; MT lacks along with you.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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