2 Kings 6-10 Common English Bible (CEB)
An ax head floats
6 The members of the group of prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we now live under your authority is too small for us. 2 Let’s go to the Jordan River and each get a log from there. Then we can make a place to live there.”
Elisha said, “Do it!”
3 One of them said, “Please come with us, your servants.”
Elisha said, “Okay, I’ll go.” 4 So he went with them. They came to the Jordan River and began cutting down trees. 5 One of them was cutting down a tree when his ax head fell into the water. He cried out, “Oh, no! Master, it was a borrowed ax!”
6 The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” He showed Elisha the place. Elisha then cut a piece of wood, threw it into the river there, and the ax head floated up. 7 “Lift it out,” Elisha said. So the man then reached out and grabbed it.
Aramean attacks are stopped
8 Aram’s king was fighting against Israel. He took counsel with his officers, saying, “I’ll camp at such-and-such a place.”
9 The man of God sent word to Israel’s king: “Beware of passing by this place because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 Then Israel’s king sent word to the place the man of God had mentioned to him. Time after time, Elisha warned the king, and the king stayed on the alert.
11 Aram’s king was extremely upset about this. He called his officers and said to them, “Tell me! Who among us is siding with Israel’s king?”
12 One of his officers said, “No one, Your Majesty! It’s Elisha the Israelite prophet who tells Israel’s king the words that you speak in the privacy of your bedroom.”
13 He said, “Go and find out where he is. Then I will send men to capture him.”
They told him, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So the king sent horses and chariots there with a strong army. They came at night and surrounded the city.
15 Elisha’s servant got up early and went out. He saw an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. His servant said to Elisha, “Oh, no! Master, what will we do?”
16 “Don’t be afraid,” Elisha said, “because there are more of us than there are of them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and fiery chariots surrounding Elisha. 18 The Arameans came toward him, so Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this nation with blindness.” And the Lord struck them blind, just as Elisha asked. 19 Elisha said to them, “This isn’t the right road or the right city. Follow me, and I’ll lead you to the man you are looking for.” But he took them to Samaria!
20 When they arrived in Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were right in the middle of Samaria! 21 When he saw them, Israel’s king said to Elisha, “Should I kill them, my father? Should I?”
22 He said, “No, don’t kill them. Did you capture them with your own sword or bow? Do you have the right to kill them?[a] Put food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and return to their master.” 23 So the king gave them a great feast, and they ate and drank. Then the king let them go, and they returned to their master. After that, Aramean raiding parties didn’t come into Israel anymore.
Ben-hadad attacks Samaria
24 Now it happened later that Aram’s King Ben-hadad gathered all his forces and went up to attack Samaria. 25 The siege lasted so long that there was a great famine in Samaria. A donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver and a quarter kab of doves’ dung[b] for five shekels. 26 Israel’s king was passing by on the city wall when a woman appealed to him, “Help me, Your Majesty!”
27 The king said, “No! May the Lord help you! Where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or the winepress?” 28 But then the king asked her, “What’s troubling you?”
She answered, “A woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we can eat him today; we’ll eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we cooked and ate my son. The next day I said to her, ‘Hand over your son so we can eat him.’ But she had hidden her son.”
30 When the king heard the woman’s story, he ripped his clothes. And as he passed by along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing mourning clothes underneath. 31 He said, “So may God do to me, and more, if the head of Elisha, Shaphat’s son, remains on his shoulders today!”
32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger on ahead, but before the man arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see that this murderer has sent someone to cut off my head? Watch for when the messenger comes, then close the door and hold it shut against him. The sound of his master’s feet is right behind him, isn’t it?”
33 While Elisha was still speaking with them, the messenger[c] arrived and said, “Look, this disaster is the Lord’s doing. Why should I trust the Lord any longer?”
7 Elisha said, “Hear the Lord’s word! This is what the Lord says: At this time tomorrow a seah[d] of wheat flour will sell for a shekel at Samaria’s gate, and two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel.”
2 Then the officer, the one the king leaned on for support, spoke to the man of God: “Come on! Even if the Lord should make windows in the sky, how could that happen?”
Elisha said, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat from it.”
The siege is broken
3 Now there were four men with skin disease[e] at the entrance to the city. They said to each other, “What are we doing sitting here until we die? 4 If we decide, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ the famine is there, and we’ll die in the city. But if we stay here, we’ll die just the same. So let’s go and surrender to the Aramean camp. If they let us live, we’ll live. If they kill us, we’ll die.” 5 So they set out in the evening to the Aramean camp, and they came to the edge of the camp. But there was no one there because 6 the Lord had made the Aramean camp hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a strong army. They had said to each other, “Listen! Israel’s king has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to come against us!” 7 So they had got up and fled in the evening, leaving their tents, horses, and donkeys. They left the camp exactly as it was and ran for their lives.
8 So these men with skin disease came to the edge of the camp. They entered a tent where they ate and drank. They carried off some silver, gold, and garments, and they hid them. Then they returned and went into another tent. They took more things from there, went away, and hid them. 9 But then they said to each other, “What we’re doing isn’t right. Today is a day of good news, but we’re keeping quiet about it. If we wait until dawn, something bad will happen to us. Come on! Let’s go and tell the palace.” 10 So they went and called out to the gatekeepers, telling them, “We went to the Aramean camp, and listen to this: No one was there, not even the sound of anyone! The only things there were tied-up horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted out the news, and it was reported within the palace.
12 The king got up in the night. He said to his servants, “Let me tell you what the Arameans are doing to us. They know we are starving, so they’ve left the camp to hide in the fields. They are thinking, The Israelites will come out from the city, and then we’ll capture them alive and invade the city.”
13 But one of his servants answered, “Please let some men take five of the horses that are left, and let’s send them out to see what happens. They are in the same situation as the large number of Israelites who are left here; they are no better off than the large number of Israelites who’ve already perished.”[f] 14 So they chose two chariots with their horses.
The king sent them after the Aramean army, saying, “Go and see!” 15 So they went after the Arameans as far as the Jordan River. The road was filled the whole way with garments and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their rush. The messengers returned and reported this to the king.
16 Then the people went out and looted the Aramean camp. And so it happened that a seah of wheat flour did sell for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, in agreement with the Lord’s word. 17 But the king had put the officer whom he leaned on for support in charge of the city gate. The people trampled the officer at the gate, and he died. This was just what the man of God said when the king had come down to him. 18 Because when the man of God said to the king, “At this time tomorrow two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel at Samaria’s gate, and one seah of wheat flour will sell for a shekel,” 19 the officer had answered the man of God, “Come on! Even if the Lord should make windows in the sky, how could that happen?” Then Elisha had said, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat from it.” 20 That’s exactly what happened to him. The people trampled him at the city gate, and he died.
The woman from Shunem
8 Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had brought back to life: “You and your household must go away and live wherever you can, because the Lord has called for a famine. It is coming to the land and will last seven years.”
2 So the woman went and did what the man of God asked. She and her household moved away, living in Philistia seven years. 3 When seven years had passed, the woman returned from Philistia. She went to appeal to the king for her house and her farmland. 4 The king was speaking to Gehazi, the man of God’s servant, asking him, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 So Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had brought the dead to life. At that very moment, the woman whose son he had brought back to life began to appeal to the king for her house and her farmland.
Gehazi said, “Your Majesty, this is the woman herself! And this is her son, the one Elisha brought to life!”
6 The king questioned the woman, and she told him her story. Then the king appointed an official to help her, saying, “Return everything that belongs to her, as well as everything that the farmland has produced, starting from the day she left the country until right now.”
Hazael becomes king
7 Now Elisha had gone to Damascus when Aram’s King Ben-hadad became sick. The king was told, “The man of God has come all this way.”
8 So the king said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Question the Lord through him: ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’”
9 So Hazael went out to meet Elisha. He took along forty camel-loads of Damascus’ finest goods as a gift. He came and stood before Elisha and said, “Your son Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, sent me to you to ask, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’”
10 Elisha said to him, “Go and tell him, ‘You will definitely recover,’ but actually the Lord has shown me that he will die.” 11 Elisha stared straight at Hazael until he felt uneasy.[g] Then the man of God began to cry.
12 Hazael said, “Master, why are you crying?”
“Because I know what violence you will do to the Israelites,” Elisha said. “You will drive them from their forts with fire. You will kill their young men with the sword. You will smash their children and rip open their pregnant women.”
13 Hazael replied, “How could your servant, who is nothing but a dog, do such mighty things?”
Elisha said, “The Lord has shown me that you will be king over Aram.” 14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master.
“What did Elisha say to you?” Ben-hadad asked.
“He told me that you will certainly live,” Hazael replied. 15 But the next day he took a blanket, soaked it in water, and put it over Ben-hadad’s face until he died. Hazael succeeded him as king.
Jehoram rules Judah
16 In the fifth year of Israel’s King Joram, Ahab’s son Jehoram, the son of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, became king.[h] 17 He was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled for eight years in Jerusalem. 18 He walked in the ways of Israel’s kings, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, because he married Ahab’s daughter. He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. 19 Nevertheless, because of his servant David, the Lord wasn’t willing to destroy Judah. The Lord had promised to preserve a lamp for David and his sons forever. 20 During Jehoram’s rule Edom rebelled against Judah’s power and appointed their own king. 21 Jehoram[i] along with all his chariots crossed over to Zair. He got up at night to attack the Edomites who had surrounded him and his chariot commanders,[j] but his army fled back home. 22 So Edom has been independent of Judah to this day. Libnah rebelled at the same time. 23 The rest of Jehoram’s deeds and all that he accomplished, aren’t they written in the official records of Judah’s kings? 24 Jehoram died and was buried with his ancestors in David’s City. His son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah rules Judah
25 Ahaziah, the son of Judah’s king Jehoram, became king in the twelfth year of Israel’s King Joram,[k] Ahab’s son. 26 Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king, and he ruled for one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah; she was the granddaughter of Israel’s King Omri. 27 He walked in the ways of Ahab’s dynasty, doing what was evil in the Lord’s eyes, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, because he had married into Ahab’s family. 28 Ahaziah went with Joram, Ahab’s son, to fight against Aram’s King Hazael at Ramoth-gilead, where the Arameans wounded Joram. 29 King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had given him at Ramah in his battle with Aram’s King Hazael. Then Judah’s King Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram, went down to visit Joram, Ahab’s son, at Jezreel because he had been wounded.
Jehu rules Israel
9 The prophet Elisha called to a member of the group of prophets, “Get ready, take this jug of oil with you, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2 When you arrive there, look for Jehu, Jehoshaphat’s son and Nimshi’s grandson. Go to him, then pull him away from his associates, taking him to a private room. 3 Take the jug of oil and pour it on his head. Then say, ‘This is what the Lord has said: I anoint you king of Israel.’ Then open the door, and run out of there without stopping.”
4 So the young prophet went to Ramoth-gilead. 5 He came in, and the military commanders were sitting right there. He said, “Commander, I have a word for you.”
“For which one of us?” Jehu asked.
The young prophet said, “For you, Commander.”
6 So Jehu got up and went inside. The prophet then poured oil on his head and said to him, “This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says: I anoint you king over the Lord’s people, over Israel. 7 You will strike down your master Ahab’s family. In this way I will take revenge for the violence done by Jezebel to my servants the prophets and to all the Lord’s servants. 8 Ahab’s whole family will die. I will eliminate from Ahab everyone who urinates on a wall, whether slave or free, in Israel. 9 I will make Ahab’s dynasty like the dynasty of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, and like the dynasty of Baasha, Ahijah’s son. 10 And as for Jezebel: The dogs will devour her in the area of Jezreel. No one will bury her.” Then the young prophet opened the door and ran.
11 Jehu went out to his master’s officers. They said to him, “Is everything okay? Why did this fanatic come to you?”
Jehu said to them, “You know the man and the nonsense he talks.”
12 “That’s a lie!” they said. “Come on, tell us!”
Jehu replied, “This is what he said to me: ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king of Israel.’”
13 Then each man quickly took his cloak and put it beneath Jehu on the paved steps.[l] They blew a trumpet and said, “Jehu has become king!”
Jehu kills his enemies
14 Then Jehu, Jehoshaphat’s son and Nimshi’s grandson, plotted against Joram. Now Joram along with all of Israel had been guarding Ramoth-gilead against Aram’s King Hazael, 15 but King Joram[m] had gone back to Jezreel to recover from wounds that the Arameans had given him when he fought Hazael. So Jehu said, “If this is the way you feel, then don’t let anyone escape from the city to talk about it in Jezreel.” 16 Then Jehu got on a chariot and drove to Jezreel because Joram was resting there. Judah’s King Ahaziah had also come to visit Joram.
17 The guard standing on the tower at Jezreel saw a crowd of people coming with Jehu. He said, “I see a crowd of people.”
Joram said, “Take a chariot driver. Send him out to meet them to ask, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
18 So the driver went to meet him and said, “The king asks, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
Jehu replied, “What do you care about peace? Come around and follow me.”
Meanwhile, the tower guard reported, “The messenger met them, but he isn’t returning.”
19 The king sent a second driver. He came to them and said, “The king asks, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
Jehu said, “What do you care about peace? Come around and follow me.”
20 The tower guard reported, “The messenger met them, but he isn’t returning. And the style of chariot driving is like Jehu, Nimshi’s son. Jehu drives like a madman.”
21 Joram said, “Hitch up the chariot!” So they hitched up his chariot. Then Israel’s King Joram and Judah’s King Ahaziah—each in his own chariot—went out to meet Jehu. They happened to meet him at the plot of ground that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite.
22 When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”
He said, “How can there be peace as long as the immoralities of your mother Jezebel and her many acts of sorcery continue?”
23 Then Joram turned his chariot around and fled. He shouted to Ahaziah, “It’s a trap, Ahaziah!”
24 Jehu took his bow and shot Joram in the back. The arrow went through his heart, and he fell down in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar his chariot officer, “Pick him up, and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were driving chariot teams behind his father Ahab when the Lord spoke this prophecy about him: 26 Yesterday I saw Naboth’s blood and his sons’ blood, declares the Lord. I swear that I will pay you back on this very plot of ground, declares the Lord. Now pick him up, and throw him on that plot of ground, in agreement with the Lord’s word.”
27 Judah’s King Ahaziah saw this and fled on the road to Beth-haggan. Jehu chased after him. “Do the same to him!” he commanded. They shot him[n] in his chariot on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam. Ahaziah fled to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants carried him back in a chariot to Jerusalem. He was buried in his tomb with his ancestors in David’s City. 29 Ahaziah had become Judah’s king in the eleventh year of Ahab’s son Joram.
30 Jehu then went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard of it, she put on her eye shadow and arranged her hair. She looked down out of the window. 31 When Jehu came through the gate, she said, “Do you come in peace, Zimri, you master murderer?”
32 Jehu looked up to the window and said, “Who’s on my side? Anyone?” Two or three high officials looked down at him. 33 Then he said, “Throw her out!” So they threw her out of the window. Some of her blood splattered against the wall and on the horses, and they trampled her. 34 Jehu then went in to eat and drink. He said, “Deal with this cursed woman and bury her. She was, after all, a king’s daughter.” 35 They went to bury her, but they couldn’t find her body. Only her skull was left, along with her hands and feet. 36 They went back and reported this to Jehu. He said, “This is the Lord’s word spoken through his servant Elijah from Tishbe: Dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh in the area of Jezreel. 37 Jezebel’s corpse will be like dung spread out in a field in that plot of land in Jezreel, so no one will be able to say, This was Jezebel.”
Jehu kills Ahab’s family
10 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the senior officers of the city,[o] the elders, and the guardians of Ahab’s sons.[p] 2 The letters said: “Your master’s sons are in your possession, along with horses and chariots, a fortified city, and weapons. Now when this letter reaches you, 3 look for the best and most capable of your master’s sons. Place him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s family.”
4 But they were frozen with fear. They said, “Not even two kings could resist him! How can we?” 5 So the palace administrator, the mayor, the elders, and the guardians sent a letter back to Jehu that read, “We are your servants. We will do whatever you tell us. We won’t make anyone king. Do whatever seems right to you.”
6 Jehu wrote them a second letter: “If you are loyal to me and ready to obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and bring them to me at Jezreel at this time tomorrow.”
Now the king’s seventy sons were with the city leaders who were raising them. 7 So when the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered all seventy of them. They placed their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu at Jezreel.
8 A messenger came and told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.”
He responded, “Pile them in two stacks at the entrance of the gate where they will stay until morning.” 9 In the morning he went out and stood there to address all the people. “You are innocent. I’m the one who plotted against my master and killed him, but who killed all these people? 10 Know this: Nothing that the Lord has said against Ahab’s dynasty will fail to come true. The Lord has done what he said he would do, speaking through his servant Elijah.” 11 Then Jehu struck down all those belonging to Ahab’s family who were left in Jezreel, so that not one of his leaders, close acquaintances, or priests remained.
12 Next Jehu set out for Samaria. Beth-eked of the Shepherds was on his way. 13 There Jehu met up with the brothers of Judah’s King Ahaziah. “Who are you?” he asked.
“We’re Ahaziah’s relatives,” they replied. “We’ve come down for a visit with the king’s sons and the queen mother’s sons.”
14 Jehu then commanded, “Take them alive!” His soldiers took them alive, then slaughtered them at the well of Beth-eked. There were forty-two of them, but not one was left.
Jehu kills Baal worshippers
15 Jehu departed from there and encountered Rechab’s son Jehonadab. Jehu greeted him, and asked, “Are you as committed to me as I am to you?”
Jehonadab responded, “Yes, I am.”
“If so,” said Jehu, “then give me your hand.” So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot.
16 Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” So Jehu had Jehonadab ride with him in his chariot. 17 When Jehu arrived in Samaria, he killed all those belonging to Ahab who were left in Samaria until they were completely wiped out, in agreement with the Lord’s word that was spoken to Elijah.
18 Then Jehu gathered all the people, saying to them, “Ahab served Baal a little. Jehu will serve him a great deal! 19 So invite all of Baal’s prophets, all his worshippers, and all his priests to come to me. Don’t leave anyone out, because I have a great sacrifice planned for Baal. Anyone who doesn’t show up won’t survive.” But Jehu was lying so that he could wipe out Baal’s worshippers. 20 Jehu called for a holy assembly for Baal, and it was done. 21 Jehu then sent word throughout Israel. All Baal’s worshippers came. No one stayed away. They entered Baal’s temple until it was packed from one end to the other. 22 Then Jehu said to the person in charge of the vestments, “Bring out the special clothes for all Baal’s worshippers.” So he brought out robes for them. 23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab, Rechab’s son, entered Baal’s temple. They said to Baal’s worshippers, “Make sure there are no worshippers of the Lord here with you. There should be only Baal worshippers.” 24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and entirely burned offerings. But Jehu had stationed eighty soldiers outside and told them, “I’m handing these people over to you. Whoever lets even one of them escape will pay for it with his life.” 25 So when Jehu finished offering the entirely burned offering, he said to the guards and the officers, “Go in and kill everyone! Don’t let anyone escape!” They killed the Baal worshippers without mercy. The guards and the officers then disposed of the bodies and entered the inner part of Baal’s temple. 26 They brought the sacred pillar[q] out of Baal’s temple and burned it. 27 They tore down Baal’s sacred pillar and destroyed Baal’s temple, turning it into a public restroom, which is what it still is today.
28 This is how Jehu eliminated Baal from Israel. 29 However, Jehu didn’t deviate from the sins that Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, had caused Israel to commit—specifically, the gold calves that were in Bethel and Dan.
Jehu rules Israel
30 The Lord said to Jehu: Because you’ve done well by doing what is right in my eyes, treating Ahab’s family as I wished, your descendants will sit on Israel’s throne for four generations. 31 But Jehu wasn’t careful to keep the Lord God of Israel’s Instruction with all his heart. He didn’t deviate from the sins that Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.
32 In those days the Lord began to reduce Israel’s size. Hazael struck them down in every region of Israel: 33 from the Jordan River eastward, throughout the land of Gilead (Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh), and from Aroer by the Arnon Valley (that is, Gilead) and Bashan.
34 The rest of Jehu’s deeds, all that he accomplished, and all his powerful acts, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings? 35 Jehu lay down with his ancestors. He was buried in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz succeeded him as king. 36 Jehu had ruled over Israel for twenty-eight years in Samaria.