2 Kings 6 Ė 7 part 4

 

2 Kings 6:1 And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us.2 "Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell." So he answered, "Go."3 Then one said, "Please consent to go with your servants." And he answered, "I will go."4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees.5 But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, "Alas, master! For it was borrowed."6 So the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float.7 Therefore he said, "Pick it up for yourself." So he reached out his hand and took it.

 

Elisha and these unnamed sonís of prophets were living in the same place and it was too crowded. So, they decided to build a bigger place. Since they were close to the Jordan river one man was cutting down a tree when the axe head flew and landed into the water. These sonís of the prophet were poor people and we can know this because the man could not repay whoever he borrowed this ax from. We need to remember that if you borrowed something from someone and you broke it or lost it you had to repay it. If you didnít have the money or something of value, then you would be made a slave. Amos 2:6 talks about how some were willing to sell the poor for a pair of sandals so you can see why this poor man was distressed about this axe head. Once again, we see Elisha work a miracle. He throws a stick in the water and the axe head floats to top of the water. Some may considerer this miracle as unimportant, but its not. It shows that God is concerned with small things and He doesnít want to see the poor suffer. So, when we pray to God, we can understand that even the small things that we request, will be considered by Him. The miracle also showed that God would be with them as the built this new dwelling place.

 

2 Kings 6:8 Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servants, saying, "My camp will be in such and such a place."9 And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there."10 Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice.11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?"12 And one of his servants said, "None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom."13 So he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him." And it was told him, saying, "Surely he is in Dothan."

 

The king of Syria was doing his best to ambush Israel, but Elisha kept warning the king of Israel of these attacks and making it to where the Syrians were unsuccessful. Elijah saved Israel several time according verse 10. The King of Syria assumed he had traitor in his midst and wants to know who it is. But, he finds out there is no traitor because Elijah is the one that is revealing his secrets. So, he wants to get Elisha and shut his mouth so his ambushes wonít be known.

 

2 Kings 6:14 Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."17 And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 

This man could see this army and he assumed they were there for Elisha and he became scared. He did not know how many they were of them, but Elisha prays and the young mans eyes are opened, so he can see that there isnít that many soldiers. Sometimes we get scared, like this young man, when we have to face enemies in our life. But, we need to realize that we always have the advantage as Christians because God is on our side.

 

18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness." And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.19 Now Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." But he led them to Samaria.

 

Now this does not necessarily mean that God made them blind where they could not see. Many times the expression is used to say someone has been deceived. If that had been made blind then how could the follow Elisha? This is why I think this is saying that God has made it to where they we deceived and they were being deceived by the man they came for. He convinces them that this is the wrong city and they follow him to Samaria.

 

2 Kings 6:20 So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, "LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria!21 Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?"22 But he answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master."23 Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.††

 

Once again, Elisha prays that their eyes might be open so they can see they can see the truth. Again, this doesnít necessarily mean they were physical blind because the Bible uses the expression to describe people who had been blind to the truth, but when the believed their eyes had been opened. Whatever the case is we know that a miracle caused this blindness and the opening of their eyes and now they are midst of their enemy and they could have easily killed them, but they did not. Instead they fed them and sent them back to their master and because of this they did not come into the land of Israel again. Jesus teaches us a similar lesson in,

 

Matthew 5: 43 " You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

 

It is believe that about a year passes between verse 23 and 24.

 

2 Kings 6:24 And it happened after this that Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria.25 And there was a great famine in Samaria; and indeed they besieged it until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove droppings for five shekels of silver.26 Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king!"27 And he said, "If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?"28 Then the king said to her, "What is troubling you?" And she answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.'29 "So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, 'Give your son, that we may eat him'; but she has hidden her son."30 Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body.31 Then he said, "God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today."

 

So, Ben-Hadad tactic was surround Samaria and keep them from getting any food so that eventual they would starve to death and submit to him. You can see how hungry they were and how much they were willing to pay for nasty stuff like the head of donkey and bird droppings. Of course the worse incident is where these two women agreed to eat their sons. This horrible turn of events was their fault and they were warned beforehand that this would happen. Notice what Moses told the children of Israel in,

 

Deuteronomy 28:53 "You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you.54 "The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind,55 "so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.56 "The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter,57 "her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.58 " If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD,

 

This exactly what the northern kingdom had done. The turned their back on the Law of God and just as Moses prophesied they were being surrounded and they were eating their own flesh. Now, instead of the king renouncing their false Godís and their false way, he now wants to kill Elisha, which of course he will not be successful at.††

 

2 Kings 6:32 But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, "Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent someone to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?"33 And while he was still talking with them, there was the messenger, coming down to him; and then the king said, "Surely this calamity is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?"

 

There was no way that the King or anyone else would be able to sneak up on Elisha because God let him know what was going on. Despite the Kings best attempt they were ready for the assassin and kept him from coming in. Then the king blames God for what is happening. People always like to blame someone else for their problems and when they canít find a human they will blame God. This is sad because this King and his people had no one to blame but themselves because they had departed from God.

 

2 Kings 7:1 Then Elisha said, "Hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD: 'Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.' "2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, "Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" And he said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it."

 

So, this is Elisha response to the King and his officer. He lets them know two things that would seem impossible to them. First, within 24 hours there would be food available. In response to this, the officer is basically saying if God opened a window in heaven and poured the food out this could not happen could it?Then Elisha answer him with a second prophecy, which states that this man will see food being sold at the gate of Samaria but he will not eat of it. We will see this come to pass in minute.

 

2 Kings 7:3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die?4 "If we say, 'We will enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die."5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there.

 

These lepers were between a rock and hard place, so they decided to enter the city and surrender to the Syrian army. If the killed them, so be it because they were going to die anyway. However, to their amazement there was no Syrians around.

 

2 Kings 7:6 For the LORD had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses -- the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, "Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!"7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact -- their tents, their horses, and their donkeys -- and they fled for their lives.8 And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it.

 

God made sent these Syrians as strong delusion that they were outnumbered by a great that didnít even exist, so they ran for their lives leaving all their stuff behind. Now, some of you I am sure have experienced great hunger. Well, imagine how hungry you would be during a famine. When you put yourself in the shoes of these lepers you can imagine how fast they attacked the food they saw. They wouldnít spent much time chewing because they would swallowed the food as fast as they could and when they saw all the money and clothing they hid it as fast as they could because they had nothing and now they were rich.

 

2 Kings 7:9 Then they said to one another, "We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king's household."10 So they went and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and told them, saying, "We went to the Syrian camp, and surprisingly no one was there, not a human sound -- only horses and donkeys tied, and the tents intact."11 And the gatekeepers called out, and they told it to the king's household inside.12 So the king arose in the night and said to his servants, "Let me now tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry; therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, 'When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.' "

 

The lepers conscience got the better of them. They realized that their people were starving too, so the go back and inform their king of what was happening. Now the king thought this was just a clever tactic to ambush them. However, we can know that this was Elishaís prophecy being fulfilled, even though the King wasnít willing to recognize it.

 

2 Kings 7:13 And one of his servants answered and said, "Please, let several men take five of the remaining horses which are left in the city. Look, they may either become like all the multitude of Israel that are left in it; or indeed, I say, they may become like all the multitude of Israel left from those who are consumed; so let us send them and see."14 Therefore they took two chariots with horses; and the king sent them in the direction of the Syrian army, saying, "Go and see."15 And they went after them to the Jordan; and indeed all the road was full of garments and weapons which the Syrians had thrown away in their haste. So the messengers returned and told the king.

 

So, the king allows these men to go and see if this was just a trick. They travel around 20 miles to the Jordan toward the Syrian army and they can see where they left there garments and weapons behind, so they could run away as fast as they could. So, these men return and tell the king the good news.

 

2 Kings 7:16 Then the people went out and plundered the tents of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.17 Now the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. But the people trampled him in the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him.18 So it happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, "Two seahs of barley for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, shall be sold tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria."19 Then that officer had answered the man of God, and said, "Now look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?" And he had said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it."20 And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate, and he died.

 

The king is trying to control his people and put this same man that doubted Elisha word in charge of the gate. There was no controlling this hungry mob of people. They ran right over this man and trampled him to death, which of course fulfilled Elishaís prophecy to the letter because this man was able to see the food, but he did not get to eat it.

 

These two chapters show us that God cares for his people and no matter how unimportant something may seem to be, like a lost axe head, God is there for us. These 2 chapters also shows us that no matter how big our enemy may be, when God is on your side you are never outnumbered.