The Second Book of the Kings

Chapter 6

Elisha, giving leave to the young prophets to enlarge their dwellings, causes iron to float, 1-7. He discloses the king of Syria's counsel, 8-12. The army which was sent to Dothan to apprehend Elisha is smitten with blindness, 13-18. Being brought into Samaria, they are dismissed in peace, 19-23. The famine in Samaria causes women to eat their own children, 24-29. The king sends to slay Elisha, 30-33.

1 And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "Behold now, the place where we dwell with you is too narrow for us. 2 Let us go, we pray you, to the Jordan and each take from there a beam, and let us make us a place there where we may dwell." And he answered, "Go." 3 And one said, "Be content, I pray you, and 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 wood. 5 But as one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water, and he cried and said, "Alas, master! For it was borrowed." 6 And the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick and cast it in there, and the iron floated. 7 Therefore, he said, "Take it up to you." And he put out his hand and took it.

8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel and took counsel with his servants, saying, "In such and such a place my camp shall be." 9 And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, "Beware that you do not pass such a place, for there the Syrians have come down." 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

11 Therefore, the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled for 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, "No one, my lord, O king, but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bed-chamber." 13 And he said, "Go, and spy where he is so that I may send and bring him." And it was told to him, saying, "Behold, he is in Dothan." 14 Therefore, he sent there horses, chariots, and a great host, and they came by night and encompassed the city.

15 And when the servant of the man of God had risen early and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" 16 And 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 you, open his eyes so that he may see." And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha. 18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, "Smite this people, I pray you, with blindness." And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 19 And Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, neither is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." But he led them to Samaria.

20 And it came to pass, when they had come into Samaria, that Elisha said, "LORD, open the eyes of these men so that they may see." And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 And the king of Israel said to Elisha when he saw them, "My father, shall I smite them? Shall I smite them?" 22 And he answered, "You shall not smite them. Would you smite those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them so that they may eat and drink and go to their master." 23 And he prepared great provision for them. And when they had eaten and drank, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria no longer came into the land of Israel.

24 And it came to pass 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 behold, they besieged it until a donkey's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. 26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, a woman cried to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king." 27 And he said, "If the LORD does not help you, from where shall I help you? Out of the barn-floor, or out of the wine-press?" 28 And the king said to her, "What ails you?" And she answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son so 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 so that we may eat him.' And she has hid her son." 30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes. And he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. 31 Then he said, "May God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat stands on him this day."

32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him, and the king sent a man from before him. But before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, "See how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door firmly against him. Is the sound of his master's feet not behind him?" 33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down to him and he said, "Behold, this evil is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?"


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Kings, Chapter 6[➚]