SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
2 Kings 6:1-8:29
6:1 Some of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too cramped for us. 2 Let’s go to the Jordan. Each of us will get a log from there, and we will build a meeting place for ourselves there.” He said, “Go.” 3 One of them said, “Please come along with your servants.” He replied, “All right, I’ll come.” 4 So he went with them. When they arrived at the Jordan, they started cutting down trees. 5 As one of them was felling a tree, the ax head dropped into the water. He shouted, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” 6 The prophet asked, “Where did it drop in?” When he showed him the spot, Elisha cut off a branch, threw it in at that spot, and made the ax head float. 7 He said, “Lift it out.” So he reached out his hand and grabbed it.
8 Now the king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his advisers, who said, “Invade at such and such a place.” 9 But the prophet sent this message to the king of Israel, “Make sure you don’t pass through this place because Syria is invading there.” 10 So the king of Israel sent a message to the place the prophet had pointed out, warning it to be on its guard. This happened on several occasions. 11 This made the king of Syria upset. So he summoned his advisers and said to them, “One of us must be helping the king of Israel.” 12 One of his advisers said, “No, my master, O king. The prophet Elisha who lives in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the things you say in your bedroom.” 13 The king ordered, “Go, find out where he is, so I can send some men to capture him.” The king was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots there, along with a good-sized army. They arrived during the night and surrounded the city.
15 The prophet’s attendant got up early in the morning. When he went outside there was an army surrounding the city, along with horses and chariots. He said to Elisha, “Oh no, my master! What will we do?” 16 He replied, “Don’t be afraid, for our side outnumbers them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he can see.” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 As the army approached him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” The Lord struck them with blindness as Elisha requested. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the right road or city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you’re looking for.” He led them to Samaria.
20 When they had entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open their eyes, so they can see.” The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Should I strike them down, my master?” 22 He replied, “Do not strike them down! You did not capture them with your sword or bow, so what gives you the right to strike them down? Give them some food and water, so they can eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he threw a big banquet for them and they ate and drank. Then he sent them back to their master. After that no Syrian raiding parties again invaded the land of Israel.
24 Later King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled his entire army and attacked and besieged Samaria. 25 Samaria’s food supply ran out. They laid siege to it so long that a donkey’s head was selling for eighty shekels of silver and a quarter of a kab of dove’s droppings for five shekels of silver.
26 While the king of Israel was passing by on the city wall, a woman shouted to him, “Help us, my master, O king!” 27 He replied, “No, let the Lord help you. How can I help you? The threshing floor and winepress are empty.” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s your problem?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Hand over your son; we’ll eat him today and then eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. Then I said to her the next day, ‘Hand over your son and we’ll eat him.’ But she hid her son!” 30 When the king heard what the woman said, he tore his clothes. As he was passing by on the wall, the people could see he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31 Then he said, “May God judge me severely if Elisha son of Shaphat still has his head by the end of the day!”
32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the community leaders. The king sent a messenger on ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the leaders, “Do you realize this assassin intends to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger arrives, shut the door and lean against it. His master will certainly be right behind him.” 33 He was still talking to them when the messenger approached and said, “Look, the Lord is responsible for this disaster! Why should I continue to wait for the Lord to help?” 7:1 Elisha replied, “Listen to the Lord’s message. This is what the Lord has said, ‘About this time tomorrow a seah of finely milled flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’” 2 An officer who was the king’s right-hand man responded to the prophet, “Look, even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” Elisha said, “Look, you will see it happen with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of the food!”
3 Now four men with a skin disease were sitting at the entrance of the city gate. They said to one another, “Why are we just sitting here waiting to die? 4 If we go into the city, we’ll die of starvation, and if we stay here we’ll die! So come on, let’s defect to the Syrian camp! If they spare us, we’ll live; if they kill us—well, we were going to die anyway.” 5 So they started toward the Syrian camp at dusk. When they reached the edge of the Syrian camp, there was no one there. 6 The Lord had caused the Syrian camp to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a large army. Then they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has paid the kings of the Hittites and Egyptians to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled at dusk, leaving behind their tents, horses, and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. 8 When the men with a skin disease reached the edge of the camp, they entered a tent and had a meal. They also took some silver, gold, and clothes and went and hid it all. Then they went back and entered another tent. They looted it and went and hid what they had taken. 9 Then they said to one another, “It’s not right what we’re doing! This is a day to celebrate, but we haven’t told anyone. If we wait until dawn, we’ll be punished. So come on, let’s go and inform the royal palace.” 10 So they went and called out to the gatekeepers of the city. They told them, “We entered the Syrian camp and there was no one there. We didn’t even hear a man’s voice. But the horses and donkeys are still tied up, and the tents remain up.” 11 The gatekeepers relayed the news to the royal palace.
12 The king got up in the night and said to his advisers, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know we are starving, so they left the camp and hid in the field, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will capture them alive and enter the city.’” 13 One of his advisers replied, “Pick some men and have them take five of the horses that are left in the city. (Even if they are killed, their fate will be no different than that of all the Israelite people—we’re all going to die!) Let’s send them out so we can know for sure what’s going on.” 14 So they picked two horsemen and the king sent them out to track the Syrian army. He ordered them, “Go and find out what’s going on.” 15 So they tracked them as far as the Jordan. The road was filled with clothes and equipment that the Syrians had discarded in their haste. The scouts went back and told the king. 16 Then the people went out and looted the Syrian camp. A seah of finely milled flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, just as in the Lord’s message.
17 Now the king had placed the officer who was his right-hand man at the city gate. When the people rushed out, they trampled him to death in the gate. This fulfilled the prophet’s word which he had spoken when the king tried to arrest him. 18 The prophet had told the king, “Two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel, and a seah of finely milled flour for a shekel; this will happen about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria.” 19 But the officer had replied to the prophet, “Look, even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” Elisha had said, “Look, you will see it happen with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of the food!” 20 This is exactly what happened to him. The people trampled him to death in the city gate.
8:1 Now Elisha advised the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “You and your family should go and live somewhere else for a while, for the Lord has decreed that a famine will overtake the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman did as the prophet said. She and her family went and lived in the land of the Philistines for seven years. 3 After seven years the woman returned from the land of the Philistines and went to ask the king to give her back her house and field. 4 Now the king was talking to Gehazi, the prophet’s servant, and said, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” 5 While Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had brought the dead back to life, the woman whose son he had brought back to life came to ask the king for her house and field. Gehazi said, “My master, O king, this is the very woman, and this is her son whom Elisha brought back to life!” 6 The king asked the woman about it, and she gave him the details. The king assigned a eunuch to take care of her request and ordered him, “Give her back everything she owns, as well as the amount of crops her field produced from the day she left the land until now.”
7 Elisha traveled to Damascus while King Ben Hadad of Syria was sick. The king was told, “The prophet has come here.” 8 So the king told Hazael, “Take a gift and go visit the prophet. Request from him an oracle from the Lord. Ask him, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’” 9 So Hazael went to visit Elisha. He took along a gift, as well as 40 camel-loads of all the fine things of Damascus. When he arrived, he stood before him and said, “Your son, King Ben Hadad of Syria, has sent me to you with this question, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’” 10 Elisha said to him, “Go and tell him, ‘You will surely recover,’ but the Lord has revealed to me that he will surely die.” 11 Elisha just stared at him until Hazael became uncomfortable. Then the prophet started crying. 12 Hazael asked, “Why are you crying, my master?” He replied, “Because I know the trouble you will cause the Israelites. You will set fire to their fortresses, kill their young men with the sword, smash their children to bits, and rip open their pregnant women.” 13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, who is as insignificant as a dog, accomplish this great military victory?” Elisha answered, “The Lord has revealed to me that you will be the king of Syria.” 14 He left Elisha and went to his master. Ben Hadad asked him, “What did Elisha tell you?” Hazael replied, “He told me you would surely recover.” 15 The next day Hazael took a piece of cloth, dipped it in water, and spread it over Ben Hadad’s face until he died. Then Hazael replaced him as king.
16 In the fifth year of the reign of Israel’s King Joram, son of Ahab, Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram became king over Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. 18 He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, for he married Ahab’s daughter. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. 19 But the Lord was unwilling to destroy Judah. He preserved Judah for the sake of his servant David to whom he had promised a perpetual dynasty.
20 During his reign Edom freed themselves from Judah’s control and set up their own king. 21 Jehoram crossed over to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites, who had surrounded him, attacked at night and defeated him and his chariot officers. The Israelite army retreated to their homeland. 22 So Edom has remained free from Judah’s control to this very day. At that same time Libnah also rebelled.
23 The rest of the events of Jehoram’s reign, including a record of his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 24 Jehoram passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Ahaziah replaced him as king.
25 In the twelfth year of the reign of Israel’s King Joram, son of Ahab, Jehoram’s son Ahaziah became king over Judah. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for one year in Jerusalem. His mother was Athaliah, the granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27 He followed in the footsteps of Ahab’s dynasty and did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Ahab’s dynasty had done, for he was related to Ahab’s family.
28 He joined Ahab’s son Joram in a battle against King Hazael of Syria at Ramoth Gilead in which the Syrians defeated Joram. 29 King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he received from the Syrians in Ramah when he fought against King Hazael of Syria. King Ahaziah son of Jehoram of Judah went down to visit Joram son of Ahab in Jezreel, for he was ill.