Some time later, Ben-Hadad1 king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege2 to Samaria.
There was a great famine3 in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey's head sold for eighty shekelsa of silver, and a quarter of a cabb of seed podsc4 for five shekels.d26
As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, "Help me, my lord the king!"
The king replied, "If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?"
Then he asked her, "What's the matter?" She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we'll eat my son.'
So we cooked my son and ate5 him. The next day I said to her, 'Give up your son so we may eat him,' but she had hidden him."
When the king heard the woman's words, he tore6 his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth7 on his body.
He said, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!"
Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders8 were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, "Don't you see how this murderer9 is sending someone to cut off my head?10 Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master's footsteps behind him?"
While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him. And [the king ] said, "This disaster is from the LORD. Why should I wait11 for the LORD any longer?"