Elisha traveled to Damascus. Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, was sick at the time. He was told, "The Holy Man is in town."
The king ordered Hazael, "Take a gift with you and go meet the Holy Man. Ask God through him, 'Am I going to recover from this sickness?'"
Hazael went and met with Elisha. He brought with him every choice thing he could think of from Damascus - forty camel-loads of items! When he arrived he stood before Elisha and said, "Your son Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, sent me here to ask you, 'Am I going to recover from this sickness?'"
Elisha answered, "Go and tell him, 'Don't worry; you'll live.' The fact is, though - God showed me - that he's doomed to die."
Elisha then stared hard at Hazael, reading his heart. Hazael felt exposed and dropped his eyes. Then the Holy Man wept.
Hazael said, "Why does my master weep?" "Because," said Elisha, "I know what you're going to do to the children of Israel: burn down their forts, murder their youth, smash their babies, rip open their pregnant women."
Hazael said, "Am I a mongrel dog that I'd do such a horrible thing?" "God showed me," said Elisha, "that you'll be king of Aram."
Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master, who asked, "So, what did Elisha tell you?" "He told me, 'Don't worry; you'll live.'"
But the very next day, someone took a heavy quilt, soaked it in water, covered the king's face, and suffocated him. Now Hazael was king.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)