The company of the prophets said to Elisha, "Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us.
Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live." And he said, "Go."
Then one of them said, "Won't you please come with your servants?" "I will," Elisha replied.
And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees.
As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. "Oh, my lord," he cried out, "it was borrowed!"
The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float.
"Lift it out," he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.
Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, "I will set up my camp in such and such a place."
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there."
So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?"
"None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom."
"Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan."
Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Elisha told them, "This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for." And he led them to Samaria.
After they entered the city, Elisha said, "LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see." Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, "Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?"
"Do not kill them," he answered. "Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master."
So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel's territory.
Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.
There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey's head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.
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 ate 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 tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth 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 elders 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 murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? 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 wait for the LORD any longer?"
The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and
saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed.
(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.
When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. )
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"
He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.7They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."9
And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!10For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'11But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God),12then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.13Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."14
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.15Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' "17
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
18"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'?19For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")
He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.'21For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.23All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.
In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."28
"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."30
She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.
There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue.
He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ""Ephphatha!"" (which means, "Be opened!").
At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it.
People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."