2 Kings 7:3-16

The Siege Lifted

3 Now there were four men with leprosy[a] at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die?
4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there,
6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!”
7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.
9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.”
11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.
12 The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’ ”
13 One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”
14 So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.”
15 They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king.
16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said.

2 Kings 7:3 in Other Translations

KJV
3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?
ESV
3 Now there were four men who were lepersat the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die?
NLT
3 Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other.
MSG
3 It happened that four lepers were sitting just outside the city gate. They said to one another, "What are we doing sitting here at death's door?
CSB
3 Four men with skin diseases were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, "Why just sit here until we die?

2 Kings 7:3-16 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 7

This chapter begins with a prophecy of great plenty in Samaria on the morrow, and of the death of an unbelieving lord, 2Ki 7:1,2, relates the case of four lepers, who that night went into the Syrian camp, which was deserted, occasioned by the noise of chariots, horses, and a host, which they fancied they heard, 2Ki 7:3-9, the report which the lepers made to the king's household of this affair, and the method the king's servants took to know the truth of it, 2Ki 7:10-15 which, when confirmed, the people went out and spoiled the tents of the Syrians, whereby the prophecy of plenty was fulfilled, 2Ki 7:16, and the unbelieving lord having post at the gate of the city assigned him, was trod to death, and so the prediction concerning him had its accomplishment also, 2Ki 7:17-20.

2 Kings 7:3-16 In-Context

1 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” “You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”
3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die?
4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there,
6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!”
7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.
9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.”
11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.
12 The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’ ”
13 One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”
14 So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.”
15 They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king.
16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said.
17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house.
18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

Cross References 10

  • 1. Leviticus 13:45-46; Numbers 5:1-4
  • 2. S Exodus 14:24; 2 Samuel 5:24; Ezekiel 1:24
  • 3. 2 Samuel 10:6; Jeremiah 46:21
  • 4. S Numbers 13:29
  • 5. Judges 7:21; Psalms 48:4-6; Proverbs 28:1; Isaiah 30:17
  • 6. Isaiah 33:23; Isaiah 35:6
  • 7. Joshua 8:4; 2 Kings 6:25-29
  • 8. Job 27:22
  • 9. Isaiah 33:4,23
  • 10. ver 1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Hebrew for "leprosy" was used for various diseases affecting the skin; also in verse 8.
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