2 Kings 6

Listen to 2 Kings 6

The Axe Head Recovered

1 Now 1the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us.
2 Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there." And he answered, "Go."
3 Then one of them said, "Be pleased to go with your servants." And he answered, "I will go."
4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees.
5 But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, "Alas, my master! It was borrowed."
6 Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, 2he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float.
7 And he said, "Take it up." So he reached out his hand and took it.

Horses and Chariots of Fire

8 Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, "At such and such a place shall be my camp."
9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there."
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.
11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?"
12 And one of his servants said, "None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom."
13 And he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him." It was told him, "Behold, he is in 3Dothan."
14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
16 He said, "Do not be afraid, 4for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
17 Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please 5open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of 6horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, "Please strike this people with blindness."7So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.
19 And Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." And he led them to Samaria.
20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, "O LORD, 8open the eyes of these men, that they may see." So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
21 As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, 9"My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?"
22 He answered, "You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive 10with your sword and with your bow? 11Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master."
23 So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again 12on raids into the land of Israel.

Ben-hadad's Siege of Samaria

24 Afterward 13Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria.
25 And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab[a] of dove's dung for five shekels of silver.
26 Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king!"
27 And he said, "If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?"
28 And the king asked her, "What is your trouble?" She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.'
29 14So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, 'Give your son, that we may eat him.' But she has hidden her son."
30 When the king heard the words of the woman, 15he tore his clothes--now he was passing by on the wall--and the people looked, and behold, 16he had sackcloth beneath on his body--
31 and he said, 17"May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today."
32 Elisha was sitting in his house, 18and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, "Do you see how this 19murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?"
33 And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, "This trouble is from the LORD! 20Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?"

2 Kings 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

The sons of the prophets enlarge their habitations, Iron made to swim. (1-7) Elisha discloses the counsels of the Syrians. (8-12) Syrians sent to seize Elisha. (13-23) Samaria besieged, A famine, The king sends to slay Elisha. (24-33)

Verses 1-7 There is that pleasantness in the converse of servants of God, which can make those who listen to them forget the pain and the weariness of labour. Even the sons of the prophets must not be unwilling to labour. Let no man think an honest employment a burden or a disgrace. And labour of the head, is as hard, and very often harder, than labour with the hands. We ought to be careful of that which is borrowed, as of our own, because we must do as we would be done by. This man was so respecting the axe-head. And to those who have an honest mind, the sorest grievance of poverty is, not so much their own want and disgrace, as being rendered unable to pay just debts. But the Lord cares for his people in their smallest concerns. And God's grace can thus raise the stony iron heart, which is sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections, naturally earthly.

Verses 8-12 The king of Israel regarded the warnings Elisha gave him, of danger from the Syrians, but would not heed the warnings of danger from his sins. Such warnings are little heeded by most; they would save themselves from death, but will not from hell. Nothing that is done, said, or thought, by any person, in any place, at any time, is out of God's knowledge.

Verses 13-23 What Elisha said to his servant is spoken to all the faithful servants of God, when without are fightings, and within are fears. Fear not, with that fear which has torment and amazement; for they that are with us, to protect us, are more than they that are against us, to destroy us. The eyes of his body were open, and with them he saw the danger. Lord, open the eyes of our faith, that with them we may see thy protecting hand. The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of Heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth. Satan, the god of this world, blinds men's eyes, and so deludes them unto their own ruin; but when God enlightens their eyes, they see themselves in the midst of their enemies, captives to Satan, and in danger of hell, though, before, they thought their condition good. When Elisha had the Syrians at his mercy, he made it appear that he was influenced by Divine goodness as well as Divine power. Let us not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The Syrians saw it was to no purpose to try to assault so great and so good a man.

Verses 24-33 Learn to value plenty, and to be thankful for it; see how contemptible money is, when in time of famine it is so freely parted with for any thing that is eatable! The language of Jehoram to the woman may be the language of despair. See the word of God fulfilled; among the threatenings of God's judgments upon Israel for their sins, this was one, that they should eat the flesh of their own children, ( Deuteronomy 28:53-57 ) . The truth and the awful justice of God were displayed in this horrible transaction. Alas! what miseries sin has brought upon the world! But the foolishness of man perverts his way, and then his heart frets against the Lord. The king swears the death of Elisha. Wicked men will blame any one as the cause of their troubles, rather than themselves, and will not leave their sins. If rending the clothes, without a broken and contrite heart, would avail, if wearing sackcloth, without being renewed in the spirit of their mind, would serve, they would not stand out against the Lord. May the whole word of God increase in us reverent fear and holy hope, that we may be stedfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Cross References 20

  • 1. See 2 Kings 2:3
  • 2. [2 Kings 2:21]
  • 3. Genesis 37:17
  • 4. 2 Chronicles 32:7; [Psalms 55:18; Romans 8:31]
  • 5. ver. 20
  • 6. 2 Kings 2:11; [Psalms 34:7; Psalms 68:17]; See Zechariah 1:8-10; Zechariah 6:1-7
  • 7. [Genesis 19:11]
  • 8. [See ver. 17 above]
  • 9. 2 Kings 5:13; 2 Kings 8:9; Judges 17:10
  • 10. Genesis 48:22
  • 11. Romans 12:20
  • 12. ver. 8, 9; 2 Kings 5:2; 2 Kings 24:2
  • 13. 1 Kings 20:1
  • 14. [Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53, 57; Ezekiel 5:10]
  • 15. 1 Kings 21:27
  • 16. 1 Kings 21:27
  • 17. [1 Kings 19:2]; See Ruth 1:17
  • 18. Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 14:1; Ezekiel 20:1
  • 19. [1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 21:13]
  • 20. [Job 2:9]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams; a kab was about 1 quart or 1 liter

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 6

In this chapter are recorded other wonders of Elisha, as causing iron to swim, 2Ki 6:1-7 having knowledge of the secret counsels of the king of Syria, which he disclosed to the king of Israel, 2Ki 6:8-12 smiting the Syrian army with blindness sent to take him, and which he led into the midst of Samaria, 2Ki 6:13-23, and the chapter is closed with an account of the siege of Samaria, and a sore famine in it, 2Ki 6:24-33.

2 Kings 6 Commentaries