2 Kings 6

The Axe Head Recovered

1 Now 1the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "Behold now, the place before you where * we are living is too limited for us.
2 "Please let us go to the Jordan and each of us take from there a beam, and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live." So he said, "Go."
3 Then one said, "Please be willing to go with your servants." And he answered, "I shall 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 beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed."
6 Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" And when he showed him the place, 2he cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron float.
7 He said, "Take it up for yourself." So he put out his hand and took it.

The Arameans Plot to Capture Elisha

8 Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel; and he counseled with his servants saying, "In such and such a place shall be my camp."
9 3The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there."
10 The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him; thus he warned him, so that he guarded himself there, more than once or twice.
11 Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?"
12 One of his servants said, "No, 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 So he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him." And it was told him, saying, "Behold, he is in 4Dothan."
14 He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
15 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
16 So he answered, "5Do not fear, for 6those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
17 Then Elisha prayed and said, "7O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of 8horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, "Strike this people with blindness, I pray." So He 9struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
19 Then Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow * me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." And he brought them to Samaria.
20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, "O 10LORD, open 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 Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, "11My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?"
22 He answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you 12kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? 13Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master."
23 So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And 14the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again * into the land of Israel.

The Siege of Samaria--Cannibalism

24 Now it came about after this, that 15Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army and went up and besieged * Samaria.
25 There was a great 16famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged * it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove's dung for five shekels of silver.
26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall a woman cried out to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king!"
27 He said, "If the LORD does not help you, from where shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the wine press?"
28 And the king said to her, "17What is the matter with you?" And she answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.'
29 "18So we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, 'Give your son, that we may eat him'; but she has hidden her son."
30 When the king heard the words of the woman, 19he tore his clothes -now he was passing by on the wall -and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body.
31 Then he said, "May 20God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today."
32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and 21the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man from his presence; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, "Do you 22see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door shut against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?"
33 While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him and he said, "23Behold, this evil is from the LORD; why 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 23

  • 1. 2 Kings 2:3
  • 2. Exodus 15:25; 2 Kings 2:21; 2 Kings 4:41
  • 3. 2 Kings 4:1, 7; 2 Kings 6:12
  • 4. Genesis 37:17
  • 5. Exodus 14:13
  • 6. 2 Chronicles 32:7, 8; Romans 8:31
  • 7. 2 Kings 6:20
  • 8. 2 Kings 2:11; Psalms 68:17; Zechariah 6:1-7
  • 9. Genesis 19:11
  • 10. 2 Kings 6:17
  • 11. 2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 5:13; 2 Kings 8:9
  • 12. Deuteronomy 20:11-16; 2 Chronicles 28:8-15
  • 13. Romans 12:20
  • 14. 2 Kings 5:2; 2 Kings 24:2
  • 15. 1 Kings 20:1
  • 16. Leviticus 26:26
  • 17. Judges 18:23
  • 18. Leviticus 26:27-29; Deut 28:52, 53, 57; Lamentations 4:10
  • 19. 1 Kings 21:27
  • 20. Ruth 1:17; 1 Kings 19:2
  • 21. Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 14:1; Ezekiel 20:1
  • 22. 1 Kin 18:4, 13, 14; 1 Kings 21:10, 13
  • 23. Isaiah 8:21

Footnotes 20

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