2 Kings 6

1 Now the company of prophets said to Elisha, "As you see, the place where we live under your charge is too small for us.
2 Let us go to the Jordan, and let us collect logs there, one for each of us, and build a place there for us to live." He answered, "Do so."
3 Then one of them said, "Please come with your servants." And he answered, "I will."
4 So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees.
5 But as one was felling a log, his ax head fell into the water; he cried out, "Alas, master! It was borrowed."
6 Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float.
7 He said, "Pick it up." So he reached out his hand and took it.
8 Once when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he took counsel with his officers. He said, "At such and such a place shall be my camp."
9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, "Take care not to pass this place, because the Arameans are going down there."
10 The king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God spoke. More than once or twice he warned such a place so that it was on the alert.
11 The mind of the king of Aram was greatly perturbed because of this; he called his officers and said to them, "Now tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?"
12 Then one of his officers said, "No one, my lord king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber."
13 He said, "Go and find where he is; I will send and seize him." He was told, "He is in Dothan."
14 So he sent horses and chariots there and a great army; they came by night, and surrounded the city.
15 When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, "Alas, master! What shall we do?"
16 He replied, "Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them."
17 Then Elisha prayed: "O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see." So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 When the Arameans came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this people, please, with blindness." So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked.
19 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, open the eyes of these men so that they may see." The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were inside Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them he said to Elisha, "Father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?"
22 He answered, "No! Did you capture with your sword and your bow those whom you want to kill? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink; and let them go to their master."
23 So he prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.
24 Some time later King Ben-hadad of Aram mustered his entire army; he marched against Samaria and laid siege to it.
25 As the siege continued, famine in Samaria became so great that a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove's dung for five shekels of silver.
26 Now as the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him, "Help, my lord king!"
27 He said, "No! Let the Lord help you. How can I help you? From the threshing floor or from the wine press?"
28 But then the king asked her, "What is your complaint?" She answered, "This woman said to me, "Give up your son; we will eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.'
29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, "Give up your son and we will eat him.' But she has hidden her son."
30 When the king heard the words of the woman he tore his clothes—now since he was walking on the city wall, the people could see that he had sackcloth on his body underneath—
31 and he said, "So may God do to me, and more, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today."
32 So he dispatched a man from his presence. Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, "Are you aware that this murderer has sent someone to take off my head? When the messenger comes, see that you shut the door and hold it closed against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?"
33 While he was still speaking with them, the king came down to him and said, "This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I hope in 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.

Footnotes 4

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