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2 Kings 6 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Floating Ax Head

The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision[a] is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan where we can each get a log and can build ourselves a place to live there.”

“Go,” he said.

Then one said, “Please come with your servants.”

“I’ll come,” he answered.

So he went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Oh, my master, it was borrowed!”

Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?”

When he showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it there, and made the iron float. Then he said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and took it.

The Aramean War

When the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he conferred with his servants, “My camp will be at such and such a place.”

But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Be careful passing by this place, for the Arameans are going down there.” 10 Consequently, the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God had told him about. The man of God repeatedly[b] warned the king, so the king would be on his guard.

11 The king of Aram was enraged because of this matter, and he called his servants and demanded of them, “Tell me, which one of us is for the king of Israel?”

12 One of his servants said, “No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 So the king said, “Go and see where he is, so I can send men to capture him.”

When he was told, “Elisha is in Dothan,” 14 he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”

16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”

17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes. They looked and discovered they were in Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? I will kill them.”

22 Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”

23 So he prepared a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.

24 Some time later, King Ben-hadad of Aram brought all his military units together and marched up to besiege Samaria. 25 So there was a great famine in Samaria, and they continued the siege against it until a donkey’s head sold for 80 silver shekels,[c] and a cup[d] of dove’s dung[e] sold for five silver shekels.[f]

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, “My lord the king, help!”

27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor or the winepress?” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She said, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him today. Then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him, and I said to her the next day, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes. Then, as he was passing by on the wall, the people saw that there was sackcloth under his clothes next to his skin. 31 He announced, “May God punish me and do so severely if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger got to him, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door to keep him out. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”

33 While Elisha was still speaking with them, the messenger[g] came down to him. Then he said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:1 Lit we are living before you
  2. 2 Kings 6:10 Lit not once and not twice
  3. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 pounds of silver
  4. 2 Kings 6:25 Lit a fourth of a kab
  5. 2 Kings 6:25 Or seedpods, or wild onions
  6. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 ounces of silver
  7. 2 Kings 6:33 Some emend to king

2 Kings 6 New International Version (NIV)

An Axhead Floats

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 meet.”

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 no, 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.

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

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.” 10 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.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “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.”

13 “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.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 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 no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that 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.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 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.

20 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.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those 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.” 23 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.

Famine in Besieged Samaria

24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels[a] of silver, and a quarter of a cab[b] of seed pods[c] for five shekels.[d]

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

27 The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 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.’ 29 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.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 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!”

32 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?” 33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.

The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 2 pounds or about 920 grams
  2. 2 Kings 6:25 That is, probably about 1/4 pound or about 100 grams
  3. 2 Kings 6:25 Or of doves’ dung
  4. 2 Kings 6:25 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams
New International Version (NIV)

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