An Axhead Floats
1The groups of prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2Let’s go to the Jordan River. There everyone can get a log, and let’s build a place there to live.”
Elisha said, “Go.”
3One of them said, “Please go with us.”
Elisha answered, “I will go,” 4so he went with them. When they arrived at the Jordan, they cut down some trees. 5As one man was cutting down a tree, the head of his ax fell into the water. He yelled, “Oh, my master! I borrowed that ax!”
6Elisha asked, “Where did it fall?” The man showed him the place. Then Elisha cut down a stick and threw it into the water, and it made the iron head float. 7Elisha said, “Pick up the axhead.” Then the man reached out and took it.
Elisha and the Blinded Arameans
8The king of Aram was at war with Israel. He had a council meeting with his officers and said, “I will set up my camp in this place.”
9Elisha, the man of God, sent a message to the king of Israel, saying, “Be careful! Don’t pass that place, because the Arameans are going down there!”
10The king of Israel checked the place about which Elisha had warned him. Elisha warned him several times, so the king protected himself there.
11The king of Aram was angry about this. He called his officers together and demanded, “Tell me who of us is working for the king of Israel.”
12One of the officers said, “None, my master and king. It’s Elisha, the prophet from Israel. He can tell you what you speak in your bedroom.”
13The king said, “Go and find him so I can send men and catch him.”
The servants came back and reported, “He is in Dothan.”
14Then the king sent horses, chariots, and many troops to Dothan. They arrived at night and surrounded the city.
15Elisha’s servant got up early, and when he went out, he saw an army with horses and chariots all around the city. The servant said to Elisha, “Oh, my master, what can we do?”
16Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. The army that fights for us is larger than the one against us.”
17Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, open my servant’s eyes, and let him see.”
The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18As the enemy came down toward Elisha, he prayed to the Lord, “Make these people blind.” So he made the Aramean army blind, as Elisha had asked.
19Elisha said to them, “This is not the right road or the right city. Follow me and I’ll take you to the man you are looking for.” Then Elisha led them to Samaria.
20After they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes so they can see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and the Aramean army saw that they were inside the city of Samaria!
21When the king of Israel saw the Aramean army, he said to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”
22Elisha answered, “Don’t kill them. You wouldn’t kill people whom you captured with your sword and bow. Give them food and water, and let them eat and drink and then go home to their master.” 23So he prepared a great feast for the Aramean army. After they ate and drank, the king sent them away, and they went home to their master. The soldiers of Aram did not come anymore into the land of Israel.
A Shortage of Food
24Later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram gathered his whole army and surrounded and attacked Samaria. 25There was a shortage of food in Samaria. It was so bad that a donkey’s head sold for about two pounds of silver, and half of a pint of dove’s dung sold for about two ounces of silver.
26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman yelled out to him, “Help me, my master and king!”
27The king said, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, how can I? Can I get help from the threshing floor or from the winepress?” 28Then the king said to her, “What is your trouble?”
She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we can eat him today. Then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29So we boiled my son and ate him. Then the next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we can eat him.’ But she had hidden him.”
30When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes in grief. As he walked along the wall, the people looked and saw he had on rough cloth under his clothes to show his sadness. 31He said, “May God punish me terribly if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat isn’t cut off from his body today!”
32The king sent a messenger to Elisha, who was sitting in his house with the elders. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to them, “See, this murderer is sending men to cut off my head. When the messenger arrives, shut the door and hold it; don’t let him in. The sound of his master’s feet is behind him.”
33Elisha was still talking with the leaders when the messenger arrived. The king said, “This trouble has come from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”