An Ax Blade Floats
1The group of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look. The place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2We would like to go to the Jordan River. Each of us can get some wood there. We want to build a place there for us to meet.”
Elisha said, “Go.”
3Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with us?”
“I will,” Elisha replied. 4And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan River. There they began to cut down trees. 5One of them was cutting down a tree. The iron blade of his ax fell into the water. “Oh no, master!” he cried out. “This ax was borrowed!”
6The man of God asked, “Where did the blade fall?” He showed Elisha the place. Then Elisha cut a stick and threw it there. That made the iron blade float. 7“Take it out of the water,” he said. So the man reached out and took it.
Elisha Makes the Soldiers of Aram Blind
8The king of Aram was at war with Israel. He talked things over with his officers. Then he said, “I’m going to set up my camp in a certain place.”
9Elisha, the man of God, sent a message to the king of Israel. Elisha said, “Try to stay away from that place. Aram’s army is going to be down there.” 10The king of Israel checked on the place the man of God had told him about. Time after time Elisha warned the king. So the king was on guard in those places.
11All of that made the king of Aram very angry. He sent for his officers. He said to them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
12“You are my king and master,” said one of his officers. “None of us is on Israel’s side. But Elisha is a prophet in Israel. He tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your own bedroom.”
13“Go and find out where he is,” the king ordered. “Then I can send my men and capture him.” The report came back. The officers said, “He’s in Dothan.” 14Then the king sent horses and chariots and a strong army there. They went at night and surrounded the city.
15The servant of the man of God got up the next morning. He went out early. He saw that an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my master!” the servant said. “What can we do?”
16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17Elisha prayed, “Lord, open my servant’s eyes so that he can see.” Then the Lord opened his eyes. Elisha’s servant looked up and saw the hills. He saw that Elisha was surrounded by horses and chariots made of fire.
18Aram’s army came down toward Elisha. Then he prayed to the Lord, “Make these soldiers blind.” So the Lord made them blind, just as Elisha had prayed.
19Elisha told them, “This isn’t the right road. This isn’t the right city. Follow me. I’ll lead you to the man you are looking for.” He led them to Samaria.
20They entered the city. Then Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men. Help them see again.” Then the Lord opened their eyes. They looked around. And there they were, inside Samaria!
21The king of Israel saw them. So he asked Elisha, “Should I kill them? I need your advice. You are like a father to me. Should I kill them?”
22“Don’t kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill people you have captured with your own sword or bow? Put some food and water in front of them. Then they can eat and drink. They can go back to their master.” 23So the king of Israel prepared a great feast for them. After they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away. They returned to their master. So the groups of fighting men from Aram stopped attacking Israel’s territory.
Aram’s Army Attacks Samaria and People Go Hungry
24Some time later, Ben-Hadad gathered his entire army together. Ben-Hadad was the king of Aram. His army marched up and surrounded Samaria. Then they attacked it. 25There wasn’t enough food anywhere in the city. It was surrounded for so long that people had to weigh out two pounds of silver for a donkey’s head. They had to weigh out two ounces of silver for half a pint of seed pods.
26One day the king of Israel was walking on top of the city wall. A woman cried out to him, “You are my king and master. Please help me!”
27The king replied, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28He continued, “What’s wrong?”
She answered, “A woman said to me, ‘Give up your son. Then we can eat him today. Tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29So we cooked my son. Then we ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son. Then we can eat him.’ But she had hidden him.”
30When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his royal robes. As he walked along the wall, the people looked up at him. They saw that under his robes he was wearing the rough clothing people wear when they’re sad. 31He said, “I’ll cut the head of Shaphat’s son Elisha off his shoulders today. If I don’t, may God punish me greatly!”
32Elisha was sitting in his house. The elders were sitting there with him. The king went to see Elisha. He sent a messenger on ahead of him. Before the messenger arrived, Elisha spoke to the elders. He said, “That murderer is sending someone here to cut off my head. Can’t you see that? When the messenger comes, close the door. Hold it shut against him. Can’t you hear his master’s footsteps right behind him?” 33Elisha was still talking to the elders when the messenger came down to him.
The king also arrived. He said, “The Lord has sent this horrible trouble on us. Why should I wait any longer for him to help us?”