1Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the lord! This is what the lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver,# Hebrew 1 seah [7.3 liters] of choice flour will cost 1 shekel [0.4 ounces or 11 grams]; also in 7:16, 18. and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.# Hebrew 2 seahs [14.6 liters] of barley grain will cost 1 shekel [0.4 ounces or 11 grams]; also in 7:16, 18.”
2The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the lord opened the windows of heaven!”
But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!”
Lepers Visit the Enemy Camp
3Now there were four men with leprosy# Or with a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases. sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. 4“We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.”
5So at twilight they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! 6For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians# Possibly and the people of Muzur, a district near Cilicia. to attack us!” they cried to one another. 7So they panicked and ran into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else, as they fled for their lives.
8When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine; and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it. 9Finally, they said to each other, “This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.”
10So they went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened. “We went out to the Aramean camp,” they said, “and no one was there! The horses and donkeys were tethered and the tents were all in order, but there wasn’t a single person around!” 11Then the gatekeepers shouted the news to the people in the palace.
Israel Plunders the Camp
12The king got out of bed in the middle of the night and told his officers, “I know what has happened. The Arameans know we are starving, so they have left their camp and have hidden in the fields. They are expecting us to leave the city, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.”
13One of his officers replied, “We had better send out scouts to check into this. Let them take five of the remaining horses. If something happens to them, it will be no worse than if they stay here and die with the rest of us.”
14So two chariots with horses were prepared, and the king sent scouts to see what had happened to the Aramean army. 15They went all the way to the Jordan River, following a trail of clothing and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their mad rush to escape. The scouts returned and told the king about it. 16Then the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the Aramean camp. So it was true that six quarts of choice flour were sold that day for one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain were sold for one piece of silver, just as the lord had promised. 17The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out.
So everything happened exactly as the man of God had predicted when the king came to his house. 18The man of God had said to the king, “By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost one piece of silver.”
19The king’s officer had replied, “That couldn’t happen even if the lord opened the windows of heaven!” And the man of God had said, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” 20And so it was, for the people trampled him to death at the gate!