2 Kings 6 – “Elisha’s Miracles and the Aramean Wars”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Elisha helps the Israelites evade the king of Aram. He also captures a group of Arameans and feeds them a lavish meal. After a brief episode of peace, the king of Aram besieges Samaria and puts it in dire straits.

II. Photo
Elisha fights back: “[The Arameans] came down against him, and Elisha prayed to the Lord: ‘Please strike this people with a blinding light!’ And He struck them with a blinding light, as Elisha had asked.” (v. 18)

III. Important Verses
5-6: As one of them was felling a trunk, the iron ax head fell into the water. And he cried aloud, “Alas, master, it was a borrowed one!”  “Where did it fall?” asked the man of God. He showed him the spot; and he cut off a stick and threw it in, and he made the ax head float.
8-10:  While the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he took counsel with his officers and said, “I will encamp in such and such a place.”  But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Take care not to pass through that place, for the Arameans are encamped there.” So the king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God had told him. Time and again he alerted such a place and took precautions there.
15-18:  When the attendant of the man of God rose early and went outside, he saw a force, with horses and chariots, surrounding the town. “Alas, master, what shall we do?” his servant asked him.  “Have no fear,” he replied. “There are more on our side than on theirs.” Then Elisha prayed: “LORD, open his eyes and let him see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills all around Elisha covered with horses and chariots of fire. [The Arameans] came down against him, and Elisha prayed to the LORD: “Please strike this people with a blinding light.” And He struck them with a blinding light, as Elisha had asked.
21-23: When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Father, shall I strike them down?”  “No, do not,” he replied. “Did you take them captive with your sword and bow that you would strike them down? Rather, set food and drink before them, and let them eat and drink and return to their master.” So he prepared a lavish feast for them and, after they had eaten and drunk, he let them go, and they returned to their master. And the Aramean bands stopped invading the land of Israel.
26-30: Once, when the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him: “Help me, Your Majesty!”  “Don’t [ask me],” he replied. “Let the LORD help you! Where could I get help for you, from the threshing floor or from the winepress? But what troubles you?” the king asked her. The woman answered, “That woman said to me, ‘Give up your son and we will eat him today; and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and we ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son and let’s eat him’; but she hid her son.” When the king heard what the woman said, he rent his clothes; and as he walked along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing sackcloth underneath.

IV. Outline

1-7. Elisha floats an ax head
    1-4. Elisha and the prophets travel to the Jordan for more space
    5-7. Elisha floats a missing ax head
8-23. Elisha’s military miracles and diplomatic acumen
    8-10. Elisha foils Aram’s battle plans
    11-14. The king sends soldiers to Elisha
    15-18. Elisha blinds the soldiers with light
    19-20. Elisha leads the men to Samaria
    21-23a. Elisha has the soldiers fed a lavish banquet
    23b. The Arameans stop invading Israel
24-33. Samaria’s dire straits
    24. Ben-hadad of Aram lays siege to Samaria
    25. Famine
    26-30. The king of Israel is told of infanticide
    31. The king curses Elisha
    32-33. The king inquires Elisha about the future

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Photo taken from http://realiq.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/blinding-light-4.jpg