2 Reis 6

1 The group of prophets Elisha was in charge of complained to him: »The place where we live is too small!

2 »Allow us to go to the Jordan and cut down some trees. We can build a place to live.« Elisha answered: »Go.«

3 One of them urged him to go with them and he agreed.

4 They set out together and when they arrived at the Jordan they cut down trees.

5 One of them was cutting down a tree when suddenly his ax head fell in the water. It was a borrowed ax, he exclaimed to Elisha. »What will I do?«

6 Elisha said: »Where did it fall?« The man showed him the place. Elisha cut off a stick. Then he threw it in the water and made the ax head float.

7 »Pick it up,« he ordered. The man put his hand in the water and picked it up.

8 The king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his officers and chose a place to set up camp.

9 Elisha sent word to the king of Israel. He warned him not to go near that place, because the Syrians were waiting to ambush him.

10 The king of Israel warned the people who lived there. So they were on guard. This happened several times.

11 The Syrian king was greatly upset over this. He called in his officers and asked them: »Show me who of us is on the side of the king of Israel?«

12 One of his servants said: »No one is, Your Majesty. The prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel what you say even in the privacy of your own bedroom.«

13 »Locate him!« the king ordered, »and I will capture him. He was told: »Elisha is in Dothan.«

14 He sent a large force there with horses and chariots. They surrounded the town at night.

15 Early the next morning Elisha's servant got up and went out of the house. He saw the Syrian troops with their horses and chariots surrounding the town. He went to Elisha and said: »Alas my master what shall we do?«

16 »Do not be afraid,« Elisha answered. »We have more on our side than they have on theirs.«

17 Elisha prayed: »O Jehovah, open his eyes that he may see.« Jehovah answered his prayer. Elisha's servant looked up and saw the hillside covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 The Syrians attacked! Elisha prayed, »O Jehovah, strike these men blind!« Jehovah answered his prayer and struck them blind.

19 Elisha said to the Syrians: »This is not the way or the town you are looking for. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are after.« He led them to Samaria.

20 When they entered the city, Elisha prayed: »Open their eyes and let them see.« Jehovah answered his prayer. He restored their sight, and they saw that they were inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw the Syrians, he asked Elisha: »Shall I kill them?«

22 »No,« Elisha answered. »Would you put to death soldiers you captured in combat? Give them something to eat and drink. Then let them return to their king.«

23 So the king of Israel provided a great feast for them. After they ate and drank he sent them back to the king of Syria. From then on the Syrians stopped raiding the land of Israel.

24 After that King Benhadad of Syria led his entire army against Israel in siege of the city of Samaria.

25 The siege caused a great food shortage in the city. It was so severe that a donkey's head cost eighty pieces of silver, and half a pound of dove's dung cost five pieces of silver.

26 The king of Israel walked by on the city wall when a woman cried out: »Help me, Your Majesty!«

27 The king replied: »If Jehovah will not help you, what help can I provide? Where can I get you help from the threshing floor or the wine press?«

28 The king asked: »What is your trouble?« She answered: »The other day a woman suggested that we eat my child. Then we could eat her child the next day.

29 »So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her that we would eat her son, but she had hidden him!«

30 Hearing this, the king tore his clothes. The people close to the wall could see that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes.

31 He exclaimed: »May God strike me dead if Elisha is not beheaded before the day is over!«

32 He sent a messenger to get Elisha. Meanwhile Elisha was at home with some elders who were visiting him. Before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders: »That murderer is sending someone to kill me! When he gets here, shut the door. Do not let him come in. The king will follow him.«

33 While Elisha was still talking the king arrived and said: »Jehovah brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for him to do something?«