2 Kings 6

1 The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we live and meet with you is too small for us. 2 Please let us go to the Jordan, and each man take a beam from there, and let us make us a place there, where we may live.” He answered, “Go!” 3 One said, “Please be pleased to go with your servants.” He answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down wood. 5 But as one was cutting down a tree, the axe head fell into the water. Then he cried, and said, “Alas, my master! For it was borrowed.” 6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” He showed him the place. He cut down a stick, threw it in there, and made the iron float. 7 He said, “Take it.” So he put out his hand and took it. 8 Now the king of Syria was at war against Israel; and he took counsel with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such and such a place.” 9 The man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, “Beware that you not pass this place; for the Syrians are coming down there.” 10 The king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of; and he saved himself there, not once or twice. 11 The king of Syria’s heart was very troubled about this. He called his servants, and said to them, “Won’t you show me which of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 One of his servants said, “No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 He said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.” He was told, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 Therefore he sent horses, chariots, and a great army there. They came by night, and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God had risen early, and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. His servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He answered, “Don’t be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, please open his eyes, that he may see.” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha. 18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” He struck them with blindness according to Elisha’s word. 19 Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, neither is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” He led them to Samaria. 20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “LORD, open these men’s eyes, that they may see.” The LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold, they were in the middle of Samaria. 21 The king of Israel said to Elisha, when he saw them, “My father, shall I strike them? Shall I strike them?” 22 He answered, “You shall not strike them. Would you strike those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.” 23 He prepared great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria stopped raiding the land of Israel. 24 After this, Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in Samaria. Behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver. 26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” 27 He said, “If the LORD doesn’t help you, where could I get help for you? From of the threshing floor, or from the wine press?” 28 The king said to her, “What is your problem?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son, and ate him: and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him;’ and she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes. Now he was passing by on the wall, and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth underneath on his body. 31 Then he said, “God do so to me, and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat stays on him today.” 32 But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Then the king sent a man from before him; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Behold, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold the door shut against him. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” 33 While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him. Then he said, “Behold, this evil is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

There is that pleasantness in the converse of servants of God, which can make those who listen to them forget the pain and the weariness of labour. Even the sons of the prophets must not be unwilling to labour. Let no man think an honest employment a burden or a disgrace. And labour of the head, is as hard, and very often harder, than labour with the hands. We ought to be careful of that which is borrowed, as of our own, because we must do as we would be done by. This man was so respecting the axe-head. And to those who have an honest mind, the sorest grievance of poverty is, not so much their own want and disgrace, as being rendered unable to pay just debts. But the Lord cares for his people in their smallest concerns. And God’s grace can thus raise the stony iron heart, which is sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections, naturally earthly.

Verses 8–12

The king of Israel regarded the warnings Elisha gave him, of danger from the Syrians, but would not heed the warnings of danger from his sins. Such warnings are little heeded by most; they would save themselves from death, but will not from hell. Nothing that is done, said, or thought, by any person, in any place, at any time, is out of God’s knowledge.

Verses 13–23

What Elisha said to his servant is spoken to all the faithful servants of God, when without are fightings, and within are fears. Fear not, with that fear which has torment and amazement; for they that are with us, to protect us, are more than they that are against us, to destroy us. The eyes of his body were open, and with them he saw the danger. Lord, open the eyes of our faith, that with them we may see thy protecting hand. The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of Heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth. Satan, the god of this world, blinds men’s eyes, and so deludes them unto their own ruin; but when God enlightens their eyes, they see themselves in the midst of their enemies, captives to Satan, and in danger of hell, though, before, they thought their condition good. When Elisha had the Syrians at his mercy, he made it appear that he was influenced by Divine goodness as well as Divine power. Let us not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The Syrians saw it was to no purpose to try to assault so great and so good a man.

Verses 24–33

Learn to value plenty, and to be thankful for it; see how contemptible money is, when in time of famine it is so freely parted with for any thing that is eatable! The language of Jehoram to the woman may be the language of despair. See the word of God fulfilled; among the threatenings of God’s judgments upon Israel for their sins, this was one, that they should eat the flesh of their own children, De 28:53–57. The truth and the awful justice of God were displayed in this horrible transaction. Alas! what miseries sin has brought upon the world! But the foolishness of man perverts his way, and then his heart frets against the Lord. The king swears the death of Elisha. Wicked men will blame any one as the cause of their troubles, rather than themselves, and will not leave their sins. If rending the clothes, without a broken and contrite heart, would avail, if wearing sackcloth, without being renewed in the spirit of their mind, would serve, they would not stand out against the Lord. May the whole word of God increase in us reverent fear and holy hope, that we may be stedfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.

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