II Kings 6

The Christian on his knees can see more than the philosopher on his tiptoes.
They who fight against God are given up to delusions,
not knowing that the believer has God (Romans 8:13), Christ (Matthew 28:20),
the Holy Spirit (John 16:16-17), and angels (Hebrews 1:14) on his side.

1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.

2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.

3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.

4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.

5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.

6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.

7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.

8 ¶ Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.

9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.

10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?

12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

13 ¶ And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.

14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

19 ¶ And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.

20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?

22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

24 ¶ And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.

25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.

26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.

27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?

28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.

29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

30 ¶ And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.

31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.

32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?

33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?

2 Kings 6:1-13 – ​The Servant of the Lord of Battles

   To us, the first of these miracles may appear somewhat trivial, but we must remember the value of an iron axe-head at that time, the inconvenience and delay caused to the builders, and the slur accruing to religion if it were irreparably lost. The story shows how keen was the sympathy of the great prophet for a poor man overtaken by an ordinary trouble, and how ready Elisha was to seek the help of God to redress the mischief. See John 2:1-14. It is right to go to God about matters of this kind, as well as greater issues. What wonders faith can do! Hearts may be as heavy as lead at the bottom of the stream, but when a splinter of the Cross of Calvary is inserted, they rise to the surface and swim.
   The king believed that Elisha could wield superhuman power and knowledge, yet he thought to secure him with chariots and horses. He acknowledged that Elisha was a servant of the Most High God, yet he expected to take him captive, by sending a mighty host! To such folly men descend when they begin to fight against the Most High!

2 Kings 6:14-23 – ​Opened Eyes

   This is an acted parable of extreme beauty and suggestiveness. First, the stroke of trouble—swift, unlooked for, and apparently insurmountable; then the vivid contrast between the despair of the man of this world and the undaunted faith of him to whom the unseen is as real as the visible, because he possesses the second-sight of faith. Faith visualizes the unseen and eternal. A good man’s intercession will still obtain spiritual vision for those who are spiritually blind. For many whom we love we may breathe Elisha’s prayer, II Kings 6:17. Notice that the last sentence of II Kings 6:19 begins with But. The objective of the Syrian army was the king of Israel, and Elisha led them to him.
   The lesson of this narrative is the proximity of God’s guardian hosts. They are a cordon of protection to His children. The mountain is full of them. Elisha had seen them convoy his master home; he never expected that he would have the honor of their care. We do not need more help than is already within reach, but we do need grace to see the things that are freely given to us of God, John 4:10.

2 Kings 6:17—Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

   So it is with each of God’s saints. We cannot see, because of the imperfection of mortal vision, the harnessed squadrons of fire and light; but the Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. If our eyes were opened, we should see the angel hosts as an encircling fence of fire; but whether, we see them or not, they are certainly there.
   God is between us and temptation.— However strong the foe, God is stronger. However swift the descending blow, God is swifter to catch and ward off. However weak we are, through long habits of yielding, God is greater than our hearts, and can keep in perfect peace. “Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4).
   God is between us and the hate of man.— Dare to believe that there is an invisible wall of protection between you and all that men devise against you. What though the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing! No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise in judgment shall be condemned.
   God is between you and the deluge of care.— What thousands are beset with that dark specter! They have no rest or peace either day or night, saying, “Where will the next rent, the next meal, come from?” How different the life of birds, and flowers, of children, of Jesus, and all holy souls. Oh, rest in the Lord, and put Him between you and black care.
   God is between you and the pursuit of your past.— He is your reward; and as He intercepted the pursuit of Pharaoh, so He stands at Calvary between your past and you. The assayer of retribution is arrested by that Divine Victim— what more can we ask!

2 Kings 6:24-33 – ​The Dire Straits of Those Who Forsake God

   This siege was the result of Ahab’s foolish and misplaced leniency. See I Kings 20:42. The children are often called to suffer for the misdeeds and follies of their parents. Let us bear this in mind. “None of us liveth to himself” (Romans 14:7). Conduct yourself so that none may be offended through long years after you have passed from earth.
   Apparently Elisha had counseled the king not to surrender, with the further assurance of deliverance on condition of his repentance. Jehoram therefore assumed the signs of penitence and contrition without the reality; and when the promised deliverance was not forthcoming, he put the blame of Israel’s calamities on the prophet, and vowed vengeance against his life. The elders were gathered with Elisha, perhaps for prayer, when Elisha apprised them of the advent of the king’s messenger, with his announcement of the royal determination not to wait for God any longer. The trial of our patience is more precious than of gold, but how few of us can endure it!