The Children's Bible
Elisha's Way Of Treating Enemies
nce while the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he said to his officers, "In such and such a place we shall hide and surprise them." But Elisha, the man of God, sent word to the ruler of Israel, "Take care that you do not pass that place, for the Arameans are hiding there." So the ruler of Israel sent soldiers to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him many times, so that he could there be on his guard.
The king of Aram was very much troubled by this, and he called his officers and said to them, "Can you not tell me who has betrayed us to the ruler of Israel?" One of his officers replied, "No one, my lord, O king, for Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the ruler of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber." The king said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him." And they told the king, "Elisha is now in Dothan."
So the king sent horses and chariots there and a great army. And they arrived at night and surrounded the city. When the man of God rose early the next morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was about the city; so that his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" He answered, "Fear not, for they who are with us are more than they who are with them." And Elisha prayed and said, "Jehovah open his eyes, that he may see." Then Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the highlands around about Elisha were full of horses and chariots of fire.
When the Arameans came toward him, Elisha prayed to Jehovah, and said, "Make this people blind." So Jehovah made them blind, as Elisha asked. Then Elisha said to them, "This is not the way nor the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek!" So he led them to Samaria.
But as soon as they came to Samaria, Elisha said, "O Jehovah, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." And Jehovah opened their eyes, so that they could see, and there they were in Samaria. When the ruler of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I cut them down?" Elisha answered, "You shall not cut them down; would you cut down those whom you have not taken captive with your sword nor with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master." So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had had food and drink, he sent them back to their master. So the robber bands of Arameans no longer invaded the land of Israel.
Later, Benhadad, king of Aram, gathered all his army and besieged Samaria. The famine was so severe in Samaria while they were besieging it, that an ass's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver.
Once as the ruler of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, "Help, my lord." He answered, "If Jehovah does not help you, from where can I bring help to you? From the threshing-floor or from the wine-press?" However, the ruler of Israel said to her, "What is the trouble with you?" She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son, that we may eat him to-day, and we will eat my son to-morrow!' So we cooked my son and ate him, and I said to her on the next day, 'Give your son that we may eat him'; but she has hidden her son."
When the ruler of Israel heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes; and as he was passing by on the wall, the people looked and saw that he wore sackcloth next to his skin.
Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders beside him; and while he was still talking with them, the ruler of Israel came down to him and said, "See, this is the evil that comes from Jehovah! Why should I put my hope in Jehovah any longer?" But Elisha said, "Hear the word of Jehovah, for he says, 'To-morrow about this time a peck of fine meal shall be sold for a piece of silver and two pecks of barley for a piece of silver in the gate of Samaria.'" Then the charioteer on whose arm the ruler of Israel leaned answered the man of God, "If Jehovah himself should make windows in heaven, could this be possible?" He said, "You shall see it with your own eyes."
Now there were four lepers just outside the gate; and they said one to another, "Why do we sit here until we die? If we say, 'We will enter the city,' then, since there is famine in the city, we shall die there; but if we sit here, we shall die too. Now, come, let us go over to the army of the Arameans. If they spare our lives, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die."
So they set out in the evening to go over to the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Arameans, no one was there, for the Lord had made the army of the Arameans hear a noise of chariots and of horses and of a great army, and they said to one another, "Surely the ruler of Israel has hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us." So they rose and fled in the twilight; and they left their tents, their horses and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. When these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank and carried away silver and gold and clothing and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried away what was in it and went and hid that.
Then they said to one another, "We are not doing right; this day is a day of good news. If we keep still and wait until morning punishment will overtake us. Now, come, let us go and tell those in the palace." So they called the watchmen at the city gate and said to them, "We went to the camp of the Arameans, but there was no one there and no sound of men's voices. The horses and asses were tied and the tents were just as they had been."
The watchmen at the city gate shouted this news to those in the palace. And the ruler of Israel rose in the night and said to his servants, "I will now tell you what the Arameans have done: they know that we are hungry; so they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, thinking, 'When they come out of the city, we will take them alive and get into the city.'"
But one of his servants spoke up and said, "Let some men take a pair of the horses which are left here. If they die, they will be like most of the Israelites who are dying! Let us send and find out." So they took two men on horseback, and the ruler of Israel sent them after the army of the Arameans with the command, "Go and see." They followed them to the Jordan; and all the way was filled with clothes and weapons which the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. So the messengers returned and told the ruler of Israel.
Then the people went and carried things away from the camp of the Arameans. So a peck of fine meal was sold for a piece of silver, and two pecks of barley for a piece of silver, just as Jehovah had said.