February 28, 2015

2 Kings 6:24-7:11New Living Translation (NLT)

Ben-Hadad Besieges Samaria

24 Some time later, however, King Ben-hadad of Aram mustered his entire army and besieged Samaria.25 As a result, there was a great famine in the city. The siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver, and a cup of dove’s dung sold for five pieces[a] of silver.

26 One day as the king of Israel was walking along the wall of the city, a woman called to him, “Please help me, my lord the king!”

27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, what can I do? I have neither food from the threshing floor nor wine from the press to give you.” 28 But then the king asked, “What is the matter?”

She replied, “This woman said to me: ‘Come on, let’s eat your son today, then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. Then the next day I said to her, ‘Kill your son so we can eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard this, he tore his clothes in despair. And as the king walked along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing burlap under his robe next to his skin. 31 “May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t separate Elisha’s head from his shoulders this very day,” the king vowed.

32 Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “A murderer has sent a man to cut off my head. When he arrives, shut the door and keep him out. We will soon hear his master’s steps following him.”

33 While Elisha was still saying this, the messenger arrived. And the king[b] said, “All this misery is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver,[c] and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.[d]

The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!”

Lepers Visit the Enemy Camp

Now there were four men with leprosy[e] sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.”

So at twilight they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians[f] to attack us!” they cried to one another. So they panicked and ran into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else, as they fled for their lives.

When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine; and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it. Finally, they said to each other, “This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.”

10 So they went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened. “We went out to the Aramean camp,” they said, “and no one was there! The horses and donkeys were tethered and the tents were all in order, but there wasn’t a single person around!” 11 Then the gatekeepers shouted the news to the people in the palace.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:25 Hebrew sold for 80 [shekels] [2 pounds or 0.9 kilograms] of silver, and 1⁄4 of a cab [0.3 liters] of dove’s dung sold for 5 [shekels] [2 ounces or 57 grams]. Dove’s dung may be a variety of wild vegetable.
  2. 6:33 Hebrew he.
  3. 7:1a Hebrew 1 seah [7.3 liters] of choice flour will cost 1 shekel [0.4 ounces or 11 grams]; also in 7:1618.
  4. 7:1b Hebrew 2 seahs [14.6 liters] of barley grain will cost 1 shekel [0.4 ounces or 11 grams]; also in 7:1618.
  5. 7:3 Or with a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases.
  6. 7:6 Possibly and the people of Muzur, a district near Cilicia.