This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org
II Kings 6:1 "And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, "Behold, the place were we dwell with thee is too strait for us."
This school of the prophets has grown to a point to where it is over-crowded, it is just to little. This also shows the poverty that the prophets were in at this time. When you have had many kings like Ahab and his wife Jezebel, that have tried to completely destroy the priesthood and respect for the prophets of God, and at one point they even tried to kill all the priest in the land, is it any wonder that these prophets were in poverty. The people had turned from God to the priests of Baal and priests of the groves for their direction and comfort. So these student priests now want to leave their school at Mount Carmel and go to the school facilities over on the Jordan.
II Kings 6:2 "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."
This prophet's school on the Jordan is the location where students watched as Elijah and Elisha parted the Jordan and crossed over to the other side, as recorded in the second chapter. A "beam" is a log that has been prepared to be used as a rafter in the building of another structure once they had arrived. It did not matter where these prophets of God went, for God will be there also. Elisha told them to go.
II Kings 6:3 "And one said, "Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants." And he answered, "I will go."
One of the students asked Elisha to come with them to Jordan, and be with us. And Elisha agreed to go with them. In that Elisha wore the mantle of Elijah, of course God was with them in their travels.
II Kings 6:4 "So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood."
Remember that they brought the rafters with them, so after they arrived at Jordan they cut down the rest of the trees necessary to build the structure.
II Kings 6:5 "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."
Many critics say that this prophet said, "I begged it..." however you have to remember that the prophets were not allow to beg. God is against his prophets begging, and carrying any begging bag, for He wants to take care of them Himself.
Remember what Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10 just before he sent them out on a ministry? He told them to go forth with the message that the kingdom of God was at hand, and don't carry any gold, silver or brass in your purses. Jesus promised that God would provide for them, he gave them common sense, and the power over all evil spirits [serpents}, and even the Kenites. These disciples were on a mission to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the offspring to the ten tribes of Elisha's day, and God would move in the hearts of people to provide for them. Those gifts of food and a place to stay were either given freely without strings, or they were not received. It is God that blessed and cursed the way that his prophets and disciples were received. That is how it was then and that is how it is today.
This axe was lent to this prophet, and this prophet had compassion for those things that are placed in his or her responsibility. Even today if one borrows something and looses it, even if you replaced it, it is still not the same as returning the object that you borrowed in good condition. This prophet did not want to borrow this axe and replace something else in it's place. It would have required begging to purchase what ever was returned. There is a principle here, and this young prophet wanted to follow that rule.
II Kings 6:6 "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."
So Elisha asked the young prophet, "Where did the axe head hit the water?" Once Elisah saw the point of entry into the river, he cut down a stick and threw the stick into the water. The reason that this act by Elisah was a miracle was that the laws of the universe were defied. Iron that does not float under any condition, especially in the form of an axe, was made to float.
What the critics try to say is the Elisha cut a stick that would hold a axe, and pulled it from the water. However, first of all, none of these prophets even knew where the axe head was, for it was on the bottom of the muddy Jordan. Remember what Naaman said when Elisha told him to go bathe in the Jordan? He thought it was so dirty that he wanted to go to the clean rivers of Syria to dunk the seven times. Secondly, Elisha threw the stick into the river, so he did not have control of the stick once it left his hand and entered the water. The next point is that a stick will not float an axe head that is large enough to cut down timbers.
So this was Elisha's twelfth miracle, and John Newton made a poem of this several centuries ago, and it is recorded in the Companion Bible, and it goes like this:
"Not one concern of ours is small
If we belong to Him;
To teach us this, the Lord of all
Once made the iron to swim."
There was great poverty in the area, and it meant much more then that what we could imagine today. So this was not a small thing to this young prophet.
II Kings 6:7 "Therefore said he, "Take it up to thee." And he put out his hand and took it."
This axe appeared on the surface of the water, and Elisha told the young man to go get the axe. Was this a waste of a miracle on a simple axe? I don't think so, for it gave great comfort to these prophets, and to many people after this event, to know that our Lord does care for the small things in the lives of those that serve Him. Now the subject changes.
II Kings 6:8 "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."
We are now going back in time, to the time of I Kings 20:1. The king of Syria was Ben-hadad. This is not an all out war between two countries, but a raiding party sent out to do a certain thing and complete a mission. This would be the same type of raiding party that took that young girl back to Syria to to work as a maid to Naaman's wife. This is the most difficult types of warfare to protect against for you have no warning as to where the attack comes from, or how big that enemy force is. It is fought in stages of hit and run.
II Kings 6:9 "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."
God has revealed to the prophet Elisha that those Syrians are coming, and you had better make sure that the king of Israel stay out of the area. This also alerted the Israelites that a force should be sent out to protect the people in that area. Then when those Syrians come over the hill, it is time to harvest a few of them.
II Kings 6:10 "And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and save himself there, not once nor twice."
This area that the Syrians were attacking, was a location that had been hit many times by this type of raiding party. These bands of men that went out from Syria, had sent many other men into Israel to raid the land, and each time the king of Israel was ready for them. Each time many men were killed, and old Ben-hadad was getting upset over the loss of his men.
II Kings 6:11 "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?"
The reason that this bothered the king of Syria, when this happened over and over, was that it meant that he had a traitor within his army. Someone was there when the planning went on, and knew he knew when and where the raids would take place. In other words, there was a spy in the camp, So king Ben-hadad called his intelligence people in and wanted them to find this person was that was letting the information out. This is as it is even today in the army.
II Kings 6:12 "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."
These servants told the Syrian king that the prophet Elisha not only knows your battle plans, but he even knows the secret words that you speak in your bedroom. He knows everything you do, and say; you cannot keep a secret from him. If you were a king, and someone in the enemies camp had that power over you, it would bother you quite a bit. Many things would go through your mind, and the first thing would be to get him on your side.
Remember when the Germans had all those rocket scientists and bomb experts, we saw the damage that they were doing in the war effort and in England, and we wanted them on our side. So our we went out and got them. We gathered them all together, and out of all those minds came the Atomic bomb that ended the war. It also gave us the knowledge for what later became our space program. Both good and bad came from acquiring those people.
Yes, things don't change much in the thinking of mankind, and this Syrian king wanted Elisha on his intelligence team, and if I can't have him, I want him destroyed. Remember though that it wasn't the man, but it was God that was revealing these truths to Elisha. Ben-hadad was not fighting against Elisha, but he was fighting against God. If God can tell Elisha the movements of the king of Syria, certainly God can also warn Elisha of any movements that would endanger his life.
II Kings 6:13 "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."
"Dothan" is the same place where Joseph was sold by his brothers and put in the well, and later sold into slavery in Egypt.
II Kings 6:14 "Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about."
This time Benhadad is not sending a small raiding party, but he is sending a large army, with horses and chariots to take Elisha captive, and bring him back to Syria. They came by night to the city, and surrounded the city and sealed it off to where no one could enter or leave. There was a wall of troops on all sides of the city.
II Kings 6:15 "And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, and host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, "Alas, my master! how shall we do?"
When Elisha's servant had gotten up early to tend to his duties, he went out and in amazement there was this massive army. Imagine living in a small town and waking up in the morning to see a massive enemy army of tanks completely surrounding your town. The servant went back into the house, and asked his master, What are we going to do now?
There is a lesson in this, and that is that there are many things of danger around us that we will never know about until it is to late. However, when we are in God's protection, He makes the provisions necessary to take care of those things and protect us. When it seems that the things that are going on around us become hard to understand, rest assured that God is fully aware of them, and he will take the steps for our protection. You are never alone when you are in the hand of God. This appeared to be a hopeless situation, yet God will turn it into a hopeless situation for the enemy. Prophets and Christians have all sorts of weapons, when we allow God to do our fighting for us.
II Kings 6:16 "And he answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."
When things appear to be very bad, a real prophet would say, fear not. In the flesh it may appear that the enemy has you out-numbered, however with God on our side we will always out-number any enemy force.
II Kings 6:17 "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."
There were vehicles of fire that this young man saw, and he had never seen such a thing in his life; and the mountain side was full of them. This servant of Elisha had no fear when he was allowed to see into the realm of God's protection. This was in a dimension that no man could see with his eyes of the flesh body, but when his spiritual eyes were opened, the hosts of heaven were everywhere. God was thee and ready to protect his prophets. There are people that can see spiritual things that God does not intend for others to see and understand.
II Kings 6:18 "And when they came down to him, Elisah 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."
Elisha was wearing the mantle of Elijah, the mantle of God. Just as Elisha would ask a request of the Lord; that request was fulfilled. Elisha did not demand that these people be killed but that they be blinded. So here this enemy army from Syria stood with their horses and chariots, and every one of them became blinded to reality.
II Kings 6:19 "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."
Elisha came out to meet with their generals, and told them a lie right to their face; "You came to the wrong town, let me lead you to the man whom you seek?" And these Syrians followed Elisha right into the heart of the army of Israel at Samaria. It is almost a joke full of the humor, to think of this vast army following right behind Elisha as he led them, and riding before them on his donkey all the way to Samaria. Elisha leads this large army right to the capital of Israel. God made them blind and as helpless as a little child.
II Kings 6:20 "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."
When Elisha had brought them to a point to where they were defenseless, Elisha prayed that God would open their eyes so they could see and understand where they were. They stood there right in the middle of the enemies camp. They were out gunned and out smarted all the way around. Here this great army was set to get Elisha, and in the end these generals are led walking arm in arm right into the enemy camp, following Elisha and his donkey.
II Kings 6:21 "And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, "My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?"
As Elisha is leading them through the gates of Samaria, the king ran up to Elisha and asked him, "My spiritual father, should I smite them? You can see how excited this king would have been, when the entire enemy army was standing there before him. they had the opportunity to eliminate them, for that would be like killing a bird in a cage.
II Kings 6:22 "And he answered, "Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with they sword and with thy bow: set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master."
Of course when you are at war with an enemy, and you have won the battle on the field, and the enemy has given up, you then take the enemy captive. It becomes your responsibility to feed and give drink to the captives. So how was this army taken captive? By the Spirit of God. God's Spirit made them harmless, and defenseless before the army of the Israelites. Elisha told the king to feed them, and give them drink, for they are hungry and thirsty, and then send them back home in disgrace to their king.
II Kings 6:23 "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."
This is not just a small raiding party, but an great army, with thousands of men. This may be the main force of the Syrian army, for they were in Israel in the first place to bring back Elisah, the one they believed was messing up their raids and reading their minds. So after they had eaten and drunk, they were given provision to get them back home to Syria.
This ended the marauding bands that came through and it also ended the situation whereby there would be no more raids into the land of Israel. However there will be other wars that take place between these two nations. So what Ben-hadad was saying by ending the raids, was that he did not want to go against the God of Elisha any more. However, as time passed we see in the next verse that another war between Syria and Israel is starting.
The point that we should take from these verses is that we should always put our trust in our heavenly Father. He is always with us, and He is not going to allow you to fall by the way side. You may fall but our Lord will help you up. God is in charge of the entire universe for He created it all, and that includes your enemies; those things you can see and those things that you can not see. However we are to use the common sense that God has placed within us.
II Kings 6:24 "And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gather all his host, and went up and besieged Samaria."
This was a full fledged war, organized to be one nation against another, in contrast to the looting of those irregular marauding bands that were used before. Remember those fighting men that went out of Samaria back to their homes in Syria when Elisha told the king to release them? Well they are coming back in full force against Samaria. Remember that Samaria was the capital of the ten tribes that called themselves, "the House of Israel", and after the scattering by the Assyrians, this nation of Israel became know as Celts, or better known as "Caucasians" after the event of their migration through the Caucasus mountains. Whereas the the tribes of Judah and Benjamin made up the "House of Judah", in which today are called the "Jews".
So now Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, the same one that Ahab had allowed to live, when the order was to eliminate him, is right back in Israel, and besieging Samaria.
II Kings 6:25 "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 a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver."
Of course these prices were outlandish prices, and secondly, things had to be real bad to even eat the head of an ass. The ass is an unclean animal, and the people of Israel did not eat unclean animals that were outlawed by the health laws of the Mosaic law. This shows just how bad the famine of Samaria was. The Arab's have a certain little pea that grows in their parts, that is called "doves dung", for that is what it tastes like. Before this famine, this pea just wasn't eaten. Things have to be pretty bad to pay a good price for something so bad. A cab is about a pint, and they paid five pieces of silver for a pint of this horrible tasting vegetable, and regardless how you cooked it, it still tasted bad.
II Kings 6:26 "And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, "Help, my lord, O King."
When this woman cried out for help, the king told her. "If the Lord won't help you, how can I help you."
II Kings 6:27 "And he said, "If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barn floor, or out of the winepress?"
The granaries were empty, and there was no fruit left in the winepresses. The King asked her, If God won't help us, How do you expect me to help you?
II Kings 6:28 "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 today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.' "
The woman that was talking to the king was telling him what another woman said to her. It was so bad that the people were talking about cannibalism, of eating their own children. This is how desperate the situation was, for not only were their minds gone, even the basics instincts of a mother to child was gone. Even the animals don't turn on their own young as food. We simply do not sacrifice children under any case, but offer the ultimate protection to care for them, even if it demands our lives. Even when things get desperate, we still protect our children.
So if this is to be a type of something to come in the future, spiritually how then do we discern this? She must be impaired mentally to consider allowing her child to be taken in such an act, or to then partake of it herself.
II Kings 6:29 "So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, `Give."
This act is awful, the most heinous act that could be imagined.
II Kings 6:30 "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."
Hearing these words from this woman wake him up as to the evil that was going on in the kingdom of Israel. He knew that he brought these acts on the nation by the heathen religious forms that he and his forefathers had brought into Israel. He was repenting to God, the Heavenly Father for allowing such a thing to happen, and he went through the city in sackcloth and ashes covering his body. The king was in a repenting costume, showing that he caused it to be in such sad shape that he was now turning to the Living True God.
II Kings 6:31 "Then he said, "God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on them this day."
Though the king turned to God, but at the same time he blamed Elisha for causing this evil to enter into Israel. He wanted Elisha's head before the sun went down.
II Kings 6:32 "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?"
The King was a very poor leader, for he did not have ample supplies to feed the people in the case of an emergency. He blamed Elisha for all his troubles, and never gave a second thought to all the food that he and the people were burning at their altars given to idols. This king was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, for Jezebel killed most of the priests and prophets of God, as well as anyone that got in her way. Those four hundred prophets were the prophets of God's priesthood, for she was replacing them with her Kenitie Zidonian priest, to Baal and Grove worship.
So the elders are warning Elisha that when this man comes to the door, if they do not open the door, it will not be long to when the king's soldiers will be right behind them. In other words, they are warning Elisha that he better do something quick, if he wants to live, for the king is after Elisha's head.
II Kings 6:33 "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?"
This is the king's words to Elisha, and the messenger was the one that is saying, "This evil is of the Lord..." This king is no different than the people of today, for when evil or bad things start to happen, the first person that gets the blame for their mistakes is God. Who knows why they do that? It is probably that if blame has to be given, God is the easiest to blame. Friend, God doesn't bring evil, but if you allow Satan to have his way in your life, it is your fault. God gave you the power and authority over Satan, and when you allow Satan to kick you around, it is your fault. God will not interfere in your life, unless you ask Him to.
The first time a child gets a bad sickness, the first thing that is said is; "Why would God allow this to happen to me?" God is not the one that caused the sickness. If you put the poisons of unclean animals in the child's food all his life, and that poison tares down the immune system of the child, then the child will become ill. God gave us the health laws, and he expects us to follow them. Those health laws are just as good today as they were in Moses' day, and God expects each of to use common sense and abide by them.
When you consider the poisons of our foods, the filth that is in our water supply, and the pollution that fills the air; is it any wonder that our people are full of sickness. Then even in the crossing of races and other tampering with the DNA, and other systems of the body, is it any wonder that people have the sicknesses of today? Today even Sodomy is practiced as something common, and accepted by our laws, and then the AIDS and other filth sickness enter their blood streams. Then in time that blood is given and collected in the blood banks unchecked. In time it goes to anyone that needs it, and then God gets the blame for the stupidity of our own society, and their heathen acts. Are you getting the picture?
This king did not have the same problems that we have today, with industrial gases, polluted water systems, and such, but he still had the same evil of Sodomy, and all the other acceptance of other unclean foods, as we do. So when things go bad, and we get the sicknesses and troubles that come when we violate God's warning's from his Word; Don't blame those things on God.
I think that if you trace all our troubles back to the original sources, in every case you will find that it was man's fault. God gives each of us free will, and this woman and her friend used their free will to destroy her children. When Jezebel's son, the king, heard of this act, even he became sick to his stomach over the matter. When you allow things to get bad enough, God will allow certain things to happen to get your attention, things that are just not right.
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