What miraculous incident is recorded in 2 Kings 6:1-7?
2 Kings 6:1-7 records an incident that occurred during a construction project by the sons of the prophets. Apparently, the sons of the prophets had grown in number under Elisha’s leadership resulting in the need for additional housing (2 Kings 6:1).
The sons of the prophets obtained permission from Elisha to expand their living quarters. Their plan was to secure beams for the project from the vicinity of the Jordan (2 Kings 6:2). Elisha accompanied the sons of the prophets on their expedition for building materials (2 Kings 6:3-4).
As one of the young men was felling a beam, the axe head fell off the handle into the water. This was a matter of great concern for the young man because the implement was borrowed and he was probably too poor to replace it (2 Kings 6:5).
The young man appealed to Elisha for help. Elisha’s help was both miraculous and practical. He first asked the young man to identify the place where the axe head fell. Elisha then threw a stick into the water at the place where it was lost “and made the iron float” (2 Kings 6:6). Elisha then asked the young man to recover what he had lost (2 Kings 6:7).
How were the efforts of the king of Aram frustrated while he was warring with Israel? (2 Kings 6:8-12)
The king of Aram (Ben-hadad) was sending marauding bands into Israel. These raids were obviously planned and coordinated (2 Kings 6:8). Elisha however, had the miraculous ability to know the plans of the Arameans, even the most secret plans (2 Kings 6:12). Elisha informed the king of Israel (probably Jehoram) regarding the location of the enemy encampments so that he could avoid passing through those locations. This happened on more than one occasion (2 Kings 6:9-10). The king of Aram became enraged and suspected a spy within his circle (2 Kings 6:11). One of his servants however, assured him that there had been no breach of security among his own men, but that the prophet Elisha was telling the king of Israel even “the words that you speak in your bedroom” (2 Kings 6:12).
What action did the king of Aram take to deal with Elisha? (2 Kings 6:13-14)
The king of Aram ascertained where Elisha was staying. Elisha was staying in Dothan, a town south of Jezreel and north of Shechem (2 Kings 6:13). The king of Aram then “sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came and surrounded the city” (2 Kings 6:14). He hoped to capture the prophet who kept frustrating his military efforts.
What action did Elisha take to deal with the king of Aram? (2 Kings 6:15-19)
Elisha’s servant discovered the Aramean army early in the morning by (2 Kings 6:15). Fearing for the life of Elisha as well as his own, he went and informed his master of the great host assembled outside the city ( 2 Kings 6:16). Elisha told his servant not to fear and prayed that his eyes might be opened to behold the host of the Lord (2 Kings 6:16-17). Elisha then prayed that the entire invading army be struck with blindness (2 Kings 6:18). Elisha then led his captives to the Israelite capital city of Samaria (2 Kings 6:19).
How were the captives treated? (2 Kings 6:20-23)
[A] Elisha prayed that the sight of his captives might be restored (2 Kings 6:20). When their eyes were opened they found themselves “in the midst of Samaria.” What a surprise!
[B] The king of Israel, not knowing exactly what to do, asked Elisha whether he should kill them (2 Kings 6:21). Notice that he referred to Elisha as “My father. . .” signifying the respect that he had for Elisha.
[C] Elisha ordered that the lives of the captives be spared and that they be treated humanely (2 Kings 6:22). The captives were given water and bread. 2 Kings 6:23 records that “he prepared a great feast for them.”
[D] Once the men had eaten, they were allowed to return to their country (2 Kings 6:23). Once home they probably reported to their king how their lives had been spared. The impact of this course of action is seen in that “the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.”
What happened when the king of Aram later besieged Samaria? (2 Kings 6:24-33)
[A] After an interval when there were no more raids by marauding bands of Arameans, the king of Aram (Ben-hadad) gathered his army and besieged Samaria (2 Kings 6:24).
[B] After a period of time the inhabitants of Samaria began to suffer famine. The people were so desperate for food that they bought forbidden food and even animal dung for exorbitant prices (2 Kings 6:25).
[C] The severity of the famine is illustrated by an incident involving two mothers who agreed to boil and eat their own children to fend off death by starvation. One of the women gave her son to be eaten on one day with the understanding that the other woman would offer her son on the next day. The woman with the still living son did not keep her word and hid her son. When the king learned of this he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth. He then vowed to kill Elisha. (2 Kings 6:26-31)
[D] The king sent a messenger to Elisha with the message, “Behold, this evil is from the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” (2 Kings 6:32-33). This indicates that Jehoram was ready to give up and surrender to the enemy.
God is interested in all of our cares and sorrows.
The miracle in the previous chapter (2 Kings 5) was done for a great and famous man. The miraculous cleansing of Naaman no doubt became the talk of the town. In contrast, the miracle of 2 Kings 6 involved a poor, nameless, and obscure young prophet. This serves to illustrate that God is interested in the great and the small, the famous and the obscure. It further illustrates that God is interested in all of our cares and sorrows, however small or insignificant they might seem.
We must warn others of known danger.
Elisha was somehow miraculously made aware of the evil plots of the king of Aram. He did not hesitate to warn the king of Israel of the potential danger of traveling into certain regions. In like manner, we should warn others of known danger lest they travel into certain regions and encounter temptations and situations that can harm them.
The enemies of God will not hesitate to offer intense opposition.
The king of Aram went to great lengths to try to capture and silence the prophet responsible for frustrating his military plots. The enemies of God will not hesitate to put all their efforts into opposing both the people and things of God.
God takes care of His own.
The servant of Elisha had his eyes opened to behold the unseen forces of God at the ready. Elisha confidently reassured his servant, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). We too, are reassured in I John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”