What unbelievable news did Elisha have for the king? (2 Kings 7:1-2)
Elisha predicted that there would be an abundance of food on the following day. The “royal officer” of the king doubted Elisha’s incredible prophecy. As a result, Elisha told him that he would see but not partake of the miraculous provision of food for the starving inhabitants of the besieged city. Someone has noted, “Unbelief is highly offensive to God; it is the parent of the grossest sins, and deprives man of the richest blessings.”
How was the word of Elisha fulfilled? (2 Kings 7:3-8)
Four leprous men reasoned that since they were going to die anyway as a result of the siege, they might as well die trying. These men went to the Aramean (Syrian) camp to beg for food but, to their amazement, found the camp fully provisioned but deserted. The men ate to their satisfaction and plundered the camp for valuables.
Why was the Aramean camp deserted? (2 Kings 7:5-7)
The Arameans abandoned their camp in haste because the Lord caused them to hear sounds in the night that sounded like a mighty invading army. The Arameans reasoned that it was probably a coalition of Israelites, Hittites, and Egyptians coming against them (see Proverbs 28:1). Such an army would easily defeat them so they fled for their lives while they felt there was still time, leaving everything behind and scattering items as they fled (see also 2 Kings 7:15).
What did the four leprous men do when they were satisfied? (2 Kings 7:9-14)
Once they had eaten and hidden valuables, the lepers felt convicted that they were not doing the right thing. Fearing punishment, they returned to the city to report their findings to the king. The king, initially reasoning that this was a trap (see 2 Kings 7:12), agreed to send a small contingent to “Go and see” (2 Kings 7:14). The king’s men thus confirmed the report of the lepers.
Note: The city had been delivered from the enemy but did not know it. The inhabitants could have remained secure but dying within their walls. Ignorance, and not the sword, could have ultimately killed them were it not for the testimony of the four leprous men.
Practical Consideration: We have a moral obligation to share the good news.
The four lepers who found the abandoned Syrian camp reasoned, “This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent. . .Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king’s household” (2 Kings 7:9). The lepers felt they had a moral obligation to share their good news with those still suffering under the siege of the enemy. We too, have a moral obligation to share the good news with others. The Apostle Paul declared, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish” (Romans 1:14). Every believer is under obligation to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
What did the people do when they received the news? (2 Kings 7:16-20)
Upon receiving the news of the abandoned Syrian camp, the starving people rushed from the city to plunder the camp. Interestingly, as the throngs of people rushed from the once besieged city, they trampled to death the royal officer who had doubted the word of Elisha.