Scriptures

2 Kings 7

Introduction

Not long after a failed attempt to capture and kill Elisha, 2 Kings 6:19-23, the city of Samaria was facing a severe famine.

The last chapter ended by telling us that the king, Jehoram, was very frustrated and recognised that everything which was happening because God was making it happen.

This chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter.

‘Elisha replied, ‘Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’ The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, ‘Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?’ ‘You will see it with your own eyes,’ answered Elisha, ‘but you will not eat any of it!’ 2 Kings 7:1-2

After the king said, ‘this disaster is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?’ 2 Kings 6:33, Elisha replies to him and prophesied that the famine was coming to an end very soon. In fact it was going to be the next day, that that would be the day where food would be sold for its normal price, 2 Kings 6:25.

It’s clear that the officer struggled to believe what Elisha was saying, after all there was no food to sell at this point. He was basically asking, if there is no food to sell, then, what kind of food is Elisha speaking about?

In other words, what Elisha was saying was impossible! Elisha tells him, he will see it with his own eyes but he won’t eat any of it.

The Siege Lifted

‘Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, ‘Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.’ At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!’ So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and  rank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.’ 2 Kings 7:3-8

These four men who had leprosy had to make a difficult decision and they came to the conclusion that they could die at the city gate or inside the city. They believe that the only chance they have to live is to beg for mercy at the camp of the Arameans.

When they arrive at the camp no one was around because God had created a great noise of an army, but they didn’t know it was God who caused the miraculous noise for the Aramean army to hear.

In the middle of the night, the Aramean soldiers assumed that the Hittites and the Egyptians had come together to help Samaria and so, in fear and confusion they ran for their lives.

Notice that the four lepers, entered a tent and then ate and drank, this tells us that Elisha’s first prophecy had been fulfilled, 2 Kings 7:1. They also took some valuables from the tents and hid them.

‘Then they said to each other, ‘What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.’ So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, ‘We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.’ The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace. The king got up in the night and said to his officers, ‘I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’ One of his officers answered, ‘Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.’ So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, ‘Go and find out what has happened.’ They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said. Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. It happened as the man of God had said to the king: ‘About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’ The officer had said to the man of God, ‘Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?’ The man of God had replied, ‘You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!’ And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.’ 2 Kings 7:9-20

The four lepers know what they have done wasn’t right and they expect to get punished for what they have done. They know it is a day is a day of good news, it’s day when this good news needs to be shared with others.

When they ate and drunk and helped themselves to all the valuables, 2 Kings 7:7-8, they only thought about themselves but now they realise that this good news would actually save the lives of many others who were starving to death.

They went and told this good news to the inhabitants of Samaria, however when they first reported the news the Aramean camp was empty, Jehoram didn’t believe them, he thought it was some kind of trap set by the Arameans to entice them out of the city. As a result of his doubt, messengers were sent to find out if what the four lepers were saying was true or not.

After the messengers returned and reported that what the four lepers were saying was true, they went out of the city and plundered the camp of the Arameans. Because the Aramean soldiers heard the miraculous noise of God and though it was the Hittites and the Egyptians coming to help Samaria, the run for their lives and left everything behind.

Notice that food was sold again for its normal price, this again, shows that Elisa’s first prophecy was fulfilled, 2 Kings 7:1. The king tried to control the crowd and even appointed the captain to be in charge of the gate of the city, but he had no chance.

The multitudes were so hungry, they didn’t stop at the gate, they trampled him to death, which again, was the fulfilment of Elisha’s second prophecy, 2 Kings 7:2.

It’s such a shame that God had to let them experience this great famine, which led them to eat, unclean animals and all the horses in the city, except five. This was done to bring Israel to their knees, so that they would repent and trust God for deliverance. When they thought they were about to cease to exist God delivered them.

Go To 2 Kings 8

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Psalm 133:1

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