May 4th 2 Kings, 7
1: Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. 2: Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
7v3-20 The Lord tricks them into retreat
3: And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? 4: If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. 5: And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. 6: For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. 7: Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life. 8: And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it. 9: Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household. 10: So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were. 11: And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within. 12: And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city. 13: And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see. 14: They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see. 15: And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king. 16: And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD. 17: And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him. 18: And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria: 19: And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. 20: And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.
2 Kings, 8
8v1-6 The woman’s land restored
1: Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. 2: And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. 3: And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land. 4: And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. 5: And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. 6: And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
8v7-15 Elisha predicts Hazael’s rise
7: And Elisha came to Damascus; and Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither. 8: And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? 9: So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? 10: And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die. 11: And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept. 12: And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. 13: And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria. 14: So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover. 15: And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.
8v16-24 Jehoram King of Judah
16: And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign. 17: Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18: And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. 19: Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant's sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children. 20: In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. 21: So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents. 22: Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time. 23: And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 24: And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
8v25-29 Ahaziah King of Judah
25: In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign. 26: Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel. 27: And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab. 28: And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramoth-gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram. 29: And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.
2 Kings, 9
9v1-13 Jehu anointed King
1: And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead: 2: And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; 3: Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not. 4: So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5: And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain. 6: And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. 7: And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. 8: For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: 9: And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: 10: And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled. 11: Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication. 12: And they said, It is false; tell us now. And he said, Thus and thus spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. 13: Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.
9v14-26 Jehu kills Joram
14: So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria. 15: But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel. 16: So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram. 17: And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace? 18: So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again. 19: Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. 20: And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously. 21: And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22: And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? 23: And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah. 24: And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. 25: Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him; 26: Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.
9v27-29 Jehu kills Ahaziah
27: But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. 28: And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David. 29: And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah.
9v30-37 Jehu kills Jezebel
30: And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. 31: And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? 32: And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. 33: And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. 34: And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter. 35: And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. 36: Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: 37: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.
In today’s Bible readings we continue in the life of Elisha. The incidents in the life of Elisha are both interesting and obscure. First the Lord tricks the Syrian invaders into retreat. Then Elisha predicts the rise to power of Hazael. Then we have affairs of state - the reigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah. Jehu is anointed the new king and Jehu goes on the war path killing Joram, Ahaziah and Jezebel. First we read the Elisha said to the king that the next day the famine would be so great that a measure (a large bowl full) of fine flour will be sold for a shekel about 50p this is about the normal price. Then four men who were lepers decided that they would go out of the city to the Syrian army thinking that if they stayed in the city they would die and if they were killed by the Syrians the they would also die so they decided that they had nothing to loose and left the city to go to the Syrian camp but when they arrived there they found nobody – the camp was deserted. What had happened was that the Lord had caused them to hear the sounds of an army bearing down on them, with the sound of chariots horses and of a great battle and they fled in panic. The four lepers went into one tent and ate their full and took gold and silver and then they went into another tent and did the same and then they said – We are not doing the right thing, This is the day of glad tidings and we hold our peace. If we stay here till the morning something might happen to us so let’s go to the city to tell the people that the Syrian army had gone. The message got right through to the king but he was cautious and thought it might be a trap. So they sent out two mounted scouts to see what was happening. And they came all the way to the Jordan and saw the trail of all the goods that had been thrown away in their haste. So the people went out and spoiled the goods of the Syrians and so a measure of flour was sold for 50p just as the Prophet of the Lord had said. The king’s servant was trampled in the stampede for food and treasure. Then Elisha went and told the widow who he had raised her son from the dead that there was going to be a famine in the land for 7 years. She went and lived with the Philistines for the whole time. Then when it was ended she returned o the land and she asked for her land to be returned to her. Elisha’s servant told the king of all that Elisha had done for he so he restored everything to her. The next event was that Elisha came to Damascus and Hazael sent a message asking if his father would recover because Ben-hadad who was very sick. Elisha said yes he will recover of his illness but he will still die. Elisha wept and Hazael asked why he wept and he said because l know of all the evil you will do. He said do you think l am a dog to do these evil things yet he left and went and suffocated his father and reigned in his place. Next we read of the reign of Jehoram who came to the throne of Judah when he was 32 and reigned for 8 yrs. He did great evil things in Gods sight. But God would not destroy him for David’s sake. He fought with the Edomites. Ahaziah reigned for 1 year. He did evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab his father-in-law. Elisha called on one of his prophets and told him to take a box of oil and to Ramoth-gilead and find Jehu and take him to a secret chamber and anoint him in the name of the Lord over all Israel. Jehu was raised up by the Lord to bring judgment in Israel. Then he told him his main mission and then ran away as quickly as he could. When Jehu came out of the room they asked his about the mad man who had spoken to him. They made him king over Israel. The first thing was to sort out Joram. Joram had been wounded by the Syrians. Jehu went out to meet Jehoram and killed him with an arrow and he killed Ahaziah in his chariot and he threw commanded that Jezebel be thrown from the high window. A gruesome end to an evil woman. Her body was eaten of the dogs.