24Some time later King Benhadad of Syria led his entire army against Israel and laid siege to the city of Samaria. 25As a result of the siege the food shortage in the city was so severe that a donkey's head cost eighty pieces of silver, and 200 grammes of dove's dung cost five pieces of silver.
26The king of Israel was walking by on the city wall when a woman cried out, “Help me, Your Majesty!”
27He replied, “If the LORD won't help you, what help can I provide? Have I got any wheat or wine? 28What's your trouble?”
She answered, “The other day this woman here suggested that we eat my child, and then eat her child the next day. 29So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her that we would eat her son, but she had hidden him!”
30Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in dismay, and the people who were close to the wall could see that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31He exclaimed, “May God strike me dead if Elisha is not beheaded before the day is over!” 32And he sent a messenger to get Elisha.
Meanwhile, Elisha was at home with some elders who were visiting him. Before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “That murderer is sending someone to kill me! Now, when he gets here, shut the door and don't let him come in. The king himself will be just behind him.” 33He had hardly finished saying this, when the king arrived and said, “It's the LORD who has brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for him to do something?”
1Elisha answered, “Listen to what the LORD says! By this time tomorrow you will be able to buy in Samaria three kilogrammes of the best wheat or six kilogrammes of barley for one piece of silver.”
2The personal attendant of the king said to Elisha, “That can't happen — not even if the LORD himself were to send grain at once!”
“You will see it happen, but you will never eat any of the food,” Elisha replied.
The Syrian Army Leaves
3Four men who were suffering from a dreaded skin disease were outside the gates of Samaria, and they said to one another, “Why should we wait here until we die? 4It's no use going into the city, because we would starve to death in there; but if we stay here, we'll die also. So let's go to the Syrian camp; the worst they can do is kill us, but maybe they will spare our lives.” 5So, as it began to get dark, they went to the Syrian camp, but when they reached it, no one was there. 6The Lord had made the Syrians hear what sounded like the advance of a large army, with horses and chariots, and the Syrians thought that the king of Israel had hired Hittite and Egyptian kings and their armies to attack them. 7So that evening the Syrians had fled for their lives, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys, and leaving the camp just as it was.
8When the four men reached the edge of the camp, they went into a tent, ate and drank what was there, grabbed the silver, gold, and clothing they found, and went off and hid them; then they returned, entered another tent, and did the same thing. 9But then they said to each other, “We shouldn't be doing this! We have good news and we shouldn't keep it to ourselves. If we wait until morning to tell it, we are sure to be punished. Let's go at once and tell the king's officers!” 10So they left the Syrian camp, went back to Samaria and called out to the guards at the gates: “We went to the Syrian camp and didn't see or hear anybody; the horses and donkeys have not been untied, and the tents are just as the Syrians left them.”
11The guards announced the news, and it was reported in the palace. 12It was still night, but the king got out of bed and said to his officials, “I'll tell you what the Syrians are planning! They know about the famine here, so they have left their camp to go and hide in the countryside. They think that we will leave the city to find food, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.”
13One of his officials said, “The people here in the city are doomed anyway, like those that have already died. So let's send some men with five of the horses that are left, so that we can find out what has happened.”14They chose some men, and the king sent them in two chariots with instructions to go and find out what had happened to the Syrian army. 15The men went as far as the Jordan, and all along the road they saw the clothes and equipment that the Syrians had abandoned as they fled. Then they returned and reported to the king. 16The people of Samaria rushed out and looted the Syrian camp. And, as the LORD had said, three kilogrammes of the best wheat or six kilogrammes of barley were sold for one piece of silver.
17It so happened that the king of Israel had put the city gate under the command of the officer who was his personal attendant. The officer was trampled to death there by the people and died, as Elisha had predicted when the king went to see him. 18Elisha had told the king that by that time the following day three kilogrammes of the best wheat or six kilogrammes of barley would be sold in Samaria for one piece of silver, 19to which the officer had answered, “That can't happen — not even if the LORD himself were to send grain at once!” And Elisha had replied, “You will see it happen, but you will never eat any of the food.” 20And that is just what happened to him — he died, trampled to death by the people at the city gate.
The Woman from Shunem Returns
1Now Elisha had told the woman who lived in Shunem, whose son he had brought back to life, that the LORD was sending a famine on the land, which would last for seven years, and that she should leave with her family and go and live somewhere else. 2She had followed his instructions, and had gone with her family to live in Philistia for the seven years.
3At the end of the seven years, she returned to Israel and went to the king to ask for her house and her land to be restored to her. 4She found the king talking with Gehazi, Elisha's servant; the king wanted to know about Elisha's miracles. 5While Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had brought a dead person back to life, the woman made her appeal to the king. Gehazi said to him, “Your Majesty, here is the woman and here is her son whom Elisha brought back to life!” 6In answer to the king's question, she confirmed Gehazi's story, and so the king called an official and told him to give back to her everything that was hers, including the value of all the crops that her fields had produced during the seven years she had been away.
Elisha and King Benhadad of Syria
7Elisha went to Damascus at a time when King Benhadad of Syria was ill. When the king was told that Elisha was there, 8he said to Hazael, one of his officials, “Take a gift to the prophet, and ask him to consult the LORD to find out whether or not I am going to get well.” 9So Hazael loaded forty camels with all kinds of the finest products of Damascus and went to Elisha. When Hazael met him, he said, “Your servant King Benhadad has sent me to ask you whether or not he will recover from his illness.”
10Elisha answered, “The LORD has revealed to me that he will die; but go to him and tell him that he will recover.” 11Then Elisha stared at him with a horrified look on his face until Hazael became ill at ease. Suddenly Elisha burst into tears. 12“Why are you crying, sir?” Hazael asked.
“Because I know the horrible things you will do against the people of Israel,” Elisha answered. “You will set their fortresses on fire, slaughter their finest young men, batter their children to death, and rip open their pregnant women.”
13“How could I ever be that powerful?” Hazael asked. “I'm a nobody!”
“The LORD has shown me that you will be king of Syria,” Elisha replied.
14Hazael went back to Benhadad, who asked him, “What did Elisha say?”
“He told me that you would certainly get well,” Hazael answered. 15But on the following day Hazael took a blanket, soaked it in water, and smothered the king.
16In the fifth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab as king of Israel, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat became king of Judah 17at the age of 32, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. 18His wife was Ahab's daughter, and like the family of Ahab he followed the evil ways of the kings of Israel. He sinned against the LORD, 19but the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, because he had promised his servant David that his descendants would always continue to rule.
20During Jehoram's reign Edom revolted against Judah and became an independent kingdom. 21So Jehoram set out with all his chariots for Zair, where the Edomite army surrounded them. During the night he and his chariot commanders managed to break out and escape, and his soldiers scattered to their homes. 22Edom has been independent of Judah ever since. During this same period the city of Libnah also revolted.
23Everything else that Jehoram did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 24Jehoram died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.
25In the twelfth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab as king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah 26at the age of 22, and he ruled in Jerusalem for one year. His mother was Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab and granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27Since Ahaziah was related to King Ahab by marriage, he sinned against the LORD, just as Ahab's family did.
28King Ahaziah joined King Joram of Israel in a war against King Hazael of Syria. The armies clashed at Ramoth in Gilead, and Joram was wounded in battle. 29He returned to the city of Jezreel to recover from his wounds, and Ahaziah went there to visit him.