2 Kings 3:1-4:17
King Joram of Israel
3 Joram[a] son of Ahab became king of Israel in Jehoshaphat’s eighteenth year as king of Judah.[b] Joram ruled twelve years from Samaria 2 and disobeyed the Lord by doing wrong. He tore down the stone image his father had made to honor Baal, and so he wasn’t as sinful as his parents. 3 But he kept doing the sinful things that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to do.[c]
The Country of Moab Rebels against Israel
4 For many years the country of Moab had been controlled by Israel and was forced to pay taxes to the kings of Israel. King Mesha of Moab raised sheep, so he paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool from one hundred thousand rams. 5 But soon after the death of Ahab, Mesha rebelled against Israel.
6 One day, Joram left Samaria and called together Israel’s army. 7 He sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled. Will you go with me to attack him?”
“Yes, I will,” Jehoshaphat answered. “I’m on your side, and my soldiers and horses are at your command. 8 But which way should we go?”
“We will march through Edom Desert,” Joram replied.
9 So Joram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom led their troops out. But seven days later, there was no drinking water left for them or their animals. 10 Joram cried out, “This is terrible! The Lord must have led us out here to be captured by Moab’s army.”
11 Jehoshaphat said, “Which of the Lord’s prophets is with us? We can find out from him what the Lord wants us to do.”
One of Joram’s officers answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He was one of Elijah’s closest followers.”
12 Jehoshaphat replied, “He can give us the Lord’s message.”
The three kings went over to Elisha, 13 and he asked Joram, “Why did you come to me? Go talk to the prophets of the foreign gods your parents worshiped.”[d]
“No,” Joram answered. “It was the Lord who led us out here, so that Moab’s army could capture us.”
14 Elisha said to him, “I serve the Lord All-Powerful, and as surely as he lives, I swear I wouldn’t even look at you if I didn’t respect King Jehoshaphat.” 15 Then Elisha said, “Send for someone who can play the harp.”
The harpist began playing, and the Lord gave Elisha this message for Joram:
16 The Lord says that this dry riverbed will be filled with water.[e] 17 You won’t feel any wind or see any rain, but there will be plenty of water for you and your animals.
18 That simple thing isn’t all the Lord is going to do. He will also help you defeat Moab’s army. 19 You will capture all their walled cities and important towns. You will chop down every good tree and stop up every spring of water, then ruin their fertile fields by covering them with rocks.
20 The next morning, while the sacrifice was being offered, water suddenly started flowing from the direction of Edom, and it flooded the land.
21 Meanwhile, the people of Moab had heard that the three kings were coming to attack them. They had called together all of their fighting men, from the youngest to the oldest, and these troops were now standing at their border, ready for battle. 22 When they got up that morning, the sun was shining across the water, making it look red. The Moabite troops took one look 23 and shouted, “Look at that blood! The armies of those kings must have fought and killed each other. Come on, let’s go take what’s left in their camp.”
24 But when they arrived at Israel’s camp, the Israelite soldiers came out and attacked them, until they turned and ran away. Israel’s army chased them all the way back to Moab, and even there they kept up the attack.[f] 25 The Israelites destroyed the Moabite towns. They chopped down the good trees and stopped up the springs of water, then covered the fertile fields with rocks.
Finally, the only city left standing was Kir-Hareseth, but soldiers armed with slings surrounded and attacked it. 26 King Mesha of Moab saw that he was about to be defeated. So he took along seven hundred soldiers with swords and tried to break through the front line where the Edomite troops were positioned. But he failed. 27 He then grabbed his oldest son who was to be the next king and sacrificed him as an offering on the city wall. The Israelite troops were so horrified that[g] they left the city and went back home.
Elisha Helps a Poor Widow
4 One day the widow of one of the Lord’s prophets said to Elisha, “You know that before my husband died, he was a follower of yours and a worshiper of the Lord. But he owed a man some money, and now that man is on his way to take my two sons as his slaves.”
2 “Maybe there’s something I can do to help,” Elisha said. “What do you have in your house?”
“Sir, I have nothing but a small bottle of olive oil.”
3 Elisha told her, “Ask your neighbors for their empty jars. And after you’ve borrowed as many as you can, 4 go home and shut the door behind you and your sons. Then begin filling the jars with oil and set each one aside as you fill it.” 5 The woman left.
Later, when she and her sons were back inside their house, the two sons brought her the jars, and she began filling them.
6 At last, she said to one of her sons, “Bring me another jar.”
“We don’t have any more,” he answered, and the oil stopped flowing from the small bottle.
7 After she told Elisha what had happened, he said, “Sell the oil and use part of the money to pay what you owe the man. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
Elisha Brings a Rich Woman’s Son Back to Life
8 Once, while Elisha was in the town of Shunem,[h] he met a rich woman who invited him to her home for dinner. After that, whenever he was in Shunem, he would have a meal there with her and her husband.
9 Some time later the woman said to her husband, “I’m sure the man who comes here so often is a prophet of God. 10 Why don’t we build him a small room on the flat roof of our house? We can put a bed, a table and chair, and an oil lamp in it. Then whenever he comes, he can stay with us.”
11 The next time Elisha was in Shunem, he stopped at their house and went up to his room to rest. 12-13 He said to his servant Gehazi, “This woman has been very helpful. Have her come up here to the roof for a moment.” She came, and Elisha told Gehazi to say to her, “You’ve gone to a lot of trouble for us, and we want to help you. Is there something we can request the king or army commander to do?”[i]
The woman answered, “With my relatives nearby, I have everything I need.”
14 “Then what can we do for her?” Elisha asked Gehazi.
Gehazi replied, “I do know that her husband is old, and that she doesn’t have a son.”
15 “Ask her to come here again,” Elisha told his servant. He called for her, and she came and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s room.
16 Elisha said to her, “Next year at this time, you’ll be holding your own baby son in your arms.”
“You’re a man of God,” the woman replied. “Please don’t lie to me.”
17 But a few months later, the woman got pregnant. She gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had promised.
- 3.1 Joram: See the note at 1.17.
- 3.1 Joram. . . Judah: See 1.17 and 8.16 and the notes there.
- 3.3 the sinful things. . . to do: When Jeroboam became king of Israel, he made two gold statues of calves and put them in the towns of Bethel and Dan, so the people of Israel could worship them (see 1 Kings 12.26-30).
- 3.13 the prophets. . . worshiped: These were prophets of the Canaanite god Baal and the goddess Asherah (see 1 Kings 16.30-33; 18.19).
- 3.16 that. . . water: Or “to dig holes everywhere in this riverbed.”
- 3.24 chased. . . attack: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 3.27 The Israelite. . . that: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 4.8 Shunem: A town in Israel, about twenty-five miles north of Samaria.
- 4.12,13 request the king. . . do: Elisha may have meant that he could ask these leaders to lower her taxes.
Paul and Barnabas in Lystra
8 In Lystra there was a man who had been born with crippled feet and had never been able to walk. 9 The man was listening to Paul speak, when Paul saw that he had faith in Jesus and could be healed. So he looked straight at the man 10 and shouted, “Stand up!” The man jumped up and started walking around.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they yelled out in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have turned into humans and have come down to us!” 12 The people then gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and they gave Paul the name Hermes,[a] because he did the talking.
13 The temple of Zeus was near the entrance to the city. Its priest and the crowds wanted to offer a sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. So the priest brought some bulls and flowers to the city gates. 14 When the two apostles found out about this, they tore their clothes in horror and ran to the crowd, shouting:
15 Why are you doing this? We are humans just like you. Please give up all this foolishness. Turn to the living God, who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In times past, God let each nation go its own way. 17 But he showed that he was there by the good things he did. God sends rain from heaven and makes your crops grow. He gives food to you and makes your hearts glad.
18 Even after Paul and Barnabas had said all this, they could hardly keep the people from offering a sacrifice to them.
19 Some Jewish leaders from Antioch and Iconium came and turned the crowds against Paul. They hit him with stones and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But when the Lord’s followers gathered around Paul, he stood up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
21 Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in Derbe and won some people to the Lord. Then they went back to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. 22 They encouraged the followers and begged them to remain faithful. They told them, “We have to suffer a lot before we can get into God’s kingdom.” 23 Paul and Barnabas chose some leaders for each of the churches. Then they went without eating[b] and prayed that the Lord would take good care of these leaders.
24 Paul and Barnabas went on through Pisidia to Pamphylia, 25 where they preached in the town of Perga. Then they went down to Attalia 26 and sailed to Antioch in Syria. It was there that they had been placed in God’s care for the work they had now completed.[c]
27 After arriving in Antioch, they called the church together. They told the people what God had helped them do and how he had made it possible for the Gentiles to believe. 28 Then they stayed there with the followers for a long time.
(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
A Prayer for the Lord’s Help
140 Rescue me from cruel
and violent enemies, Lord!
2 They think up evil plans
and always cause trouble.
3 Their words bite deep
like the poisonous fangs
of a snake.
4 Protect me, Lord, from cruel
and brutal enemies,
who want to destroy me.
5 Those proud people have hidden
traps and nets
to catch me as I walk.
6 You, Lord, are my God!
Please listen to my prayer.
7 You have the power to save me,
and you keep me safe
in every battle.
8 Don’t let the wicked succeed
in doing what they want,
or else they might never
stop planning evil.
9 They have me surrounded,
but make them the victims
of their own vicious lies.[a]
10 Dump flaming coals on them
and throw them into pits
where they can’t climb out.
11 Chase those cruel liars away!
Let trouble hunt them down.
12 Our Lord, I know that you
defend the homeless
and see that the poor
are given justice.
13 Your people will praise you
and will live with you
because they do right.
- 140.8,9 or else. . . lies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
22 If you are cheerful,
you feel good;
if you are sad,
you hurt all over.