2 Kings 6-7
Elisha and the Floating Ax Head
6 The disciples of the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we’re staying is too small for us. 2 Let’s go to the Jordan River. Each of us can get some logs and make a place for us to live there.”
Elisha said, “Go ahead.”
3 Then one of the disciples asked, “Won’t you please come with us?”
Elisha answered, “I’ll go.”
4 So he went with them. They came to the Jordan River and began to cut down trees. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the ax head fell into the water. He cried out, “Oh no, master! It was borrowed!”
6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed Elisha the place, Elisha cut off a piece of wood. He threw it into the water at that place and made the ax head float. 7 Elisha said, “Pick it up.” The disciple reached for it and picked it up.
The Aramean Army Is Struck with Blindness
8 Whenever the king of Aram was fighting against Israel, he asked for advice from his officers about where they were to camp.
9 So the man of God would send a message to the king of Israel, “Be careful not to go by that place. The Arameans are hiding there.” 10 Then the king of Israel would send someone to the place that the man of God told him about. Elisha warned them so that they would be on their guard. He did this repeatedly.
11 The king of Aram was very angry about this. He called his officers and asked them, “Won’t you tell me who among us is a spy for the king of Israel?”
12 One of his officers answered, “No one, Your Majesty. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel everything you say—even what you say in your bedroom.”
13 The king said, “Find out where he is. Then I will send men to capture him.”
The king was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So the king sent horses and chariots and a large fighting unit there. They came at night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up in the morning and went outside, he saw troops, horses, and chariots surrounding the city. Elisha’s servant asked, “Master, what should we do?”
16 Elisha answered, “Don’t be afraid. We have more forces on our side than they have on theirs.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes so that he may see.” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and let him see. The mountain around Elisha was full of fiery horses and chariots.
18 As the Arameans came down to get him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike these people with blindness.” The Lord struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. 19 Elisha told them, “This isn’t the way! This isn’t the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you’re looking for.” So he led them into Samaria. 20 When they came into Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, and let them see.” The Lord opened their eyes and let them see that they were in the middle of Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Master, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”
22 Elisha answered, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill everyone you take captive in combat? Give them food and water. Let them eat and drink. Then let them go back to their master.”
23 So the king prepared a great feast for them. They ate and drank, and then he sent them back to their master. After this, Aramean troops didn’t raid Israel’s territory anymore.
The Aramean Army Blockades Samaria
24 Later King Benhadad of Aram assembled his whole army. They went to Samaria and blockaded it. 25 The shortages caused by the blockade of Samaria became so severe that a donkey’s head sold for two pounds of silver and a half-pint of dove[a] manure for two ounces of silver.
26 As the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, Your Majesty!”
27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, how can I help you? I can’t give you something from the threshing floor[b] or the winepress.” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”
She answered, “This woman told me, ‘Give up your son. Let’s eat him today. We’ll eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. The next day I told her, ‘Give up your son. We’ll eat him,’ but she hid her son.”
30 When the king heard the woman say this, he tore his clothes in distress. As he was walking on the city wall, the people saw that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31 He said, “May God strike me dead if the head of Elisha, son of Shaphat, stays on his body today.”
32 Elisha was sitting in his home with the city’s leaders. The king had sent one of his men ahead of him to Elisha’s house. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha asked the leaders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent someone to tear off my head? When the messenger comes, close the door. Hold it shut because the king will be following him.”
33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger arrived. He said to Elisha, “This severe famine is from the Lord. Why should I wait any longer for the Lord to help us?”
7 Elisha answered, “Listen to the Lord’s word! This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow 24 cups of the best flour will sell for half an ounce of silver in the gateway to Samaria. And 48 cups of barley will sell for half an ounce of silver.”
2 The servant on whose arm the king was leaning answered the man of God, “Could this happen even if the Lord poured rain through windows in the sky?”
Elisha replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”
The Aramean Army Flees
3 Four men with skin diseases were at the entrance of the city gate. One of them asked, “Why are we sitting here waiting to die? 4 If we go into the city, the famine is also there, and we’ll still die. But if we stay here, we’ll die. So let’s go to the Aramean camp. If they give us something to keep us alive, we’ll live. But if they kill us, we’ll die anyway.” 5 So they started out at dusk to go into the Aramean camp. When they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there.
6 (The Lord had made the Aramean army hear what sounded like chariots, horses, and a large army. The Aramean soldiers said to one another, “The king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So at dusk they fled. They abandoned the camp as it was with its tents, horses, and donkeys and ran for their lives.)
8 When the men with skin diseases came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent, ate and drank, and carried off the silver, gold, and clothes they found in that tent. They went away and hid them. Then they came back, went into another tent, carried off its contents, went away, and hid them.
9 Then they said to one another, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news, and we’re not telling anyone about it. If we wait until morning when it’s light out, we’ll be punished. Let’s bring the news to the royal palace.” 10 So they called the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp, and we didn’t see or hear anyone. The horses and donkeys were still tied up. Even the tents were left exactly as they were.”
11 The gatekeepers announced the news to the royal palace. 12 So the king got up at night and told his officers what the Arameans had planned for them. He said, “They know we’re starving, so they’ve left the camp to hide in the countryside. They’re thinking, ‘When they’ve left the city, we’ll capture them alive and get into the city.’”
13 One of his officers replied, “Please let some men take five of the horses that are left here. Those men will be no worse off than the rest of the Israelites who are dying. Let’s send them to take a look.” 14 So they took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them to follow the Aramean army and told them to find out what happened. 15 They followed them as far as the Jordan River and saw how the whole road was littered with clothes and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their hurry. The messengers returned and told the king about it.
16 So the people went out and looted the Aramean camp. Then 24 cups of the best flour sold for half an ounce of silver, and 48 cups of barley sold for half an ounce of silver, as the Lord had predicted.
17 The king appointed the servant on whose arm he used to lean to be in charge of the gate. But the people trampled him to death in the gateway, as the man of God had predicted when the king came to him. 18 (It happened exactly as the man of God told the king, “48 cups of barley will sell for half an ounce of silver. And 24 cups of the best flour will sell for half an ounce of silver. This will happen about this time tomorrow in the gateway to Samaria.” 19 Then the servant answered the man of God, “Could this happen even if the Lord poured rain through windows in the sky?” Elisha answered, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”) 20 So this is what happened to the king’s servant: The people trampled him to death in the gateway.
Paul and Barnabas Disagree
36 After a while Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back to every city where we spread the Lord’s word. We’ll visit the believers to see how they’re doing.”
37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark along. 38 However, Paul didn’t think it was right to take a person like him along. John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to work. 39 Paul and Barnabas disagreed so sharply that they parted ways. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to the island of Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas and left after the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s care.[a]
41 Paul went through the provinces of Syria and Cilicia and strengthened the churches.
Timothy Joins Paul in Lystra
16 Paul arrived in the city of Derbe and then went to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived. Timothy’s mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was Greek. 2 The believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him. So he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in those places and because he knew that Timothy’s father was Greek.
4 As they went through the cities, they told people about the decisions that the apostles and spiritual leaders[b] in Jerusalem had made for the people. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew in numbers every day.
Paul Has a Vision
6 Paul and Silas went through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit kept them from speaking the word in the province of Asia. 7 They went to the province of Mysia and tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t allow this. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went to the city of Troas.
9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. The man urged Paul, “Come to Macedonia to help us.”
10 As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we immediately looked for a way to go to Macedonia. We concluded that God had called us to tell the people of Macedonia about the Good News.
Paul and Silas in Philippi
11 So we took a ship from Troas and sailed straight to the island of Samothrace. The next day we sailed to the city of Neapolis, 12 and from there we went to the city of Philippi. Philippi is a leading city in that part of Macedonia, and it is a Roman colony. We were in this city for a number of days.
13 On the day of rest—a holy day we went out of the city to a place along the river where we thought Jewish people gathered for prayer. We sat down and began talking to the women who had gathered there. 14 A woman named Lydia was present. She was a convert to Judaism from the city of Thyatira and sold purple dye for a living. She was listening because the Lord made her willing to pay attention to what Paul said. 15 When Lydia and her family were baptized, she invited us to stay at her home. She said, “If you’re convinced that I believe in the Lord, then stay at my home.” She insisted. So we did.
A maskil[a] by David when he was in the cave; a prayer.
1 Loudly, I cry to the Lord.
Loudly, I plead with the Lord for mercy.
2 I pour out my complaints in his presence
and tell him my troubles.
3 When I begin to lose hope,
you already know what I am experiencing.
My enemies have hidden a trap for me on the path where I walk.
4 Look to my right and see that no one notices me.
Escape is impossible for me.
No one cares about me.
5 I call out to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my refuge,
my own inheritance in this world of the living.”
6 Pay attention to my cry for help
because I am very weak.
Rescue me from those who pursue me
because they are too strong for me.
7 Release my soul from prison
so that I may give thanks to your name.
Righteous people will surround me
because you are good to me.
A psalm by David.
- Psalm 142:1 Unknown musical term.
24 Wisdom is directly in front of an understanding person,
but the eyes of a fool are looking around all over the world.
How Fools Live
25 A foolish son is a heartache to his father
and bitter grief to his mother.