New English Translation
Elisha Makes an Ax Head Float
1 Some of the prophets said to Elisha, "Look, the place where we meet with you is too cramped for us. 2 Let's go to the Jordan. Each of us will get a log from there and we will build a meeting place for ourselves there." He said, "Go." 3 One of them said, "Please come along with your servants." He replied, "All right, I'll come." 4 So he went with them. When they arrived at the Jordan, they started cutting down trees. 5 As one of them was felling a log, the ax head dropped into the water. He shouted, "Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!" 6 The prophet asked, "Where did it drop in?" When he showed him the spot, Elisha cut off a branch, threw it in at that spot, and made the ax head float. 7 He said, "Lift it out." So he reached out his hand and grabbed it.
Elisha Defeats an Army
8 Now the king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his advisers, who said, "Invade at such and such a place." 9 But the prophet sent this message to the king of Israel, "Make sure you don't pass through this place because Syria is invading there." 10 So the king of Israel sent a message to the place the prophet had pointed out, warning it to be on its guard. This happened on several occasions. 11 This made the king of Syria upset. So he summoned his advisers and said to them, "One of us must be helping the king of Israel." 12 One of his advisers said, "No, my master, O king. The prophet Elisha who lives in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the things you say in your bedroom." 13 The king ordered, "Go, find out where he is, so I can send some men to capture him." The king was told, "He is in Dothan." 14 So he sent horses and chariots there, along with a good-sized army. They arrived during the night and surrounded the city.
15 The prophet's attendant got up early in the morning. When he went outside there was an army surrounding the city, along with horses and chariots. He said to Elisha, "Oh no, my master! What will we do?" 16 He replied, "Don't be afraid, for our side outnumbers them." 17 Then Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he can see." The LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw that the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 As they approached him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." The LORD struck them with blindness as Elisha requested. 19 Then Elisha said to them, "This is not the right road or city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you're looking for." He led them to Samaria.
20 When they had entered Samaria, Elisha said, "O LORD, open their eyes, so they can see." The LORD opened their eyes and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, "Should I strike them down, my master?" 22 He replied, "Do not strike them down! You did not capture them with your sword or bow, so what gives you the right to strike them down? Give them some food and water, so they can eat and drink and then go back to their master." 23 So he threw a big banquet for them and they ate and drank. Then he sent them back to their master. After that no Syrian raiding parties again invaded the land of Israel.
The LORD Saves Samaria
24 Later King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled his entire army and attacked and besieged Samaria. 25 Samaria's food supply ran out. They laid siege to it so long that a donkey's head was selling for eighty shekels of silver and a quarter of a kab of dove's droppings for five shekels of silver.
26 While the king of Israel was passing by on the city wall, a woman shouted to him, "Help us, my master, O king!" 27 He replied, "No, let the LORD help you. How can I help you? The threshing floor and winepress are empty." 28 Then the king asked her, "What's your problem?" She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Hand over your son; we'll eat him today and then eat my son tomorrow.' 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. Then I said to her the next day, 'Hand over your son and we'll eat him.' But she hid her son!" 30 When the king heard what the woman said, he tore his clothes. As he was passing by on the wall, the people could see he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31 Then he said, "May God judge me severely if Elisha son of Shaphat still has his head by the end of the day!"
32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the community leaders. The king sent a messenger on ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the leaders, "Do you realize this assassin intends to cut off my head?" Look, when the messenger arrives, shut the door and lean against it. His master will certainly be right behind him." 33 He was still talking to them when the messenger approached and said, "Look, the LORD is responsible for this disaster! Why should I continue to wait for the LORD to help?"
King James Version
1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.
3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
8 ¶ Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.
9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.
13 ¶ And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
19 ¶ And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
24 ¶ And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.
26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.
29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.
30 ¶ And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.
31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?
33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?