Lesson 45: Elisha & the Syrians 2

 

... Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and ... besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria; ... a donkey's head ... sold for eighty shekels (2 #) of silver, and one-fourth of a kab (1 pint) of dove droppings for five shekels (2 ounces) of silver.

Then Elisha said, "... Thus says the LORD: 'Tomorrow about this time a seah (2 1/8 gallon) of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel (0.45 ounces of silver), and two seahs (4 gallons) of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.'"

So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God ... "Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?"

And [Elisha] said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it."

[Four leprous men] rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. For the LORD had caused the army of the Syrians to hear ... the noise of a great army ... Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact ...

So [the lepers] went and called to the gatekeepers of the city, ... "We went to the Syrian camp, and surprisingly no one was there, not a human sound only horses and donkeys tied, and the tents intact."

And [the king's servants] went after [the leprous men] to the Jordan; and indeed all the road was full of garments and weapons which the Syrians had thrown away in their haste.... Then the people ... plundered the tents of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.

 

Now the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. But the people trampled him in the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said ... (2 Kings 6:24,25, 7:1,2,5-7,10,15-17, NKJV)

... if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20, NKJV)

A new king arose in Syria, Ben-Hadad. He was apparently uniformed about the Lord's interventions on behalf of the nation of Israel, so he besieged Samaria. The siege had taken so long that there was hardly any food left in the city, and the price of the cheapest, most uneatable, ceremonially unclean food scraps that were normally discarded were being sold at a very exorbitant price, as was the least desirable fuel for cooking. People within the city even resorted to cannibalism (2 Kings 6:26-30).

In the midst of this extreme famine, Elisha prophesied that within 24 hours, food would become incredibly abundant and the corresponding prices would dramatically fall. He claimed that over 2 gallons of the finest flour would sell for 1/80 the current price of a donkey's head! This was such an extraordinary claim that a close advisor to the king of Israel basically told Elisha he was an absolute fool for making such a claim. Elisha replied that the advisor would witness the event but not partake of the benefits provided to even the poorest inhabitants of the city.

The next morning, two lepers reasoned that it was better to defect to the Syrian camp than to starve to death in the city. The worst that would happen was that they would be mercifully killed in their effort to escape. To their amazement, they discovered the abundant provision of the Lord in place of the calamity they anticipated. The overall result was that the Lord provided for the inhabitants of Samaria, and the king's advisor was trampled to death, according to Elisha's prophecies.

Here we see some very dramatic examples of the characteristics of faith: First, true faith is never quenched, even in times of incredible deprivation. Second, true faith is absolutely convinced of the Lord's ability to generously provide, even in seemingly impossible situations. Third, unbelief brings condemnation. Fourth, unbelief produces such undesirable consequences as spiritual and physical death, disease, and famine.

In the next lesson, we will see what happened when Elisha died.

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you always,

Jon@7-Spirits.com

 

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