Through the Bible – Day 131

Bible text(s)

Elisha makes an axe head float

1One day the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we meet with you is too small. 2Why don't we build a new meeting place near the River Jordan? Each of us could get some wood, then we could build it.”

“That's a good idea,” Elisha replied, “get started.”

3“Aren't you going with us?” one of the prophets asked.

“Yes, I'll go,” Elisha answered, 4and he left with them.

They went to the River Jordan and began chopping down trees. 5While one of the prophets was working, his axe head fell off and dropped into the water. “Oh!” he shouted. “Sir, I borrowed this axe.”

6“Where did it fall in?” Elisha asked. The prophet pointed to the place, and Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. The axe head floated to the top of the water.

7“Now get it,” Elisha told him. And the prophet reached in and grabbed it.

Elisha stops an invasion of the Syrian army

8Time after time, when the king of Syria was at war against the Israelites, he met with his officers and announced, “I've decided where we will set up camp.”

9Each time, Elisha would send this warning to the king of Israel: “Don't go near there. That's where the Syrian troops have set up camp.” 10So the king would warn the Israelite troops in that place to be on guard.

11The king of Syria was furious when he found out what was happening. He called in his officers and asked, “Which one of you has been telling the king of Israel our plans?”

12“None of us, Your Majesty,” one of them answered. “It's an Israelite named Elisha. He's a prophet, so he can tell his king everything—even what you say in your own room.”

13“Find out where he is!” the king ordered. “I'll send soldiers to bring him here.”

They learnt that Elisha was in the town of Dothan and reported it to the king. 14He ordered his best troops to go there with horses and chariots. They marched out during the night and surrounded the town.

15When Elisha's servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded. “Sir, what are we going to do?” he asked.

16“Don't be afraid,” Elisha answered. “There are more troops on our side than on theirs.” 17Then he prayed, “LORD, please help him to see.” And the LORD let the servant see that the hill was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha.

18As the Syrian army came closer, Elisha prayed, “LORD, make those soldiers blind!” And the LORD blinded them with a bright light.

19Elisha told the enemy troops, “You've taken the wrong road and are in the wrong town. Follow me. I'll lead you to the man you're looking for.” Elisha led them straight to the capital city of Samaria.

20When all the soldiers were inside the city, Elisha prayed, “LORD, now let them see again.” The LORD let them see that they were standing in the middle of Samaria.

21The king of Israel saw them and asked Elisha, “Should I kill them, sir?”

22“No!” Elisha answered. “You didn't capture these troops in battle, so you have no right to kill them. Instead, give them something to eat and drink and let them return to their leader.”

23The king ordered a huge meal to be prepared for Syria's army, and when they finished eating, he let them go.

For a while, the Syrian troops stopped invading Israel's territory.

King Benhadad of Syria attacks Samaria

24Some time later, King Benhadad of Syria called his entire army together, then they marched to Samaria and attacked. 25They kept up the attack until there was nothing to eat in the city. In fact, a donkey's head cost about eighty pieces of silver, and a small bowl of pigeon droppings cost five pieces of silver.

26One day as the king of Israel was walking along the top of the city wall, a woman shouted to him, “Please, Your Majesty, help me!”

27“Let the LORD help you!” the king said. “Do you think I have grain or wine to give you?” 28Then he asked, “What's the matter anyway?”

The woman answered, “Another woman and I were so hungry that we agreed to eat our sons. She said if we ate my son one day, we could eat hers the next day. 29So yesterday we cooked my son and ate him. But today when I went to her house to eat her son, she had hidden him.”

30The king tore off his clothes in sorrow, and since he was on top of the city wall, the people saw that he was wearing sackcloth underneath. 31He said, “I pray that God will punish me terribly, if Elisha's head is still on his shoulders by this time tomorrow.” 32Then he sent a messenger to Elisha.

Elisha was at home at the time, and the important leaders of Israel were meeting with him. Even before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha told the leaders, “That murderer is sending someone to cut off my head. When you see him coming, shut the door and don't let him in. I'm sure the king himself will be just behind him.”

33Before Elisha finished talking, the messenger came up and said, “The LORD has made all these terrible things happen to us. Why should I think he will help us now?”

1Elisha answered, “I have a message for you. The LORD promises that tomorrow here in Samaria, you will be able to buy a large sack of flour or two large sacks of barley for almost nothing.”

2The chief officer there with the king replied, “I don't believe it! Even if the LORD sent a rainstorm, it couldn't produce that much grain by tomorrow.”

“You will see it happen, but you won't eat any of the food,” Elisha warned him.

The Syrian army stops its attack

3About the same time, four men with leprosy were just outside the gate of Samaria. They said to each other, “Why should we sit here, waiting to die? 4There's nothing to eat in the city, so we would starve if we went inside. But if we stay out here, we will die for certain. Let's sneak over to the Syrian army camp and surrender. They might kill us, but they might not.” 5-8That evening the four men got up and left for the Syrian camp.

As they walked towards the camp, the Lord caused the Syrian troops to hear what sounded like the roar of a huge force of cavalry. The soldiers said to each other, “Listen! The king of Israel must have hired Hittite and Egyptian troops to attack us. Let's get out of here!” So they ran out of their camp that night, leaving their tents and horses and donkeys.

When the four men with leprosy reached the edge of the Syrian camp, no one was there. They walked into one of the tents, where they ate and drank, before carrying off clothes, as well as silver and gold. They hid all this, then walked into another tent; they took what they wanted and hid it too.

9They said to each other, “This isn't right. Today is a day to celebrate, and we haven't told anyone else what has happened. If we wait until morning, we will be punished. Let's go to the king's palace straight away and tell the good news.”

10They went back to Samaria and shouted up to the guards at the gate, “We've just come from the Syrian army camp, and all the soldiers are gone! The tents are empty, and the horses and donkeys are still tied up. We didn't see or hear anybody.”

11The guards reported the news to the king's palace. 12The king got out of bed and said to his officers, “I know what those Syrians are doing. They know we're starving, so they're hiding in the fields, hoping we will go out to look for food. When we do, they can capture us and take over our city.”

13One of his officers replied, “We have a few horses left—why don't we let some men take five of them and go to the Syrian camp and see what's happening? We're going to die anyway like those who have already died.” 14They found two chariots, and the king commanded the men to find out what had happened to the Syrian troops.

15The men rode as far as the River Jordan. All along the way they saw clothes and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away as they escaped. Then they went back to the king and told him what they had seen.

16At once the people went to the Syrian camp and carried off what was left. They took so much that a large sack of flour and two large sacks of barley sold for almost nothing, just as the LORD had promised.

17The king of Israel had put his chief officer in charge of the gate, but he died when the people trampled him as they rushed out of the city. 18Earlier, when the king was at Elisha's house, Elisha had told him that flour or barley would sell for almost nothing. 19But the officer refused to believe that even the LORD could do that. So Elisha warned him that he would see it happen, but would not eat any of the food. 20And that's exactly what happened—the officer was trampled to death.

The woman from Shunem is given back her land

1Elisha told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “The LORD has warned that there will be no food here for seven years. Take your family and go and live somewhere else for a while.” 2The woman did exactly what Elisha had said and went to live in Philistine territory.

She and her family lived there seven years. 3Then she returned to Israel and immediately begged the king to give back her house and property.

4Meanwhile, the king was asking Gehazi the servant of Elisha about the amazing things Elisha had been doing. 5While Gehazi was telling him that Elisha had brought a dead boy back to life, the woman and her son arrived.

“Here's the boy, Your Majesty,” Gehazi said. “And this is his mother.”

6The king asked the woman to tell her story, and she told him everything that had happened. He then said to one of his officials, “I want you to make sure that this woman gets back everything that belonged to her, including the money her crops have made since the day she left Israel.”

2 Kings 6:1-8:6CEVOpen in Bible reader

In praise of the Word

The Word of life

1In the beginning was the one

who is called the Word.

The Word was with God

and was truly God.

2From the very beginning

the Word was with God.

3And with this Word,

God created all things.

Nothing was made

without the Word.

Everything that was created

4received its life from him,

and his life gave light

to everyone.

5The light keeps shining

in the dark,

and darkness has never

put it out.

6God sent a man named John,

7who came to tell

about the light

and to lead all people

to have faith.

8John wasn't that light.

He came only to tell

about the light.

9The true light that shines

on everyone

was coming into the world.

10The Word was in the world,

but no one knew him,

though God had made the world

with his Word.

11He came into his own world,

but his own nation

did not welcome him.

12Yet some people accepted him

and put their faith in him.

So he gave them the right

to be the children of God.

13They were not God's children

by nature or because

of any human desires.

God himself was the one

who made them his children.

14The Word became

a human being

and lived here with us.

We saw his true glory,

the glory of the only Son

of the Father.

From him all the kindness

and all the truth of God

have come down to us.

15John spoke about him and shouted, “This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.”

16Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. 17The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.

John the Baptist tells about Jesus

19-20The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, “I am not the Messiah.” 21Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, “No, I am not!” And when they asked if he were the Prophet, he also said “No!”

22Finally, they said, “Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!”

23John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am only someone shouting in the desert, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord!’ ”

24Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25They asked him, “Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?”

26John told them, “I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don't know. 27Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals.” 28John said this as he was baptizing east of the River Jordan in Bethany.

John 1:1-28CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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