The Axe Head Recovered
6 Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
Horses and Chariots of Fire
Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.
And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.
Ben-hadad’s Siege of Samaria
Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body—and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”
Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the LORD! Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”
2 Kings 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Consider who in your life is deeply spiritual. Think about possibly even an encounter with someone who simply saw beyond the circumstance and offered hope. These are people we need in our lives. They are the ones who sometimes come at just the right time and offer insight beyond.
I remember while living in Cyprus there was a woman named June. She didn’t attend my church and I really did not run in my circle of friends. But through a random meeting was introduced. She was one who always had a word of encouragement. She saw into the spiritual realm of things and would redirect my vision. Her spiritual insight was something I longed for.
I remember clearly a ‘run in’ with her in a grocery store parking lot. June was hustling her kids to get out of the car and into the store before they closed for the lunch hour. (Yes, they did that where every storefront closed its doors for 2 hours so workers could go home for lunch with their families)
Seeing me, June made her way over to me carrying my groceries to the car. She immediately went for the spiritual and began speaking of a verse she was chewing on from Isaiah. It was deep and rich and one I had not recalled reading before. Unbeknownst to her, I was going through a rough time and needed my perspective shifted. That verse resonated deeply to me in the situation and actually has become a favorite verse of mine since.
June lived in the spiritual realm and everyone she came in contact with was affected. It stirred within me personally a longing to go deeper, search out the mysteries of God. I want to be that person.
I wonder if Elisha was such a man. Within this chapter, we read of some crazy miraculous events but also read of an impending assault against Israel from their enemy. Elisha, who operated in the spiritual realm and knew things only God could reveal, became the man that knew the voice of God.
He also believed in the spiritual realm as at one point he prayed for spiritual eyes to be opened to see the host of heaven that stood with Israel in such a dire time. Not only do we need to have our own eyes opened to such matters – I believe it’s critical for us to be a people who redirect others toward the spiritual bringing hope and even a longing within for something more than what is currently being experienced.
2 Kings 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?” 16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “LORD, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the LORD opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.2 Kings 6:15-17 HCSB
We often misinterpret the events taking place in our lives because we fail to see things with spiritual eyes. The opening of our eyes is such a simple act, yet, it cannot be done in our own strength. There are several points to consider here.
Is Relationship Greater Than Change?
Elisha did not pray that God would change the situation for his servant to believe but this is often how we pray for those who cannot see God. We gravitate toward pieces of evidence and colossal spiritual events. If God can just change such and such situation in this person’s life, then they will believe! This was not the case. Nothing changed except the servant’s perspective.
The vision he gained was literally not of this world and could not be seen by just anyone. There had to be a work of God and this work was a reflex of the pleading prayer from Elisha. Is this how you pray? Do you pray for change in a person’s life or perspective? Because change may produce evidence but I would argue that perspective produces faith.
“Faith is never the imagining of unreal things. It is the grip of things which cannot be demonstrated to the senses, but which are real. The chariots of horses and fire were actually there.”G. Campbell Morgan
The other factor to consider is that God often shows us He cares before He shows us His changes. When you are wrestling through stress and anxiety, which would you rather have – someone who fixes it but doesn’t care or someone who cares but doesn’t fix it? I know that when I’m hurting, I just want someone to love me. I want someone who can relate to me. I want someone who I can be honest with who will stand by me and walk with me through the trial.
But many of us treat God as if He is a genie. We want Him to rush in and fix things and then go away until the next time we are ready to call for Him. This is the difference between a personal God and an impersonal image of God. One is true and the other is a false god formed in our image instead of His.
Elisha knew God. He knew His character and His intimacy. He believed He was loved by God – every single part of him. This enabled Elisha to have a new perspective and deeper vision into spiritual matters. The Lord Jesus Christ walks among you. He is present in our deepest time of need. He has surrounded us with horses and chariots of fire. The question is not if we believe He has the power to deliver us, but whether we believe that despite what we can see, He is ministering to us in our deepest hurts and most chaotic struggles.