2 Kings 6

The Axe Head Recovered

Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Behold now, the place [a]before you where we are living is too cramped for us. Please let us go to the Jordan, and let us each take from there a beam, and let us construct a place there for ourselves, to live there.” So he said, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Please agree and go with your servants.” And he said, “I will go.” So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But it happened that as one of them was [b]cutting down a beam, [c]the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh, my master! It was borrowed!” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And when he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron float. Then he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

The Arameans Plot to Capture Elisha

Now the king of Aram was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servants, saying, “In such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, saying, “Be careful that you do not pass this place, because the Arameans are coming down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent scouts to the place about which the man of God had told him; so he warned him, so that he was on his guard there, [d]more than once or twice.

11 Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this matter; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 One of his servants said, “No, my lord, the king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 So he said, “Go and see where he is, so that I may send men and take him.” And it was told to him, saying, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots and a substantial army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

15 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “This is hopeless, my master! [e]What are we to do?” 16 And he said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are [f]greater than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes so that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this [g]people with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness in accordance with the word of Elisha. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria.

20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men, so that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “My father, shall I [h]kill them? Shall I [i]kill them?” 22 But he [j]answered, “You shall not [k]kill them. Would you [l]kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set bread and water before them, so that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.” 23 So he provided a large feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.

The Siege of Samaria—Cannibalism

24 Now it came about after this, that Ben-hadad the king of Aram gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 So there was a severe famine in Samaria; and behold, they kept besieging it until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a [m]kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 And as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord the king!” 27 But he said, “[n]If the Lord does not help you, from where am I to help you? From the threshing floor, or from the wine press?” 28 Then the king said to her, “What [o]is on your mind?” And she said, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son so that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, so that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes—and he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth [p]underneath on his [q]body. 31 Then he said, “May God do so to me and more so, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat [r]remains on him today.”

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man from his presence; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent a man to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and [s]hold the door shut against him. Is the sound of his master’s feet not behind him?” 33 While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him and he said, “Behold, this evil is from the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”


  1. 2 Kings 6:1 Or where we sit in your presence
  2. 2 Kings 6:5 Or dropping; lit felling
  3. 2 Kings 6:5 Lit as for the iron, it fell
  4. 2 Kings 6:10 Lit not once or twice
  5. 2 Kings 6:15 Lit How
  6. 2 Kings 6:16 Or more
  7. 2 Kings 6:18 Lit nation
  8. 2 Kings 6:21 Lit strike
  9. 2 Kings 6:21 Lit strike
  10. 2 Kings 6:22 Lit said
  11. 2 Kings 6:22 Lit strike
  12. 2 Kings 6:22 Lit strike
  13. 2 Kings 6:25 One kab equals about 2 qt. or 1.9 liters
  14. 2 Kings 6:27 Or No! Let the Lord help you
  15. 2 Kings 6:28 Lit to you
  16. 2 Kings 6:30 Lit within
  17. 2 Kings 6:30 Lit flesh
  18. 2 Kings 6:31 Lit stands
  19. 2 Kings 6:32 Lit press him with the door