A Famine in Samaria
May 30 - Nº 150 2 Kings 6:24 – 7:20
Time passed, and the king of Syria invaded Israel again. He surrounded the capital city (Samaria) and stopped any supplies from getting in. This resulted in a terrible famine. Food was so scarce that a donkey’s head sold for two pounds of silver and a small bowl of doves’ dung cost about two ounces of silver. People became so desperate that they began to kill and eat their own children. When King Joram heard what was happening, he tore his robe and put on sackcloth to show how sorrowful he was. But instead of asking God for help, he vowed to capture God’s prophet, Elisha, and cut off his head! Elisha was sitting in his house with several of the leaders of Israel when the king and his messenger walked in. The king yelled at Elisha, “This disaster is all God’s fault! And I am not going to wait any longer for Him to solve it!” Elisha replied, “I have a message from God for you. The famine is almost over. By this time tomorrow, people will be able to buy a twelve-pound sack of the finest flour for a few coins and a twenty-pound sack of barley for the same price. The officer who had accompanied the king snorted, “That’s impossible! We could never have that much food even if God opened the windows of heaven and poured it down on us!” Elisha responded, “You will see it with your own eyes, but because of your response you will not eat any of it!” As the sun was setting that night, the Syrian soldiers heard a loud noise like an army with horses and chariots marching toward them. They thought that the king of Israel must have hired the Hittites and the Egyptians to attack them. They got up and ran into the darkness, leaving their tents, animals, and everything they owned behind! At that same time, four lepers who were not allowed to enter Samaria because of their infectious disease, decided they did not want to sit outside the gate any longer just waiting to die. They made up their minds to go to the Syrian camp and surrender. “If they spare us, we will live,” they reasoned. “If they kill us—well, we were going to die anyway.” But when they arrived at the camp, it was abandoned. They entered one of the tents and ate and drank all they wanted. Then they gathered silver and gold and clothes and hid them. After ransacking several tents, they turned to each other and said, “What we are doing is not right. This is a day of good news, and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, God will punish us. Let’s go tell the people of Samaria right now!” So, the lepers hurried to the city and told the gatekeeper what they had found. When the king heard the news, he thought it was a trap set by the Syrians to lure him out. So, he sent scouts to discover what was really going on. They found trails of clothing and equipment the Syrians had abandoned in their hurry to escape. When the people heard this news, they rushed out of the city to plunder the Syrian camp. The king assigned an officer (the same one who had accompanied him to Elisha’s house) to keep order at the gate, but he was trampled to death as the people rushed out! Everything Elisha prophesied the day before came true!
You and I have good news—the best news there could ever be! Jesus died for our sins on the cross, so that we can live with God for eternity! It is wrong for us to keep this news to ourselves. We need to share it with others right now, before it is too late!