God’s Chosen Prophet Elisha (Week 28, Part 6/6) 2 Kings 2-7 | July 4- July 10 – powered by Happy Scribe
There are many lessons to learn from 2 Kings chapter 7.
One that I think is important that the inspired Bible writers are trying to help convey to us is to show that Elijah, the successor to Elijah, is God’s chosen, prophet.
And then, just like Elijah, Elisha has God with him. Elisha speaks by the power of God, and God makes it real.
Let’s get some context here.
Israel is a crossroads of trade as well as conflict, and people wanted to control the land of Israel so they could control the trade routes. And we have in this case, the Syrians, who have been besieging the capital city of the ten northern tribes of Israel called Samaria. It’s a three year siege. Now, that’s a long time to have an army surround your city, basically cutting you off from access to food, water. They apparently had springs of water inside the city or cisterns where they stored water, but eventually the food runs out and you get these horrible stories in Second Kings, chapter six, where cannibalism is starting to happen because people are so famished.
So we open it to chapter seven, and here’s what we have. Then Elijah said, hearing the word of the Lord, thus saith the Lord tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel and two measures of barley for a shekel and the gate of Samaria. So the gate, as we’ve mentioned before, functions as the center of town, even though it’s actually right at the outside of the wall. For these ancient cities, it’s kind of like the town square, and it’s often where a lot of the bartering and haggling and business would happen, but they’re under siege, and who’s going to spend that much money on food and where are they going to get access to food? Now you get this interesting story where a couple of lepers are saying to themselves, we’re going to die if we go inside the city of Samaria.
The people don’t like us because we have leprosy. We’ll die by theme. Maybe we should just turn ourselves over to the Syrians who are actually surrounding the city, and either they kill us or they give us food to eat. So they go to turn themselves in at the camp of the Syrians or the Arabians and what? David?
They discover the camp is deserted. According to the Bible, the invading army got spooked thinking that Egyptians and Hittites from the north and south were coming to fight against the Syrians. And so the Syrians fled, and they left all their tents, all their food, all their weapons, everything. So these lepers started whining and dining and thinking, what luck for us. So somewhere in the middle of the night, where they’re overeating and they have all this wealth, they’re like, Wait a second, we should go back into Samaria and tell our fellow brothers that the army is gone.
So they do this and they make their way back to town and they tell everybody, guess what? The army is gone. Now the king didn’t believe them. The king actually of Israel is a little worried that he’s being tricked by this invading army. This is actually a well known tactic in the ancient world.
Do you see it in the story between the Greeks and the Trojans? The Greeks actually fled the battlefield, acted like they were leaving and then the Trojans get duped. And this is what the King of Israel is a little worried about, is that there’s going to be an ambush. And so he at first doesn’t trust me. He says, all right, let’s just send it a few people just to confirm what these lepers are saying.
And sure enough they confirm what the lepers have said. And of course everybody now rushes out from the city and there’s just so much food and there’s so much wealth that’s just left to plunder in the camp that people are now overspending for small amounts of food, fulfilling the prophecy that Elisha had given just a day before. So this story is shared in the Bible to help people understand that when God has prophets and when God speaks by prophets, you can trust that God’s word will be fulfilled. Now, that doesn’t mean that crazy things won’t happen. It also doesn’t mean that we’re going to always be protected from difficulty or challenge.
Part of the reason why the Israelites suffered so often is that they weren’t listening to the prophets. They would actually not pay attention to what prophets are saying and they would die or be stuck with famine or have other issues in our lives because they decided that they didn’t want to listen to the advice to the wisdom that came from God through the prophets. That’s one of the reasons why we have this story here, to remind us that God sends prophets to helped and guide us in these latter days.