The king thought Elisha had been wrong

2 Kings Bible Background

05.13.2018 – Old Testament: 2Ki 6.30–33

To read the Bible in a year, read Second Kings 6–8 on May 13, In the year of our Lord 2018

By Don Ruhl

Elisha had taken the entire blind Syrian army and brought them inside the city of Samaria. The king of Israel wanted to kill them, but Elisha reasoned that the king would not have killed them if he had taken them captive in battle. Therefore, Elisha told the king to feed the Syrian army and then to let them go.

Later the Syrians attacked Israel, besieging Samaria, cutting off all their sustenance, causing massive starvation inside the city. After a woman explained to the Israelite king how she and another woman had planned on eating their sons, but that the second woman hid her son, the king wanted to take action:

Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body. Then he said, “God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today!” But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent someone to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” And while he was still talking with them, there was the messenger, coming down to him; and then the king said, “Surely this calamity is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?” (2 Kings 6.30–33).

Why did the king want to kill Elisha? Well, the king had released this very army at the insistence of Elisha. Therefore, the king of Israel believed that their distress would not have happened if the prophet had let the king kill the Syrians earlier.

However, the problem was not that he did not get to kill the Syrians, but that he and Israel had continued to sin against the Lord. If we are guilty of sin, we can only blame ourselves when the Lord makes our lives difficult.


  • Have you blamed others when you should have taken responsibility?
  • Is it ever wrong to do good works to enemies?

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