5 Now Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria’s army, was esteemed and respected by his master, 1 for through him the Lord had given Syria military victories. But this great warrior had a skin disease. 2 2 Raiding parties went out from Syria and took captive from the land of Israel a young girl, who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. 3 She told her mistress, “If only my master were in the presence of the prophet who is in Samaria! 3 Then he would cure him of his skin disease.”
4 Naaman 4 went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5 The king of Syria said, “Go! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman 5 went, taking with him ten talents 6 of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, 7 and ten suits of clothes. 6 He brought the letter to king of Israel. It read: “This is a letter of introduction for my servant Naaman, 8 whom I have sent to be cured of his skin disease.” 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill or restore life? Why does he ask me to cure a man of his skin disease? 9 Certainly you must see that he is looking for an excuse to fight me!” 10
8 When Elisha the prophet 11 heard that the king had torn his clothes, he sent this message to the king, “Why did you tear your clothes? Send him 12 to me so he may know there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent out a messenger who told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan; your skin will be restored 13 and you will be healed.” 11 Naaman went away angry. He said, “Look, I thought for sure he would come out, stand there, invoke the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the area, and cure the skin disease. 12 The rivers of Damascus, the Abana and Pharpar, are better than any of the waters of Israel! 14 Could I not wash in them and be healed?” So he turned around and went away angry. 13 His servants approached and said to him, “O master, 15 if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, 16 you would have been willing to do it. 17 It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash and you will be healed.” 18 14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. 19 His skin became as smooth as a young child’s 20 and he was healed.
15 He and his entire entourage returned to the prophet. Naaman 21 came and stood before him. He said, “For sure 22 I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel! Now, please accept a gift from your servant.” 16 But Elisha 23 replied, “As certainly as the Lord lives (whom I serve), 24 I will take nothing from you.” Naaman 25 insisted that he take it, but he refused. 17 Naaman said, “If not, then please give your servant a load of dirt, enough for a pair of mules to carry, 26 for your servant will never again offer a burnt offering or sacrifice to a god other than the Lord. 27 18 May the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to worship, and he leans on my arm and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” 28 19 Elisha 29 said to him, “Go in peace.”
When he had gone a short distance, 30 20 Gehazi, the prophet Elisha’s servant, thought, 31 “Look, my master did not accept what this Syrian Naaman offered him. 32 As certainly as the Lord lives, I will run after him and accept something from him.” 21 So Gehazi ran after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?” 33 22 He answered, “Everything is fine. 34 My master sent me with this message, ‘Look, two servants of the prophets just arrived from the Ephraimite hill country. 35 Please give them a talent 36 of silver and two suits of clothes.’” 23 Naaman said, “Please accept two talents of silver. 37 He insisted, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, along with two suits of clothes. He gave them to two of his servants and they carried them for Gehazi. 38 24 When he arrived at the hill, he took them from the servants 39 and put them in the house. Then he sent the men on their way. 40
25 When he came and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant hasn’t been anywhere.” 26 Elisha 41 replied, “I was there in spirit when a man turned and got down from his chariot to meet you. 42 This is not the proper time to accept silver or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, sheep, cattle, and male and female servants. 43 27 Therefore Naaman’s skin disease will afflict 44 you and your descendants forever!” When Gehazi 45 went out from his presence, his skin was as white as snow. 46
6 Some of the prophets 1 said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you 2 is too cramped 3 for us. 2 Let’s go to the Jordan. Each of us will get a log from there and we will build a meeting place for ourselves there.” He said, “Go.” 3 One of them said, “Please come along with your servants.” He replied, “All right, I’ll come.” 4 So he went with them. When they arrived at the Jordan, they started cutting down trees. 5 As one of them was felling a log, the ax head 4 dropped into the water. He shouted, “Oh no, 5 my master! It was borrowed!” 6 The prophet 6 asked, “Where did it drop in?” When he showed him the spot, Elisha 7 cut off a branch, threw it in at that spot, and made the ax head float. 7 He said, “Lift it out.” So he reached out his hand and grabbed it.
8 Now the king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his advisers, who said, “Invade 8 at such and such 9 a place.” 9 But the prophet sent this message to the king of Israel, “Make sure you don’t pass through this place because Syria is invading there.” 10 So the king of Israel sent a message to the place the prophet had pointed out, warning it 10 to be on its guard. This happened on several occasions. 11 11 This made the king of Syria upset. 12 So he summoned his advisers 13 and said to them, “One of us must be helping the king of Israel.” 14 12 One of his advisers said, “No, my master, O king. The prophet Elisha who lives in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the things you say in your bedroom.” 13 The king 15 ordered, “Go, find out where he is, so I can send some men to capture him.” 16 The king was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots there, along with a good-sized army. 17 They arrived during the night and surrounded the city.
15 The prophet’s 18 attendant got up early in the morning. When he went outside there was an army surrounding the city, along with horses and chariots. He said to Elisha, 19 “Oh no, my master! What will we do?” 16 He replied, “Don’t be afraid, for our side outnumbers them.” 20 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he can see.” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw that 21 the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 As they approached him, 22 Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people 23 with blindness.” 24 The Lord 25 struck them with blindness as Elisha requested. 26 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the right road or city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you’re looking for.” He led them to Samaria. 27
20 When they had entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open their eyes, so they can see.” The Lord opened their eyes and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria. 28 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Should I strike them down, 29 my master?” 30 22 He replied, “Do not strike them down! You did not capture them with your sword or bow, so what gives you the right to strike them down? 31 Give them some food and water, so they can eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he threw a big banquet 32 for them and they ate and drank. Then he sent them back 33 to their master. After that no Syrian raiding parties again invaded the land of Israel.
24 Later King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled his entire army and attacked 34 and besieged Samaria. 35 25 Samaria’s food supply ran out. 36 They laid siege to it so long that 37 a donkey’s head was selling for eighty shekels of silver 38 and a quarter of a kab 39 of dove’s droppings 40 for five shekels of silver. 41
26 While the king of Israel was passing by on the city wall, a woman shouted to him, “Help us, my master, O king!” 27 He replied, “No, let the Lord help you. How can I help you? The threshing floor and winepress are empty.” 42 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s your problem?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Hand over your son; we’ll eat him today and then eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. Then I said to her the next day, ‘Hand over your son and we’ll eat him.’ But she hid her son!” 30 When the king heard what the woman said, he tore his clothes. As he was passing by on the wall, the people could see he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 43 31 Then he said, “May God judge me severely 44 if Elisha son of Shaphat still has his head by the end of the day!” 45
32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the community leaders. 46 The king 47 sent a messenger on ahead, but before he arrived, 48 Elisha 49 said to the leaders, 50 “Do you realize this assassin intends to cut off my head?” 51 Look, when the messenger arrives, shut the door and lean against it. His master will certainly be right behind him.” 52 33 He was still talking to them when 53 the messenger approached 54 and said, “Look, the Lord is responsible for this disaster! 55 Why should I continue to wait for the Lord to help?”
7 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says, ‘About this time tomorrow a seah 1 of finely milled flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’” 2 An officer who was the king’s right-hand man 2 responded to the prophet, 3 “Look, even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” 4 Elisha 5 said, “Look, you will see it happen with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of the food!” 6
3 Now four men with a skin disease 7 were sitting at the entrance of the city gate. They said to one another, “Why are we just sitting here waiting to die? 8 4 If we go into the city, we’ll die of starvation, 9 and if we stay here we’ll die! So come on, let’s defect 10 to the Syrian camp! If they spare us, 11 we’ll live; if they kill us – well, we were going to die anyway.” 12 5 So they started toward 13 the Syrian camp at dusk. When they reached the edge of the Syrian camp, there was no one there. 6 The Lord had caused the Syrian camp to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a large army. Then they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has paid the kings of the Hittites and Egypt to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled at dusk, leaving behind their tents, horses, and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. 8 When the men with a skin disease reached the edge of the camp, they entered a tent and had a meal. 14 They also took some silver, gold, and clothes and went and hid it all. 15 Then they went back and entered another tent. They looted it 16 and went and hid what they had taken. 9 Then they said to one another, “It’s not right what we’re doing! This is a day to celebrate, but we haven’t told anyone. 17 If we wait until dawn, 18 we’ll be punished. 19 So come on, let’s go and inform the royal palace.” 10 So they went and called out to the gatekeepers 20 of the city. They told them, “We entered the Syrian camp and there was no one there. We didn’t even hear a man’s voice. 21 But the horses and donkeys are still tied up, and the tents remain up.” 22 11 The gatekeepers relayed the news to the royal palace. 23
12 The king got up in the night and said to his advisers, 24 “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know we are starving, so they left the camp and hid in the field, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will capture them alive and enter the city.’” 13 One of his advisers replied, “Pick some men and have them take five of the horses that are left in the city. (Even if they are killed, their fate will be no different than that of all the Israelite people – we’re all going to die!) 25 Let’s send them out so we can know for sure what’s going on.” 26 14 So they picked two horsemen and the king sent them out to track the Syrian army. 27 He ordered them, “Go and find out what’s going on.” 28 15 So they tracked them 29 as far as the Jordan. The road was filled with clothes and equipment that the Syrians had discarded in their haste. 30 The scouts 31 went back and told the king. 16 Then the people went out and looted the Syrian camp. A seah 32 of finely milled flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, just as the Lord had said they would. 33
17 Now the king had placed the officer who was his right-hand man 34 at the city gate. When the people rushed out, they trampled him to death in the gate. 35 This fulfilled the prophet’s word which he had spoken when the king tried to arrest him. 36 18 The prophet told the king, “Two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel, and a seah of finely milled flour for a shekel; this will happen about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria.” 19 But the officer replied to the prophet, “Look, even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” 37 Elisha 38 said, “Look, you will see it happen with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of the food!” 39 20 This is exactly what happened to him. The people trampled him to death in the city gate.