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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

2 Kings 6

Verses 1-7


More miracles of care (5:1-6:7)

Syria was Israel’s most powerful neighbour during Elisha’s lifetime, and was a constant source of trouble around Israel’s borders. When the Syrian army commander Naaman approached the king of Israel with a request to be treated for leprosy, the king of Israel interpreted this as a trick by Syria aimed at creating war (5:1-7). Elisha, however, saw it as an opportunity to reveal God’s power to the military commander whom God was preserving to lead Syria against Israel (8-14). Naaman’s knowledge of the one true God was still imperfect, but at least he had a more sincere faith than many of the Israelites (15-19; cf. Luke 4:27).

Elisha had refused payment for the healing, as he was God’s servant, not a wonder-worker looking for money (see v. 15-16). But most of the prophets lived in poverty, and Gehazi could not resist the temptation to seek some financial benefit from the miracle. Fittingly, he was punished by receiving Naaman’s leprosy (20-27).
In one school of the prophets, their accommodation needed rebuilding, but during the work a borrowed axe head was lost. For people who could not afford an axe in the first place, this was no small loss. Again God met his people’s need, showing they could always depend on him (6:1-7).


Verses 8-33


Miracles of warning to Israel (6:8-8:15)

The remaining stories of Elisha concentrate on his dealings with the rulers of Israel and Syria. God was going to use Syria to punish Israel for its sin during the period of the Omri dynasty, but first he had various lessons to teach the two nations.
On one occasion when Israel and Syria were fighting each other, Elisha repeatedly warned the Israelite king of Syrian ambushes (8-10). The Syrian king was furious when he learnt why his ambushes failed, and sent an army to capture Elisha. Instead Elisha took control of the Syrian soldiers and led them to the Israelite capital, Samaria (11-19).
Israel’s king thought this a perfect opportunity to slaughter the enemy, but Elisha directed him to feed them and release them. As a result peace was temporarily restored between Israel and Syria. The whole story was a lesson to both countries that God controlled their destinies (20-23).
Some time later the Syrians returned and besieged Samaria. With people dying of starvation and no help from God in sight, the king blamed Elisha for the trouble and tried to murder him (24-33). Elisha assured the king there would be plenty of food the next day (7:1-2), but when a report reached the king that it had arrived, he was slow to believe (3-12). The report was true, and at least one person was trampled to death as people rushed to buy (13-20).
In spite of the judgment that had begun to fall on Israel, God was still caring for those who were faithful to him. The woman whose son had been raised to life (see 4:8-37) was saved from poverty by being warned of a famine soon to hit Israel. She went and lived elsewhere during the famine, but by God’s control of events she received back all her property when she returned to Israel (8:1-6).

Meanwhile God was continuing to prepare Syria to be his instrument to punish Israel. The king Ben-hadad was seriously ill, but he would have recovered had not Hazael murdered him. Hazael then became king. Elisha wept when he saw the terrible suffering that Hazael would bring upon Israel (7-15; cf. 1 Kings 19:15).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 6". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/2-kings-6.html. 2005.