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Read 2 Kings 6

An Axhead Floats

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”

And he said, “Go.”

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Famine in Besieged Samaria

24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

27 The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” 33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.

The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Go Deeper

Elisha’s sense of assuredness throughout this chapter is striking. In the midst of being pursued by kings and armies trying to kill him, Elisha is not shaken. He continues to prophesy with confidence. What is his secret? How does he continue to move forward with so much confidence when there are people out for his blood? 2 Kings 6:16 gives us the answer.

Elisha says to his servant, “‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” Then, Elisha prays for his servant. Trembling with fear, the servant’s eyes are opened, and he is now able to see what Elisha has been able to see all along – God’s angel army surrounding them. Elisha, the man of God, knows the players in the battle, and he knows that God is protecting him. Why should he fear? Clarity of sight is the key to Elisha’s assuredness.

It is so easy for us to lose sight. We are faced with busyness, conflict, pain, death, insecurity, and the list goes on. Blinded by our own desire for control, our loss of sight causes anxiety and fear to take hold in our lives. We forget that we serve the God who is in control of all things, is holding all things, and is with us at all times. Elisha’s words in verse 16 are reminiscent of 1 John 4:4, which says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Scripture reminds us that God is with us at all times through the Holy Spirit in us. We can live with the same clarity of sight that Elisha had. We can see every circumstance for what it truly is – a spiritual battle in a war that God has already won. When we are overcome with fear, worry, and anxiety, let us turn toward God for the clarity we desire. Our God is greater than the enemy of this world, and is greater than anything we might face. Knowing God with us is our greatest confidence.


  1. How does an awareness of God’s presence with you in every circumstance, even right now, change your perspective?
  2. What are you facing right now that might be prompting you to turn toward God?
  3. Memorize 1 John 4:4 today and remember God’s presence in you through the Holy Spirit.

Pray This

Father, give us clarity of sight today to see this life through your eyes. May we walk with assurance knowing the war has already been won and you have secured the victory. May we lean on you in humility, and rely on your presence with confidence to face this day and all that it holds. Give us steadfastness and strength that can only come from walking in relationship with you. Thank you that you are with us and go before us, and for the security we have in you. Open our eyes to see your glory and goodness on display all around us today. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, amen.

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5 thoughts on “2 Kings 6”

  1. This is so encouraging to me today. I love seeing the peace of Elisha in the midst of chaos. I asked God this year to help me to go deeper in trusting Him more and boy-howdy how He is taking me up on that🙂. Trials are not fun but oh, how I’m enjoying (not all the time😉) the freedom of dependence on Him.

  2. Interesting perspective.. .
    What I gathered was that this passage proves that blindness was of God’s doing. To fulfill a purpose for peace. Even in the midst of their blindness their anger to fight vanished when food was set before them.
    Last night in bible study we read in Matthew 23 where Jesus is setting the Pharisees straight. V24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
    Sometimes sin blinds us, then there are times God blinds us. But it’s used all through the Bible to show us the only one to give us sight is Jesus. I think too, we have to be merciful to those who can’t see God’s army surrounding them. We do need to prepare a feast in the presence of our enemies.

    1. Oh Wow! I just listened to T.Evans, and his devotional sermon today titled “Blessed are the Pure in Heart” and he referenced this passage today. It’s all about “seeing” God.

  3. We sing the song in HC the Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham. It has been and will continue to be my battle song. Phil talks about he took and wrote about the Battle in 2Chronicles 20. In 20:15 it says Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude for the battle is not your’s but God’s!! WOOHOO!! BUT GOD He always is with us we are the ones who turn away, never Him. He is also never but a breath away from us when we need Him. We have to constantly put on our new self, Colossians 3:1 Therefore if you have been raised with Christ keep seeking the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above (heavenly things) not on things that are on earth (which have only temporal value). We have an army like Elisha’s and the battle Belongs to God.
    Thank You God for the battle I am in. Thank You that I seek You every step of the way. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit giving me nudgings all along. Thank You for listening ears and obedience. God glory and blessings and honor to You!!!! Gratefulness thankfulness and an overflowing heart in Jesus name amen

  4. Ella Snodgrass

    Whether the trial we face is big or small, where our trust & allegiance lies matters. I’m learning to see hardship as sacred experiences where some of God’s greatest work is revealed, both in scripture and personally. God’s care and provision is evidenced in something as insignificant as a floating ax head to Elisha bring trapped by King Aram. Deliverance came through faith in the power of Almighty God. Not for a moment do we need to forget whose side we are on! Romans 8:32 speaks profoundly, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not also with Him freely give us all things?”

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