2 Kings Chapter 6  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: 2 Kings 6
2Ki 6:1

“live before you.” The Hebrew is literally, “live before you,” and in this context “before you” means “under your oversight,” “under your charge,” etc., (cp. ESV). The reading “live before you” might be taken to mean that they lived close by where Elisha lived, and that meaning is not necessarily correct.

2Ki 6:2(top)
2Ki 6:3(top)
2Ki 6:4(top)
2Ki 6:5

“the log.” That is, the man was cutting down the tree that would become the log that the man wanted, so he was said to be cutting down the log he wanted.

“Oh no, my lord! It was borrowed!” This could also be translated, “Oh no! O my lord Elisha, it was borrowed!” We do not know exactly how the man said it.

2Ki 6:6

“whittled down a stick.” The Hebrew does not use the common words that mean “cut down” or “chop down” as if Elisha just chopped a branch off the tree and threw it in the water. He took a stick and whittled down the end so it would fit in the ax head and then threw the stick into the water. The miracle is that the stick went right in to the hole in the ax head and stuck firmly enough that the stick with the ax head floated to the surface. The Bible does not give us a hint as to how far from the bank of the Jordan the ax head fell, but depending on how hard the man was swinging the ax it could have been quite a ways out.

There is possibly a shadow of comparison here in 2 Kings 6:6 between Moses and Elisha. After the Exodus, when Israel came to Marah, the water was too bitter to drink, so Yahweh showed Moses a stick to throw into the water so the water would be drinkable and help Israel out of a difficult situation (Exod. 15:25). Here Elisha throws a stick into the Jordan River to help one of the prophets under Elisha out of a difficult situation.

2Ki 6:7(top)
2Ki 6:8

“servants.” In this context, the “servants” are his top military commanders, just as Naaman was the servant to the king (2 Kings 5:6).

2Ki 6:9

“the king of Israel.” Jehoram was reigning over Israel at this time (cp. 2 Kings 3:6).

2Ki 6:10

“not once or twice.” The idiom means many times.

2Ki 6:11(top)
2Ki 6:12(top)
2Ki 6:13(top)
2Ki 6:14

“So he sent horses, chariots.” These horses and chariots are no match for the horses and chariots of fire sent by Yahweh (2 Kings 6:17).

2Ki 6:15(top)
2Ki 6:16(top)
2Ki 6:17(top)
2Ki 6:18

“blindness.” This is a kind of mental blindness. See commentary on Genesis 19:11. The word for “blindness” is more literally a “blinding light.”

2Ki 6:19

“Samaria.” Samaria was the capital city of Israel and was well fortified and had Israelite troops in it.

2Ki 6:20(top)
2Ki 6:21

“the king of Israel.” Jehoram was reigning over Israel at this time (cp. 2 Kings 3:6).

“My father.” Here used as “mentor,” “guide,” or perhaps better here, “authority.” [For more information on the uses of “father” in the Bible, see commentary on Genesis 4:20. For information on the disciples of a Rabbi being called his “sons,” see commentary on Matthew 12:27. For information on the disciples of a Rabbi being called “orphans” if the Rabbi died or left the area, see commentary on John 14:18, “orphans”].

“should I strike them down, should I strike them down?” The king of Israel is very excited here.

2Ki 6:22

“Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive?” Elisha is asking Jehoram if he would kill people he had taken captive, the obvious answer being “no.”

“bread and water.” This is an understatement for a meal or a feast (cp. 2 Kings 6:23).

“lord.” A grammatical plural; literally “lords” but meaning “lord,” i.e., the king of Syria.

2Ki 6:23

“the raiding bands of Syria stopped coming.” The actions of Elisha stopped the raiding parties that had come into Israel from Syria, but that did not long preclude full scale war between the two countries, as we see in 2 Kings 6:24.

“lord.” A grammatical plural; literally “lords” but meaning “lord,” i.e., the king of Syria.

2Ki 6:24(top)
2Ki 6:25

“dove’s dung.” This is almost certainly not actual dove’s dung, but is idiomatic for something that no one would normally eat. The NET text note points this out: “Based on evidence from Akkadian, M. Cogan and H. Tadmor (II Kings [AB], 79) suggest that ‘dove’s dung’ was a popular name for the inedible husks of seeds” The NIV follows this idea, and reads, “and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels. The NJB has “wild onions” instead of “dove’s dung,” but that is an assumption. It has also been suggested that a “donkey’s head” was not the actual head of a donkey but was some other inedible thing, but there is less evidence for that than there is for the dove’s dung.

2Ki 6:26

“the king of Israel.” Jehoram was reigning over Israel at this time (cp. 2 Kings 3:6).

2Ki 6:27(top)
2Ki 6:28

“What is troubling you.” The Hebrew text is idiomatic, “What to you,” meaning, “What is your problem,” “What is wrong?” The idiomatic Hebrew explains why the English versions differ so greatly.

“Give your son, that we may eat him today.” Parents eating their children was part of the curse for disobeying Yahweh (Deut. 28:53).

2Ki 6:29

“another day.” Although most versions say “the next day,” the Hebrew word means “another.”

2Ki 6:30(top)
2Ki 6:31

“May God do so to me, and more also.” This is a curse formula. If literally fulfilled, Jehoram was saying that if Elisha was still alive at sunset, which was the start of the new day in Jewish time, then Jehoram should be executed. Of course, he never honored his statement.

“if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat will stay on him.” This is an abrupt turn around from Jehoram’s behavior in 2 Kings 6:20-23, when king Jehoram listened and apparently honored Elisha. But Jehoram was an ungodly man who did evil in the sight of Yahweh (2 Kings 3:1), and he was the son of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 3:1; 9:22), so idolatry ran deep in his family and heritage. Although when he started to reign he put a stop to some of the outright worship of Baal, by the end of his life his kingdom was rife with Baal worship, which Jehu tried to end (2 Kings 9:21-26; 10:18-28).

Jehoram seemed to have governed his life like his father Ahab did; weak-willed and emotionally unstable, he acted on the way he was feeling at the time rather than on well thought out principles and practices. He likely thought that if he had killed the army of Syria when he had the chance that this attack would not have happened, and since Elisha advised him not to kill them, this siege and famine was his fault.

2Ki 6:32

“the king.” The Hebrew text is literally just “he,” but “the king” is inserted for clarity in English.

“lord’s.” This is a grammatical plural, but the reference is to the king of Israel.

2Ki 6:33

“the messenger came down.” Some English versions read “the king came down,” which seems to make more sense, but the Hebrew text reads “messenger.” If it is the messenger, he speaks the words of the king.


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