Monday, July 10, 2017

Elisha and the siege of Samaria - Part 2


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 1
The story so far … King Jehoram and the people of Samaria were starving. King Benhadad and the Syrian army had surrounded the city to stop food getting in.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 2
However the prophet Elisha had predicted that within 24 hours there would be plenty of food, so much that it would be cheap. How could that be possible?
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 3
At this point in the story, we go out of the city of Samaria, to a place where those with leprosy were forced to live. They felt trapped. ‘There is no food in the city and if we go to the Syrian army they will probably kill us. Either way we are going to die.’


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 4
‘But,’ said one of the men, ‘if we just sit here, we’ll die too. How about we beg the enemy soldiers for food? They might kill us, but no matter what we do, we are going to die anyway!’
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 5
‘Good idea,’ said the other three men with leprosy. ‘If the soldiers kill us it will be a quick death, rather than a slow and hungry one.’
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 6
So they set off towards the enemy camp.


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 7
But when they got there it was eerily quiet. No-one was there. They looked around, expecting to be captured but the camp was empty.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 8
Where was the enemy army? The Bible tells us that shortly before the men with leprosy arrived, God made the loud sound of a huge army of horses and chariots. The Syrian army were so scared they ran for their lives.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 9
The terrified men had dropped everything and fled, absolutely terrified. They left tents, beds, chairs, tables, horses, tools, weapons, clothes, ornaments, money … and food!’


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 10
The men with leprosy could not believe their eyes and tucked into the food. Then they gathered valuable goods and dug a hole to hide them in.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 11
But then they stopped and thought, ‘Hey this is a incredible day. But shouldn’t we go and tell the king? Everyone in the city is staving.’
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 12
The men walked back to the city and when they got there, the king was in bed. He did not like being woken up and when he heard the news, instead of being happy, he was suspicious.


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 13
‘I know what these crafty Syrians are doing, he said. ‘They have pretended to leave so that when we come out of the city, they’ll pounce on us. It’s an ambush!’
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 14
One of the king’s servants had a suggestion. ‘How about we send some men on horses to have a good look around? If they are killed we’ll know it is a trick.’
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 15
The King liked this idea and so the horsemen were dispatched. They reported that the whole camp had been abandoned and there was not a Syrian soldier in sight.


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 16
Now while this was going on, the people in the city had heard the news. Some of them could not wait and rushed out of the city gate and raced to get to be first to the food.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 17
Food! And heaps of it! All free! Fine wine, milk, butter, cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread, nuts … what a feast!
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 18
Now the king didn’t want the crowd stampeding through the gate, so he ordered the gate to be shut and put an officer in charge of the gate. Can you guess who the officer was?


Elisha and the siege of Samaria 19
You may remember (from part 1 of this story), that an officer had sneered when Elisha had predicted God would provide food for everyone. And Elisha had told this officer that he would see the food but not eat it. Well, it was this same officer that the king had put in charge of the gate.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 20
Well he stood there frantically trying to stop the hungry crowd rushing out to the food. But the staving people were so desperate to eat they just kept pushing, shoving and running. The poor guard was knocked to the ground and trampled underfoot.
Elisha and the siege of Samaria 21
So just as Elisha had said, the officer saw the food, but did not eat any of it.


Elisha and the siege of Samaria - Part 2
God delivers the city of Samaria from the Syrians and fulfils every word of Elisha's prophecy.
2 Kings 7:3-20


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