The next chapter starts out a little funny. A son of the prophet tells Elisha the place they live in is too narrow. Or in other words, the house where everyone is living is too small. He tells Elisha his plan of going to the Jordan River and building a new abode. Elisha says go ahead.
Replacing That Which Was Borrowed
So the sons of the prophet go to start cutting down wood around the Jordan River. And as they are cutting down wood, an ax head comes loose and flies into the river. The man says to Elisha, “Alas, Master! It was borrowed!” Honestly, this guy is good. He knows that when you borrow something and it breaks, you try to repair it and give it back in equal or greater value than when you first borrowed it.
If more people were like this in the world, I think it would be a happier place. A man back home in Utah liked to borrow our van (12 passengers) for relay races he was in. Every time he returned it, it was washed, vacuumed out, and had a full tank of gas. With gratitude like that, people can’t help but like you. I try to emulate that. I once borrowed an elder’s MRT (subway in Singapore) card because I forgot mine. He had maybe 8 Singapore dollars on it when I got it. Before I left to Johor Bahru ( in Malaysia) again, It had maybe 4-6 dollars. I topped it off with 20. That should be enough to last a few times going to Singapore.
The Floating Ax Head
Elisha asks where the ax head fell in. The man shows him. Elisha cuts down a stick and tosses it in the river and the ax head floats! The priesthood of God has power over laws such as gravity. What is another example, perhaps greater and more miraculous than the one just seen here? Jesus walking on water!
How did Elisha do this? I mean, I know he did it through the priesthood. What happened scientifically speaking so that this iron ax head was caused to swim? Was gravity negated? Was the chemical makeup tweaked so the iron could float? I have no idea how it happened. But one day I will. That’ll be the day.
but I think I know why he threw the stick in. At first, I thought it had to do with the scientific side of things. Maybe it actually did, I don’t know. I thought maybe in order to keep a balance of matter in the river because the ax head became lighter, he needed something to replace the displaced matter. In this case, it was a stick. I thought about it a little more and I was reminded of when Paul had a handkerchief that just by being next to him could heal the sick or cast out devils. Then I remembered Elisha’s staff which could do the same. I put two and two together and through maybe because the stick had been handled by Elisha, it had some of his spirit in it when he tossed it in the river. And, like Paul’s handkerchief curing sickness, the spirit in the stick caused the ax to float. But like I said earlier, I don’t know how it happened to save by the power of God. Elisha then tells him to pick it up out of the water and he does.
The War With Syria
The next part is more a bird’s eye view of what Elisha does.
Syria begins to war with Israel. The king of Syria counsels among his people where they will make their camp to attack. Elisha, being a prophet, tells the king of Israel not once, but twice, where this camp is and saves the king of Israel. The king of Syria is sorely afflicted because of this and asks the king of Israel how he knew his spot. The king replies that Elisha is a prophet and speaks the words spoken of in his (The king of Syria’s) bedchamber!
Every move you fake, every plan you make, every tent you stake, I’ll be watching you! Imagine being the king of Syria and realizing that the God of Israel was spying on them! And then telling on them to Elisha who told the King, who continued to beat them up! It would be horrible and freaky! Not only that, but he knows your desires and your thoughts. So even if you don’t speak, God would still know what you were up to. There is no hiding. The God of Israel always supports his followers. Satan disposes of his followers when they become of no more use to him.
Trying to Kill Elisha
The King of Syria asks his people to go spy on the whereabouts of Elisha. They come back saying he is in Dothan. Cross reference the bible dictionary entry on Dothan. It’s a town 10 miles north of Samaria, well known for its pastures. Cross reference map 10 as well. it’s also the place where joseph was sold into slavery. The king of Syria sends a great host of soldiers to surround the city at night. They also had horses and chariots. The next morning, Elisha’s servant (unnamed) sees the great host surrounding the city and asks his master what they are going to do. Elisha says a pretty epic line right here, “Fear not: they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
The Army of God
Elisha prays to God that his servant’s eyes may be opened. They are and he sees the mountain full of horses and chariots of FIRE! Plus, they can’t die. Pretty much an unbeatable army. Can you imagine seeing something like that? That would probably be one of the coolest things. It says that Elisha prayed on behalf of his servant that his eyes would be opened. Elisha obviously already had seen the host. Do you think Elisha had no veil or select things/parts of the veil removed so he could see an army of spirits? If so, to what extent does this apply to the prophet now? I don’t think he goes around every day like the Sixth Sense movie seeing spirit of dead people. But I do think if need be, God has no problem opening his eyes. Same with the 12 apostles. They have seen Jesus Christ. It would not surprise me if they had a little less veil. I think what this scripture says is true. Not only applied to the circumstances in which it was said, but also today. It may look like an army of darkness is surrounding us, ready to bring about our destruction. At times even, it appears there is no visible way to escape. Following in the footsteps of Elisha and turning to God to reveal to us what we are supposed to do. I think in a real sense, God reveals that those that are with us, are always more than those that are with them. And God will open our eyes, like he did with Elisha’s servants, to all the people gathered about to protect us.
When the Syrian host comes down to the city, Elisha prays to the Lord to smite the host with blindness. The Lord does. Imagine that many people struck blind! A giant army goes blind all at the same time! Elisha comes out to meet them. He calls to them saying, “This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek.” And he leads them to Samaria.
His voice must have been disguised or they may have recognized it. Also, maybe Heavenly Father blessed them to forget why they were there. I don’t know how you could get away with saying this is the wrong city when you are camping around it the night before and you know this is the right city. But they did arrive at night. Maybe it’s true they hadn’t confirmed yet if this was the correct city. I think they have more important things to worry about right now so they don’t really want to attack right now. They have to worry about their sight. Heck, if I was blind and I had to kill someone, I wouldn’t. But if someone came and told me what Elisha told them, I’d follow. He’s going to be my eyes. I’m grateful to him. I’m not really in an emotional state to think I’m being bamboozled. I still would have liked him to be there and seen how that conversation went.
Prisoners of War
Elisha leads the Syrian host to Samaria. Once they arrive in the midst of the King of Israel, Elisha prays to God and has their blindness lifted. They look around and see they are in the heart of Israel. No use in fighting now. The King of Israel sees this and asks Elisha if he should smite them. Elisha says, “No.” Would you kill your prisoners of war? Elisha tells the king to feed them bread and water and them back to Syria. Cross reference Romans 12:20. This says to feed your enemies if they are hungry and give them drink if they are thirsty. That in so doing, you “heap coals of fire on his head.” I take this to mean you shame them, make them feel guilty for coming against you because you turned the other cheek and served them. You rose above the base feelings and transcended into a higher realm of the living.
This is what happens and after everyone has been fed and given drink, they are sent on their way back to Syria, no more to come back into the land of Israel.