Sunday, August 29, 2010

2 Kings, Chapter 6

More miraculous works of Elisha the super-prophet.

Some of the sons of the prophets want to build a new city over by the Jordan river. Elisha agrees to go with them. As one of them is chopping down trees, his shoddy, Wal-mart-bought axe head flies off and lands in the river. The man dispairs because apparently axes are in short supply, but Elisha is there with his magic staff and he touches the water with it and behold! the axe head floats to the surface and starts swimming around. Freaky.

Next, the Syrians invade. No, the transition sequences in this book are not well done. Anyway, they invade and set up camp somewhere. Elisha warns the Israelite king not to go where the camp is. And he doesn't! Apparently that counts as a miracle. The Syrian king is frustrated at his inability to capture the Israelite king and asks his servants which of them is the mole, but it's none of them, because Elisha can hear what he says in his chambers. Spooky! He sends some of his chariots to capture Elisha.

Elisha is in the town of Dothan when the chariots arrive. His servants are afraid, but he's relaxed. He prays and suddenly a bunch of chariots and horses appears out of a mountain and surrounds him. Then he asks god to make the Syrians blind. He also makes them stupid, because Elisha then asks them to follow him, and takes them all the way to Samaria, where he asks god to restore their vision.

The king of Israel isn't quite sure what to do with the Syrians, and asks Elisha if he should smite them or what. Elisha is an early follower of the Geneva convention and orders him not to smite them but instead to give them food and water, then send them home. They don't come back for awhile.

When they do come back, they besiege Samaria for so long that an ass' head becomes worth 80 shekels and people are eating dove dung. One day, the king is taking a tour around the walls when a woman cries out to him that her neighbour proposed eating her son for dinner that day, and the neighbour's son the following day. So they did, only now the neighbour has hidden her son. Bet you never heard this story in Sunday school. He rends his clothes and sends for Elisha, but the people are getting mighty skeptical about god.

To be continued in the next chapter...

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