Bible Commentary: 2 Kings 6:24-7:20

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2 Kings 6:24-7:20

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Miraculous Delivery From Famine 

After a lengthy siege of Samaria under Syrian King Ben-Hadad II, famine had broken out in the city—so severe that women were cannibalizing their own children (2 Kings 6:28-29). Somehow, King Jehoram of Israel blamed Elisha for this tragic state of affairs (verse 31). Elisha, though, told the king that God would deliver those in Samaria and provide food for them the very next day: "You will be able to buy a large sack of flour or two large sacks of barley for almost nothing" (7:1, Contemporary English Version). But this seemed impossible under the circumstances. The chief officer accompanying the king responded, "Look, if the Lord would make windows from heaven, could this thing be?" (verse 2). The Contemporary English Version paraphrases this as, "I don't believe it! Even if the Lord sent a rainstorm, it couldn't produce that much grain by tomorrow"—that is, produce enough to make grain cheap during a famine. However, through a chain of miraculous events carefully directed by God, Elisha's prophecy came true. The fleeing Syrians abandoned all their foodstuffs. And the doubting officer was "accidentally" killed and therefore could not enjoy the food, just as Elisha had announced (verses 2, 17-20).

This passage should serve as a good example for us. Many times, when we are in need and distress, there does not seem to be relief in sight, and we begin to doubt God's powerful might to work miracles. If we can't "see" HOW it could happen, we don't believe THAT it will happen. But we are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Christ pronounces a special blessing on him who does not see but still believes (John 20:29). We don't have to know how God will intervene—but we must believe that everything will work out for good as long as we love God (Romans 8:28). But if we doubt, as the officer did, we won't receive anything from God, as James 1:6-8 tells us.