God’s Word Goes Forth: Pursue Peace and Justice
2 Kings 6:8-23: The Syrians are at war with Israel, and the Syrian king suspects that there is a traitor in their midst because plans to ambush the Israelites continue to fail. But it is the prophet Elisha who is able to forewarn the king of Israel about the Syrian’s plans. The king of Syria attempts to capture Elisha, but Elisha prays to God and is spared. When the Syrians are surrounded by the Israelite army, Elisha dissuades the king of Israel from killing them and instead instructs the king to prepare a feast for their enemies.
Today's Scripture: 2 Kings 6:22b
“Give them something to eat and drink, and let them return to their king.”
8 The king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his officers and chose a place to set up his camp. 9 But Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, warning him not to go near that place, because the Syrians were waiting in ambush there. 10 So the king of Israel warned the people who lived in that place, and they were on guard. This happened several times. 11 The Syrian king became greatly upset over this; he called in his officers and asked them, “Which one of you is on the side of the king of Israel?” 12 One of them answered, “No one is, Your Majesty. The prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel what you say even in the privacy of your own room.” 13 “Find out where he is,” the king ordered, “and I will capture him.” When he was told that Elisha was in Dothan, 14 he sent a large force there with horses and chariots. They reached the town at night and surrounded it. 15 Early the next morning Elisha's servant got up, went out of the house, and saw the Syrian troops with their horses and chariots surrounding the town. He went back to Elisha and exclaimed, “We are doomed, sir! What shall we do?” 16 “Don't be afraid,” Elisha answered. “We have more on our side than they have on theirs.” 17 Then he prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see! ” The LORD answered his prayer, and Elisha's servant looked up and saw the hillside covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When the Syrians attacked, Elisha prayed, “O LORD, strike these men blind! ” The LORD answered his prayer and struck them blind. 19 Then Elisha went to them and said, “You are on the wrong road; this is not the town you are looking for. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are after.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 As soon as they had entered the city, Elisha prayed, “Open their eyes, LORD, and let them see. ” The LORD answered his prayer; he restored their sight, and they saw that they were inside Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw the Syrians, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, sir? Shall I kill them?” 22 “No,” he answered. “Not even soldiers you had captured in combat would you put to death. Give them something to eat and drink, and let them return to their king.” 23 So the king of Israel provided a great feast for them; and after they had eaten and drunk, he sent them back to the king of Syria. From then on the Syrians stopped raiding the land of Israel.
What advice did Elisha give the king of Israel? What was the final result? Does the ending of this story surprise you? Why or why not? In the ancient Near East, preparing a meal, such as the one described in today’s reading, often was part of sealing an agreement or settlement. What are your thoughts about employing this practice today?
Open my eyes, Lord, and help me to see and know and do your will. Teach me your ways, and help me to be an instrument of your peace. Amen.
The civil unrest in the Mideast
Job 32:1-22: After listening to advice from three friends, Job hears what a young man has to say.