This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 6 (of 11) in Section 8: "The Kings of Israel and Judah, and Disaster and Prosperity Brought on the Two Kingdoms According to Their Obedience or Disobedience to God".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
2 Kings Chapter 5 (TEV)
1 Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was highly respected and esteemed by the king of Syria, because through Naaman the Lord had given victory to the Syrian forces. He was a great soldier, but he suffered from a dreaded skin disease.
2 In one of their raids against Israel, the Syrians had carried off a little Israelite girl, who became a servant of Naaman's wife. 3 One day she said to her mistress, "I wish that my master could go to the prophet who lives in Samaria! He would cure him of his disease."
4 When Naaman heard of this, he went to the king and told him what the girl had said. 5 The king said, "Go to the king of Israel and take this letter to him."
So Naaman set out, taking thirty thousand pieces of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of fine clothes. 6 The letter that he took read:
"This letter will introduce my officer Naaman. I want you to cure him of his disease."
7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and exclaimed, "How can the king of Syria expect me to cure this man? Does he think that I am God, with the power of life and death? It's plain that he is trying to start a quarrel with me!"
8 When the prophet Elisha heard what had happened, he sent word to the king: "Why are you so upset? Send the man to me, and I'll show him that there is a prophet in Israel!"
9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariot and stopped at the entrance to Elisha's house.
10 Elisha sent a servant out to tell him to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan River, and he would be completely cured of his disease.
11 But Naaman left in a rage, saying, "I thought that he would at least come out to me, pray to the Lord his God, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and cure me! 12 Besides, aren't the rivers Abana and Pharpar, back in Damascus, better than any river in Israel? I could have washed in them and been cured!"
13 His servants went up to him and said, "Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can't you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?"
14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan, dipped himself in it seven times, as Elisha had instructed, and he was completely cured. His flesh became firm and healthy like that of a child.
15 He returned to Elisha with all his men and said, "Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel; so please, sir, accept a gift from me."
16 Elisha answered, "By the living Lord, whom I serve, I swear that I will not accept a gift."
Naaman insisted that he accept it, but he would not. 17 So Naaman said, "If you won't accept my gift, then let me have two mule-loads of earth to take home with me, because from now on I will not offer sacrifices or burnt offerings to any god except the Lord. 18 So I hope that the Lord will forgive me when I accompany my king to the temple of Rimmon, the god of Syria, and worship him. Surely the Lord will forgive me!"
19 "Go in peace," Elisha said. And Naaman left.
He had gone only a short distance, 20 when Elisha's servant Gehazi said to himself, "My master has let Naaman get away without paying a thing! He should have accepted what that Syrian offered him. By the living Lord I will run after him and get something from him." 21 So he set off after Naaman.
When Naaman saw a man running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him, and asked, "Is something wrong?"
22 "No," Gehazi answered. "But my master sent me to tell you that just now two members of the group of prophets in the hill country of Ephraim arrived, and he would like you to give them three thousand pieces of silver and two changes of fine clothes."
23 "Please take six thousand pieces of silver," Naaman replied.
He insisted on it, tied up the silver in two bags, gave them and two changes of fine clothes to two of his servants, and sent them on ahead of Gehazi.
24 When they reached the hill where Elisha lived, Gehazi took the two bags and carried them into the house. Then he sent Naaman's servants back. 25 He went back into the house, and Elisha asked him, "Where have you been?"
"Oh, nowhere, sir," he answered.
26 But Elisha said, "Wasn't I there in spirit when the man got out of his chariot to meet you? This is no time to accept money and clothes, ...! 27 And now Naaman's disease will come upon you, and you and your descendants will have it forever!"
When Gehazi left, he had the disease-his skin was as white as snow.
2 Kings chapter 6 (TEV)
1 One day the group of prophets that Elisha was in charge of complained to him, "The place where we live is too small! 2 Give us permission to go to the Jordan and cut down some trees, so that we can build a place to live."
"All right," Elisha answered.
3 One of them urged him to go with them; he agreed, 4 and they set out together.
When they arrived at the Jordan, they began to work. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, suddenly his iron ax head fell in the water.
"What shall I do, sir?" he exclaimed to Elisha. "It was a borrowed ax!"
6 "Where did it fall?" Elisha asked.
The man showed him the place, and Elisha cut off a stick, threw it in the water, and made the ax head float. 7 "Take it out," he ordered, and the man reached down and picked it up.
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.
24 Some time later King Benhadad of Syria led his entire army against Israel and laid siege to the city of Samaria. 25 As a result of the siege the food shortage in the city was so severe that a donkey's head cost eighty pieces of silver, and half a pound of dove's dung cost five pieces of silver.
26 The king of Israel was walking by on the city wall when a woman cried out, "Help me, Your Majesty!"
27 He replied, "If the Lord won't help you, what help can I provide? Do I have any wheat or wine? 28 What's your trouble?"
She answered, "The other day this woman here suggested that we eat my child, and then eat her child the next day. 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her that we would eat her son, but she had hidden him!"
30 Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in dismay, and the people who were close to the wall could see that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31 He exclaimed, "May God strike me dead if Elisha is not beheaded before the day is over!" 32 And he sent a messenger to get Elisha.
Meanwhile Elisha was at home with some elders who were visiting him. Before the king's messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, "That murderer is sending someone to kill me! Now, when he gets here, shut the door and don't let him come in. The king himself will be right behind him." 33 He had hardly finished saying this, when the king arrived and said, "It's the Lord who has brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for him to do something?"
2 Kings chapter 7 (TEV)
1 Elisha answered, "Listen to what the Lord says! By this time tomorrow you will be able to buy in Samaria ten pounds of the best wheat or twenty pounds of barley for one piece of silver."
2 The personal attendant of the king said to Elisha, "That can't happen-not even if the Lord himself were to send grain at once!"
"You will see it happen, but you won't get to eat any of the food," Elisha replied.
3 Four men who were suffering from a dreaded skin disease were outside the gates of Samaria, and they said to each other, "Why should we wait here until we die? 4 It's no use going into the city, because we would starve to death in there; but if we stay here, we'll die also. So let's go to the Syrian camp; the worst they can do is kill us, but maybe they will spare our lives."
5 So, as it began to get dark, they went to the Syrian camp, but when they reached it, no one was there. 6 The Lord had made the Syrians hear what sounded like the advance of a large army with horses and chariots, and the Syrians thought that the king of Israel had hired Hittite and Egyptian kings and their armies to attack them. 7 So that evening the Syrians had fled for their lives, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys, and leaving the camp just as it was.
8 When the four men reached the edge of the camp, they went into a tent, ate and drank what was there, grabbed the silver, gold, and clothing they found, and went off and hid them; then they returned, entered another tent, and did the same thing. 9 But then they said to each other, "We shouldn't be doing this! We have good news, and we shouldn't keep it to ourselves. If we wait until morning to tell it, we are sure to be punished. Let's go right now and tell the king's officers!"
10 So they left the Syrian camp, went back to Samaria, and called out to the guards at the gates: "We went to the Syrian camp and didn't see or hear anybody; the horses and donkeys have not been untied, and the tents are just as the Syrians left them."
11 The guards announced the news, and it was reported in the palace.
12 It was still night, but the king got out of bed and said to his officials, "I'll tell you what the Syrians are planning! They know about the famine here, so they have left their camp to go and hide in the countryside. They think that we will leave the city to find food, and then they will take us alive and capture the city."
13 One of his officials said, "The people here in the city are doomed anyway, like those that have already died. So let's send some men with five of the horses that are left, so that we can find out what has happened."
14 They chose some men, and the king sent them in two chariots with instructions to go and find out what had happened to the Syrian army. 15 The men went as far as the Jordan, and all along the road they saw the clothes and equipment that the Syrians had abandoned as they fled. Then they returned and reported to the king. 16 The people of Samaria rushed out and looted the Syrian camp. And as the Lord had said, ten pounds of the best wheat or twenty pounds of barley were sold for one piece of silver.
17 It so happened that the king of Israel had put the city gate under the command of the officer who was his personal attendant. The officer was trampled to death there by the people and died, as Elisha had predicted when the king went to see him. 18 Elisha had told the king that by that time the following day ten pounds of the best wheat or twenty pounds of barley would be sold in Samaria for one piece of silver, 19 to which the officer had answered, "That can't happen-not even if the Lord himself were to send grain at once!" And Elisha had replied, "You will see it happen, but you won't get to eat any of the food." 20 And that is just what happened to him-he died, trampled to death by the people at the city gate.
2 Kings chapter 8 (NRSV)
1 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, "Get up and go with your household, and settle wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come on the land for seven years."
2 So the woman got up and did according to the word of the man of God; she went with her household and settled in the land of the Philistines seven years.
3 At the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she set out to appeal to the king for her house and her land.
4 Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, "Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done." 5 While he was telling the king how Elisha had restored a dead person to life, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. Gehazi said, "My lord king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life."
6 When the king questioned the woman, she told him.
So the king appointed an official for her, saying, "Restore all that was hers, together with all the revenue of the fields from the day that she left the land until now."
2 Kings chapter 8 (CEV)
7 Some time later Elisha went to the capital city of Damascus to visit King Benhadad of Syria, who was sick. And when Benhadad was told he was there, 8 he said to Hazael, "Go meet with Elisha the man of God and have him ask the LORD if I will get well. And take along a gift for him."
9 Hazael left with forty camel loads of the best things made in Damascus as a gift for Elisha. He found the prophet and said, "Your servant, King Benhadad, wants to know if he will get well."
10 "Tell him he will," Elisha said to Hazael. "But the LORD has already told me that Benhadad will definitely die."
11 Elisha stared at him until Hazael was embarrassed, then Elisha began crying.
12 "Sir, why are you crying?" Hazael asked.
Elisha answered, "Because I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel.
You will burn down their walled cities and slaughter their young men. You will even crush the heads of their babies and rip open their pregnant women."
13 "How could I ever do anything like that?" Hazael replied. "I'm only a servant and don't have that kind of power."
"Hazael, the LORD has told me that you will be the next king of Syria."
14 Hazael went back to Benhadad and told him, "Elisha said that you will get well." 15 But the very next day, Hazael got a thick blanket; he soaked it in water and held it over Benhadad's face until he died.
Hazael then became king.
2 Kings chapter 8 (NLT)
16 Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah began to rule over Judah in the fifth year of King Joram's reign in Israel. Joram was the son of Ahab. 17 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 18 But Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab's daughters. So Jehoram did what was evil in the LORD's sight. 19 But the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule forever.
2 Chronicles chapter 22 (GWT)
1 Jehoram's son Ahaziah became king of Judah. 2 Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for one year in Jerusalem. His mother was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri. 3 Ahaziah also followed the ways of Ahab's family, because his mother gave him advice that led him to sin. 4 He did what the LORD considered evil, as Ahab's family had done.
6 Ahaziah went to Jezreel to see Ahab's son Joram, who was sick. 7 God brought about Ahaziah's downfall when he went to Joram.
2 Kings chapter 9 (CEV)
1 One day, Elisha called for one of the other prophets and said: Take this bottle of olive oil and get ready to go to the town of Ramoth in Gilead. 2 When you get there, find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi. Take him to a place where the two of you can be alone, 3 then pour olive oil on his head to show that he is the new king. Say to him, "The LORD has chosen you to be king of Israel." Then leave quickly--don't wait around for anything!
4 The young prophet left for Ramoth. 5 When he arrived, the army officers were meeting together.
"Sir, I have a message for you," he said.
"For which one of us?" Jehu asked.
"You, sir," the prophet answered.
6 So Jehu got up and went inside.
The prophet poured olive oil on Jehu's head and told him:
The LORD God of Israel has this message for you:
"I am the LORD, and I have chosen you to be king of my people Israel. 7 I want you to wipe out the family of Ahab, so Jezebel will be punished for killing the prophets and my other servants. 8 Every man and boy in Ahab's family must die, whether slave or free. 9 His whole family must be destroyed, just like the families of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah.
10 As for Jezebel, her body will be eaten by dogs in the town of Jezreel. There won't be enough left of her to bury."
Then the young prophet opened the door and ran out.
11 Jehu went back to his officers, and one of them asked, "What did that crazy prophet want? Is everything all right?"
"You know him and how he talks," Jehu answered.
12 "No, we don't. What did he say?" they asked.
"He had a message from the LORD," Jehu replied. "He said that the LORD has chosen me to be the next king of Israel."
13 They quickly grabbed their coats and spread them out on the steps where Jehu was standing. Someone blew a trumpet, and everyone shouted, "Jehu is king!"
14-16 King Joram of Israel had been badly wounded in the battle at Ramoth, trying to defend it against King Hazael and the Syrian army. Joram was now recovering in Jezreel, and King Ahaziah of Judah was there, visiting him.
Meanwhile, Jehu was in Ramoth, making plans to kill Joram. He said to his officers, "If you want me to be king, then don't let anyone leave this town. They might go to Jezreel and tell Joram."
2 Kings chapter 9 (NLT)
16 Then Jehu got into a chariot and rode to Jezreel to find King Joram, who was lying there wounded. King Ahaziah of Judah was there, too, for he had gone to visit him. 17 The watchman on the tower of Jezreel saw Jehu and his company approaching, so he shouted to Joram, "I see a company of troops coming!"
"Send out a rider to find out if they are coming in peace," King Joram shouted back.
18 So a rider went out to meet Jehu and said, "The king wants to know whether you are coming in peace."
Jehu replied, "What do you know about peace? Get behind me!"
The watchman called out to the king, " The rider has met them, but he is not returning."
19 So the king sent out a second rider. He rode up to them and demanded, "The king wants to know whether you come in peace."
Again Jehu answered, "What do you know about peace? Get behind me!"
20 The watchman exclaimed, "The rider has met them, but he isn't returning either! It must be Jehu son of Nimshi, for he is driving so recklessly."
21 "Quick! Get my chariot ready!" King Joram commanded.
Then King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah rode out in their chariots to meet Jehu. They met him at the field that had belonged to Naboth of Jezreel. 22 King Joram demanded, "Do you come in peace, Jehu?"
Jehu replied, "How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are all around us?"
23 Then King Joram reined the chariot horses around and fled, shouting to King Ahaziah, "Treason, Ahaziah!"
24 Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart, and he sank down dead in his chariot.
25 Jehu said to Bidkar, his officer, "Throw him into the field of Naboth of Jezreel. Do you remember when you and I were riding along behind his father, Ahab? The LORD pronounced this message against him:
26 'I solemnly swear that I will repay him here on Naboth's property, says the LORD, for the murder of Naboth and his sons that I saw yesterday.'
So throw him out on Naboth's field, just as the LORD said."
27 When King Ahaziah of Judah saw what was happening, he fled along the road to Beth-haggan. Jehu rode after him, shouting, "Shoot him, too!"
So they shot Ahaziah in his chariot at the Ascent of Gur, near Ibleam. He was able to go on as far as Megiddo, but he died there.
28 His officials took him by chariot to Jerusalem, where they buried him with his ancestors in the City of David.
29 Ahaziah's reign over Judah had begun in the eleventh year of King Joram's reign in Israel.
30 When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window. 31 When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, "Have you come in peace, you murderer? You are just like Zimri, who murdered his master!"
32 Jehu looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, "Who is on my side?" And two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 "Throw her down!" Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and some of her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses' hooves.
34 Then Jehu went into the palace and ate and drank.
Afterward he said, "Someone go and bury this cursed woman, for she is the daughter of a king." 35 But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands. 36 When they returned and told Jehu, he stated, "This fulfills the message from the LORD, which he spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe: 'At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel's flesh. 37 Her body will be scattered like dung on the field of Jezreel, so that no one will be able to recognize her.'"
The Bible does not instruct Christians and ordinary people to be violent towards Pagans or to destroy their places of worship. The Bible indicates that God illustrated in Old Testament times how much he objects to the worship of other gods and disobedience to his commands. It instructs Christians and ordinary individuals to behave in a very different way to the way in which God wanted the kings of Israel and Judah to behave. To find out more, visit What The Bible Says About Violence, Anger, Jealousy, Arguments, And Living In Peace With Each Other.
The next file in this section (Part 7), is entitled: "Assassination Of The Royal Family Of Israel; The New Dynasty; Oppression By Enemies; Sin And Treachery In Judah; And Judah's Power Under King Uzziah".