2 Kings 5-8, Bible Highlights: week starting august 24

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(2 KINGS 5:1)

“Now Naʹa•man the army chief of the king of Syria was a prominent man who was held in esteem by his lord, because through him Jehovah had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty warrior, although he was a leper.”

*** it-1 p. 286 Ben-hadad ***
He must also be the king who sent his leprous army chief Naaman to be cured by Elisha during Jehoram’s reign. The Syrian king worshiped the god Rimmon (whose name forms part of that of Tabrimmon, the father of Ben-hadad I).—2Ki 5:1-19.

*** it-1 p. 715 Elisha ***
Heals Naaman. During his reign, King Ben-hadad II of Syria sends his highly respected army chief Naaman, a leper, to the king of Israel to be healed of his leprosy. This valiant man had, although leprous, saved Syria. Evidently the leprous condition of Naaman does not bar him from holding such a high office in Syria, whereas it would have removed him from holding such office in Israel. (Le 13:46)

*** it-2 p. 456 Naaman ***
2. A Syrian army chief of the tenth century B.C.E., during the reigns of Jehoram of Israel and Ben-hadad II of Syria. Naaman, ‘a great, valiant, mighty man held in esteem,’ was the one by whom “Jehovah had given salvation to Syria.” (2Ki 5:1) The Bible gives no details as to how or why Naaman was used to bring this salvation to Syria. One possibility is that Naaman headed the Syrian forces that successfully resisted the efforts of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III to overrun Syria. Since, by remaining free, Syria formed a buffer state between Israel and Assyria, this may have served the purpose of slowing down Assyria’s aggressive push in the W until Jehovah’s due time to allow the northern kingdom to go into exile.
Cured of Leprosy. Naaman was a leper, and while the Syrians did not demand his isolation as Jehovah’s law required of lepers in Israel, yet to learn how he might be cured of this loathsome disease was indeed welcome news.

(2 KINGS 5:3)

“She said to her mistress: “If only my lord would visit the prophet in Sa•marʹi•a! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.””

*** w08 2/15 pp. 9-10 par. 14 Walk in Jehovah’s Ways ***
14 Centuries later, a little Israelite girl taken captive by a marauding band became a servant in the home of the Syrian army commander Naaman, a man afflicted with leprosy. Having heard about the miracles God performed through the prophet Elisha, the girl courageously told Naaman’s wife: ‘If my master would go to Israel, Jehovah’s prophet would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman did go to Israel, and he was miraculously healed. (2 Ki. 5:1-3) What a fine example that girl is for youngsters who rely on Jehovah for the courage to witness to teachers, schoolmates, and others!

*** w05 8/1 p. 10 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
5:3. The little Israelite girl had faith in God’s ability to perform miracles. She also had the courage to speak about her faith. Do you young ones strive to fortify your faith in God’s promises and muster up courage to share the truth with your teachers and fellow students?

(2 KINGS 5:12)

“Are not the A•baʹnah and the Pharʹpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Can I not wash in them and become clean?” With that he turned and went away in a rage.”

*** it-1 pp. 12-13 Abanah ***
ABANAH
(A•baʹnah).
One of the two rivers of Damascus referred to by the Syrian army commander Naaman when scorning Elisha’s instructions to bathe himself in the waters of the Jordan as a cure for his leprosy.—2Ki 5:12.
This river is generally identified with the Nahr Barada, which rises in the Anti-Lebanon mountains to the NW of Damascus and, after traversing the mountains, emerges from a gorge just to the W of Damascus. Then it courses through the northern part of the city and fans out to irrigate a large area before finally losing itself in a body of marshes to the E of the city. Its waters, used to irrigate fields and orchards by means of canals and conduits, create an extensive verdant oasis. It can well be said that Damascus owes its existence to the Barada. It has long been the source of water for the city’s cisterns, fountains, and baths. Classical writers called it Golden River (Chrysorrhoas). So, Naaman’s high opinion of the river appears to have had a solid basis.
The word “Amana” or “Amanah” is used instead of “Abanah” at 2 Kings 5:12 in An American Translation, also in the translation published by The Jewish Publication Society of America, and the margin of the Masoretic text as well as the Syriac Peshitta so read. At Song of Solomon 4:8 reference is made to “Amana” in many translations, and it is understood to refer to the Anti-Lebanon mountains in which the river here discussed has its source. Hence, the river may have taken on the name of the mountains in which it originated.

*** it-1 p. 116 Anti-lebanon ***
The Abanah River (modern Barada) is also called “Amanah” at 2 Kings 5:12 in the Syriac Peshitta and the Aramaic Targums, and this river, the principal one of Damascus, has its source in the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon mountains.

*** it-2 p. 626 Pharpar ***
PHARPAR
(Pharʹpar).
One of the two “rivers of Damascus” that Naaman considered superior to “all the waters of Israel.” (2Ki 5:12) The fact that Naaman mentioned the Pharpar second may indicate that it was the smaller stream. This river is usually linked with the Nahr el-ʼAʽwaj. Besides the Nahr Barada (identified with the Abanah), it is the only independent stream in the Damascus area. But the volume of the ʼAʽwaj is about one quarter that of the Barada. The smaller streams that unite to form the ʼAʽwaj take their rise on the eastern slopes of Mount Hermon and merge about 30 km (19 mi) SW of Damascus. From this point the river winds its way through a deep rocky channel until finally losing itself in a swamp to the SE of Damascus. The airline distance spanned by this river (including its sources) is about 64 km (40 mi).
The major objection raised to the above identification is that the ʼAʽwaj is not actually a ‘river of Damascus,’ since it flows about 15 km (9.5 mi) and more to the S of that city. For this reason some favor identifying the Pharpar with the Nahr Taura, a branch of the Nahr Barada. However, Naaman’s reference to Damascus could have included the Plain of Damascus through which the Nahr el-ʼAʽwaj courses.

(2 KINGS 5:16)

“However, E•liʹsha said: “As surely as Jehovah whom I serve is living, I will not accept it.” He urged him to accept it, but he kept refusing.”

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
5:15, 16—Why did Elisha not accept Naaman’s gift? Elisha refused the gift because he recognized that the miracle of healing Naaman was performed by Jehovah’s power, not his own. It would have been unthinkable on his part to profit from his God-appointed office. True worshippers today do not reach out for personal gain from Jehovah’s service. They take to heart Jesus’ admonition: “You received free, give free.”—Matthew 10:8.

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
He offers Elisha a gift, which is refused. This harmonizes with the principle that the miracle is by Jehovah’s power, not his, and he will not profit from the office Jehovah has given him.—2Ki 5:9-19; compare Mt 10:8.

(2 KINGS 5:17)

“Finally Naʹa•man said: “If not, please, let your servant be given two mule-loads of soil from this land, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any gods other than Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
Naaman returns to Elisha and vows that from now on he will serve Jehovah the God of Israel faithfully. He takes back with him some Israelite soil, “the load of a pair of mules,” upon which he will sacrifice to Jehovah, without doubt looking toward the temple of Jerusalem. As an officer of the king of Syria he will carry on his work, which includes going with the king into the house of the false god Rimmon. As the king is supported by him he will have to bow with the king, but he says he will no longer worship Rimmon. He will be performing, not a religious duty, but only his duty in service of the king. He offers Elisha a gift, which is refused. This harmonizes with the principle that the miracle is by Jehovah’s power, not his, and he will not profit from the office Jehovah has given him.—2Ki 5:9-19; compare Mt 10:8.

(2 KINGS 5:18)

“But may Jehovah forgive your servant for this one thing: When my lord goes into the house of Rimʹmon to bow down there, he supports himself on my arm, so I have to bow down at the house of Rimʹmon. When I bow down at the house of Rimʹmon, may Jehovah, please, forgive your servant for this.””

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
5:18, 19—Was Naaman requesting forgiveness for having to participate in a religious act? The Syrian king evidently was old and weak and had to lean upon Naaman for support. When the king bowed down in worship to Rimmon, Naaman did also. For Naaman, though, it was a purely mechanical act, strictly for the purpose of supporting the body of the king and not for rendering worship. Naaman was asking Jehovah to forgive him for performing this civil duty. Believing Naaman, Elisha said to him: “Go in peace.”

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
Naaman returns to Elisha and vows that from now on he will serve Jehovah the God of Israel faithfully. He takes back with him some Israelite soil, “the load of a pair of mules,” upon which he will sacrifice to Jehovah, without doubt looking toward the temple of Jerusalem. As an officer of the king of Syria he will carry on his work, which includes going with the king into the house of the false god Rimmon. As the king is supported by him he will have to bow with the king, but he says he will no longer worship Rimmon. He will be performing, not a religious duty, but only his duty in service of the king. He offers Elisha a gift, which is refused. This harmonizes with the principle that the miracle is by Jehovah’s power, not his, and he will not profit from the office Jehovah has given him.—2Ki 5:9-19; compare Mt 10:8.

*** it-2 p. 456 Naaman ***
Naaman next requested that Jehovah forgive him when, in the performance of his civil duties, he bowed before the god Rimmon with the king, who evidently was old and infirm and leaned for support upon Naaman. If such was the case, then his bowing would be mechanical, being solely for the purpose of dutifully supporting the king’s body and not in personal worship. Elisha believed Naaman’s sincere request, replying, “Go in peace.”—2Ki 5:18, 19.

(2 KINGS 5:23)

“Naʹa•man said: “Go on, take two talents.” He kept urging him, and he wrapped up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and gave them to two of his attendants, who carried them before him.”

*** it-1 p. 242 Bag ***
Syrian army officer Naaman gave greedy Gehazi “two talents of silver in two bags [Heb., chari•timʹ], with two changes of garments, and gave them to two of his attendants, that they might carry them.” Since a talent was equal to about 34 kg (92 lb t), it is evident that such a container (cha•ritʹ) must have been of ample size and strength to hold a talent plus a change of garment and, hence, when filled was about as much as one man could carry. (2Ki 5:23)

(2 KINGS 5:24)

“When he reached Oʹphel, he took them from their hand and put them in the house and sent the men away. After they left,”

*** it-2 p. 558 Ophel ***
Scholars believe that the term ʽOʹphel at 2 Kings 5:24 refers to some prominent hill or fortified place in the vicinity of Samaria to which Elisha’s attendant Gehazi took the riches he obtained from Naaman. This indicates that the word was applied to mounds other than the one in Jerusalem.

(2 KINGS 6:1)

“The sons of the prophets said to E•liʹsha: “Look! The place where we are staying with you is too cramped for us.”

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
“Sons of the Prophets.” As Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar explains (Oxford, 1952, p. 418), the Hebrew ben (son of) or benehʹ (sons of) may denote “membership of a guild or society (or of a tribe, or any definite class).” (Compare Ne 3:8, where “a member of the ointment mixers” is literally “a son of the ointment mixers.”) “The sons of the prophets” may thus describe a school of instruction for those called to this vocation or simply a cooperative association of prophets. Such prophetic groups are mentioned as being at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal. (2Ki 2:3, 5; 4:38; compare 1Sa 10:5, 10.) Samuel presided over a group at Ramah (1Sa 19:19, 20), and Elisha seems to have held a similar position in his day. (2Ki 4:38; 6:1-3; compare 1Ki 18:13.)

(2 KINGS 6:2)

“Please let us go to the Jordan. Let each of us take a log from there and make a place there where we can dwell.” He said: “Go.””

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
The record mentions their building their own dwelling place and the use of a borrowed tool, which may indicate that they lived simply. Though often sharing quarters and food in common, they might receive individual assignments to go out on prophetic missions.—1Ki 20:35-42; 2Ki 4:1, 2, 39; 6:1-7;

(2 KINGS 6:5)

“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the axhead fell into the water, and he cried out: “Alas, my master, it was borrowed!””

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
The record mentions their building their own dwelling place and the use of a borrowed tool, which may indicate that they lived simply. Though often sharing quarters and food in common, they might receive individual assignments to go out on prophetic missions.—1Ki 20:35-42; 2Ki 4:1, 2, 39; 6:1-7;

(2 KINGS 6:13)

“He said: “Go and find out where he is, so that I may send men to capture him.” Later the report was made to him: “He is in Doʹthan.””

*** it-1 p. 950 Prophetic Activity of Elijah and Elisha ***
[Picture on page 950]
Ruins of Dothan. Here Elisha and his attendant miraculously saw that, although they were surrounded by a Syrian military force, the mountainous region was full of angelic war chariots of fire sent by Jehovah (2Ki 6:13-17)

(2 KINGS 6:16)

“But he said: “Do not be afraid! For there are more who are with us than those who are with them.””

*** w98 6/15 pp. 12-13 Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Organization? ***
One Who Saw the Heavenly Hosts
4 The king of Syria sent a heavy military force by night to Dothan to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up early in the morning and went out, perhaps to get some fresh air on the flat roof of their Middle Eastern dwelling, why, what a shock he got! A whole army of Syrians with horses and war chariots was surrounding the town, waiting to capture God’s prophet. The servant cried out to Elisha: “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Evidently, calmly and with conviction, Elisha responded: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” The servant must have wondered, ‘Where are they? I can’t see them!’ Sometimes that might also be our problem—failure to see with the eyes of understanding, or to perceive, the heavenly hosts.—2 Kings 6:8-16; Ephesians 1:18.
5 Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. What happened next? “Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes, so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) Yes, he saw the heavenly hosts, angelic armies waiting to protect God’s servant. Now he could understand Elisha’s confidence.
6 Do we sometimes have a problem of perception similar to what Elisha’s servant had? Are we prone to see only the physical side of situations threatening us or the Christian work in certain lands? If so, can we expect a special vision to enlighten us? No, because we have something that Elisha’s servant did not have—a whole book containing many visions, the Bible, which can give us insight into the heavenly organization.

*** w98 6/15 p. 18 par. 5 Jehovah’s Organization Supports Your Ministry ***
5 Satan has used every means at his disposal to try to stop the witnessing work of Christ’s brothers and their loyal companions. Yet, as so many experiences show, neither threats, intimidation, physical violence, prisons, concentration camps, nor even death has silenced Jehovah’s Witnesses. And this has been the case down through history. Time and again, Elisha’s words have served as an encouragement: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” One reason is that faithful angels outnumber the Devil’s hordes!—2 Kings 6:16; Acts 5:27-32, 41, 42.

(2 KINGS 6:17)

“Then E•liʹsha began to pray and say: “O Jehovah, open his eyes, please, that he may see.” Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes and he saw, and look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around E•liʹsha.”

*** w98 6/15 pp. 12-13 Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Organization? ***
One Who Saw the Heavenly Hosts
4 The king of Syria sent a heavy military force by night to Dothan to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up early in the morning and went out, perhaps to get some fresh air on the flat roof of their Middle Eastern dwelling, why, what a shock he got! A whole army of Syrians with horses and war chariots was surrounding the town, waiting to capture God’s prophet. The servant cried out to Elisha: “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Evidently, calmly and with conviction, Elisha responded: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” The servant must have wondered, ‘Where are they? I can’t see them!’ Sometimes that might also be our problem—failure to see with the eyes of understanding, or to perceive, the heavenly hosts.—2 Kings 6:8-16; Ephesians 1:18.
5 Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. What happened next? “Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes, so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) Yes, he saw the heavenly hosts, angelic armies waiting to protect God’s servant. Now he could understand Elisha’s confidence.
6 Do we sometimes have a problem of perception similar to what Elisha’s servant had? Are we prone to see only the physical side of situations threatening us or the Christian work in certain lands? If so, can we expect a special vision to enlighten us? No, because we have something that Elisha’s servant did not have—a whole book containing many visions, the Bible, which can give us insight into the heavenly organization.

*** it-1 p. 428 Chariot ***
Figurative Use. In a figurative and prophetic sense, chariots are symbols of war just like the bow and sword. (Isa 21:7, 9; Zec 9:10) “The war chariots of God” are said to be “in tens of thousands, thousands over and over again,” denoting God’s invincible power to destroy his enemies.—Ps 68:17; 2Ki 6:17.

*** it-1 p. 647 Dothan ***
Centuries later the king of Syria dispatched a heavy military force to Dothan to arrest Elisha. Here the prophet’s fearful attendant had his eyes miraculously opened to see the fiery war equipment of God in “the mountainous region . . . all around Elisha,” that is, either on the same hill where Dothan stood or on the nearby hills to the E, S, and W of Dothan. (2Ki 6:11-17) The Syrians, in encircling the city, may have also posted themselves in these surrounding hills, from which they then ‘came down’ when Elisha went out of the city to meet them. The enemy forces were rendered harmless, however, when miraculously struck with a type of blindness, Jehovah perhaps using the angelic forces in accomplishing this.—2Ki 6:18, 19; compare Ge 19:1, 10, 11.

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
Jehovah’s invisible heavenly war equipment is represented by fiery horses and chariots. (2Ki 2:11, 12) Elisha, on one occasion, prayed for the eyes of his terrified attendant to be opened to see that “the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha” to protect him from the surrounding forces of Syrians sent out to capture him.—2Ki 6:17.

(2 KINGS 6:18)

“When the Syrians came down to him, E•liʹsha prayed to Jehovah and said: “Please, strike this nation with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, just as E•liʹsha had requested.”

*** si p. 71 par. 10 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
When the Syrians attack, the prophet again prays to Jehovah, and the Syrians are struck with mental blindness and led to the king of Israel. Instead of their being put to death, however, Elisha tells the king to spread a feast for them and send them home.

*** it-1 p. 343 Blindness ***
The blindness that was brought on the military force of the Syrians at the word of Elisha was evidently mental blindness. If the entire army had been struck with physical blindness, they would all have had to be led by hand. But the account simply says that Elisha told them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me.” On this phenomenon William James in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59) states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.” This was apparently the kind of blindness removed by Jehovah when the Syrian army reached Samaria. (2Ki 6:18-20) Such mental blindness also may have been involved in the case of the men of Sodom, since the account shows that, instead of being distressed at loss of the faculty of sight, they persisted in trying to find the door of Lot’s house.—Ge 19:11.

*** it-1 p. 647 Dothan ***
Centuries later the king of Syria dispatched a heavy military force to Dothan to arrest Elisha. Here the prophet’s fearful attendant had his eyes miraculously opened to see the fiery war equipment of God in “the mountainous region . . . all around Elisha,” that is, either on the same hill where Dothan stood or on the nearby hills to the E, S, and W of Dothan. (2Ki 6:11-17) The Syrians, in encircling the city, may have also posted themselves in these surrounding hills, from which they then ‘came down’ when Elisha went out of the city to meet them. The enemy forces were rendered harmless, however, when miraculously struck with a type of blindness, Jehovah perhaps using the angelic forces in accomplishing this.—2Ki 6:18, 19; compare Ge 19:1, 10, 11.

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
Now, as the Syrian hosts close in, Elisha prays for the opposite kind of miracle, “Please, strike this nation with blindness.” Elisha says to the Syrians, “Follow me,” but he does not have to lead them by the hand, indicating that it is mental rather than physical blindness. They do not recognize Elisha, whom they came to take, nor do they know where he is taking them.—2Ki 6:8-19.
With what sort of blindness did Jehovah strike the Syrians who tried to seize Elisha?
As to this form of blindness, William James, in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59), states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.”

(2 KINGS 6:19)

“E•liʹsha now said to them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and let me lead you to the man you are looking for.” However, he led them to Sa•marʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 343 Blindness ***
The blindness that was brought on the military force of the Syrians at the word of Elisha was evidently mental blindness. If the entire army had been struck with physical blindness, they would all have had to be led by hand. But the account simply says that Elisha told them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me.” On this phenomenon William James in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59) states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.” This was apparently the kind of blindness removed by Jehovah when the Syrian army reached Samaria. (2Ki 6:18-20) Such mental blindness also may have been involved in the case of the men of Sodom, since the account shows that, instead of being distressed at loss of the faculty of sight, they persisted in trying to find the door of Lot’s house.—Ge 19:11.

*** it-2 p. 245 Lie ***
While malicious lying is definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not mean that a person is under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it. Jesus Christ counseled: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.” (Mt 7:6) That is why Jesus on certain occasions refrained from giving full information or direct answers to certain questions when doing so could have brought unnecessary harm. (Mt 15:1-6; 21:23-27; Joh 7:3-10) Evidently the course of Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, and Elisha in misdirecting or in withholding full facts from nonworshipers of Jehovah must be viewed in the same light.—Ge 12:10-19; chap 20; 26:1-10; Jos 2:1-6; Jas 2:25; 2Ki 6:11-23.

(2 KINGS 6:20)

“When they arrived in Sa•marʹi•a, E•liʹsha said: “O Jehovah, open their eyes so that they may see.” So Jehovah opened their eyes, and they saw that they were in the middle of Sa•marʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 343 Blindness ***
The blindness that was brought on the military force of the Syrians at the word of Elisha was evidently mental blindness. If the entire army had been struck with physical blindness, they would all have had to be led by hand. But the account simply says that Elisha told them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me.” On this phenomenon William James in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59) states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.” This was apparently the kind of blindness removed by Jehovah when the Syrian army reached Samaria. (2Ki 6:18-20) Such mental blindness also may have been involved in the case of the men of Sodom, since the account shows that, instead of being distressed at loss of the faculty of sight, they persisted in trying to find the door of Lot’s house.—Ge 19:11.

(2 KINGS 6:25)

“So there was a great famine in Sa•marʹi•a, and they besieged it until a donkey’s head was worth 80 silver pieces, and a fourth of a cab measure of dove’s droppings was worth 5 silver pieces.”

*** nwt p. 1694 Glossary ***
Cab. A dry measure of 1.22 L (1.11 dry qt), based on the estimated volume of the bath measure. (2Ki 6:25)—See App. B14.

*** it-1 p. 196 Ass ***
Although unclean, asses were eaten in Samaria because of the severity of the famine during King Ben-hadad’s siege of the city, and even the most inedible part, the bony, thinly fleshed head of an ass became, in effect, a luxury food costing 80 silver pieces (if shekels, $176).—2Ki 6:24, 25.

*** it-1 p. 381 Cab ***
CAB
A measure that, according to rabbinic sources, was 1⁄18 ephah (2Ki 6:25), and hence also 1⁄18 bath measure. (Eze 45:11) If the bath measure is to be viewed as having a capacity of 22 L (5.81 gal; 4.99 dry gal), as archaeological evidence seems to indicate, then the cab measure would have a capacity of 1.22 L (2.58 liquid pt; 2.2 dry pt).

*** it-1 p. 648 Dove’s Dung ***
DOVE’S DUNG
The description of the siege of Samaria by Syrian King Ben-hadad relates that the famine created became so severe that “an ass’s head got to be worth eighty silver pieces, and the fourth of a cab measure of dove’s dung was worth five silver pieces.” (2Ki 6:24, 25) The cost of an ass’s head was approximately $176 (if the “silver pieces” were shekels) and “the fourth of a cab measure [0.3 L; 0.55 dry pt] of dove’s dung” was worth about $11. This indicates that, because of the scarcity of food, such a thing as the bony, thinly fleshed ass’s head became an expensive food item (although the ass was an unclean animal according to the Mosaic Law), and even dove’s dung was very costly. The reference to dove’s dung has occasioned considerable discussion as to whether the term is literal and as to the use to which it was put by the buyer.
Arguments have been advanced that the term “dove’s dung” may have been applied to a certain plant. However, there is no evidence that the plants referred to by those favoring this view were ever known by the name dove’s dung or that such plants would be accessible to the people bottled up in Samaria by the siege.
Those who acknowledge a literal meaning of the expression are, in turn, divided as to the use made of the substance. Some point out that dove’s dung has long been used as a fertilizer by people in the Middle East in the cultivation of melons, but it seems reasonable that persons bordering on death by starvation would be concerned with food for immediate consumption rather than with a crop that would not be available for perhaps several months.
Many prefer the view that the dove’s dung was actually used for food, pointing out that the subject is that of famine and the terrible extremes to which humans are driven by the pangs of hunger. Though purposely extreme and cruel in order to create a weakening fear, the threat by Sennacherib’s officer, Rabshakeh, that a siege by Assyria would cause the people of Jerusalem to have to “eat their own excrement and drink their own urine” may have had some basis in fact. (2Ki 18:27) While the thought of using literal dung for human consumption is extremely repulsive, that in itself is no basis for rejecting this view. The fact that the hunger was so great in Samaria that women would boil and eat their own children indicates that they had reached the point of consuming anything available. (2Ki 6:26-29) While some point out that dung would have little value as a nutrient, this factor alone would not disprove the possibility of its being purchased for food, for starving persons are frequently irrational, eating anything to deaden the pangs of hunger.
Perhaps an even more likely suggestion is that of certain rabbins who hold that the dung was used for fuel. There is some Biblical parallel in this, since the prophet Ezekiel was instructed to picture the equally dire siege conditions due to come upon Jerusalem by cooking his food with dung as the fuel. (Eze 4:12-17) Dried cattle dung, called cow chips by some, serves as a common fuel in many parts of the earth till this day. If this view should be correct, then the account might simply be stating the cost of the food (in this case an ass’s head) and the cost of the fuel for cooking it. The succeeding verses indicate that the people were as yet not eating the flesh raw.

*** it-2 p. 427 Money ***
In times of scarcity, prices rose sharply. The 80 silver pieces (c. 240 days’ wages) that at one time might have bought eight homers (1,760 L; 50 bu) of barley would, in time of siege, only procure the thinly fleshed head of an ass, an animal unfit for food according to the terms of the Mosaic Law.—2Ki 6:25; compare Ho 3:2.

(2 KINGS 7:2)

“At that the adjutant whom the king relied on said to the man of the true God: “Even if Jehovah should open floodgates in the heavens, could this possibly take place?” To that he said: “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat from it.””

*** it-1 p. 220 Attitudes and Gestures ***
It was the custom of kings or men of authority to lean on the arm of a servant or one in an inferior position, as did King Jehoram of Israel. (2Ki 7:2, 17)

(2 KINGS 7:6)

“For Jehovah had caused the Syrian camp to hear the sound of war chariots and horses, the sound of a huge army. So they said to one another: “Look! The king of Israel has hired the kings of the Hitʹtites and the kings of Egypt to come against us!””

*** it-1 p. 692 Egypt, Egyptian ***
Government and law were centered on the king or Pharaoh, regarded as a god in human form. He ruled the land through subordinates, or ministers, and through feudal chiefs, whose power in times of royal weakness rivaled that of the king. Perhaps these latter chieftains were indeed viewed by those under their domain as virtual kings, thus accounting for the Biblical mention of “the kings [plural] of Egypt” when referring to specific times. (2Ki 7:6; Jer 46:25)

(2 KINGS 7:17)

“The king had appointed the adjutant whom he relied on to be in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him to death at the gate, just as the man of the true God had told the king when he came down to him.”

*** it-1 p. 220 Attitudes and Gestures ***
It was the custom of kings or men of authority to lean on the arm of a servant or one in an inferior position, as did King Jehoram of Israel. (2Ki 7:2, 17)

(2 KINGS 8:10)

“E•liʹsha replied to him: “Go and tell him, ‘You will certainly recover,’ but Jehovah has shown me that he will certainly die.””

*** it-1 pp. 1046-1047 Hazael ***
Elisha said to Hazael: “Go, say to [Ben-hadad], ‘You will positively revive,’” but the prophet continued, saying: “And Jehovah has shown me that he will positively die.” He further said to Hazael: “Jehovah has shown me you as king over Syria.” On Hazael’s return, in reply to the king’s question as to Elisha’s answer, Hazael said: “He said to me, ‘You will positively revive’”; but then, on the next day, Hazael suffocated the king with a wet coverlet and began to rule in his place.—2Ki 8:7-15.
The words of Elisha to Hazael have been the subject of considerable conjecture. According to the margin of the Masoretic text, as well as the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, and 18 Hebrew manuscripts, the text reads: “Say to him, ‘You will,’” whereas the main body of the Masoretic text says, “Say, ‘You will not.’”
If the reading is taken that Hazael was told to tell Ben-hadad “‘You will positively revive,’” Elisha’s answer to Ben-hadad’s inquiry may have been in the form of a riddle, meaning that Ben-hadad’s sickness itself would not kill him but that he would nevertheless die (as he did, by the hand of Hazael). At any rate, Hazael verbally gave the king the first part of Elisha’s answer: “You will positively revive,” but the rest of the answer Hazael carried out in violent action.—2Ki 8:10.

(2 KINGS 8:12)

“Hazʹa•el asked: “Why is my lord weeping?” He replied: “Because I know what harm you will do to the people of Israel. Their fortified places you will set on fire, their choice men you will kill with the sword, their children you will dash to pieces, and their pregnant women you will rip open.””

*** it-1 p. 1047 Hazael ***
Particularly during the reign of Jehu’s son Jehoahaz of Israel, Hazael became a great oppressor of Israel, fulfilling what the prophet Elisha had foreseen—that Hazael would consign Israel’s fortified places to the fire, kill their choice men with the sword, dash to pieces their children, and rip up their pregnant women. (2Ki 13:3, 22; 8:12)

(2 KINGS 8:15)

“But the next day, Hazʹa•el took a coverlet, dipped it in water, and held it over his face until he died. And Hazʹa•el became king in his place.”

*** it-2 p. 908 Shalmaneser ***
Inscriptions Concerning Hazael and Jehu. In fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy through Elisha, Hazael, the chamberlain of King Ben-hadad of Damascus, killed his master and became king, probably toward the close of the reign of King Jehoram (c. 917-905 B.C.E.). (2Ki 8:7-15) An inscription of Shalmaneser III confirms this, stating: “Hadadezer [Adad-idri, evidently Ben-hadad II of Damascus] (himself) perished. Hazael, a commoner (lit.: son of nobody), seized the throne.” Conflicts with Hazael are mentioned in Shalmaneser’s 18th and 21st years, with the Assyrian gaining victories but never being able to take Damascus.—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 280.

(2 KINGS 8:16)

“In the fifth year of Je•hoʹram the son of Aʹhab the king of Israel, while Je•hoshʹa•phat was king of Judah, Je•hoʹram the son of King Je•hoshʹa•phat of Judah became king.”

*** it-1 pp. 462-463 Chronology ***
Whereas some Biblical chronologers endeavor to synchronize the data concerning the kings by means of numerous coregencies and “interregnums” on the Judean side, it appears necessary to show only one coregency. This is in the case of Jehoram, who is stated (at least in the Masoretic text and some of the oldest manuscripts of the Bible) to have become king “while Jehoshaphat was king of Judah,” thus giving some basis for assuming a coregency. (2Ki 8:16) In this manner the overall period comes within the 390-year limit.

*** it-1 pp. 1270-1271 Jehoram ***
3. The firstborn son of Jehoshaphat who, at the age of 32, became king of Judah. (2Ch 21:1-3, 5, 20) It appears that for a number of years Jehoram was in some way associated with his father in the kingship. (2Ki 1:17; 8:16) The eight years of rulership credited to Jehoram count from 913 B.C.E. (2Ki 8:17) So during these years both the northern and southern kingdoms had rulers with the same name. They were also brothers-in-law because Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and sister of Jehoram of Israel.—2Ki 8:18, 25, 26; see No. 2 above.

(2 KINGS 8:17)

“He was 32 years old when he became king, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 1271 Jehoram ***
The eight years of rulership credited to Jehoram count from 913 B.C.E. (2Ki 8:17) So during these years both the northern and southern kingdoms had rulers with the same name. They were also brothers-in-law because Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and sister of Jehoram of Israel.—2Ki 8:18, 25, 26; see No. 2 above.

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