Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Kings Chapter 6

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-25)
Theme: A Divided Kingdom (c 1-17)
Message: Elisha Makes an Axe Head Float (v 1-33)

2 Kings 6 Commentary 

(6:1-7) The Floating Axe Head - The incident of the floating ax head is recorded to show God's care and provision for those who trust him, even in the smaller events of everyday life (like a lost tool). God is always present. Placed in the Bible between the healing of a Syrian captain and the deliverance of Israel's army, this miracle also shows Elisha's personal contact with the students in the group of the prophets. Although he had the respect of lings, Elisha never forgot to care for the faithful workers. Don't let the importance of your work become self-importance and crowd out your concern for human need.

(6:15) Elisha's Servant - Elisha's servant is not named in this story, but he may have been Ghazi. Second Kings 1-8 are not intended to be in chronological order, so this event could have occurred before Ghazi was struck with leprosy (5:27).

(6:16-17) Elisha's servant was no longer afraid when he saw God's mighty heavenly army. Faith reveals that God is doing more for his people than we can ever realize through sight alone. When you face difficulties that seem insurmountable, remember that spiritual resources are present even if you can't see them. Look with the eyes of faith, and let God show you his resources. If you don't see God working in your life, the problem may be your spiritual eyesight, not God's power.

(6:21-22) Elisha Advises the King - Elisha told the king not to kill the Syrians. The king was not to take credit for what God alone had done. In setting food and water before them, he was heaping "coals of fire" on their heads (Proverbs 25:21-22).

(6:23) Syria stays away from Israel -  How long the Syrians stayed away from Israel is not known, but a number of years probably passed before the invasion recorded in 6:24 occurred. The Syrians must have forgotten the time their army had been supernaturally blinded and sent home.

(6:24) Benhadad II - This was probably Ben-hadad II, whose father had ruled Syria in the days of Baasha (1 Kings 15:18). Elisha constantly frustrated Ben-hadad II in his attempts to take control of Israel.

(6:25) A Great Famine - When a city like Samaria faced famine, it was no small matter. Although its farmers grew enough food to feed the people for a specific season, they did not have enough to sustain them in prolonged times of emergency when all supplies were cut off. This famine was so severe that mothers resorted to eating their children (6:26-30). Deuteronomy 28:49-57 predicted that this would happen when the people of Israel rejected God's leadership.

(6:31-33) The King Blames Elisha - Why did the king blame Elisha for the famine and troubles of the siege? Here are some possible explanations: (1) Some commentators say that Elisha must have told the king to trust God for deliverance. The king did this and even wore sackcloth (6:30), but at this point the situation seemed hopeless. Apparently the king thought Elisha had given him bad advice and not even God could help them. (2) For years the kings of Israel and the prophets of God had been in conflict. The prophets often predicted doom because of the kings' evil, so the kings saw them as troublemakers. Thus, Israel's king was striking out in frustration at Elisha. (3) The king may have remembered when Elijah helped bring an end to a famine (1 Kings 18:41-46). Knowing Elisha was a man of God, perhaps the king thought he could do any miracle he wanted and was angry that he had not come to Israel's


(6:31) The King Vows to Kill Elisha - The words "God do so and more also to me" introduce a vow (see Ruth 1:17; 1 Samuel 14:44). In this case, the king was vowing to execute Elisha.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Delivering God's Message


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue the book of 2 Kings with Chapter 6.  In our text, Elisha makes an ax head float, captures an army, and predicts the end of the famine. What catches my eye is how the King of Syria, who suffered at the hand of God, wanted to kill Elisha, the messenger of God. In this text, God protected Elisha. In applying, we see God's protective hand when God has us do His Will. When God gives us a message, we must be bold to stand and deliver His Word and leave the consequence to our Lord. Sometimes the Lord allows us in his will to be martyrs like Tyndall, but even in martyrdom, our Lord is in control, we are in His Hand, and He has a Will & Plan for our lives. How about you? Do you see that you are in the Hand of God, and we are to do His Will? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Elisha to share God's Word and rest in the Hand of God.


2 Kings 6

2 Kings 6

1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.

2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.

3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.

4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.

5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.

6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.

7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.

8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.

9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.

10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?

12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.

14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.

20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?

22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

24 And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.

25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.

27 And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?

28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.

29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.

31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.

32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?

33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the Lord; what should I wait for the Lord any longer?