May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today. (2 Kings 6:31)

These words were spoken by the King of Israel during the Syrian siege of Samaria — the capital city of Israel at that time. The name of the King of Israel is not given but in the flow of the book it would appear to be Jehoram the son of Ahab (2 Kings 3:1). He is also known as Joram (2 Kings 8:16).

There was a terrible famine in besieged Samaria — and the inhabitants had even resorted to the extreme of cannibalism (2 Kings 6:28-30). The King of Israel was pushed over the edge by news of this and wanted Elisha dead.

Prophets’ lives were often at risk and they were seen as the cause of national trouble (1 Kings 18:17). Similar words were spoken by Jezebel (Jehoram’s mother) about the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:2) who was Elisha’s predecessor.

Elisha had previously made it very clear to Jehoram that he wanted nothing to do with him (2 Kings 3:13-14). Jehoram saw the siege and famine as being from God (2 Kings 6:33) and so wanted Elisha, the man of God, dead.

There was another occasion prior to this when a King wanted to deal harshly with Elisha. The King of Syria had been at war with Israel and Elisha was sending messages to the King of Israel warning him about the position of the Syrian enemy (2 Kings 6:9). As a result of this, the King of Syria (probably Ben-Hadad, 2 Kings 8:7) wanted to seize Elisha (2 Kings 6:13-14).

In both of these occasions God ensured Elisha’s safety and deliverance. We are reminded of how God works in the lives of those who love him.

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

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