Elisha said, “Listen to the message from the LORD! The LORD says, ‘About this time tomorrow, there will be plenty of food, and it will be cheap again. A person will be able to buy a basket*
of fine flour or two baskets of barley for only one shekel†
in the marketplace by the city gates of Samaria.’ ”
Then the officer who was close to the king‡
answered the man of God. The officer said, “Even if the LORD made windows in heaven, this could not happen.”
Elisha said, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of that food.”
Lepers Find the Aramean Camp Empty
3 There were four men sick with leprosy near the city gate. They said to each other, “Why are we sitting here waiting to die? 4 There is no food in Samaria. If we go into the city, we will die there. If we stay here, we will also die. So let’s go to the Aramean camp. If they let us live, we will live. If they kill us, we will just die.”
5 So that evening the four lepers went to the Aramean camp. When they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! 6 The Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a large army. So the soldiers said to each other, “The king of Israel has hired the kings of the Hittites and Egyptians to come against us.”
7 The Arameans ran away early that evening. They left everything behind. They left their tents, horses, and donkeys and ran for their lives.
The Lepers in the Enemy Camp
8 When these lepers came to where the camp began, they went into one tent. They ate and drank. Then they carried silver, gold, and clothes out of the camp and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent. They carried things out from this tent and went out and hid them. 9 Then they said to each other, “We are doing wrong! Today we have good news, but we are silent. If we wait until the sun comes up, we will be punished. Now let’s go and tell the people who live in the king’s palace.”
The Lepers Tell the Good News
10 So the lepers came and called to the gatekeepers of the city. They told the gatekeepers, “We went to the Aramean camp, but we did not hear anyone. No one was there, but the horses and donkeys were still tied up, and the tents were still standing.”
11 Then the gatekeepers of the city shouted out and told the people in the king’s palace. 12 It was night, but the king got up from bed and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Aramean soldiers are doing to us. They know we are hungry. They left the camp to hide in the field. They are thinking, ‘When the Israelites come out of the city, we will capture them alive. And then we will enter the city.’ ”
One of the king’s officers said, “Let some men take five of the horses that are still left in the city. The horses will soon die anyway, just as all the Israelites who are still left in the city.§
Let’s send these men to see what happened.”
14 So the men took two chariots with horses. The king sent these men after the Aramean army. He told them, “Go and see what happened.”
15 The men went after the Aramean army as far as the Jordan River. All along the road there were clothes and weapons. The Arameans had thrown these things down when they hurried away. The messengers went back to Samaria and told the king.
16 Then the people ran out to the Aramean camp and took valuable things from there. So it happened just as the LORD had said. A person could buy a basket of fine flour or two baskets of barley for only one shekel.
17 There was one officer who always stayed close by the king to help him. The king sent this officer to guard the gate, but the people knocked him down and trampled him, and he died. So everything happened just as the man of God had said when the king came to Elisha’s house. 18 Elisha had said, “A person will be able to buy a basket of fine flour or two baskets of barley for only one shekel in the marketplace by the city gates of Samaria.” 19 But that officer had answered the man of God, “Even if the LORD made windows in heaven, this could not happen!” And Elisha had told the officer, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of that food.” 20 It happened to the officer just that way. The people knocked him down at the gate and trampled him, and he died.