READ 2 Kings. 6:24-33
A GREAT FAMINE IN SAMARIA
Key Verse: “And he said, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?” (2 Kings 6:27 NKJV).
The Bible records the occurrence of several famines, but none perhaps was as severe as the one recorded under King Jehoram in 2 kings 6 and 7. When a famine deteriorates to the point where people begin to practice cannibalism, then it means that the famine is so severe!
Incidentally, this was not the first famine in Samaria. There had been other famines as recorded in 1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4:38 and 8:1. But none of these other famines brought Israel to the point of engaging in cannibalism. The King was helpless and saddened by the level of suffering which the siege by Syria had brought on the people. When the famine got out of hand in Samaria, the King demonstrated his disgust by mourning and by tearing his garment.
Prompted by the level of suffering, Jehoram threatened to take the life of Elisha. The king most probably thought the prophet knew about the famine and did little to stop it. “But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent someone to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” And while he was still talking with them, there was the messenger, coming down to him; and then the king said, “Surely this calamity is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?” (2 Kings 6:32-33 NKJV).
Under threat from the king, Elisha then prophesied that the siege would be lifted, and that food would be abundant. “…’Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” (2 Kings 7:1 NKJV). Initially, this prediction seemed unbelievable, but eventually, it turned out to be very correct. The king’s officer doubted the words of the prophet but was warned that he would not be alive to see the prophecy come to pass. Indeed, he died on the day the prophecy was fulfilled.
God lifted the siege and solved the problem of the famine in a miraculous way. He caused the Syrian army to hear a strange noise of chariots and of horses. The tumult caused them to run for their dear lives abandoning their camp. Overnight, food became abundant in Samaria, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Elisha.
PRAYER: Oh, Lord, nothing is too difficult for thee to do in tough times. Do it again in our time.