2 Kings 3: 9So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days’ journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them. 10Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 11But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?” And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” 12Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
Three kings, leaders who have been in the presence of David and Solomon or have very close knowledge of them, seek a prophet to hear from the Lord. The discipline of prayer seems to be lacking. Why wouldn’t they seek the Lord directly on their own, or even together, but require the response from a prophet? How deeply rooted is this, our human nature, that we find it hard to approach Him, to seek Him diligently; that we do not wait for His answer, in His timing; that we treat Him as a “celestial vending machine”, demanding an answer, as if one of the prophets could dispense it to us whenever we choose.
2 Kings 1
Ahaziah’s Messengers Meet Elijah
1Now Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. 2And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers and said to them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness.” 3But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?’ 4“Now therefore thus says the LORD, ‘You shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” Then Elijah departed.
5When the messengers returned to him he said to them, “Why have you returned?” 6They said to him, “A man came up to meet us and said to us, ‘Go, return to the king who sent you and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.’”’” 7He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came up to meet you and spoke these words to you?” 8They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
9Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him, and behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill. And he said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
11So he again sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he said to him, “O man of God, thus says the king, ‘Come down quickly.’” 12Elijah replied to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
13So he again sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. When the third captain of fifty went up, he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, “O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14“Behold fire came down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of fifty with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.” 15The angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king. 16Then he said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.’”
Jehoram Reigns over Israel
17So Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. 18Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
2 Kings 2
Elijah Taken to Heaven
1And it came about when the LORD was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.”
4Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.” 6Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.
7Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. 12Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.
Elisha Succeeds Elijah
15Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16They said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” 17But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men; and they searched three days but did not find him. 18They returned to him while he was staying at Jericho; and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
19Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold now, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad and the land is unfruitful.” 20He said, “Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21He went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘I have purified these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.’” 22So the waters have been purified to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.
23Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number. 25He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.
2 Kings 3
Jehoram Meets Moab Rebellion
1Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. 2He did evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and his mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal which his father had made. 3Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.
4Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and used to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. 5But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6And King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. 7Then he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?” And he said, “I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 8He said, “Which way shall we go up?” And he answered, “The way of the wilderness of Edom.”
9So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days’ journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them. 10Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 11But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?” And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” 12Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” And the king of Israel said to him, “No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab.” 14Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you. 15“But now bring me a minstrel.” And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 16He said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ 17“For thus says the LORD, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. 18‘This is but a slight thing in the sight of the LORD; He will also give the Moabites into your hand. 19‘Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.’” 20It happened in the morning about the time of offering the sacrifice, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.
21Now all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. And all who were able to put on armor and older were summoned and stood on the border. 22They rose early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. 23Then they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely fought together, and they have slain one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!” 24But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites arose and struck the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they went forward into the land, slaughtering the Moabites. 25Thus they destroyed the cities; and each one threw a stone on every piece of good land and filled it. So they stopped all the springs of water and felled all the good trees, until in Kir-hareseth only they left its stones; however, the slingers went about it and struck it. 26When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not. 27Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land.
11 And let all kings bow down before him,
All nations serve him.
12 For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.
13 He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And the lives of the needy he will save.
14 He will rescue their life from oppression and violence,
And their blood will be precious in his sight;
15 So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him;
And let them pray for him continually;
Let them bless him all day long.
16 May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains;
Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon;
And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth.
17 May his name endure forever;
May his name increase as long as the sun shines;
And let men bless themselves by him;
Let all nations call him blessed.
18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,
Who alone works wonders.
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever;
And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen, and Amen.
20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.