2 Kings 6:24-33

The Siege of Samaria—Cannibalism

24 Now it came about after this, that Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a [m]kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” 27 He said, “[n]If the Lord does not help you, from where shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the wine press?” 28 And the king said to her, “What [o]is the matter with you?” And she [p]answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth [q]beneath on his [r]body. 31 Then he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat [s]remains on him today.”

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man from his presence; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and [t]hold the door shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” 33 While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him and he said, “Behold, this evil is from the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Make no mistake, Samaria was in dire straights, and the king was distraught at the depths they had reached. But instead of owning that his own sin (and his father Ahab’s sin) and the sin he had led his people into were the problem, he blamed it all on God and His prophet Elisha.

It’s hard to take ownership of a situation when things go sideways, but we have two choices. We can wallow in our own filth, play the victim and blame someone else. Or we can own up to our mistakes, take responsibility for our own life, and look to God for rescue.

Elisha would soon choose the latter, and that is of course the path to take in any situation where we feel defeated. Sometimes it isn’t even our own doing that has put us in a desperate situation, but no matter what, when we look to God, he will be our rescuer and show us the way of escape. He won’t always do it for us, but He’ll be a light on the path we should go.

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