1. 'Listen to the word of Yahweh,' Elisha said. 'Yahweh says this, "By this time tomorrow a measure of finest flour will sell for one shekel, and two measures of barley for one shekel, at the gate of Samaria." '

2. The equerry on whose arm the king was leaning retorted to Elisha, 'Even if Yahweh made windows in the sky, could this word come true?' 'You will see it with your own eyes,' Elisha replied, 'though you will eat none of it.'

3. Now at the entrance to the gate -- for they were afflicted with virulent skin-disease -- there were four men and they debated among themselves, 'Why sit here waiting for death?

4. If we decide to go into the city, what with the famine in it, we shall die there; if we stay where we are, we shall die just the same. Come on, let us go over to the Aramaean camp; if they spare our lives, we live; if they kill us, well, then we die.'

5. So at dusk they set out and made for the Aramaean camp, but when they reached the confines of the camp there was not a soul there.

6. For Yahweh had caused the Aramaeans in their camp to hear a noise of chariots and horses, the noise of a great army; and they had said to one another, 'Listen! The king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings against us, to attack us.'

7. So in the dusk they had made off and fled, abandoning their tents, their horses and their donkeys; leaving the camp just as it was, they had fled for their lives.

8. The men with skin-disease, then, reached the confines of the camp. They went into one of the tents and ate and drank, and from it carried off silver and gold and clothing; these they took and hid. Then they came back and, entering another tent, looted it too, and took and hid their booty.

9. Then they said to one another, 'We are doing wrong. This is a day of good news, yet we are holding our tongues! If we wait till morning, we shall certainly be punished. Come on, let us go and take the news to the palace.'

10. Off they went and shouted out to the guards on the city gate, 'We have been to the Aramaean camp. There was not a soul there, no sound of anyone, only tethered horses and tethered donkeys, and their tents just as they were.'

11. The gatekeepers shouted the news, which was reported inside the palace.

12. The king got up while it was still dark and said to his officers, 'I can tell you what the Aramaeans have done to us. They know we are starving, so they have left the camp to hide in the open country. "They will come out of the city," they think, "we shall catch them alive and get into the city."'

13. One of his officers replied, 'Five of the surviving horses still left us had better be taken -- they would die in any case like all the rest. Let us send them and see.'

14. So they took two chariot teams and the king sent them after the Aramaean army, saying, 'Go and see.'

15. They followed them as far as the Jordan, finding the whole way strewn with clothes and gear which the Aramaeans had thrown away in their panic. The scouts returned and informed the king.

16. Then the people went out and plundered the Aramaean camp: a measure of finest flour sold for one shekel, and two measures of barley for one shekel, as Yahweh had promised they would.

17. The king had detailed the equerry, on whose arm he leaned, as commander of the guard on the gate, but the people trampled on him in the gateway and he died, as the man of God had foretold when the king had come down to him.

18. (What Elisha had said to the king came true, 'Two measures of barley will sell for one shekel, and a measure of finest flour for one shekel, by this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria.'

19. And the equerry in question had replied to the man of God, 'Even if Yahweh made windows in the sky, could this word come true?' 'You will see it with your own eyes,' Elisha had answered, 'though you will eat none of it.'

20. And that was what happened to him: for the people trampled on him in the gateway and he died.)



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