What did the king have against Elisha? (2 Kings 6:32–33)

What did the king have against Elisha? (2 Kings 6:32–33)--

32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?

33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the Lord; what should I wait for the Lord any longer?

2 Kings 6:32

ESV - 32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, "Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?

Clarify Share Report Asked September 30 2018 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
As far as I can determine, the king of Israel in question was Jehoram (also spelled Joram), who was a son of Ahab and Jezebel. Although Jehoram was not as evil as Ahab and Jezebel had been, he continued to worship false gods (as his parents had done, and for which Elisha rebuked him (2 Kings 3:13-14)). Jehoram was therefore not favorably disposed to Elisha, even though Elisha had also kept the king away from danger on multiple occasions (such as indicated in 2 Kings 6:8-10).

Thus, when the Syrians later besieged Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel), and a severe famine resulted, to the point where people were eating their own children (2 Kings 6:25-31), Jehoram attributed what was happening to God. Therefore, he blamed Elisha (as God's prophet) and sought to kill him.

October 01 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
To fully understand two specific verses like this we need to put the relationship between Elisha and king Joram of Israel in its full context. Joram was an evil king of Israel, leading the people to worship false gods and continuing to rebel against the word of the Lord spoken through God's prophets. God had sent Elisha to prophesy to king Joram on multiple occasions. These prophesies often warned of pending judgement and punishment against Joram. Why? Because he was not repenting and turning back to God. The whole purpose of God's prophets was to warn the leaders of their evil deeds and lead them, in repentance, back to God.

King Joram knew that Elisha was a powerful prophet who could pronounce disaster if the Lord had willed it. We see this in an earlier story from 2 Kings 3:5-27. Joram wanted to quash a revolt by Moab so he asked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah and the king of Edom to join him. They started to march against Moab but then ran out of water to drink. In verse 10, Joram exaclaims "What! Has the Lord called us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?" [he is expecting God's punishment against his evil]. Jehoshaphat wants to enquire of the Lord so they go and bring Elisha. In verse 10, Elisha says to Joram "What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and mother." The king responds 'No, it was the Lord who called us together to hand us over to Moab." Elisha replies, "if I did not have respect for Jehoshaphat, I would not look at you or even notice you." 

But Elisha sought the Lord, who provided pools of water to drink which looked like blood, so the Moab army attacked and were routed by the Israel alliance who also destroyed the Moabite towns, fields and springs. 

That is the background leading up to the verses in 2 Kings 6:32-33. Now the king of Aram has attacked Israel. Again this is the Lord using other nations to punish (discipline) Israel so they will repent and turn back to him. This story is described in 2 Kings 6:8-33. 

The famine had become severe in the city of Samaria because of the length of the siege. A woman asks the king for help. Another woman had said "Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we'll eat my son... but the other woman hid her son." The king tore his robes. Joram was livid that the people were acting like animals and he blamed Elisha for the famine. So in verse 31 he said "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha the son of Shapat remains on his shoulders today."

All Elisha had done was obey God and deliver his messages. The king was not repenting so God was punishing the nation of Israel. The messenger delivered the king's message in verse 33, "This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?" Joram had grown impatient for the Lord to deliver Israel from the Aramean army. But then Elisha prophesies that the famine will be over tomorrow. The Lord scared the Arameans away by the sound of a great army and the Israelites plundered their camp so there was enough food for everyone.

God, in his mercy, used Elisha to save and deliver the Israelite people time and time again. Elisha also delivered God's messages of warning and impending judgement if the king and leaders do not repent. Joram hated Elisha because his messages were doom and gloom, but tragically he couldn't see that Elisha was also the messenger that announced God's deliverance from their enemies.

October 01 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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