Four lepers ended a severe famine in Samaria (24 December)



Four lepers ended a severe famine in Samaria (24 December)

Bible Passage: II Kings 7:1-5

Today's Reading: "Then Elisha said...Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria...And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also...And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians...there was no man there."

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In II Kings 6:24-33, Samaria had been under siege by King Benhadad of Aram. The king's troops had encircled the city so that the people inside the wall could not get out. They had literally been starving them to death. In fact, two women had become so desperate for food that one had cooked her son so that the other woman and she could eat. The king had become so distressed by what had been happening that he had threatened to kill the Prophet Elisha. But it is important to realize that the Lord had still been in control even in the midst of that difficult situation. II Kings 7:1 says, "Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria."

So Elisha's announcement had been the same as saying that the famine would end within twenty-four hours. But for that to have happened, someone or something would have had to deal with the Arameans. As long as they had been encircling the city, the famine would continue. However, even as Elisha had been speaking, the Lord had already been working out a perfect solution. In II Kings 7:1-20, four leprous men had been living outside Samaria so that they would not contaminate those in the city. But as they had contemplated their situation, they had realized that they had had nothing to lose by surrendering to the enemy. Either they would be killed in Samaria for trying to go back into the city or they would starve to death by remaining where they had been. So they had gone to the Arameans with the idea of giving themselves up. But when they had gotten there, the enemy had already left the area because the Lord had caused them to hear the sound of horses and chariots. Thus, they had run for their lives thinking that they had been under attack. That had meant that Samaria had been able to use the supplies that they had left behind, and the famine had ended like the Lord had said through Elisha.

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