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2 Kings 6:8-18

Elisha Defeats an Army

6:8 Now the king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his advisers, who said, “Invade 1  at such and such 2  a place.” 6:9 But the prophet sent this message to the king of Israel, “Make sure you don’t pass through this place because Syria is invading there.” 6:10 So the king of Israel sent a message to the place the prophet had pointed out, warning it 3  to be on its guard. This happened on several occasions. 4  6:11 This made the king of Syria upset. 5  So he summoned his advisers 6  and said to them, “One of us must be helping the king of Israel.” 7  6:12 One of his advisers said, “No, my master, O king. The prophet Elisha who lives in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the things you say in your bedroom.” 6:13 The king 8  ordered, “Go, find out where he is, so I can send some men to capture him.” 9  The king was told, “He is in Dothan.” 6:14 So he sent horses and chariots there, along with a good-sized army. 10  They arrived during the night and surrounded the city.

6:15 The prophet’s 11  attendant got up early in the morning. When he went outside there was an army surrounding the city, along with horses and chariots. He said to Elisha, 12  “Oh no, my master! What will we do?” 6:16 He replied, “Don’t be afraid, for our side outnumbers them.” 13  6:17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he can see.” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw that 14  the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 6:18 As they approached him, 15  Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people 16  with blindness.” 17  The Lord 18  struck them with blindness as Elisha requested. 19 

1 tc The verb form used here is difficult to analyze. On the basis of the form נְחִתִּים (nÿkhitim) in v. 9 from the root נָחַת (nakhat), it is probably best to emend the verb to תִּנְחְתוּ (tinkhÿtu; a Qal imperfect form from the same root). The verb נָחַת in at least two other instances carries the nuance “go down, descend” in a military context. For a defense of this view, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 72.

2 sn The advisers would have mentioned a specific location, but the details are not significant to the narrator’s purpose, so he simply paraphrases here.

3 tn The vav + perfect here indicates action contemporary with the preceding main verb (“sent”). See IBHS 533-34 §32.2.3e.

4 tn Heb “and the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God spoke to him, and he warned it and he guarded himself there, not once and not twice.”

5 tn Heb “and the heart of the king of Syria was stirred up over this thing.”

6 tn Heb “servants.”

7 tn Heb “Will you not tell me who among us [is] for the king of Israel?” The sarcastic rhetorical question expresses the king’s suspicion.

8 tn Heb “he” (also a second time in this verse); the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Heb “Go and see where he [is] so I can send and take him.”

10 tn Heb “heavy force.”

11 tn Heb “man of God’s.”

12 tn Heb “his young servant said to him.”

13 tn Heb “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

14 tn Heb “and he saw, and look.”

15 tn Heb “and they came down to him.”

16 tn Or “this nation,” perhaps emphasizing the strength of the Syrian army.

17 tn On the basis of the Akkadian etymology of the word, M. Cogan and H. Tadmor (II Kings [AB], 74) translate “blinding light.” HALOT 761 s.v. סַנְוֵרִים suggests the glosses “dazzling, deception.”

18 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “according to the word of Elisha.”

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