6:25 Samaria’s food supply ran out. 1 They laid siege to it so long that 2 a donkey’s head was selling for eighty shekels of silver 3 and a quarter of a kab 4 of dove’s droppings 5 for five shekels of silver. 6
6:26 While the king of Israel was passing by on the city wall, a woman shouted to him, “Help us, my master, O king!” 6:27 He replied, “No, let the Lord help you. How can I help you? The threshing floor and winepress are empty.” 7 6:28 Then the king asked her, “What’s your problem?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Hand over your son; we’ll eat him today and then eat my son tomorrow.’ 6:29 So we boiled my son and ate him. Then I said to her the next day, ‘Hand over your son and we’ll eat him.’ But she hid her son!”
1 tn Heb “and there was a great famine in Samaria.”
2 tn Heb “and look, [they] were besieging it until.”
3 tn Heb “eighty, silver.” The unit of measurement is omitted.
4 sn A kab was a unit of dry measure, equivalent to approximately one quart.
5 tn The consonantal text (Kethib) reads, “dove dung” (חֲרֵייוֹנִים, khareyonim), while the marginal reading (Qere) has “discharge” (דִּבְיוֹנִים, divyonim). Based on evidence from Akkadian, M. Cogan and H. Tadmor (II Kings [AB], 79) suggest that “dove’s dung” was a popular name for the inedible husks of seeds.
6 tn Heb “five, silver.” The unit of measurement is omitted.
7 tn Heb “From where can I help you, from the threshing floor or the winepress?” The rhetorical question expresses the king’s frustration. He has no grain or wine to give to the masses.