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The Story of the Are that Swam.
(From the 6th Chapter of 2 Kings.)
And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, “ Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell.” And he answered, “Go ye.” And one said, “Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe-head fell into the water : and he cried and said, “ Alas, master! for it was borrowed.” And the man of God said, “Where fell it?" and he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, “ Take it up to thee.” And he put out his hand, and took it.
The Story of the Siege of Samaria and the Syrians'
(From the 6th and 7th Chapters of 2 Kings.)
It came to pass that the king of Syria with all his host besieged Samaria. And there was great famine in Samaria ; and behold they besieged it until an ass's head was sold for four-score pieces of silver.
And as the king was passing by, a woman cried unto him, saying, “Help, my lord, oh king!” And the king said unto her, “What aileth thee ?” And she answered, “ This woman said unto me, "Give thy son, that we may eat him to-day, and we will eat my son to-morrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, "Give thy son, that we may eat him :' and she hath hid her son.” And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, ind, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. Then he said, “ God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Sh phet shall stand on him this day.” 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 ?” 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 ? ” 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.'” Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, “Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” And he said, “ Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” 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. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians : if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” And they rose up in twilight, to go into the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of
AND THE SYRIANS' FLIGHT.
chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, “Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life. And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it. Then they said one to another, “ We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us : now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.” So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, “ We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.” And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within. And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, “I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, “When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.” And one of his servants answered and said, “Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed :) and let us send and see.” They took therefore two chariot horses ; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, “Go and see.” And they went after them unto Jordan : and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king. And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned, to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him. And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, “Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to-morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria :” and that lord answered the man of God, and said, “Now, behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be?” And he said, “Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof." And so it fell out unto him : for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.