<IMG src="file:///C:/Documents and Settings/由紀子/Application Data/IBM/HomePage Builder Version 7/tmp/logo2.gif" width="370" height="41" border="0" alt="The geneaology of prophets">
14 Elisha(8)

Put gentleness to a human being

UKings 6:8-23
Romans 5:6-9
T Standing in confused modern Japan

 It is difficult to understand editors' intention, because various articles ignore time order and kind, and also it is skipping the same genre. But, while catching a political change of the Northern Kingdom from Jehu dynasty to Omri dynasty, the article until Elisha's death from Chapter 6 to chapter 13 takes up almost political participation of Elisha. This will be a special feature of prophet Elisha as a successor of Elijah. I have watched this prophet from many aspects till now, but, I want to investigate his special feature from some articles last. At first, it is from the place that Elisha intervened to Aram who fought Israel as a prophet, but, because a series of events are divided into three blocks, I want to try to think from each places this morning.

 At first, it is from Verse 8-14, and it begins, "Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel;"(8). You may think Aram is Syria and a king is Ben-Hadad. This king made friends with Elisha later, but it seems to have been after the times of general Naaman, and at this time, he was a still vigorous hostility nakedness king to the Northern Kingdom. However, Aram had overwhelmed the strength of nation and culture firmly, but, because it went south at considerable distance, it had used physical strength for an expedition and never tied to overwhelming victory. Therefore, they set up a strategy and ambushed; "In such and such a place shall be my camp." (8), it would be a strategy in a friend with a little damage. However, in such a case, by all means, there was warning of Elisha in Israel. "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there."(9) Israeli king (probably, Joram) trusted words of Elisha and accepted it. There is it; "And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him; thus he warned him,". It is Aram that is not satisfied. And he flew into a rage whether there was a betrayer in his own armed forces, because he all failed even if he worked out a strategy how many times. He may not have yet known existence of prophet Elisha at this point in time. However, one retainer advised; "No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom."(12).

 It is not clear whether this retainer noticed it, but his words expressed essence of a prophet precisely. To take the concealed matter as God who exists there, and to ascertain that judgment, particularly, it may be said to be a big role in this confused times. It floats here a figure of patriot Elisha regretting to hand the Northern Kingdom to a hand of Aram, and that Kingdom was invaded by religion of Cannan, and was going to die out. We who are made to stand in such a confusion as modern Japan want to imitate this posture of Elisha.

U Have eyes watching an important thing

 However, King Hadad who raged did not be able to take the retainer's advice definitely, and misunderstood that if there was not even Elisha "victory would be put in our hand". It would depend on an Israeli posture to God that Aramic King Hadad did not notice the work of God here. If Israel had put their trust to God all, as same as the times of Joshua, Judges, and David, their God would be transmitted to adjacent Aramic naturally. If it was so, he would not do such a reckless thing to despise this God. However, he sent the armed forces during the night and surrounded a town of Dothan where Elisha is. Dothan is the stage that Joseph was neglected by older brothers and sold to Egypt, and it was in the mountain of Samaria; even if they disappeared in darkness of the night, what the armed forces of Aram were able to get into to such a place would be because they marched carefully in large measure. "A great army" in Verse 14 would be elite forces, and it was said "the marauding bands of Arameans" in Verse 23.

 The second is in Verse 15-19, and this hurry-scurrying servant would be Gehazi. "Alas, my master! What shall we do?", "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." When Elisha prayed to the Lord, how splendid it was; to eyes of Gehazi, it was seen that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Gehazi and Aram and we, who seems to watch anything, but, an important thing is not seen... When Aram attacked Elisha, he prayed "Strike this people with blindness, I pray.". "So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha."(18), and Elisha took such them to a town of Samaria. "According to the word of Elisha"; we must learn more and more that our prayers are asked how we have prayed. To have become blind, in the same way as Paul, would it be covered to eyes? They would lose sight of the thing which should have watched as same as King.

V Put gentleness to a human being

 The third, it is from Verse 20. "And it came about when they had come into Samaria, that Elisha said, 'O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.'"(20) Because they had come to the center of Samaria, the soldiers who came to see were astonished. It seems that about 15km distance from Dothan to Samaria was hard, even if there was a leader, but they walked to accomplish an order of King with inconvenient eyes; a way of their best comes. They might have become already blind at that point to abandon life for King. This is one of the central subjects of Elisha, but comparison of the soldiers, who was going to abandon life for King, and the prophet, who was going to sacrifice life of King for people, was pictured wonderfully, I think.

 Israeli King and soldiers gathered around him, and Israeli King said, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?" (21), but Elisha watched their tragic but brave determination, and stopped King. "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master."(22) It is felt that Elisha was more than a consultant for King from this conversation. King received words of Elisha and let them have a grand feast and let them leave safely to Aram. Annalist of this article testifies with "And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel."(23). A grand feast party of King did not have result, but, the tender consideration of Elisha would hit them.

 Here, a special feature of prophet Elisha rises. The first one is his wish to help Israel. Israel had fallen into the religion of Cannan, Baal worship, but Elisha never hit severe words on Israel which followed a course of decadence morally. Rather a figure of the prophet who is anxious about such Israel falling into a hand of other countries floats. And next thing, it seems to testify the humanity of Elisha contacting to the people of Aram kindly, here. The first mission of a prophet is to convey words of God, and it does not play a role as a mechanical speaker like a robot, but, we may rather hear that it is a message digested in character of a prophet. Elijah was a prophet who proposed a confrontation intensely, and Elisha was a prophet who valued gentleness. It is gentleness of God, and that gentleness is condensed by a cross of Jesus.