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15 Elisha(9)

With contented thanks

UKings 6:24-7:20
Colossians 2:6-7
T Pity given to the miserable people

 We are watching his political participation to be able to call a special feature of Elisha. Because it is an important event, the point of this morning is very long; it is from Verse 6:24 to Verse 7:20. There is it in Verse 6:23 "And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel." and in Verse 24 "Now it came about after this, that Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria.", but, as for the articles of these two, order of time seems to be reverse. There is it in 4:38, "When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land.", and it seems to be piled up in the time when he became a successor of Elijah; and without an interval he went around between the people busily. The reason why editors brought this article to the end game of activity of Elisha is because rivalry with Aram had reached a peak, after this, Aramic plunder corps never invaded Israel and it followed an event of Naaman. However, at all events, at that time the external interest of Elisha was suitable for Aram. He would understand that Assyria aimed vigilantly a Palestinian invasion, and to oppose it, there was not a way unless to conclude an alliance with Aram. And, according to the wish, friendly relations with Aram established. It may be said that Elisha's work was realized.

 A point of the message in this morning was in the time that Aramic king Ben-hadad has attacked north Israel with all his power to add an end to rivalry. There is it; "And there was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove's dung for five of silver."(25) Because it was dirty, the prohibited animal to eat was recorded in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and it was recognized that the animal into which the hoof such as asses and horses had not divided was dirty, but now, it has been recognized as food. Besides, it has been sold with silver 80 shekels (40,000-50,000 yen?)! In addition, a quarter turnip (about 500cc)of a pigeon-shit(Is it a name of grass?)was scrambled for in 5 shekels (2~300 yen?), and it was such a miserable unpleasant situation of Samaria. We do not want to read the next article. A broken heart of person in an extreme state, it may point us of now. However, Elisha told words of the Lord; "Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria."(7:1). It was a message for the King of Aram who sent soldiers to take life of Elisha, but, it was also a message of pity to the people who was in such a miserable situation at the same time.

U From testimony of the people who has been like dead

 An accident happened in the armed forces of Aram which surrounded Samaria. It is there; "For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, 'Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us."(7:6-7). We want to try to think about two things here, but first of all, it is witness of an escape of Aram. It was several leprosy patients who were put up as witnesses; but that article is strangely long with 7:3-10. The circumstances that Aramic soldiers evaded was heard by an annalist (a prophet) who went to Aram with Elisha locally after a while, but, the message of these editors, under the situation that testimony and the testimony of leprosy patients have been collected all together, will seem to be heard.

 Even in the usual time, they have lived quietly and not met eyes of a citizen (a leprosy patient) and lacked to eat. Besides, they were surrounded by famine as well as an Aramic army; "Why do we sit ere until we die? If we say, 'we will enter the city, then the famine is in the city and we shall die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of Arameans.'"(3-4), then, they were such as the dead, but crawled into the Aramic camp to search food. However, "there was no one there."(5). The camp was empty. They went to tell king Jehoram about a state of the camp after having fully eaten and drunk.

 In Israel, the witnesses had been decided in a law with two males who had citizenship older than 20 years old. By the way, they did not satisfy that matter as leprosy patients, so the King and retainers ignored them here. However, their testimony saved Israel. It surprises us that the opportunity that revived of Israelis was given by them; they were the people who has been like dead, and even only food was not given them. Don't you think that we can hear the salvation of the cross of Jesus from their testimony?

V With contented thanks

 The King who jumped out of bed in response to communication could not believe that an enemy ran. He finally took out an observer force by advice of a retainer and was able to swallow a situation. Aram threw out a thing owned, the armed forces and private properties all, and escaped. The soldiers seemed to have worn not only a supplying article such as the arms and food which were necessary for a fight, but also all property, silver, money, and clothes, too, and such articles satisfied and quenched poor people of Samaria. There is it; "So the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. Then 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."(16).

 This is the second thing; when Elisha conveyed a message of God, "Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour shall be sold a shekel...."(7), there was a royal officer who was not going to believe it arrogantly. But towards him, Elisha pronounced "Behold you shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.". That's right, his wretched end came over. "Now the king appointed the royal officer on whose hand he learned to have charge of the gate; but the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died,"(17) We can hear one message through him.

 About him, it was introduced twice; "the royal officer on whose hand the king was leaning"(2, 17), but there was it with an adjutant (the third person) in other translation, and it seems that he was a man of power who follows king and a minister. Therefore, it seems that he had not an ear to hear the saying of other person, and was not troubled with a thing to eat even at the time of famine. In the present age, we also hear a lot of similar examples, too. The reason why he died miserably, it may be that he was hated by the people. An editor of Kings testified thus; "And so it happened to him"(20), but it may be said that it is realization of prophecy of Elisha removing an arrogant disbelief that does not pay any attention to God.

 How an intense article, but, he became an example of disbelief. And one problems float here. He said; "Behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?". He would be convinced of existence of God without doubt. However, it cannot be said that is the faith attitude that we aim at. We sing the blessing in a loud voice with thanks and praise, it is risen so that no matter how much God has mercy. And we get the salvation of Jesus, yes, it is our faith. The people of Samaria did not notice they have trampled on him, because they were so crazy about the presents from God. I think that this royal officer should have been modest to enjoy that delight with them. When we must appear before God with thanks, we must hear such a message of Elisha.