2 Kings 6-7
Good News Translation
The Recovery of the Ax Head
6 One day the group of prophets that Elisha was in
charge of complained to him, “The place where we live is too small! 2 Give us permission to go to the Jordan and cut down some trees, so that we can build a place to live.”
“All right,” Elisha answered.
3 One of them urged him to go with them; he
agreed, 4 and they set out together. When they arrived at the Jordan, they began to work. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, suddenly his iron ax head fell in the water. “What shall I do, sir?” he exclaimed to Elisha. “It was a borrowed ax!”
6 “Where did it fall?” Elisha asked.
The man showed him the place, and Elisha cut off a stick, threw it in the water, and made the ax head float. 7 “Take it out,” he ordered, and the man reached down and picked it up.
The Syrian Army Is Defeated
8 The king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his officers and chose a place to set up his camp. 9 But Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, warning him not to go near that place, because the Syrians were waiting in ambush there. 10 So the king of Israel warned the people who lived in that place, and they were on guard. This happened several times.
11 The Syrian king became greatly upset over this; he called in his officers and asked them, “Which one of you is on the side of the king of Israel?”
12 One of them answered, “No one is, Your Majesty. The prophet Elisha tells the king of Israel what you say even in the privacy of your own room.”
13 “Find out where he is,” the king ordered, “and I will capture him.”
When he was told that Elisha was in Dothan, 14 he sent a large force there with horses and chariots. They reached the town at night and surrounded it. 15 Early the next morning Elisha’s servant got up, went out of the house, and saw the Syrian troops with their horses and chariots surrounding the town. He went back to Elisha and exclaimed, “We are doomed, sir! What shall we do?”
16 “Don’t be afraid,” Elisha answered. “We have more on our side than they have on theirs.” 17 Then he prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!”
The Lord answered his prayer, and Elisha’s servant looked up and saw the hillside covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 When the Syrians attacked, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, strike these men blind!” The Lord answered his prayer and struck them blind. 19 Then Elisha went to them and said, “You are on the wrong road; this is not the town
you are looking for. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are after.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 As soon as they had entered the city, Elisha prayed, “Open their eyes, Lord, and let them see.”
The Lord answered his prayer; he restored their sight, and they saw that they were inside Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw the Syrians, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, sir? Shall I kill them?”
22 “No,” he answered. “Not even soldiers you had captured in combat would you put to death. Give them something to eat and drink, and let them return to their king.” 23 So the king of Israel provided a great feast for them; and after they had eaten and drunk, he sent them back to the king of Syria. From then on the Syrians stopped raiding the land of Israel.
The Siege of Samaria
24 Some time later King Benhadad of Syria led his entire army against Israel and laid siege to the city of Samaria. 25 As a result of the siege the food shortage
in the city was so severe that a donkey’s head cost eighty pieces of silver, and half a pound of dove’s dung[a] cost five pieces of silver.
26 The king of Israel was walking by on the city wall when a woman cried out, “Help me, Your Majesty!”
27 He replied, “If the Lord won’t help you, what help can I provide? Do I have any wheat or wine? 28 What’s your trouble?”
She answered, “The other day this woman here suggested that we eat my child, and then eat her child the next day. 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her that we would eat her son, but she had hidden him!”
30 Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in dismay, and the people who were close to the wall could see that he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 31 He exclaimed, “May God strike me dead if Elisha is not beheaded before the day is over!” 32 And he sent a messenger to get Elisha.
Meanwhile Elisha was at home with some elders who were visiting him. Before the king’s messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “That murderer is sending someone to kill me! Now, when he gets here, shut the door and don’t let him come in. The king himself will be right behind him.” 33 He had hardly finished saying this, when the king[b] arrived and said, “It’s the Lord who has brought this trouble on us! Why should I wait any longer for him to do something?”
7 Elisha answered, “Listen to what the Lord says! By this time tomorrow you will be able to buy in Samaria
ten pounds of the best wheat or twenty pounds of barley for one piece of silver.”
2 The personal attendant of the king said to Elisha, “That can’t happen—not even if the Lord himself were to send grain[c] at once!”
“You will see it happen, but you won’t get to eat any of the food,” Elisha replied.
The Syrian Army Leaves
3 Four men who were suffering from a dreaded skin disease were outside the gates of Samaria, and they said to each other, “Why should we wait here until we die? 4 It’s no use going into the city, because we would starve to death in there; but if we stay here, we’ll die also. So let’s go to the Syrian camp; the worst they can do is kill us, but maybe they will spare our lives.” 5 So, as it began to get dark, they went to the Syrian camp, but when they reached it, no one was there. 6 The Lord had made the Syrians hear what sounded like the advance of a large army with horses and chariots, and the Syrians thought that the king of Israel had hired Hittite and Egyptian kings and their armies to attack them. 7 So that evening the Syrians had fled for their lives, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys, and leaving the camp just as it was.
8 When the four men reached the edge of the camp, they went into a tent, ate and drank what was there, grabbed the silver, gold, and clothing they found, and went off and hid them; then they returned, entered another tent, and did the same thing. 9 But then they said to each other, “We shouldn’t be doing this! We
have good news, and we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. If we wait until morning to tell it, we are sure to be punished. Let’s go right now and tell the king’s officers!” 10 So they left the Syrian camp, went back to Samaria, and called out to the guards at the gates: “We went to the Syrian camp and didn’t see or hear anybody; the horses and donkeys have not been untied, and the tents are just as the Syrians left them.”
11 The guards announced the news, and it was reported in the palace. 12 It was still night, but the king got out of bed and said to his officials, “I’ll tell you what the Syrians are planning! They know about the famine here, so they have left their camp to go and hide in the countryside. They think that we will leave the city to find food, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.”
13 One of his officials said, “The people here in the city are doomed anyway, like those that have already died. So let’s send some men with five of the horses that are left, so that we can find out what has
happened.”[d] 14 They chose some men, and the king
sent them in two chariots with instructions to go and find out what had happened to the Syrian army. 15 The men went as far as the Jordan, and all along the road they saw the clothes and equipment that the Syrians had abandoned as they fled. Then they returned and reported to the king. 16 The people of Samaria rushed out and looted the Syrian camp. And as the Lord had said, ten pounds of the best wheat or twenty pounds of barley were sold for one piece of silver.
17 It so happened that the king of Israel had put the city gate under the command of the officer who was his personal attendant. The officer was trampled to death there by the people and died, as Elisha had predicted when the king went to see him. 18 Elisha had told the king that by that time the following day ten pounds of the best wheat or twenty pounds of barley would be sold in Samaria for one piece of silver, 19 to which the officer had answered, “That can’t happen—not even if the Lord himself were to send grain[e] at once!” And Elisha had replied, “You will see it happen, but you won’t get to eat any of the food.” 20 And that is just
what happened to him—he died, trampled to death by the people at the city gate.
- 2 Kings 6:25 This may be a popular term for a vegetable such as wild onions.
- 2 Kings 6:33 Probable text king; Hebrew messenger.
- 2 Kings 7:2 grain; or rain.
- 2 Kings 7:13 Verse 13 in Hebrew is unclear.
- 2 Kings 7:19 grain; or rain.
Good News Translation
Paul and Barnabas Separate
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in every town where we preached the word of the Lord, and let us find out how they are getting along.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, 38 but Paul did not think it was right to take him, because he had not stayed with them to the end of their mission, but had turned back and left them in Pamphylia. 39 There was a sharp argument, and they separated: Barnabas took Mark and sailed off for Cyprus, 40 while Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the care of the Lord’s grace. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Timothy Goes with Paul and Silas
16 Paul traveled on to Derbe and Lystra, where a
Christian named Timothy lived. His mother, who was also a Christian, was Jewish, but his father was a Greek. 2 All the believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. 3 Paul wanted to take Timothy along with him, so he circumcised him. He did so because all the Jews who lived in those places knew that Timothy’s father was Greek. 4 As they went through the towns, they delivered to the believers the rules decided upon by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and they told them to obey those rules. 5 So the churches were made stronger in the faith and grew in numbers every day.
In Troas: Paul’s Vision
6 They traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. 7 When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So they traveled right on through[a] Mysia and went to Troas. 9 That night Paul had a vision in which he saw a Macedonian standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 As soon as Paul had this vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, because we decided that God had called us to preach the Good News to the people there.
In Philippi: the Conversion of Lydia
11 We left by ship from Troas and sailed straight across to Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis. 12 From there we went inland to Philippi, a city of the first district of Macedonia;[b] it is also a Roman colony. We spent several days there. 13 On the Sabbath we went out of the city to the riverside, where we thought there would be a place where Jews gathered for prayer. We
sat down and talked to the women who gathered
there. 14 One of those who heard us was Lydia from Thyatira, who was a dealer in purple cloth. She was a woman who worshiped God, and the Lord opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying. 15 After she and the people of her house had been baptized, she invited us, “Come and stay in my house if you have decided that I am a true believer in the Lord.” And she persuaded us to go.
- Acts 16:8 traveled right on through; or passed by.
- Acts 16:12 a city of the first district of Macedonia; somemanuscripts have a leading city of the district of Macedonia, or a leading city of that district in Macedonia.
Good News Translation
A Prayer for Help[a] 142
I call to the Lord for help; I plead with him.
I bring him all my complaints; I tell him all my troubles.
When I am ready to give up, he knows what I should do.
In the path where I walk,
my enemies have hidden a trap for me.
When I look beside me,
I see that there is no one to help me, no one to protect me.
No one cares for me.
Lord, I cry to you for help;
you, Lord, are my protector;
you are all I want in this life.
Listen to my cry for help, for I am sunk in despair.
Save me from my enemies; they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my distress;[b]
then in the assembly of your people I will praise you
because of your goodness to me.
Read full chapter
- Psalm 142:1 HEBREW TITLE: A poem by David, when he was in the cave; a prayer.
- Psalm 142:7 distress; or prison.
Proverbs 17:24-25 Good News Translation
24 An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions.
25 Foolish children bring grief to their fathers and bitter regrets to their mothers.
Tobit 8: 1-10
Good News Translation
The Demon Is Expelled
8 When they had finished the meal, and it was time to
go to bed, Sarah’s parents led young Tobias to the bedroom. 2 He remembered Raphael’s instructions, so he took the fish’s liver and heart out of the bag where he had been keeping them. Then he placed them on the burning incense. 3 The smell drove the demon away from them, and he fled to Egypt.[a] Raphael chased after him and caught him there. At once he bound him hand and foot.
The Prayer of Tobias
When Tobias and Sarah were alone behind closed doors, Tobias got up from the bed and said to his wife,
Get up, dear. Let’s pray for the Lord to be merciful and to protect us. 5 Sarah got up so that they could pray together and ask God for his protection.
Then Tobias prayed:
God of our ancestors, you are worthy of praise. May your name be honored forever and ever
by all your creatures in heaven and on earth.
You created Adam and gave him his wife Eve to be his helper and support.
They became the parents of the whole human race. You said,
It is not good for man to live alone. I will make a suitable helper for him.
Lord, I have chosen Sarah because it is right, not because I lusted for her.
Please be merciful to us
and grant that we may grow old together.
Then they both said
Amen 9 and went to bed for the night.