2 Kings 6:20-23 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “LORD, open the eyes of these men so that they can see.” Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?” “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram [Syria] stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
There is so much about the ministries of Elisha and Elijah that anticipates the life and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We recognise in Elisha’s attitude to the arch enemy from Aram, whom the LORD had miraculously brought into a defenceless captive situation in Samaria, Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48). This is one of our Saviour’s rules for life that the ‘natural man’ in us finds very difficult to put into practice.
And here we see Elisha acting in exactly the way the Master would approve. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his example is its outcome in terms of international relations! Yes – “So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.” I’m sure the fact that not only did Elisha refrain from killing his enemy, but “set food and water before them” to “eat and drink and then go back to their master” and “prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master” went a long way towards achieving this beneficial result for God’s people.
I think I’ve noted before that, interestingly, ‘EVANGELISM’ is an anagram of ‘MEALS GIVEN’!
– Bruce Christian