1 So Elisha responded, "Listen to this message from the LORD! "This is what the LORD says: "At about this time tomorrow, in Samaria's city gate, a seah of finely ground flour will sell for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel."'"
2 But the royal attendant on whom the king depended responded to the man of God: "Look here! Even if the LORD were to open a window in the sky, how could this happen?" He replied, "No, you look! You'll see it with your eyes, but you won't eat any of it!"
3 Now there happened to be four lepers who were at that very moment at the entrance to the city gate. As they were talking with one another, they said, "Why are we sitting here waiting to die? 4 If we tell ourselves, "Let's remain in the city,' we'll die there since there's famine in the city. But if we sit here, we'll die, too. So let's go over to the Arameans! If they spare our lives, we'll live, and if they kill us"we're dying anyway!"
5 So they got up at dusk and went out to the Aramean encampment. But when they arrived at the outskirts of the Aramean encampment, there was no one there! 6 The LORD had made the Aramean army hear the sounds of chariots, horses, and a large army, so they told one another, "Look! The king of Israel has hired the kings of the Hittites and the Egyptians to come attack us!" 7 So the Arameans got up and ran away in the gathering darkness. They left behind their tents, horses, and donkeys just as they were and fled for their lives!
8 When the lepers arrived at the outskirts of the encampment, they entered one tent and ate and drank. Then they carried off from there some silver, gold, and clothes, and went out and hid them. After this, they returned, entered another tent, raided it, and went and hid all of that, too! 9 But then they told each other, "We're not doing the right thing. This is a day of good news, but if we keep quiet until morning, we're sure to be punished! So let's leave and go tell the king's household!"
10 So they left, called out to the city gatekeepers, and reported to them: "We went out to the Aramean encampment, and there was nobody there! Not even the sound of men only horses and donkeys tied up, and tents left just as they were!" 11 The gatekeepers announced the report to the king's attendants,
12 so the king got up in the middle of the night and ordered his servants: "Let me explain what the Arameans have done to us. They know that we're hungry, so they've left their encampment to conceal themselves in the surrounding fields. They're telling themselves, "When they come out of the city, we'll capture them alive and enter the city!'"
13 One of his attendants suggested, "Please, let's take five of the remaining horses, since those who remain here will end up like the rest of Israel, which has already died, and we'll send them out to look."
14 So they took two chariots and horses, and the king sent them out after the Aramean army with the orders, "Go and look!" 15 They went out in the direction of the Jordan River, and the entire roadway was strewn with clothes and equipment that the Arameans had abandoned in their haste to leave! So the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16 At this, the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. At that time, a seah of finely ground flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, in accordance with the LORD's message. 17 Meanwhile, the king appointed the same royal attendant on whom he depended to take control of the city gate, but the people trampled him to death in the gate, just as the man of God had told the king when the king came down to him. 18 It happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king: "At about this time tomorrow, in Samaria's city gate, a seah of finely ground flour will sell for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel." 19 But the royal attendant on whom the king depended responded to the man of God: "Look here! Even if the LORD were to make a window in the sky, how could this happen?" He replied, "No, you look! You'll see it with your eyes, but you won't eat any of it!" 20 And so it happened to him, because the people trampled him in the city gate and he died.