The portion you asked about begins with Syria at war with Israel. We read in 2 Kings 6:8, “Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.” The king of Syria encamped in an advantageous position. Yet, Elisha warned the king of Israel about the place where the Syrians were camped. The Israelites were able to avoid walking into their camp…and certain death. Surely, it was by the power of God that Elisha knew the position of the camp of Syria so that he might warn others.

The king of Syria was greatly angered about how the Israelites were able to avoid being ambushed. Eventually, one of his servants told the king that Elisha was the one who knew the position of their camp. Elisha was able to know “the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.” (Verse 12.) The king was infuriated and called for his men to capture Elisha. Learning that Elisha was in Dothan, we read in verse 14, “Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.” In spite of all those gathered to capture him, Elisha said in verse 16, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

The Lord then did a remarkable thing. Verse 17 tells us, “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” The Lord allowed Elisha’s servant to see the invisible world. He allowed him to see that God’s forces were there to protect Elisha from all the power of evil that had gathered to capture him. We read in Psalms 68:17, “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” Psalms 104:4 says it is the Lord, “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” How well we see here the truth of Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Even though we do not see Him, the Lord is always present to help us in our times of need.

In verses 18-20, Elisha asked the Lord to blind the eyes of his enemies. The Lord struck them blind and Elisha led them all to Samaria. When their eyes were opened, they faced the Israelites. With their enemies defenseless and right in front of them we read in verse 21, “And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?” What an opportunity! Their enemies stood there confused and trying to recover from their blindness. This was the perfect opportunity to overtake them and slay all their enemies.

We have another important lesson to consider. Instead of killing their enemies, the Israelites were instructed to show them mercy. We read in verses 22-23, “And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.”

Let’s compare that action with what the Lord Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-44, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” By showing their enemies mercy, they won the war! The Syrians “came no more into the land of Israel.” (Sadly, Israel’s troubles with Syria is not over yet.) May we all learn the benefits of showing mercy in the face of hatred. It is the Lord’s way for us! (308.5)