By Raymond Harris
Regarding Scripture: II Kings 6.1-7.20
Note to the Reader – I encourage you to invest additional time reading the Books of Kings in conjunction with this article.
Having One’s Eyes Opened
This writer thinks it is fair to claim that each person probably believes that a good portion of people around them need to have their eyes opened to some kind of truth. But for just a moment of self-reflection, the difficulty for the one who believes that others need to have their eyes opened is that they unfortunately may not have yet had the scales fall from their own eyes. Truth be told, sometimes it is truly difficult to see, no matter how experienced or inexperienced one may be.
Knowing that this article is not limiting itself to physical blindness (those who may have never had physical vision so that they are literally blind to the vision of motion, color and reading printing words). Instead, this article is referring to those (of which myself must, at times, be included) who fail to see life’s circumstances surrounding them. Circumstances of life can involve a ball player’s blindness in reading the field, a race car driver’s blindness to the decisions of the other drivers, it could even include consumer’s blindness to economics or a citizen’s blindness to politics. But this writer is speaking about spiritual matters, and specifically addressing the Jehovah believers.
We are going to take this week’s article from II Kings chapters six and seven. Many lessons can be learned from this section of scripture, from the floating axe-head1 to the cannibalism of the Samarian mothers;2 from the leprous men taking good news to Israel3 to the consequences in disbelieving in Jehovah’s power.4 But most importantly, chapters six and seven need to be seen as an entire event. This can be seen because of how the events play out. This entire section really concerns itself with the blindness of believers to Jehovah’s power, and quite possibly the powerful consequences of disbelieving blindness.
A Servant’s Blindness
The first discussion of blindness occurs when the Syrian army surrounded Dothan.5 Elisha’s servant awakens to find the Syrians surrounding the city and wonders what Dothan is going to do.6 But Elisha dispels his concern and worry by asking Jehovah to open the servant’s eyes to the spiritual truth.7 Jehovah’s army is hidden to disbelievers, but more importantly, as we will see, Jehovah’s army will protect believers. The lesson: believers should not be blind to the spiritual battle.
A Blinded Army
The second discussion of blindness involves the Syrians. They had surrounded Dothan,8 the city where Elisha lived, because the King of Syria wanted to rid himself of the problems Elisha had caused.9 While surrounded, Elisha prayed that the Syrian army would be struck blind. It seems best interpreted that the Syrian army was not made physically blind, but militarily and tactically blind, because Elisha then lead the Syrians from Dothan (northeast of Samaria) southward about ten miles to Samaria, and that is where the Syrians attacked Israel.10 The lesson: blindness can be given to non-Jehovah fearers as a means of protecting God’s people from harm.
An Aide’s Blindness
The third discussion of blindness involves an aide of Israel’s King.11 As the besieging of Samaria took place, great despair came to the inhabitants of Samaria. So great was the misery that the city faced economic hardship (price gouging)12 and mothers resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.13 As the king learned about the situation, he blamed Elisha and sent one of his aides to speak to Elisha. Elisha then said that the economic hardship would ease, but the aide did not believe and as chapter seven ends, the aide succumbs to the mortal wounds of the trampling feet of the masses.14 The lesson: believer’s of Jehovah are to believe (trust) God’s word. As a side note, but just as important, the leprous men were able to enter the Syrian army encampment and get food because Jehovah’s army chased them away.15 The lesson: opened spiritual eyes know that Jehovah provides.
A Nation’s Blindness
But perhaps the greatest blindness is that of Israel. Samaria was part of the northern ten tribes, the Kingdom of Israel, established by Jeroboam.16 But Israel refused to admit that they were spiritually blind and refused to repent of their idolatrous worship of the golden calves in Dan and Bethel.17 They refused to trust Jehovah.
In this age of modern technology, it seems that we have an even greater difficulty believing Jehovah. Our scientific advances blind us to Him, where our illumination of city streets wash out the luminaries of the heavens. We trust our weather forecasts and computer modeling instead of trusting Jehovah for the early and latter rains.18 Not that we should not vote, but we trust the power of our vote instead of trusting the power of Jehovah to rule in the affairs of humanity.19 Not that we should not investigate and provide solutions, but we trust our mental acuity to discern our problems and derive a solution, instead of trusting in Jehovah the Giver of intellect.
Yes, we have accomplished great things from the automobile to bridges and from satellite phones to space flight, but in whom do we believe? Do we believe in the power of praying to and supplication of Jehovah, or do we believe in the results of our minds and hands? In other words, do we walk by faith or do we walk by sight? Bringing our article to a personal level, in a nation that is struggling with spiritual truth, have you opened your spiritual eyes to Jehovah’s power? May the Lord bless each of us by having our eyes opened to His power and His word.
1. “Floating Axe-head.” II Kings 6.1-7; NASB.
2. “Samarian mothers’ cannibalism.” II Kings 6.26-30; NASB.
3. “Leprous men and their Good News.” II Kings 7.3-10; NASB.
4. “Disbelief in Jehovah’s Power.” II Kings 6.32-7.20; NASB, the leprous men are incidental to the entire event.
5. “Syria Surrounds Dothan.” II Kings 6.11-14; NASB.
6. “Elisha’s Servant Awakens.” II Kings 6.15; NASB.
7. “Opened Eyes to Spiritual Truth.” II Kings 6.16-17; NASB.
8. “Dothan, City of Elisha.” II Kings 6.12-13; NASB.
9. “Problems of the Syrian King.” II Kings 6.8-12; NASB.
10. “Elisha’s Involvement with the Syrian Army.” II Kings 6.17-24; NASB.
11. “Blindness of a King’s Aide.” II Kings 7.2; NASB.
12. “Price Gouging.” II Kings 6.25; NASB.
13. See endnote two.
14. “The Aide’s Death.” II Kings 7.19-20; cf. 7.2; NASB.
15. “Jehovah’s Army Chased away the Syrians.” II Kings 7.6; cf. II Kings 6.15, 17; NASB.
16. “Israel’s Establishment.” I Kings 12; NASB.
17. “Idolatrous Calf Worship.” I Kings 12.26-29; NASB.
18. “Early and Latter Rains.” Deuteronomy 11.13-14; James 5.7; NASB.
19. “Affairs of Humanity.” Romans 13.1-2; NASB.