6:1 Too cramped for us
Elisha’s disciples complain that their living quarters are too cramped, tzar (צר). In Hebrew, tzar means ’narrow,’ and is often used metaphorically to describe a place of trouble. For example, in Tehillim (118:5) King David proclaims that he is calling out to Hashem from a place of trouble and pain, “min hamaytzar” (מן המצר). In this verse, it can have both the literal and the metaphoric meanings, as there is insufficient space and also troubles from enemies. For both types of difficulty, divine assistance is needed.Comment
2 Let us go to the Yarden, and let us each get a log there and build quarters there for ourselves to live in.” “Do so,” he replied.
ב נֵלְכָה־נָּא עַד־הַיַּרְדֵּן וְנִקְחָה מִשָּׁם אִישׁ קוֹרָה אֶחָת וְנַעֲשֶׂה־לָּנוּ שָׁם מָקוֹם לָשֶׁבֶת שָׁם וַיֹּאמֶר לֵכוּ׃
3 Then one of them said, “Will you please come along with your servants?” “Yes, I will come,” he said;
ג וַיֹּאמֶר הָאֶחָד הוֹאֶל נָא וְלֵךְ אֶת־עֲבָדֶיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי אֵלֵךְ׃
4 and he accompanied them. So they went to the Yarden and cut timber.
ד וַיֵּלֶךְ אִתָּם וַיָּבֹאוּ הַיַּרְדֵּנָה וַיִּגְזְרוּ הָעֵצִים׃
5 As one of them was felling a trunk, the iron ax head fell into the water. And he cried aloud, “Alas, master, it was a borrowed one!”
ה וַיְהִי הָאֶחָד מַפִּיל הַקּוֹרָה וְאֶת־הַבַּרְזֶל נָפַל אֶל־הַמָּיִם וַיִּצְעַק וַיֹּאמֶר אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנִי וְהוּא שָׁאוּל׃
6 “Where did it fall?” asked the man of Hashem. He showed him the spot; and he cut off a stick and threw it in, and he made the ax head float.
ו וַיֹּאמֶר אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים אָנָה נָפָל וַיַּרְאֵהוּ אֶת־הַמָּקוֹם וַיִּקְצָב־עֵץ וַיַּשְׁלֶךְ־שָׁמָּה וַיָּצֶף הַבַּרְזֶל׃
7 “Pick it up,” he said; so he reached out and took it.
ז וַיֹּאמֶר הָרֶם לָךְ וַיִּשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ׃
9 But the man of Hashem sent word to the king of Yisrael, “Take care not to pass through that place, for the Arameans are encamped there.”
10 So the king of Yisrael sent word to the place of which the man of Hashem had told him. Time and again he alerted such a place and took precautions there.
י וַיִּשְׁלַח מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר־לוֹ אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים והזהירה [וְהִזְהִירוֹ] וְנִשְׁמַר שָׁם לֹא אַחַת וְלֹא שְׁתָּיִם׃
13 “Go find out where he is,” he said, “so that I can have him seized.” It was reported to him that [Elisha] was in Dothan;
יג וַיֹּאמֶר לְכוּ וּרְאוּ אֵיכֹה הוּא וְאֶשְׁלַח וְאֶקָּחֵהוּ וַיֻּגַּד־לוֹ לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה בְדֹתָן׃
14 so he sent horses and chariots there and a strong force. They arrived at night and encircled the town.
יד וַיִּשְׁלַח־שָׁמָּה סוּסִים וְרֶכֶב וְחַיִל כָּבֵד וַיָּבֹאוּ לַיְלָה וַיַּקִּפוּ עַל־הָעִיר׃
15 When the attendant of the man of Hashem rose early and went outside, he saw a force, with horses and chariots, surrounding the town. “Alas, master, what shall we do?” his servant asked him.
טו וַיַּשְׁכֵּם מְשָׁרֵת אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים לָקוּם וַיֵּצֵא וְהִנֵּה־חַיִל סוֹבֵב אֶת־הָעִיר וְסוּס וָרָכֶב וַיֹּאמֶר נַעֲרוֹ אֵלָיו אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנִי אֵיכָה נַעֲשֶׂה׃
16 “Have no fear,” he replied. “There are more on our side than on theirs.”
טז וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תִּירָא כִּי רַבִּים אֲשֶׁר אִתָּנוּ מֵאֲשֶׁר אוֹתָם׃
19 Elisha said to them, “This is not the road, and that is not the town; follow me, and I will lead you to the man you want.” And he led them to Shomron.
יט וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם אֱלִישָׁע לֹא זֶה הַדֶּרֶךְ וְלֹא זֹה הָעִיר לְכוּ אַחֲרַי וְאוֹלִיכָה אֶתְכֶם אֶל־הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר תְּבַקֵּשׁוּן וַיֹּלֶךְ אוֹתָם שֹׁמְרוֹנָה׃
20 When they entered Shomron, Elisha said, “Hashem, open the eyes of these men so that they may see.” Hashem opened their eyes and they saw that they were inside Shomron.
כ וַיְהִי כְּבֹאָם שֹׁמְרוֹן וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלִישָׁע יְהוָה פְּקַח אֶת־עֵינֵי־אֵלֶּה וְיִרְאוּ וַיִּפְקַח יְהוָה אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה בְּתוֹךְ שֹׁמְרוֹן׃
22 “No, do not,” he replied. “Did you take them captive with your sword and bow that you would strike them down? Rather, set food and drink before them, and let them eat and drink and return to their master.”
כב וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא תַכֶּה הַאֲשֶׁר שָׁבִיתָ בְּחַרְבְּךָ וּבְקַשְׁתְּךָ אַתָּה מַכֶּה שִׂים לֶחֶם וָמַיִם לִפְנֵיהֶם וְיֹאכְלוּ וְיִשְׁתּוּ וְיֵלְכוּ אֶל־אֲדֹנֵיהֶם׃
23 So he prepared a lavish feast for them and, after they had eaten and drunk, he let them go, and they returned to their master. And the Aramean bands stopped invading the land of Yisrael.
24 Sometime later, King Ben-hadad of Aram mustered his entire army and marched upon Shomron and besieged it.
כד וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַיִּקְבֹּץ בֶּן־הֲדַד מֶלֶךְ־אֲרָם אֶת־כָּל־מַחֲנֵהוּ וַיַּעַל וַיָּצַר עַל־שֹׁמְרוֹן׃
25 There was a great famine in Shomron, and the siege continued until a donkey’s head sold for eighty [shekalim] of silver and a quarter of a kav of doves’ dung for five shekalim.
כה וַיְהִי רָעָב גָּדוֹל בְּשֹׁמְרוֹן וְהִנֵּה צָרִים עָלֶיהָ עַד הֱיוֹת רֹאשׁ־חֲמוֹר בִּשְׁמֹנִים כֶּסֶף וְרֹבַע הַקַּב חרייונים [דִּבְיוֹנִים] בַּחֲמִשָּׁה־כָסֶף׃
26 Once, when the king of Yisrael was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him: “Help me, Your Majesty!”
כו וַיְהִי מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹבֵר עַל־הַחֹמָה וְאִשָּׁה צָעֲקָה אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר הוֹשִׁיעָה אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
27 “Don’t [ask me],” he replied. “Let Hashem help you! Where could I get help for you, from the threshing floor or from the winepress?
כז וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־יוֹשִׁעֵךְ יְהוָה מֵאַיִן אוֹשִׁיעֵךְ הֲמִן־הַגֹּרֶן אוֹ מִן־הַיָּקֶב׃
28 But what troubles you?” the king asked her. The woman answered, “That woman said to me, ‘Give up your son and we will eat him today; and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’
כח וַיֹּאמֶר־לָהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ מַה־לָּךְ וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה הַזֹּאת אָמְרָה אֵלַי תְּנִי אֶת־בְּנֵךְ וְנֹאכְלֶנּוּ הַיּוֹם וְאֶת־בְּנִי נֹאכַל מָחָר׃
29 So we cooked my son and we ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son and let’s eat him’; but she hid her son.”
כט וַנְּבַשֵּׁל אֶת־בְּנִי וַנֹּאכְלֵהוּ וָאֹמַר אֵלֶיהָ בַּיּוֹם הָאַחֵר תְּנִי אֶת־בְּנֵךְ וְנֹאכְלֶנּוּ וַתַּחְבִּא אֶת־בְּנָהּ׃
30 When the king heard what the woman said, he rent his clothes; and as he walked along the wall, the people could see that he was wearing sackcloth underneath.
ל וַיְהִי כִשְׁמֹעַ הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־דִּבְרֵי הָאִשָּׁה וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְהוּא עֹבֵר עַל־הַחֹמָה וַיַּרְא הָעָם וְהִנֵּה הַשַּׂק עַל־בְּשָׂרוֹ מִבָּיִת׃
31 He said, “Thus and more may Hashem do to me if the head of Elisha son of Shafat remains on his shoulders today.”
לא וַיֹּאמֶר כֹּה־יַעֲשֶׂה־לִּי אֱלֹהִים וְכֹה יוֹסִף אִם־יַעֲמֹד רֹאשׁ אֱלִישָׁע בֶּן־שָׁפָט עָלָיו הַיּוֹם׃
32 Now Elisha was sitting at home and the elders were sitting with him. The king had sent ahead one of his men; but before the messenger arrived, [Elisha] said to the elders, “Do you see—that murderer has sent someone to cut off my head! Watch when the messenger comes, and shut the door and hold the door fast against him. No doubt the sound of his master’s footsteps will follow.”
לב וֶאֱלִישָׁע יֹשֵׁב בְּבֵיתוֹ וְהַזְּקֵנִים יֹשְׁבִים אִתּוֹ וַיִּשְׁלַח אִישׁ מִלְּפָנָיו בְּטֶרֶם יָבֹא הַמַּלְאָךְ אֵלָיו וְהוּא אָמַר אֶל־הַזְּקֵנִים הַרְּאִיתֶם כִּי־שָׁלַח בֶּן־הַמְרַצֵּחַ הַזֶּה לְהָסִיר אֶת־רֹאשִׁי רְאוּ כְּבֹא הַמַּלְאָךְ סִגְרוּ הַדֶּלֶת וּלְחַצְתֶּם אֹתוֹ בַּדֶּלֶת הֲלוֹא קוֹל רַגְלֵי אֲדֹנָיו אַחֲרָיו׃
33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came to him and said, “This calamity is from Hashem. What more can I hope for from Hashem?
לג עוֹדֶנּוּ מְדַבֵּר עִמָּם וְהִנֵּה הַמַּלְאָךְ יֹרֵד אֵלָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה־זֹאת הָרָעָה מֵאֵת יְהוָה מָה־אוֹחִיל לַיהוָה עוֹד׃