Story Fifteen

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
AFTER a time there was another great war between Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, and Ĭś̝ ra-el; and Bĕn=hā́ dăd, the king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, led a mighty army into the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el, and laid siege against the city of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. So hard and so long was the siege that the people in Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ could find nothing to eat; many died from want of food, and some killed their own children, and ate them.
But through all the siege Ē̇-lī́ shȧ encouraged the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el not to give up the city. When it seemed that there could be no hope, Ē̇-lī́ shā said to the king, "Hear the word of the Lord, 'Tomorrow, at this hour, in the gate of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, a peck of flour shall be sold for sixty cents, and two pecks of barley for sixty cents.'”
One of the nobles, on Whose arm the king was leaning, did not believe Ē̇-lī́ shȧ word, and said, scornfully, "If the Lord would make windows in heaven, and rain down wheat and barley, then this might be." "You shall see it with your own eyes," answered Ē̇-lī́ shȧ; "but you shall not eat any of the food.”
On the next morning, about daybreak, four men that were lepers were standing together outside the gate of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. Being lepers, they were not allowed by the laws of Ĭś̝ ra-el inside the walls of the city. (We have read of leprosy and lepers in the story of Nā́ a-man.) These four men said to each other, "What shall we do? If we go into the city we must die there from the want of food; if we stay here we must die. Let us go to the camp of the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝; perhaps they will let us live; and at the worst they can do no more than kill us.”
So the four men went toward the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-an camp; but as they came near they were surprised to find no one standing on guard. They went into a tent, and found it empty, as though it had been left very suddenly, for there were food, and drink, and garments, and gold, and silver. As no one was there they ate and drank all they needed; and then they took away valuable things and hid them. They looked into another tent, and another, and found them like the first, but not a man was in sight. They walked through the camp; but not a soldier was there, and the tents were left just as they had been when men were living in them.
In the night the Lord had caused the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ to hear a great noise, like the rolling of chariots, and the trampling of horses, and the marching of men. They said to each other, in great fear, "The king of Ĭś̝ ra-el has sent for the Hĭt́ tītes on the north, and the Ē̇-ġy̆ṕ tians on the south, to come against us.”
And so great and so sudden was their terror, that in the night they rose up and fled away, leaving everything in their camp; even leaving their horses tied, and their asses, and all their treasure, and all their food, in their tents.
After a time the lepers said to each other, "We do wrong not to tell this good news in the city. If they found it out, they will blame us for not letting them know, and we may lose our lives on account of it.”
So they went up to the gate, and called the men on guard, and told them how they had found the camp of the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝, with tents standing, and horses tied, but not a man left. The men on guard told it at the king's palace. But the king, when he heard it, thought that it was a trick of the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ to hide themselves, and to draw the men out of the city, so that they might take the city.
The king sent out two men with horses and chariots, and they found that not only had the camp been left, but that the road down the mountains to the river Jôŕ dan was covered with garments, and arms, and treasures that the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ had thrown away in their wild flight.
The news soon spread through the city of Sā̇-mā́-rĭ-ȧ; and in a few hours all the city was at the gate. And when the food was brought in from the camp, there was abundance for all the people. And it came to pass as Ē̇-lī́ shȧ had said, a peck of grain, and two pecks of barley were sold for sixty cents in the gate of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, by noon of that day.
The king chose the noble upon whose arm he had leaned the day before to have charge of the gate. So he saw with his own eyes that which the prophet had foretold; but he did not eat of it, for the crowd was so great that the people pressed upon him, and he was trodden under their feet, and killed in the throng. Thus the king and all the city of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, knew that Ē̇-lī́ shȧ had indeed spoken the word of the Lord.
We have seen how different from the ways of Ē̇-lī́ jah were the ways of Ē̇-lī́ shȧ. Ē̇-lī́ jah lived alone in the wilderness, and never came before kings except to tell them of their evil deeds, and to warn them of punishment. But Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, lived in the city, at times even in the city of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, often sent helpful messages to the king, and seemed to be his friend. Both these men were needed, Ē̇-lī́ jah and Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, one to destroy the evil in the land, and the other to build up the good.