The King of Aram is at war with the people of Israel, but he is never able to catch them by surprise because the prophet Elisha always warns the King of Israel of the danger. The King of Aram sends an army to capture Elisha but the prophet simply asks God for help and the Aramean soldiers find themselves prisoners at the mercy of the King of Israel.
The King of Aram was cross! He was trying to have a war with the people of Israel, God's people, but it wasn't going very well. Wherever he sent his soldiers it seemed that the King of Israel already knew that they were coming and had warned his people to be ready for them. It was strange, very strange indeed! So the King of Aram called all of his generals and his colonels and his captains and his lieutenants to a special meeting.
“I want to know what's going on!” shouted the King. “Wherever I send my soldiers the King of Israel already seems to know they are coming. Come on; own up, which one of you is the traitor who's been telling the King of Israel my top secret battle plans?”
“Your majesty,” chorused the generals and the colonels and the captains and the lieutenants, “it's not us! Honest!”
“Then who is it?” demanded the King.
The officers looked at one another, shuffled their feet nervously and began to mutter.
“Come on,” the King fumed, “Out with it!”
“Well your majesty,” they replied reluctantly, “you remember that God had a special messenger in the land of Israel?”
“You mean that chap Elijah? I thought he got carried away by a whirlwind?”
“He did, but now God has a new messenger, his name is Elisha. We think God has been telling Elisha all of your top secret battle plans and that he has been telling the King of Israel.”
“But how does God know my top secret battle plans?” asked the King
“Your majesty,” cried the generals and the colonels and the captains and the lieutenants, “God knows everything!”
“What? Everything I do?”
“Yes, your majesty!”
“Everything I think?”
“Yes, your majesty!”
“Everything I say?”
“Yes, your majesty!”
“What? Even the things I say to my teddy bear when I tuck him up at night?”
“Yes, your majesty, even that!”
“Well, this is more serious than I thought,” the King declared. “Send out my very best spies and find out where this Elisha chap is at once!”
So the generals and the colonels and the captains and the lieutenants sent the king's very best spies to find out where Elisha was. They were soon back with the answer – “Elisha is at the city of Dothan,” they reported.
Hearing this, the king of Aram ordered his officers to take a great army of soldiers with chariots and horses to the city of Dothan to capture Elisha. The army surrounded the city in the middle of the night and then ... they waited!
The first rays of the morning sun shining through his window woke up Elisha's servant. He stretched his arms and yawned. Then he got out of bed and looked out of the open window.
“Oh, what a lovely day it is out there,” he said to himself, “blue sky, sun shining, fluffy white clouds, lovely trees, green grass, horrible great big army come to get us ...”
He rubbed his eyes and looked again. The army was still there. Ten seconds later he was in Elisha's room, shaking him with all his might.
“Master! Master! We're surrounded, there's a horrible great big army all around the city. What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
“Calm down,” Elisha told him, looking out of the window, “I don't know what you're worrying about, there's more of us than there are of them.”
Elisha's servant looked at him in astonishment. “Master, have you forgotten how to count? There's only two of us and there are ... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 ... LOTS of them!”
“Oh dear,” Elisha sighed, rolling his eyes. Then he looked up to heaven and spoke to God. “Please, open this poor boy's eyes so that he can see what's really going on.”
The servant let out a gasp. More chariots and horses had appeared all around them out of thin air – but this was no ordinary army, these were God's heavenly warriors and they were made of fire!
“You see,” Elisha grinned, “there's nothing to worry about!”
Then Elisha spoke to God again. “Please, just for now, make these people blind!” And at once the generals and colonels and captains and lieutenants and all the other soldiers from Aram found that they couldn't see a thing. Elisha marched out of the city and walked right up to the commander of the army.
“You've come the wrong the way old chap,” Elisha informed him.
“I've come the wrong way,” the commander repeated, feeling a bit confused.
“This isn't the right city,” Elisha went on.
“This isn't the right city,” agreed the commander.
“Follow me, I'll take you to the man you're looking for,” Elisha told him.
And Elisha led the entire army of Aram, who still couldn't see a thing, all the way to the palace of the King of Israel. When they were all inside he bolted the doors and then spoke to God again. “Please, let these men see.” And when the soldiers saw where they were they trembled with fear.
When the King of Israel saw that Elisha had captured the army of Aram he was delighted!
“Oh well done, Elisha!” he exclaimed, “Now, what shall we do with them? Shall I have them all killed?”
“No, your majesty,” Elisha answered. “Just give them something to eat and drink and then send them home. They won't trouble us any more.”
So the King of Israel made a great feast for the army of Aram and then sent them home to their king. When they got back, the King of Aram was more cross than ever, but now he understood, it was no good trying to fight God – you just couldn't win. Then the King of Aram stopped trying to have a war with the people of Israel and God's people lived in peace.