5.77 2 Kings -- Chariots of Fire
Naaman's healing and return home did not mean the end of hostilities with Aram. The king of Aram (probably Ben-Hadad II) devised numerous plots and maneuvers against Israel, but the Spirit of God alerted Elisha to his secret plans. Elisha tipped off the king of Israel (probably Joram), thus repeatedly thwarting the actions of Aram. This enraged the king, who accused his officers of harboring a traitor. In response they told him,
"Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom" (2 Kings 6:12).
One would think that this would clue the king that he was fighting not Israel but God Himself. But this political leader was not very good at reading spiritual signs, and his "solution" was to go after the prophet. Like Ahaziah, the earlier Israelite king, Ben-Hadad sent troops to seize the prophet. The fact that he could march at will into Israel and attack the city shows how powerless Israel was to resist her enemies.
During the night, the Arameans surrounded the town of Dothan, where Elisha was living. When morning came and Elisha's servant (not Gehazi) went out of the house, he panicked at the sight of the foreign troops arrayed against them. Elisha, however, no doubt had had advance warning of their presence and intent. He had not the slightest anxiety about the situation:
"Don't be afraid....Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16).
God then opened the eyes of the servant to see a protective wall of spiritual horses and chariots around them. This was God's angelic army, arrayed against the host of Aram. However, this army did not act until:
1. the Arameans took the initiative and attacked.
2. Elisha prayed a prayer of command against the enemy.
Interestingly, God was more merciful to the foreigners than he was to the Israelites who had been sent from Ahaziah earlier. No divine fire fell to zap the soldiers. Instead they were all struck with temporary blindness. Then Elisha led them to the capital of Israel and to the king. Joram was eager to put them all to death (2 Kings 6:21), but Elisha forbade him. The king would not kill men he had captured with his own weapons, how much less those he had not taken in battle. Elisha commanded him to feed them (generously) and send them home.
This is an extremely rare example of Biblical peacemaking. Usually, the Lord gave victory to Saul or David or some other king, and a huge slaughter ensued. This time, however, no blood was spilt. If the human leadership had followed up on the divine initiative, a more lasting peace agreement could have been worked out. As it was, there was only a temporary ceasefire between enemy nations.