2 Kings 6:22
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"Do not kill them," he answered. "Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master."

New Living Translation
"Of course not!" Elisha replied. "Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master."

English Standard Version
He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.”

New American Standard Bible
He answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master."

King James Bible
And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Elisha replied, "Don't kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master."

International Standard Version
But he replied, "No! You're not to kill them! Would you execute those whom you've taken captive at the point of a sword or with your bow? Give them food and water so they can eat and drink. Then send them back to their master!"

NET Bible
He replied, "Do not strike them down! You did not capture them with your sword or bow, so what gives you the right to strike them down? Give them some food and water, so they can eat and drink and then go back to their master."

New Heart English Bible
He answered, "You shall not strike them. Would you strike those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Elisha answered, "Don't kill them. Do you kill everyone you take captive in combat? Give them food and water. Let them eat and drink. Then let them go back to their master."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And he answered: 'Thou shalt not smite them; hast thou taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow those whom thou wouldest smite? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.'

New American Standard 1977
And he answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them; would thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and return to their master.

King James 2000 Bible
And he answered, You shall not slay them: would you slay those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

American King James Version
And he answered, You shall not smite them: would you smite those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

American Standard Version
And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he said: Thou shalt not kill them: for thou didst not take them with thy sword, or thy bow, that thou mayst kill them: but set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said, Thou shalt not smite [them]: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

English Revised Version
And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldst thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

World English Bible
He answered, "You shall not strike them. Would you strike those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master."

Young's Literal Translation
And he saith, 'Thou dost not smite; those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow art thou smiting? set bread and water before them, and they eat, and drink, and go unto their lord.'
Study Bible
Elisha Captures Blinded Syrians
21Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?" 22He answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master." 23So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.…
Cross References
Romans 12:20
On the contrary, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Deuteronomy 20:11
"If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.

2 Chronicles 28:8
The sons of Israel carried away captive of their brethren 200,000 women, sons and daughters; and they took also a great deal of spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.

2 Chronicles 28:15
Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives, and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes and sandals, fed them and gave them drink, anointed them with oil, led all their feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers; then they returned to Samaria.

Proverbs 25:21
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
Treasury of Scripture

And he answered, You shall not smite them: would you smite those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.

wouldest

Deuteronomy 20:11-16 And it shall be, if it make you answer of peace, and open to you, …

2 Chronicles 28:8-13 And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brothers …

thy sword

Genesis 48:22 Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which …

Joshua 24:12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before …

Psalm 44:6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

Hosea 1:7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by …

Hosea 2:18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of …

set bread

Proverbs 25:21,22 If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, …

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do …

Romans 12:20,21 Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him …

(22) Thou shalt not.--Or, thou must not.

Wouldest thou smite . . . thy bow?--The Hebrew order is, "An quos ceperis glado et arcu percussuruses?" (Comp. Genesis 48:22.) Elisha says, "These men are virtually prisoners of war, and therefore are not to be slain in cold blood."

The LXX., Targum, Syriac, and Vulg., ignore the interrogative particle. The Targum and Syriac render, "Lo those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword, &c., thou dost (or mayst) kill." (Comp. Deuteronomy 20:13.) The Vulg., "neque enim cepisti eos, ut percutias," and the Arabic, "Didst thou take them captive with thy sword, &c., that thou shouldest slay them?" come to the same thing. These renderings are interesting, as they make Elisha deny the king's right of disposal of these prisoners of Jehovah. The purpose of the miracle would have been frustrated by killing the Syrians. That purpose was to force their king and them to acknowledge the might of the true God.

Verse 22. - And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them. The prophet has no doubt. His prohibition is absolute. These prisoners, at any rate, are not to be slain. "The object of the miracle," as Keil says, "would have been frustrated, if the Syrians had been slain. For the intention was to show the Syrians that they had to do with a prophet of the true God, against whom no human power could be of any avail, that they might learn to fear the Almighty God" ('Commentary on 2 Kings,' p. 3.27, Eng. trans.). There was also, perhaps, a further political object. By sparing the prisoners and treating them with kindness, it might be possible to touch the heart of the King of Syria, and dispose him towards peace. Wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? rather, Wouldest thou be smiting those, etc.? i.e. "Wouldest thou, in smiting these persons, be smiting those whom thou hadst made prisoners in war, so as to be able to justify thy conduct by Deuteronomy 20:13? No; thou wouldest not. Therefore thou shalt not smite them." Set bread and water before them. "Bread" and "water" stand for meat and drink generally. Elisha bids Jehoram entertain the captive Syrians hospitably, and then send them back to Benhadad. That they may eat and drink, and go to their master. And he answered, thou shalt not smite them,.... For they were not his, but the prophet's captives, or rather the Lord's:

wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? when soldiers are made prisoners of war, it is contrary to humanity, to the laws of nature and nations, to kill them in cold blood, and much more those who were taken not by his sword and bow, but by the power and providence of God:

set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master; the king of Syria, and report the miracles wrought, and the good usage they met with, when in the hand of an enemy, fed and let go; which would be more to the glory of the God of Israel, and more agreeable to the character of a king of Israel, reckoned merciful, and more serviceable to the civil good of the land of Israel, as well as more to the honour of the prophet and true religion, see Romans 12:20. 6:13-23 What Elisha said to his servant is spoken to all the faithful servants of God, when without are fightings, and within are fears. Fear not, with that fear which has torment and amazement; for they that are with us, to protect us, are more than they that are against us, to destroy us. The eyes of his body were open, and with them he saw the danger. Lord, open the eyes of our faith, that with them we may see thy protecting hand. The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of Heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth. Satan, the god of this world, blinds men's eyes, and so deludes them unto their own ruin; but when God enlightens their eyes, they see themselves in the midst of their enemies, captives to Satan, and in danger of hell, though, before, they thought their condition good. When Elisha had the Syrians at his mercy, he made it appear that he was influenced by Divine goodness as well as Divine power. Let us not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The Syrians saw it was to no purpose to try to assault so great and so good a man.
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