2 Kings 6:25
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey's head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.

New Living Translation
As a result, there was a great famine in the city. The siege lasted so long that a donkey's head sold for eighty pieces of silver, and a cup of dove's dung sold for five pieces of silver.

English Standard Version
And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.

New American Standard Bible
There was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove's dung for five shekels of silver.

King James Bible
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So there was a great famine in Samaria, and they continued the siege against it until a donkey's head sold for 80 silver shekels, and a cup of dove's dung sold for five silver shekels.

International Standard Version
until there was a great famine throughout Samaria. The siege lasted until a donkey's head cost 80 silver coins and one quarter of a unit of dove's dung cost five silver coins.

NET Bible
Samaria's food supply ran out. They laid siege to it so long that a donkey's head was selling for eighty shekels of silver and a quarter of a kab of dove's droppings for five shekels of silver.

New Heart English Bible
There was a great famine in Samaria. Look, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The shortages caused by the blockade of Samaria became so severe that a donkey's head sold for two pounds of silver and a half-pint of dove manure for two ounces of silver.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And there was a great famine in Samaria; and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

New American Standard 1977
And there was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And there was a great famine in Samaria as they besieged it until an ass's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

King James 2000 Bible
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

American King James Version
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

American Standard Version
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and so long did the siege continue, till the head of an ass was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cabe of pigeon's dung, for five pieces of silver.

Darby Bible Translation
And there was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was worth eighty silver-pieces, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung five silver-pieces.

English Revised Version
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

Webster's Bible Translation
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

World English Bible
There was a great famine in Samaria. Behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

Young's Literal Translation
and there is a great famine in Samaria, and lo, they are laying siege to it, till the head of an ass is at eighty silverlings, and a forth of the cab of dovesdung at five silverlings.
Study Bible
The Siege and Famine of Samaria
24Now it came about after this, that Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria. 25There was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove's dung for five shekels of silver. 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall a woman cried out to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king!"…
Cross References
Leviticus 26:26
'When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be satisfied.

2 Kings 6:26
As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall a woman cried out to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king!"

2 Kings 7:12
Then the king arose in the night and said to his servants, "I will now tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know that we are hungry; therefore they have gone from the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, 'When they come out of the city, we will capture them alive and get into the city.'"

2 Kings 25:3
On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.
Treasury of Scripture

And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.

a great famine

2 Kings 6:28,29 And the king said to her, What ails you? And she answered, This woman …

2 Kings 7:4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the …

2 Kings 25:3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in …

1 Kings 18:2 And Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.

Jeremiah 14:13-15,18 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say to them, You …

Jeremiah 32:24 Behold the mounts, they are come to the city to take it; and the …

Jeremiah 52:6 And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine …

an ass's head If the {pieces} of silver were {dracms}, the whole would amount

Ezekiel 4:13-16 And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their …

dove's dung This probably denotes, as Bochart, Scheuchzer, and others suppose, a kind of {pulse}, or {vetches}, which the Arabs still call {pigeon's dung}. `They never,' says Dr. Sahw, `constitute a dish by themselves, but are strewed singly as a garnish over {cuscasowe, pillowe}, and other dishes. They are besides in the greatest repute after they are parched in pans and ovens; then assuming the name {leb-lebby;} ' and he thinks they were so called from being pointed at one end, and acquiring an ash colour in parching.

(25) And there was.--There arose. In consequence of the siege.

Besieged.--Were besieging.

Fourscore pieces.--Eighty shekels--i.e., about 10. Ass's flesh would not ordinarily be eaten at all, and the head of any animal would be the cheapest part. Plutarch mentions that during a famine among the Cadusians an ass's head could hardly be got for sixty drachms (about 2. 10s.), though ordinarily the entire animal could be bought for about half that sum. And Pliny relates that when Hannibal was besieging Casalinum, a mouse was sold for 200 denarii (6 5s.).

The fourth part of a cab of dove's dung.--The cab was the smallest Hebrew dry measure. It held, according to the Rabbis, one-sixth of a seah (2Kings 7:1), or a little over a quart (??????.--Josephus, Antt. ix. 4, 4). The term dove's dung, in all probability, denotes some kind of common vegetable produce, perhaps a sort of pulse or pease, which was ordinarily very cheap. Such a designation is not unparalleled. The Arabs call the herb kali "sparrow's dung;" and Assaftida is in German "devil's dung." In some places in England a species of wild hyacinth is called "dead man's hands," from the livid markings on the flower. The shape and colour of the species of pulse mentioned in the text may similarly account for its name. It naturally occurs that so long as there were any "doves" left in the city it would not be necessary to eat their dung. When Josephus wrote that dung was eaten in the siege of Jerusalem, he probably had the present passage in his mind.

Five pieces of silver.--Five (shekels in) silver; about 12s. 6d.

Verse 25. - And there was a great famine in Samaria. It was Benhadad's design to capture the place, not by battering down its walls with military engines, but by blockading it, and cutting off all its supplies, as Josephus tells us (l.s.c.). And, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. The ass, being an unclean animal (Leviticus 11:4), would not be eaten at all except in the last extremity, and the head was the worst and so the cheapest part; yet it sold for "eighty pieces" (rather, shekels) of silver, or about £5 of our money; as in the Cadusian famine mentioned by Plutarch ('Wit. Artaxerx.,' § 24), where an ass's head was sold for sixty drachmas (about forty shillings). "Dove's dung" is thought by some to be the name of a plant; but it is better to understand the term literally. Both animal and human excrement have been eaten in sieges (Josephus, ' Bell. Jud.,' 5:13. § 7; Cels., 'Hierobot.,' 2. p. 233), when a city was in the last extremity. And there was a great famine in Samaria,.... No care, perhaps, having been taken to lay up stores against a siege:

and, behold, they besieged it until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver; shekels, as the Targum explains the word in the next clause, which amounted to about nine or ten pounds of our money; a great price for the head of such a creature, by law unclean, its flesh disagreeable, and of that but very little, as is on an head:

and the fourth part of a cab of doves' dung for five pieces of silver; some of the Jewish writers say (h), this was bought for fuel, which was scarce: Josephus says (i), for salt, and so Procopious Gazaeus, and Theodoret; others, for dunging the lands, which is the use of it in Persia (k) for melons; neither of which are probable; most certainly it was for food; but as doves' dung must be not only disagreeable, but scarce affording any nourishment, something else must be meant; some have thought that the grains found in their crops, or in their excrements, undigested, and picked out, are meant; and others, their crops or craws themselves, or entrails; but Bochart (l) is of opinion, that a sort of pulse is meant, as lentiles or vetches, much the same with the kali or parched corn used in Israel, see 1 Samuel 17:17 and a recent traveller (m) observes, that the leblebby of the Arabs is very probably the kali, or parched pulse, of the Scriptures, and has been taken for the pigeons' dung mentioned at the siege of Samaria; and indeed as the "cicer" (a sort of peas or pulse) is pointed at one end, and acquires an ash colour by parching, the first of which circumstances answers to the figure, the other to the usual colour of pigeons' dung, the supposition is by no means to be disregarded: a "cab" was a measure with the Jews, which held the quantity of twenty four egg shells; according to Godwin (n), it answered to our quart, so that a fourth part was half a pint; and half a pint of these lentiles, or vetches, or parched pulse, was sold for eleven or twelve shillings.

(h) R. Jonah in Ben Melech, Kimchi & Abarbinel in loc. (i) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 4. sect. 4. (k) Universal History, vol. 5. p. 90. (l) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 7. Colossians 44, &c. (m) Shaw's Travels, p. 140. (n) Moses & Aaron, B. 6. c. 9. 25. an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver—Though the ass was deemed unclean food, necessity might warrant their violation of a positive law when mothers, in their extremity, were found violating the law of nature. The head was the worst part of the animal. Eighty pieces of silver, equal to £5 5s.

the fourth part of a cab—A cab was the smallest dry measure. The proportion here stated was nearly half a pint for 12s. 6d.

dove's dung—is thought by Bochart to be a kind of pulse or pea, common in Judea, and still kept in the storehouses of Cairo and Damascus, and other places, for the use of it by pilgrim-caravans; by Linnæus, and other botanists, it is said to be the root or white bulb of the plant Ornithogalum umbellatum, Star of Beth-lehem. The sacred historian does not say that the articles here named were regularly sold at the rates described, but only that instances were known of such high prices being given.6:24-33 Learn to value plenty, and to be thankful for it; see how contemptible money is, when in time of famine it is so freely parted with for any thing that is eatable! The language of Jehoram to the woman may be the language of despair. See the word of God fulfilled; among the threatenings of God's judgments upon Israel for their sins, this was one, that they should eat the flesh of their own children, De 28:53-57. The truth and the awful justice of God were displayed in this horrible transaction. Alas! what miseries sin has brought upon the world! But the foolishness of man perverts his way, and then his heart frets against the Lord. The king swears the death of Elisha. Wicked men will blame any one as the cause of their troubles, rather than themselves, and will not leave their sins. If rending the clothes, without a broken and contrite heart, would avail, if wearing sackcloth, without being renewed in the spirit of their mind, would serve, they would not stand out against the Lord. May the whole word of God increase in us reverent fear and holy hope, that we may be stedfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.
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Alphabetical: a and behold besieged cab city donkey's dove's dung eighty famine five for fourth great head in it kab lasted long of pods quarter Samaria seed shekels siege silver so sold that the There they until was

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