New International Version
The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times."
King James Bible
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
Darby Bible Translation
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then wouldest thou have smitten the Syrians till thou hadst consumed [them]; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
World English Bible
The man of God was angry with him, and said, "You should have struck five or six times. Then you would have struck Syria until you had consumed it, whereas now you shall strike Syria just three times."
Young's Literal Translation
And the man of God is wroth against him, and saith, 'By smiting five or six times then thou hadst smitten Aram till consuming; and now, three times thou dost smite Aram.'
2 Kings 13:19 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Smite upon the ground - As he was ordered to take his arrows, the smiting on the ground must mean shooting arrows into it.
He smote thrice, and stayed - The prophet knew that this shooting was emblematical: probably the king was not aware of what depended on the frequency of the action; and perhaps it was of the Lord that he smote only thrice, as he had determined to give Israel those three victories only over the Syrians. Elisha's being wroth because there were only three instead of five or six shots does not prove that God was wroth, or that he had intended to give the Syrians five or six overthrows.
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'And Elisha said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.'--2 KINGS xiii. 16. This is part of one of the strangest narratives in the Old Testament. Elisha is on his deathbed, 'sick of the sickness' wherewith he 'should die.' A very different scene, that close sick-chamber, from the open plain beyond Jordan from which Elijah had gone up; a very different way of passing from life by wasting sickness than by fiery …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Elisha's Closing Ministry
2 Kings 5:20
Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, "My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him."
2 Kings 13:18
Then he said, "Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped.
2 Kings 13:25
Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns.
"A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed!
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