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Chariots of Fire (12 of 18)
Clarence E. Macartney
2 Kings 6:30
On the road from Nazareth to Jerusalem, after crossing
the plain of Esdraelon and the field of Dothan, we
pass a bald and lofty mountain crowned with a
miserable Arab village, around which are the gray and
yellow ruins of the walls and streets of an ancient
city. It is all that is left of Samaria, the capital
of the northern kingdom of Israel and the city which
was founded by Omri. Climbing the winding road to the
summit of the hill, we think of Samaria as it was in
the day of its power and splendor. There we overtake
grim Elijah on his way to rebuke wicked Ahab and
savage Jezebel. There too we overtake Elisha leading
up to Samaria the blinded Syrian soldiers who had been
sent to seize him at Dothan. As we go up the winding
road, we meet Naaman in a rage, lashing his horses and
driving furiously down the mountain, because, after he
had come all the way from Damascus to Samaria to be
healed of his leprosy. Elisha had not even gone out to
talk with him but had sent his servant to tell him to
go and wash seven times in the river Jordan.
As we approach the ruins of the city, we remember the
terrible siege of Samaria by the Syrian army; and how
finally the Syrians, having heard a false rumor that
the king of Israel had hired the dreaded Hittites to
fight for him, evacuated their camps and fled in
terror homeward. The news of this was brought to the
city by four lepers who wandered into the Syrian camp
and found it deserted.
While the siege of Samaria was at it worst, however,
Samaria was tightly shut up. The famine in the city
was so great, and the hunger so bitter, that the head
of an unclean and forbidden beast, the ass, was sold
for eighty pieces of silver.
In order to encourage the people of the city to endure
hardship and resist the Syrian foe, Jehoram walked
along the walls of the city. As he made h ...
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