The famine in Samaria and cannibalism (2 Kings 6:26-6:31)

“Now as the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him. ‘Help, my lord king!’ He said. ‘No! Let Yahweh help you. How can I help you from the threshing floor or from the wine press?’ But then the king asked her. ‘What is your complaint?’ She answered. ‘This woman said to me. ‘Give up your son. We will eat him today. We will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her. ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.’ When the king heard the words of the woman he tore his clothes. Now since he was walking on the city wall, the people could see that he had sackcloth on his body underneath. He said. ‘May God do so to me, and more, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today.’ So he dispatched a man from his presence.”

The unnamed king of Israel was walking on the city wall in Samaria. A woman cried for help. However, the king said he could not do anything. Instead he said that they should ask Yahweh for help. Then the woman told her story. She was tricked by another woman into cooking her son and sharing the meal with her in the hopes that the next day, they would do the same with her neighbor’s son. Instead the other woman hid her son. The famine was so bad that they were eating their own children. The king was upset with this story and tore his clothes. Underneath his clothes was sack cloth. He then blamed all this famine and siege on the prophet Elisha. He wanted to behead him since he been so kind to the Arameans. Yahweh was not blessing Samaria.