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WHAT THE LEPERS FOUND IN THE CAMP
II Kings vi: 24, to vii: 20.
FTER a time there was another great war between Syria
and Israel; and Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, led a
mighty army into the land of Israel, and laid siege
against the city of Samaria. So hard and so long was
the siege that the people in Samaria could find nothing
to eat; many died from want of food, and some killed
their own children, and ate them.
But through all the siege Elisha encouraged the king of
Israel not to give up the city. When it seemed that
there could be no hope, Elisha said to the king, "Hear
the word of the Lord, ‘To-morrow, at this hour, in the
gate of Samaria, a peck of flour shall be sold for
sixty cents, and two pecks of barley for sixty cents.' "
One of the nobles, on whose arm the king was learning,
did not believe Elisha's word, and said, scornfully,
"If the Lord would make windows in heaven, and rain
down wheat and barley, then this might be." "You shall
see it with your own eyes," answered Elisha; "but you
shall not eat any of the food."
On the next morning, about daybreak, four men that were
lepers were standing together outside the gate of
Samaria. Being lepers, they were not allowed by the
laws of Israel inside the walls of the city. (We have
read of leprosy and lepers in the story of Naaman,
Story 86). These four men said to
each other, "What shall we do? If we go into the city
we must die there from the want of food; if we stay
here we must die. Let us go to the camp of the
Syrians; perhaps they will let us live; and at the
worst they can do no more than kill us."
So the four men went toward the Syrian camp; but as
they came near they were surprised to find no one
standing on guard. They went into a tent, and found it
empty, as though it had been
 left very suddenly, for
there were food, and drink, and garments, and gold, and
silver. As no one was there they ate and drank all
they needed; and then they took away valuable things
and hid them. They looked into another tent, and
another, and found them like the first, but not a man
was in sight. They walked through the camp; but not a
soldier was there, and the tents were left just as they
had been when men were living in them.
THE LEPERS VISIT A TENT OF THE SYRIANS
In the night the Lord had caused the Syrians to hear a
great noise, like the rolling of chariots, and the
trampling of horses, and the marching of men. They
said to each other, in great fear, "The king of Israel
has sent for the Hittites on the north, and the
Egyptians on the south, to come against us."
And so great and so sudden was their terror, that in
the night they rose up and fled away, leaving
everything in their camp; even leaving their horses
tied, and their asses, and all their treasure, and all
their food, in their tents.
After a time the lepers said to each other, "We do wrong
 to tell this good news in the city. If they find
it out, they will blame us for not letting them know,
and we may lose our lives on account of it."
So they went up to the gate, and called the men on
guard, and told them how they had found the camp of the
Syrians, with tents standing, and horses tied, but not
a man left. The men on guard told it at the king's
palace. But the king, when he heard it, thought that
it was a trick of the Syrians to hide themselves, and
to draw the men out of the city, so that they might
take the city.
The king sent out two men with horses and chariots, and
they found that not only had the camp been left, but
that the road down the mountains to the river Jordan
was covered with garments, and arms, and treasures that
the Syrians had thrown away in their wild flight.
The news soon spread through the city of Samaria; and
in a few hours all the city was at the gate. And when
the food was brought in from the camp, there was
abundance for all the people. And it came to pass as
Elisha had said, a peck of grain, and two pecks of
barley were sold for sixty cents in the gate of Samaria
by noon of that day.
The king chose the noble upon whose arm he had leaned
the day before to have charge of the gate. So he saw
with his own eyes that which the prophet had foretold;
but he did not eat of it, for the crowd was so great
that the people pressed upon him, and he was trodden
under their feet, and killed in the throng.
Thus the king and all the city of Samaria knew that
Elisha had indeed spoken the word of the Lord.
We have seen how different from the ways of Elijah were
the ways of Elisha. Elijah lived alone in the
wilderness, and never came before kings except to tell
them of their evil deeds, and to warn them of
punishment. But Elisha lived in the city, at times
even in the city of Samaria, often sent helpful
messages to the king, and seemed to be his friend.
Both these men were needed, Elijah and Elisha, one to
destroy the evil in the land, and the other to build up