When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Should I kill them, should I kill them, my father?”
Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”
So he prepared a big feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.2 Kings 6:21-23
It’s amazing to think of the lengths God went to in order to show His grace to the Arameans. After handing the Aramean army sent to capture him over to King Joram, Elisha instructs the King of Israel not to kill this invading army. Instead, he instructs the king to prepare a feast for the captured soldiers and send them back to the King of Aram in peace. This practice of hospitality to an enemy was totally counter-cultural and unexpected. At this moment, Israel was practicing what Soloman had written years before:
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you. (Prov 25:21 – 22)
The end result of this was that the Aramean raiding parties stopped visiting Israel for a while.
In our own lives, we need to think of ways to exercise hospitality and kindness toward those who most people will see as enemies. Our actions may cause them to think twice about what they are doing and reconsider their actions.
• How can you show kindness to someone who is causing you trouble today?