“And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.” (2 Kings 6:24-25)
Once again, the Israelites had strayed from the Lord their God. Their rebellious and idolatrous ways had caused them to slide further and further away from the Lord, until He turned them over to their sin.
In an act of divine judgment, God finally sends the Syrian army to besiege Samaria.
A bad situation got worse. Verse 25 shows us that a famine had come upon the Israelites, just as God had forewarned as a chastisement for sin (Leviticus 26:18-29). But the disobedient Israelites refused to repent, even as the Syrians began to surround the walled city of Samaria. Although they knew the internal conditions were growing dark, the protective wall became a veil to the looming threat surrounding them.
When the reality of the situation became apparent – famine, death, and no way of escape – desperation began to set in. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We see from our text, that people were actually paying for items to consume as food that would never have been considered as anything other than refuse. It is the case that those who are living under siege resort to things not fit for human consumption.
Compounding this lowering of values, those who are living under siege conditions never have enough to satisfy their desires and hungers. There is very little meat on a donkey’s head, and no one would believe that dove’s dung has any nutritional value. Nevertheless, those who are besieged will surrender all their possessions to chase those things they think will bring them a little relief, a little comfort, a little peace.
However, the problems do not end so easily. The besieged life is one of endless longing for fulfillment in those things that do not fill. This life leads naturally to the destruction of one’s personal self and family relations; and the loss of possessions, health, or life. This is the situation we see in 2 Kings.
Those who are besieged will sacrifice everything they have, just to consume upon the hungers of their flesh.
Reader, have you strayed from the Lord? Are you living under siege? Turn to Christ. He is the Answer to the siege you are under.