Read the Passage (NRSV)    Find more resources related to this passage  Print

2 Kings 6:1-7 – The Floating Ax Head


Elisha causes an ax head to float, ministering to one suffering from an accident beyond his control.


The growth of the company of the prophets is likely due to poverty and famine more than conversion. Nevertheless, larger accommodations are required for the group. While building their new dwelling, a borrowed ax head flies into the nearby stream. Elisha rescues the situation by causing the iron to swim, as the Hebrew has it. Neither this incredible tale nor the others need be "explained." In their culture, the story would have testified to the prophet's ability to rectify mistakes over which we have no control. The other "miracles" in this cycle have echoes in the miracles of Jesus; might this one hint at Jesus walking on the sea (Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:16-21)?

2 Kings 6:1-7

The Miracle of the Axehead

6Now the company of prophets* said to Elisha, ‘As you see, the place where we live under your charge is too small for us. 2Let us go to the Jordan, and let us collect logs there, one for each of us, and build a place there for us to live.’ He answered, ‘Do so.’ 3Then one of them said, ‘Please come with your servants.’ And he answered, ‘I will.’ 4So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5But as one was felling a log, his axehead fell into the water; he cried out, ‘Alas, master! It was borrowed.’ 6Then the man of God said, ‘Where did it fall?’ When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float. 7He said, ‘Pick it up.’ So he reached out his hand and took it.

Related Passages