The siege inflated the prices of what little food there was. Verse 25 also says that the Syrians besieged it [Samaria] until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty pieces of silver [Jesus was sold out for only 30!], and one-fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.
Only the wealthiest of families could afford to dine on “donkey head soup” and “dove dung cake.” If that sounds bad, hang on it gets worse. One day, the king of Israel, Jehoram, was walking the walls of the city, viewing the misery of his people. A woman called out to him for help.
You can hear the desperation of an exhausted leader in his voice when he said, “If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee?” (6:27) As a pastor, I’ve felt that way! He mentions both the barn floor and the winepress. He could not help her with food or drink.
In pity, he asks, “What aileth thee?” The woman then spins the saddest tale of the desperation of a starving people. She describes how she and another woman had become so hungry they made a pact to eat two of their children. They boiled and ate this woman’s son but when the next day came, her partner hid away her child so he would not be eaten. Can you imagine this: cannibalism in the nursery!
The king was outraged by his misery. He rent his clothes and beneath them revealed that he wore sackcloth upon his flesh the garment of mourning and humiliation. There is such desperation! Have you ever been so frantic? Come back tomorrow.