Defeating Enemies by Feeding Them (Non-Violent Triumph): 2 Kings 6; Acts 9

Defeating Enemies by Feeding Them

Non-Violent Triumph

2 Kings 6; Acts 9

Some years ago, I rode in a luxury coach full of cadets from The Military Academy at West Point from the Academy itself on the Hudson River to White Sulfur Springs, located deep in the heart of Pennsylvania. It was a long ride through the winter night.  

I sat with each cadet and listened to their story and their plans for the future as Army officers. The US military was still in Afghanistan and Iraq, so deployment was a real possibility for many of them. Some were headed into the infantry, some to armor or aviation, others to medicine, while one in particular played linebacker on the Army football team. But each would contribute in some way toward the achievement of victory over enemies of their country.

But none of them had heard the account of how to defeat your enemies on the battlefield by feeding them. I shared that story with a few who I thought would know I wasn’t seriously offering them another tactic for future battles.

But it is an option for us to consider in the skirmishes we may have to endure. Israel faced enemies. Jesus encountered enemies. We may also have people who wish us harm and treat us unjustly. Perhaps triumphing over your enemy might be achieved by feeding them. It’s a strategy found in both Israel’s Scripture and the New Testament. The parallels are striking.

Non-Violent Triumph: Israel’s Scripture

Syria’s army surrounded the city of Samaria. Elisha the prophet prayed that God would blind the eyes of the entire army corps. God answered his prayer and struck the army with blindess (2 Kings 6:18).

Then, after leading the blind army into their own city of Samaria, Elisha asked the Lord to open their eyes. He did.

 διηνοιξεν κυριος τούς όφθαλμους αύτών καί είδον

The LORD opened their eyes and they saw…

2 Kings 6:20

But rather than dispatching their captive enemies with the sword, Elisha told the king to feed the enemy army instead.

“Give them some food and water, so they can go back to their master. So, he threw a banquet for them and they ate and drank. Then he sent them back to their master. After that no Syrian raiding parties again invaded the land of Israel.” 2 Kings 6:22b-23.

Imagine being welcomed by your victorious enemies to a feast. Or, imagine eating with the enemies you formerly sought to kill. Two enemies breaking bread and enjoying peace. It was a non-violent triumph. Elisha’s triumph prefigures another non-violent triumph using food as one’s strategy.

Jesus’ Non-Violent Triumph: New Testament

Another enemy was headed to Syria, to Damascus, the capital of Syria to be exact. His murderous intentions focused on Jesus’ followers in that city.

“Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus…” Acts 9:1

But he too was blinded by Jesus on the way (Acts 9:8). Three days later his eyes were opened.

 καί ευθέως άπέπεσαν αυτου άπό των όφθαλμων ώς λεπίδες, άνέβλεψέν

And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Acts 9:18

Rather than sending Saul of Tarsus on his way, Jesus’ enemy was fed.

“He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food his strength came back.” Acts 9:19

Feed Your Enemy

Perhaps this personal incident was in Paul’s (formerly Saul) mind when he wrote:

“Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:19

Thanks for considering.