Pamela Ayn Austen

Elisha and The

Floating Axe Head

Image: Getty Images/Stock

2 KINGS 6:1-7

1.  Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "Please take note that the place where we meet with you is too small for us.  2.  Please let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a log so we can build ourselves a place to live there."  "Go," said Elisha.  3.  Then one of them said, "Please come with your servants."  "I will come," he replied.  4.  So Elisha went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they began to cut down some trees.  5.  As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axe head fell into the water. "Oh, my master," he cried, "it was borrowed!"  6. "Where did it fall?" asked the man of God.  And when he showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it there, and made the iron float.  7.  "Lift it out," he said, and the man reached out his hand and took it. 

In Scripture, iron represents the severity of judgment.  Water represents God's grace.  Wood represents people in their natural, sinful state without the Holy Spirit.  Elisha represents faith in God's saving grace.  

Severe judgment against sin is without grace or forgiveness.  The axe head sank down into the darkness, not concerned with the grace it passed through, because it was severe judgement and cared nothing for grace.  And the sinful soul, without God's mercy, will sink into the dark abyss of hell and judgment, never to be heard from again.  

Elisha "cut a stick", in as much as the Father formed a human body for the Savior, Jesus.  He formed Jesus a body, "made in the likeness of sinful man." Romans 8:3   Elisha, representing faith, threw the stick to where the axe head had sunk, or rather, where the human soul sank under the weight of severe judgment.  Yet the stick itself did not sink, for Jesus not only was sinless and full of grace and truth, but he was sent to give grace and hope to the condemned and sunken souls of mankind. Grace and the power of God uphold us, as though we float on water, and we remain above the dark depths of judgment. 

The water represents God's grace, and in as much as Jesus can walk on water, being Lord of Grace, he can cause anyone who trusts in him to rise up and be forgiven and walk according to grace too.  So, the deep relinquished it's prisoner, and the iron axe head rose and floated, having lost its power of severity due to the faith of Elisha in the stick that was cut specifically for the purpose of showing grace, and giving the miracle of redemption.  The Father sent Jesus into the world specifically to redeem us, to lift us up from darkness; and Elisha sent the wood (Jesus) into the water (grace) and lifted the man up from judgment.  


And we, by our faith in Jesus, can rise up from severe judgment and sinfulness, and we can walk with Jesus in purity, forgiveness, and the hope of eternal life.  We, like Peter, can walk on water by faith in the Savior who bids us to come to him and believe in him.  Matthew 14

Here we have a picture that shows the meaning of James 2:13:  "Mercy triumphs over judgment."

Ultimately, this is a story of mankind's calamity, and the faith in Jesus that overcomes it; for 1 John 5:5 says,  "Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

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