This is a mirror-reading of the The City of Dothan Narrative. If you don’t know what mirror-reading is, please visit this page. The City of Dothan Narrative is primarily concerned with Elisha’s reputation and what happened at Dothan and Samaria, as well as claims that Elisha was a spy for Syria.
If you’d like a less technical overview, please check out my podcast episode on this narrative. If you’re not familiar with Northern Elijah & Elisha, be sure to check out all of the podcast episodes in that series. I used Tzemah Yoreh's work as the basis for my Northern Elijah/Elisha Source. My mirror-reading map and commentary are listed below. In my commentary, I refer to the author of the Northern Elijah/Elisha source as “M”, after Tzemah’s labeling of the source as “Miracle Workers”.
The map below shows how I derived the opposing narrative from the Biblical narrative. It relies primarily on mirrors/echos and cause/effect. For more information about mirrors/echoes, causal chains and my methodology, please visit this post.
Please note that “M” refers to the author of the opposing narrative
Why Was The Israelite Army Not There?
The opposing narrative has the Syrians raiding Israel, who had no army or not a strong enough army to defend itself. M will spin this by saying that the reason the Israelite army was not there was because Elisha told them beforehand, enabling them to avoid conflict.
Israel’s lack of troops seems to have been an issue, which is countered later in this narrative with “horses and chariots of fire” and in a later narrative by calling Elisha “the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.”
Who Was Elisha’s King?
Both narratives have Syria warring against Israel. They differ on which side Elisha was on. For the opposing narrative, Elisha is for the Syrian king. He was a prophet in Syria, being so close to the Syrian king that he heard what he spoke in his bedchamber. M, on the other hand will maintain that Elisha was a prophet of Israel, and that he heard what was in the Syrian king’s bedchamber because of his prophetic abilities. He then shares that information with the king of Israel, who calls him “father”, indicating a friendly relationship. By having Elisha share information about Syria with the king of Israel, M inverses the accusation of the opposing narrative that Elisha betrayed Israel by sharing information about Israel with the Syrian king.
Who Was Spying?
In the opposing narrative, it is Elisha who is told to go spy on the Israelites. M will make it so it’s the Syrian king’s servants who go spy to find Elisha.
Dothan is a significant location for both narratives, and the opposing narrative uses it as the place where Elisha informs the Syrian king (through the king’s servant) that the Syrians are strong enough to attack Samaria by telling them, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” M will insert the horses and chariots of fire and make the Syrian king’s servant to be Elisha’s servant, to which Elisha will speak those same words, thus eliminating Elisha’s betrayal of Israel.
To Which City Did The Syrian Army Go?
With Elisha’s info in hand, the Syrians send horses, chariots and a great host to encompass the city. M introduces the Syrian army earlier and surrounds the city of Dothan. M also needed a way to get that army from Dothan to Samaria. M does this by having Elisha say that Dothan was not the city they’re looking for. This Jedi-like mind trick sits awkwardly in the narrative, but it accomplishes what M needed it to do.
Why Did The Syrian Army Eat And Drink?
Both narratives have the Syrians eat and drink. In the opposing narrative, it is because they defeated the Israelites. In M’s narrative, it is because Elisha tells the king of Syria to feed them. M also has to explain why the king of Israel would do such a thing instead of killing them and does this by having Elisha tell him, “ wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.” M has Elisha say “their master” to infer the the Syrians king was not his master.
The Syrians Return To Syria
Both narratives have the Syrians return to their homeland. However, M has the king of Israel send them away (at Elisha’s suggestion), and adds that the Syrians came no more into the land of Israel.
Man of Elohim
If Elisha had betrayed Israel, then the Israelites certainly wouldn’t call him a man of Elohim, so M inserts the term throughout this cycle to counter that idea. See comment regarding “man of Elohim” in The Woman At Zarephath.