Elisha's strong interest in the work of "the sons of the prophets," and their loyalty to him, are indicated in a brief passage in II Kings 6: 1-7. Noting that the area which they shared with Elisha was becoming too crowded, these eager young students proposed that their joint headquarters be moved closer to the Jordan River, assuring him that each of their members would cooperate in the work of construction. The prophet agreed. As one was felling timber for this purpose, the axhead fell into the stream, to his dismay, "for it was borrowed," but with Elisha's aid, he quickly retrieved it. "The iron did swim" (verses 5, 6).
Later, Elisha showed his alertness and prophetic insight in warning the king of Israel of the precise position which the Syrian king had chosen for his own camp in a projected attack on the Israelites. Thanks to the prophet's warning, the Israelite ruler was repeatedly enabled to defend himself and his nation successfully, while the Syrians made every effort to find and to destroy Elisha, learning that it was he who had discovered and divulged their supposedly secret plans (see verses 8-14) .
Informed by his spies that the prophet was at Dothan, the Syrian ruler sent an army to surround the city by night; and when Elisha's servant awoke in the early morning, he was startled to discover that "an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots" (verse 15). His fears were silenced by his master's assurance that "they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (verse 16). Moreover, in response to Elisha's prayer, his servant no longer saw horses and chariots as symbols of danger or attack but rather as symbols of protection—"horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (verse 17).