The time of Elijah is drawing to a close. His assistant Elisha is traveling with him, and it is evident from the Bible, that they both know Elijah is about to be taken by God. When they come to Bethel, the prophets there come to Elisha and tell him ” Do you know that today the LORD will take your master away from you?” And again, when they come to Jericho, the prophets there ask the same question.
5 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; say nothing about it.”
Elisha answers both the same way: “Yes I know; be silent.” So, Elisha knows, the prophets know, and it appears that Elijah knows as he keeps trying to get Elisha to stay behind.
Elisha and Elijah Passing of the Torch
Elijah and Elisha come to the Jordan river and, again, Elijah tells Elisha to stay behind as he must cross over the Jordan. Once again Elisha refuses. Elijah then takes his mantle, rolls it up, and strikes the water with it and the river is parted so that they cross over on dry ground.
Interesting side note, this is not the first time we have seen the water parted, remember the parting of the Red Sea and the Jordan parted so the Israelites then could cross over into the promised land? Guess what, this won’t be the last time either. Once they cross over, Elijah asks Elisha what he can do for him before he is taken away. Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit.
11 And as they were walking along and talking, behold, a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and they separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. 12 And Elisha was watching it and he was crying out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” And he did not see Elijah again. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
Elijah, does not die, he is simply taken to heaven. A very rare occurrence obviously. On the way out, he has dropped his mantle. Elisha picks it up and strikes the water of the Jordan, and again, the water is parted and he crosses over on dry ground.
13 He also took up the coat of Elijah that had fallen from him, and he went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the coat of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the waters, and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.
The spirit has passed from Elijah to Elisha and for his first “miracle” Elisha purifies the spring of water at Jericho. The people tell him that the city location is good, but the water is bad. Elisha has them bring him a new bowl with salt in it. He takes it to the spring of water and throws the salt in and says, “Thus says the LORD, I have made this water wholesome; from now on either death or miscarriage shall come from it” And the water has been wholesome to this day.
Next the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom go off to war with Moab. They get in the middle of the wilderness with their armies and animals, but they have no water. King Jehoshaphat of Judah sends for Elisha to inquire of the LORD about their situation.
15 But now bring me a musician.” And it came about, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. 16 And he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ 17 For the Lord says this: ‘You will not see wind, nor will you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you will drink, you, your livestock, and your other animals. 18 And this is an insignificant thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also give the Moabites into your hand.
The next morning, water begins to flow and fills the wadi and they have water for their men and animals. Just as the word of the LORD from Elisha had said.
Jars of Oil and the Shunammite Woman
One of the members of the company of prophets dies. His wife comes to Elisha because they have debt and he creditor is threatening to take her children as slaves to pay the debt. Elisha asks her what she has in the house and she tells him that all she has is a jar of oil. Elisha tells her to borrow vessels from all of her neighbors and take her jar of oil and pour it into the borrowed vessels until each is full. They do as he instructs and when the last vessel is filled the oil stops flowing.
6 When the containers were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.” But he said to her, “There are no more containers.” Then the oil stopped. 7 So she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Elisha evidently frequently passes through the city of Shunem. There is a wealthy woman there who would prepare a meal for him whenever he came to town. Eventually she has her husband build a room on the roof for Elisha and his servant Gehazi to stay in when he is in Shumen. Elisha wants to do something for her in return.
Gehazi tells Elisha that her husband is old and she has no son. Where have we heard a story like this before? So Elisha calls her in and tells her that in due season she will have a son. And, it is done, the next season she has a son just as Elisha told her. Unfortunately, some years later her son becomes ill and dies.
She lays her son upstairs on Elisha’s bed and sets out to find Elisha. She comes to “the man of God” on Mount Carmel. ( That’s a rather important location throughout the story of the Bible). Elisha gives his staff to Gehazi and sends him to the boy with the instructions to lay the staff on the face of the child. When that doesn’t work, Elisha goes into the room, prays to the LORD, and then lies on top of the boy. The child eventually begins to warm and sneezes seven (7) times and opens his eyes.
35 Then he returned and walked in the house back and forth once, and went up and bent down on him; and the boy sneezed seven times, then the boy opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 Then she came in and fell at his feet and bowed down to the ground, and she picked up her son and left.
There’s that number 7 again. Must be an important number because it appears many times throughout the Bible, 518 times to be exact, from beginning to end.
Poison Soup and Leprosy
Once Elisha returns from Shunem, the company of prophets has cooked up a stew to feed everybody. Problem is, one of the prophets has gathered some gourds not knowing that they were poisonous and put them in the stew. While they are eating someone notices and Elisha has them bring him some flour. He throws the flour in the pot and tells them to eat, and the poison is gone. Then a man comes to Elisha with an offering of 20 loaves and some fresh ears of grain. Elisha tells Gehazi to give it to the people and let them eat.
43 But his attendant said, “How am I to serve this to a hundred men?” Nevertheless, he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for this is what the Lord says: ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” 44 So he served it to them, and they ate and had some left over, in accordance with the word of the Lord.
Sounds a lot like a story of Jesus we will read about in the new testament doesn’t it? Next we have a visit from Naaman the commander of the army of Aram who is stricken with leprosy. He has a young girl that was taken captive from Israel, as a servant for his wife. She tells Naaman of “the man of God” in Israel that could cure him.
He gets to Elisha and is told to go jump in the river seven (7 there’s that number again) times. He’s not impressed, he was hoping for some laying on of hands or something. His servants convince him to at least give it a try, so he does and is cured.
15 Then he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; so please accept a gift from your servant now.”
A very important statement, that seems to be the point of the whole book so far, “Behold now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” God wants us to know that too. He is the only God, period.
The Invisible Army
The King of Aram is at war with Israel, but every time he makes plans to attack, Elisha warns the king of Israel. The king of Aram is not pleased by this and sends his army to capture Elisha. They surround the city and the servant of Elisha asks what to do?
16 And he said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are greater than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes so that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness in accordance with the word of Elisha.
When the war with Aram has caused a severe famine in Israelites, and the army of Aram is camped outside the city, the king of Israel comes to Elisha. His intent is to kill him for this “trouble from the LORD”. Elisha tells him that “tomorrow that food would be so plentiful in Samaria that it would be nearly free. That night the LORD causes the Aramean army to hear the sounds of a great army of horses and chariots and they flee for their lives leaving everything in their camp behind.
The Israelites go out the next day and gather all that the Aramen’s left behind and there was so much that a measure of choice meal was sold for a shekel, just as Elisha had said it would.
The End of the House of Ahab
Elisha sends a member of the house of prophets to anoint Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, and the commander of the army of Israel, king of Israel and for him to put an end to the house of king Ahab, Joram and his wife Jezebel, for having the prophets of the LORD killed and for conspiring to have Naboth killed to take his vineyard.
Elisha years later has fallen sick and dies and is buried, unlike his mentor Elijah who was taken to heaven in a whirlwind. The last miracle of Elisha is when another man is being buried, a band of Moabites comes raiding and in a hurry to escape the people throw the man being buried into the grave of Elisha. As soon as he touches the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and stood on his feet.
20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the marauding bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 And as they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they threw the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet.
Don’t know what happens to him from there, but still pretty amazing stuff. Elisha ” the man of God” performed miracles at the LORD’s direction and for the purpose of showing that there is only one God in all the earth and he has the power to provide, protect, and defend his people if the will but turn to him.
May God bless and keep you always.
The Sinner in the Mirror