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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: 2 Kings

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FRAMEWORKS: 2 Kings 2: Elijah Taken Up to Heaven

 

v.1,2 Elisha refuses to leave Elijah

v.3,4 A Second time Elisha refuses to leave Elijah

v.5,6 A Third time Elisha refuses to leave Elijah

v.7-11 The two miraculously cross the Jordan

v.9-11 Elijah is taken up

v.12-14 Elisha miraculously crosses the Jordan

v.15-18 The younger prophets refuse to accept Elijah's departure

v.19-22 Elisha cleanses the Water

v.23-25 Elisha Is Jeered

 

v.1,2 Elisha refuses to leave Elijah

 

v.1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal

v.2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 

 

[Notes: We now move away from considering kings to observe the interplay between Elijah and Elisha. Elisha has accepted his call [seen in 1 Kings 19:19-21]. Whether Elijah has made it clear to Elisha that he has to leave soon is unclear but he seems to embark on a tour of the various schools of prophets around the country, starting with Bethel. Elisha is sure that his role is to stay with Elijah and goes with him.]

 

 

v.3,4 A Second time Elisha refuses to leave Elijah

 

v.3  The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?” “Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.” 

v.4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” And he replied, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho. 

 

[Notes: While they are at Bethel some of the prophets approach Elisha with the knowledge that the Lord seems to have given them, that Elijah will soon be leaving. Elijah indicates they need to move on to Jericho and again Elisha refuses to let him go on his own.]

 

 

v .5,6 A Third time Elisha refuses to leave Elijah

 

v.5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?” “Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.” 

v.6  Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan .” And he replied, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on. 

 

[Notes: The same thing happens there and afterwards Elijah indicates they are to go down to the Jordan. A third time Elisha insists on continuing with him.]

 

 

v.7-11 The two miraculously cross the Jordan

 

v.7 Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 

v.8  Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 

 

[Notes: The prophets follow and watch from a distance as the two men come to the Jordan, where Elijah miraculously divides the water and the two cross the riverbed.]

 

 

v.9-11 Elijah is taken up

 

v.9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 

v.10  “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.” 

v.11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 

 

[Notes: The time for departure is rapidly approaching and so Elijah asks what he can do for Elisha who simply asks for a double portion of his spirit to continue as a prophet (implied). Elijah says if he is allowed to see him go, it will be so. Just then Elijah is separated off from Elisha by an angelic chariot and Elijah goes up in a whirlwind and is taken out of sight.]

 

 

v.12-14 Elisha miraculously crosses the Jordan

 

v.12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two. 

v.13 Elisha then picked up Elijah's cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 

v.14  He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. 

 

[Notes: Elisha's cry is the equivalent of, “I see the angelic accompanying forces going with you!” He tears his own garment as a token of the end of his old life and taking up Elijah's cloak that he had dropped, he uses the prophetic mantle to perform his first miraculous act as a direct continuation of Elijah's power and ministry, and uses it to cross back over the Jordan dry-shod.]

 

 

v.15-18 The younger prophets refuse to accept Elijah's departure

 

v.15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 

v.16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.” “No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.” 

v.17 But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 

v.18  When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn't I tell you not to go?”

 

[Notes: The prophets struggle to accept – despite what they said earlier – that Elijah has gone and, despite looking for three days, cannot find him! Note at this time Elisha was staying in Jericho.]

 

 

v.19-22 Elisha cleanses the Water

 

v.19  The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” 

v.20  “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 

v.21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the LORD says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.'” 

v.22 And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.

 

[Notes: The authority of the prophet is next seen in Elisha cleansing tainted water.]

 

 

v.23-25 Elisha Is Jeered

 

v.23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel . As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 

v.24  He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 

v.25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

 

[Notes: The prophetic authority is then tested when a large group of boys deride Elisha and then two bears come and maul them! (note: not kill) Note that Elisha seems to move about quite a lot. From Jericho, just west of the Jordan, he travels north west to Bethel in the centre of the country, then up to Mount Carmel in the north west near the coast, and then back down to Samaria.]

 

   

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 3