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Bible: What Does 2 Kings 1-2 Teach Us About Elijah and Elisha?
The Pre-incarnate Christ (The Angel of Yahweh)
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Elijah the Prophet
King Ahaziah's Reign
THE BOOK OF SECOND KINGS
I Kings 22 makes only scant mention of the reign of Ahaziah the son of Ahab (vv. 51-53).
2 Kings 1 continues that discussion, delineating the events surrounding his judgment and death.
[First, however, the author briefly states that Moab rebelled against Israel after Ahab died (v. 1).
What connection, if any, that that fact has with Ahaziah, this writer does not know.
The historian writes more fully on that point in chapter three].
Injured in a fall, Ahaziah inquires of the idol Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, as to the chances of his survival (v. 2).
[It is interesting that Baal-Zebub is a name applied to Satan in the New Testament; Ekron is a city of the Philistines].
The pre-incarnate Christ (the Angel of Yahweh) sends Elijah to intercept Ahaziah's messengers with a rebuke from God (v. 3) as well as a dire message for their king: "You shall die" (v. 4).
Naturally, the messengers' early return prompts Ahaziah to seek an explanation (v. 5).
When they reiterate the mystery man's exact rebuke and message, the king asks them to identify some feature or characteristic of this upstart (vv. 6-7).
Their description of this unique personage immediately brings to Ahaziah's mind only one name: Elijah (v. 8).
Ahaziah sends three separate sets of fifty soldiers (presumably) to arrest the prophet (vv. 9, 11, 13).
Fire from Yahweh consumes the first two contingents, confirming Elijah's status as a true man of God (vv. 10, 12).
The third captain wisely humbles himself before the prophet and asks him for mercy (vv. 13-14); consequently, the LORD's Angel permits Elijah to go to Ahaziah (v. 15).
In the king's presence the man of God repeats the original judgment, adding nothing, omitting nothing (v. 16).
Soon Ahaziah expires, and Jehoram the son of Ahab takes his place (v. 17).
The author completes his account with another reference to the book of Chronicles (v. 18).
The Jordan River
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2 Kings 2
As the day draws near for the LORD to transport Elijah to glory in a unique manner (v. 1)—revelation which, outside the prophets themselves, only the sons of the prophets in Bethel (v. 3) and Jericho (v. 4) knew anything about (the reader included)—Elisha vows to remain near his master to the very end, the latter's exhortations notwithstanding (vv. 2, 4, 6).
As the story unfolds, both prophet-groups remind him of Elijah's soon departure—something which undoubtedly irked Elisha not a little (vv. 3, 5).
With fifty prophets-in-training standing afar off, Elijah and Elisha make their third and final stop—the Jordan River (v. 7)—where the elder strikes the water with his rolled-up mantle, and the River dries up in part (v. 8).
Elijah and the Chariot
Elisha Curses the Mocking Boys
Now at life's end, Elijah grants his young protégé a final request (v. 9a); Elisha boldly asks for a "double portion of his spirit" (v. 9b).
[The meaning of this phrase is uncertain; perhaps it signified a double measure of grace to withstand greater trials, or the ability to perform twice as many miracles].
Elijah informs his friend that God will grant it to Elisha if he sees him as he is leaving the earth (v. 10).
[Was this a reward for courage?]
Soon after speaking this word, Elijah finds himself separated from Elisha and whisked off to heaven in a horse-driven chariot of fire (v. 11).
[If this conveyance were not a literal chariot, what might it have been?]
The newly-commissioned prophet, crying out in grief, tears his clothes apart (v. 12).
Soon, however, Elisha resigns himself to the obvious reality and sadly retraces his steps to the Jordan.
Taking Elijah's mantle, he strikes the water, and it divides again (vv. 13-14).
Immediately as Elisha steps into Jericho, the sons of the prophets recognize him as a leader like Elijah, and they show him great respect (v. 15).
Nevertheless, thinking that God may have dropped Elijah off somewhere on earth, they ask Elisha if they can search for him (v. 16).
At first Elisha firmly denies them permission, but then relents as they continually pester him (v. 17a).
After three days, the fifty return with no Elijah, and Elisha says, in essence, "I told you so" (v. 18).
From that day on Elisha begins to perform miracles.
First, he "heals'' some brackish water by casting salt into it (vv. 19-22).
Then in Bethel, when a throng of youths mocks his appearance, he curses them in Yahweh's name, and the LORD allows two female bears to maul forty-two of them.
[As a righteous prophet of God, Elisha would not call down an unjust judgment.
Perhaps mocking a prophet in Bethel (a very sacred place in Israel’s history) merits immediate punishment (vv. 23-24)].
From Bethel Elisha travels to Mount Carmel, the scene of one of Elijah's greatest miracles, and then he returns to Samaria (v. 25).
© 2013 glynch1