Elisha

From Academic Kids

Elisha (אֱלִישַׁע "My God is salvation", Standard Hebrew Elišaʿ, Tiberian Hebrew ʾĔlîšaʿ) was the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah; he became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19). His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16).

On his way from Sinai to Damascus, Elijah found Elisha ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw his mantle over Elisha's shoulders, and at once adopted him as a son, investing him with the prophetic office (comp. Luke 9:61,62). Elisha accepted this call about four years before the death of Israel's King Ahab. For the next seven or eight years Elisha became Elijah's close attendant until Elijah he was taken up into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.

After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed, according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for sixty years (892-832 BC) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2 Kings 5:8).

After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2 Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the sternness of his master, he curses the youths (in the context of that society, young adults) who have come out and ridiculed him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The youths mockingly tell Elisha to follow his master in a chariot to heaven, and irreverently make fun of his appearance. Turning around to face these misfits, Elisha pronounces a curse upon them in the name of the LORD. The judgment at once takes effect, for God regards dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. Two she-bears come out of the woods and maul 42 of the youths.

Elisha is next encountered in Scripture when he predicts a fall of rain when the army of Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20). Other miracles Elisha accomplishes include multiplying the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7), restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem (4:18-37), and multiplying the twenty loaves of new barley into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44). During the military incursions of Syria into Israel, Elisha cures Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27), punishes his servant Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness, and recovers an axe lost in the waters of the Jordan (6:1-7). He administered the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between Samaria and Jezreel, and at the siege of Samaria by the king of Syria, Elisha prophesied about the terrible sufferings of the people of Samaria and their eventual relief (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).

Elisha then journeyed to Damascus and anointed Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings 8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead of Ahab.

Years later, Elisha is found on his death-bed in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away, indicating his value to him: "My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."

After his death, a dead body was laid in Elisha's grave a year after his burial. No sooner does it touch Elisha's remains than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings 13:20-21).

In the Qur'an he is known as Al-Yasa.


This entry incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernisation.
fr:Élisée

nl:Elisa fi:Profeetta Elisa sv:Elisha

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