The man of double portion: Elisha the prophet

Ahab gets his way by murder and obtains Naboth’s vineyard, which brought the occasion for Elijah’s ninth and tenth miracle. There is more Syrian conflict, and Jehoshaphat desires to know God’s Will, false prophets arise, and Micaiah’s true prophecy of Israel’s defeat is heard. The death of Ahab is seen as well as the fulfilling of prophecy of the death of Jezebel, and the accession of King Ahaziah to the throne of Israel.

Jehoshaphat is made fourth King of Judah and reigns for 25 years as the second good King of Judah. Moab rebels against Israel after the death of Ahab, and Ahaziah, the King of Israel, meets with an accident. King Ahaziah takes a bad fall, is injured, and then he gets seriously sick. He sent messengers and said for them to “Go, inquire of ‘Baal-zebub,” the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.”

The Angel of the Lord speaks to Elijah and tells him to meet the messengers and predict the death of Ahaziah because of this great sin…the sin was that “he sought advice from a pagan god and not from God Jehovah.” This is the occasion for the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth miracle of Elijah. The prediction of the King of Israel’s death, fire from Heaven, and the death of 102 men.

Elisha was called from God as we see in 1 Kings 19:16-17 – to which, Elisha would be anointed as a prophet in his room (when Jehu is anointed as king over Israel), and that who escapes from the sword of Jehu then Elisha will slay. As it moves forward to verses 19-21, Elijah casts his mantle upon Elisha, and then Elisha ran after him wanting to pray for him and follow him. Elijah showed his willingness to succeed Elijah by killing his oxen and using them as a farewell dinner for his family and friends.

Elisha was tested three times as Elijah suggests he tarry at certain places while Elijah does the Lord’s work in a different place. Elisha was told to tarry at Gilgal while he (Elijah) goes to Bethel for the Lord. After that, he told Elisha to tarry at Bethel while he goes to Jericho for the Lord. Again, Elisha told to tarry at Jericho while he goes to Jordan.

Each time, Elisha’s answer was, “as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” Elisha knew that the Lord would soon take away Elijah, however, in each of the above cities, Elisha is pestered by the “sons of the prophets” concerning Elijah’s leave. Each time, Elisha answers them, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.”

Elijah promised a “double-portion” of his spirit to Elisha if he sees him when he leaves. They cross the Jordan, causing the fifteenth miracle of Elijah as he swings his mantle over the waters to divide them. Elijah then tells Elisha that what he had asked is a hard thing.

Elisha received a double portion of what Elijah had promised, which was the fulfilling of another prophecy of Elijah’s. Of course, a double portion is a double blessing. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit so he would be doubly blessed in life and ministry. It seems, as I have looked at the lessons, Elisha’s miracles are twice that of Elijah’s (exactly twice the amount).

The story is in 2 Kings 2:11-12, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.” When Elijah was whisked away supernaturally, Elisha knew that, in this one man, Israel doesn’t have him anymore either. However, he soon had a clear proof of the double-portion of the power imputed upon him, because soon he began miracles – as he felt the mantle placed upon him.

The miracles done by Elisha

  1. First miracle, using the mantle that Elijah gave him, he took a stride toward the Jordan and smote the waters saying, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” – to which, the waters part and he walked over on dry land. Maybe he was testing his power…?
  2. Second miracle, healing of the waters as we see in 2 Kings 2:19-22, “And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.” The waters were bitter and terrible, and he made it better and healthier to drink. This was great and helpful to the people.
  3. Third miracle, bears from the woods and irreverence cursed. Little children came out of the city and mocked Elisha, saying, “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.” Two she bears came out of the woods and tore up 42 children.
  4. Fourth miracle involved waters filling the ditches without rain. This miracle came about from the influence of a minstrel, who played, and then the hand of the Lord came upon him.
  5. Fifth miracle involved the defeat of the Moabites. It was odd to see the Moabite King’s sacrifice, which was his eldest son, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall.
  6. Sixth miracle was an optical illusion, where the enemy saw the water, the sun shone upon it in the early morning, and it appeared unto them as blood.
  7. Seventh miracle, increase of the widow’s oil – this is the curse of oil that failed not. Elisha commanded the widow and her sons to gather up pots and pans (vessels), and then to go and sell the oil – afterward, paying the debt to be able to live with thee and thy children on the rest of the funds.
  8. Eighth miracle involved healing the “great woman” of Shunem of her barrenness, to which, she miraculously bore a child. This was great, and not the only time that God had done this. God had also healed many of their barrenness, so this scene shows His everlasting faithfulness.
  9. Ninth miracle, resurrection of the boy. The child of the woman of Shunem became very ill, and she sought Elisha – to which, Elisha came and lay upon the child – and the child was healed after sneezing seven times. It was great to see the Lord’s faithfulness in healing people, especially that were near death – what a blessing!
  10. Tenth miracle, pottage was healed. The sons of the prophets were having difficulty as there was drought in the land. They gathered herbs in the field and a wild vine was mixed with the herbs and the pottage became noxious, as if it were death in the pot.
  11. Eleventh miracle, bread was multiplied for 100 men – which was evident, once again, of the Lord’s provision for His People. (Just wait till later, when we see Jesus multiplying food for thousands of people.)
  12. Twelfth miracle, leprosy of Naaman healed. The strange act of dipping in the dirty river of Jordan cleansed the leper when he was obedient. That’s how you know it’s a God thing, when you try to make something clean with something that doesn’t appear to be clean (for we know faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1).
  13. Thirteenth miracle, discernment of Gehazi’s disobedience, to which, Naaman offered up riches to Elisha again after his healing. Gehazi disobeyed and accepted them to heap them upon himself. It’s no wonder a servant would become prideful, as he is in the presence of a great man like Elisha – but Gehazi needed humbling to be able to work beside Elisha further.
  14. Fourteenth miracle, leprosy of Naaman given to Gehazi. Gehazi was humbled for his pride, it seems, and reaped what he sowed.
  15. Fifteenth miracle, making iron to swim. The sons of the prophets wanted to make a larger place to live, and they were cutting wood, when the ax head flew off and fell into the water. The one using the ax said, “alas Master! For it was borrowed.” Elisha wondered where it went, so then he cut a stick and threw it into the water – where the iron ax head swam to them so much that they could retrieve it.
  16. Sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth miracles, Elisha is used by God to reveal war secrets, They said Elisha, Israel’s prophet, has knowledge of secrets that the King talked about in his bed chamber. Of course, with this in mind, they must be careful not to divulge them to the enemies – because doing so would bring despair.
  17. (See above)
  18. (See above)
  19. Nineteenth miracle, the eyes of Elisha’s servant are opened. The enemy sought to destroy Elisha, and they sent horsemen and chariots and encamped around where they thought Elisha and his servant were camped. In the morning, the servant arose to see the encampment and the servant wondered what to do. He prayed for that his servant’s eyes be opened, and then the Lord performed it through Elisha. His eyes opened and he saw a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire roundabout – as we see in Scripture.
  20. Twentieth miracle involved the blinding of the Syrian army – which helped avoid war and other issues of wars.
  21. Twenty-first miracle was the capturing of the whole Syrian army – to which, had completely disabled them from hurting His People.
  22. Twenty-second miracle was healing the Syrian army of blindness – which, I guess was a lesson to them not to bug His People.
  23. Twenty-third miracle involved Elisha having knowledge before the Kings act. We see Elisha using the gifts of knowledge and discernment given to him by God. God works miraculously through His People always, and Elisha was no different. He used the gifts of the Spirit well!
  24. Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth miracles involved the miraculous utterances. The evil kings were trying their best to dispose of Elisha, and finally the messenger of the King comes to get Elisha with plans of executing him. There was Elisha…prophesying! He uttered a foretelling of sufficient food for everybody in Samaria soon. Four lepers throw themselves upon the mercy of the Syrians. At twilight, they came into the camp and there was no man. The Lord caused the Syrians to hear the noise of the chariots and horses and the noise of a great company. They had fled in great fear because of it. The lepers did eat and drink, as well as partake of all the things and then went out to hide their treasures.
  25. (See above)
  26. Twenty-sixth miracle, the confusion of the Syrians. The lepers report to the King, and an investigation is made and is true. The Syrians have fled, leaving their riches behind. Elisha’s prophecy of plenty was fulfilled.
  27. Twenty-seventh miracle, involved 7 years of famine. Elisha talks with the “great woman” whose son was resurrected, and he tells her there is going to be a seven-year famine. He warns them to leave so they go and sojourn in the land of the Philistines for 7 years. During the 7 year leave, people took her land, so then she returns to ask the king that her land be returned unto her. Gehazi testifies to the king of the great works of Elisha, and therefore, the king assigned an officer to her so she would be returned to her land.
  28. Twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth miracles – these were more miraculous utterances. They again were gifts given by God, which were revelation and knowledge. We see also the weeping side of the Elisha as he pronounces death upon a Syrian who plots evil against Israel.
  29. (See above)
  30. (See above)
  31. Thirty-first miracle involved the anointing of Jehu by one of Elisha’s children, the sons of the prophets. Jehu comes to the Kingdom ad King of Israel and reigns for 28 years. Elisha calls one of the children to get read and take a box of oil to Ramoth-Gilead. He is told to find Jehu and take him to the inner chamber and pour the oil on to his head and speak over him an anointing as the King over Israel. There was also inclusion into the prophecy of death for Jezebel and prediction that the house of Ahab be no more. Jehu slays Jehoram, King of Israel.
  32. Thirty-second miracle involved something done upon his death. Joash the King of Israel came down and wept upon him. Soon, Elisha said to him to take bow and arrow (Elisha helped him), then open the window eastward, and then to shoot. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria shall smite the Syrian in Aphek till consumed. Then he said to take the arrow and smite upon the ground. When this occurred, Elisha died, and they buried him, and then the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. As they were burying, they cast a man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when that man touched the bones of Elisha – he was revived and stood up!

Other interesting stories

Elisha enjoys such hospitality from the “great woman” of Shunem. She wanted him to come and eat, and told her husband that she thinks Elisha is truly a holy man of God, to which, she noted him passing by often, so she had asked her husband to build a little chamber on the wall. She placed a bed, table, stool, and candlestick there (which came to be the Prophet’s Chamber). One day, Elisha came by to stop and rest, traveling with his servant Gehazi, and asked Gehazi to call for the Shunammite woman. So, she came and stood before him, so he asked to do something for her because of her hospitality. She did not require anything, though. Gehazi noticed she didn’t have children, so Elisha granted a miracle that her barrenness would be healed. Later, that child became very ill, and she sought Elisha – to which, Elisha came and lay upon the child – and the child was healed after sneezing seven times.

Elisha in the New Testament is “Eliseus,” and it is found in Luke 4:27, “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.”

The death of Elisha

His death is chronicled in 2 Kings 13:14-21, where he had fallen sick. Joash the King of Israel came down and wept upon him. Soon, Elisha said to him to take bow and arrow (Elisha helped him), then open the window eastward, and then to shoot. The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria shall smite the Syrian in Aphek till consumed. Then he said to take the arrow and smite upon the ground. When this occurred, Elisha died, and they buried him, and then the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. As they were burying, they cast a man into the sepulchre of Elisha, and when that man touched the bones of Elisha – he was revived and stood up!