Before being summoned to accompany the Prophet Elijah, Elisha lived as a farmer. While he did not write any specific account in the Bible, we can find a thorough description of his journey in the Book of Kings.
Elisha’s prophetic work encompasses restoration and physical healing acts. The biblical account also portrays Elisha giving delight to the people via God’s blessings and miracles. Through his compassionate nature, he made a lasting impact on the personal lives of several individuals in Israel, as the multiple occasions recorded in 2 Kings 4–6 demonstrate.
- 1 Who Is Elisha In The Bible?
- 2 What Did Elisha Do In The Bible?
- 3 What Miracles And Prophecies Did Elisha Perform?
- 4 How Did Elisha Die In The Bible?
- 5 Lessons We Can Learn From Elisha
- 6 Conclusion
Who Is Elisha In The Bible?
Elisha was a miracle worker and prophet of God during a turbulent period in Israel’s history. He was called to follow Elijah in 1 Kings 19:19. Despite his numerous miraculous feats, he stayed modest and committed to God, declining monetary gain while serving the Lord. Because of Elisha’s accomplished missions and spiritual life, he became one of today’s Biblical characters who inspire others towards good work.
Elisha makes his first appearance in 1 Kings 19. God showed up to Elijah and informed him that Elisha was destined to become his successor as prophet.
Then Elijah visited Elisha, who was working in the field. Elijah draped his shawl around him, and Elisha requested that he say farewell to his parents before accompanying him on his long journey. He destroyed his plow and utilized the fire to roast his cattle, abandoning his previous existence.
What Did Elisha Do In The Bible?
God simply commanded Elijah to start looking for his destined successor, and Elijah found Elisha farming in the field on the land belonging to his father. Elisha may have perceived Elijah’s symbolic gesture of placing his mantle (a clothing similar to a cloak) over his shoulders as being chosen to fulfill the duties of a prophet.
Elisha began his religious career as a learner and personal companion to Elijah. The young, humble man would initially demonstrate his faithfulness in small acts, like the simple task of putting water on Elijah’s hands (2 Kings 3:11). Elisha’s apprenticeship under Elijah would progressively equip him for a spiritual mission he would eventually take up on his own.
The Bible mentions the two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, regularly visiting religious study establishments in Israel, which a group of men known as “the sons of the prophets” also frequented.
How Did Elisha Become A Prophet?
Elisha’s first invitation to do ministry work demonstrates how God invites His chosen ones to serve even in ordinary situations. Elisha’s unforeseen guidance is described in 1 Kings 19:19–21.
In the biblical passage, he was farming with oxen, driving the last pair alone. Elijah approached him and wrapped his robe around him, indicating the passing of divine prophetic authority and service. Then, Elisha abandoned his oxen and pursued Elijah. He must have realized the importance of the cloak since he “left his oxen and went after Elijah.”
After, Elisha responded, “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he continued, “and then I will come with you.” (1 Kings 19:20) “Go back,” Elijah replied. The question “What have I done to you?” may appear rather harsh. However, in truth, it translates as, “Who’s stopping you?”
Elisha then left him and returned. He killed his oxen with his yoke. He cooked oxen meat on the burning plowing tools and served it to everyone who ate it. Then he simply followed Elijah and accepted his role as a servant of God (1 Kings 19:21). Elisha’s life-altering decision may seem unplanned; however, the prophet-to-be swiftly and fully followed Elijah—an excellent model for us today.
Following that, in the first chapters of 2 Kings, we witness Elisha progress from being a prophet trainee to Elijah’s formal successor. 2 Kings 2:9–10 recorded Elisha’s final request to Elijah. He requests for double the amount of Elijah’s spirit, to which his teacher responds, “You have asked a difficult thing.” The prophet Elijah replied, “Yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
Indeed, both teacher and student are aware that their time together is running out. Horses of fire and a chariot abruptly part the two of them as they walk together.
Elisha observes his beloved teacher being carried up into the air in a whirlwind at this breathtaking moment. Just imagine his emotions at that time: astonishment, awe, terror, and terrible grief. “Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two” (2 Kings 2:12). Such an incredible passing of God’s prophecy garment!
The Story Of Elisha In The Bible
It was around 150 years following the reign of King David over Israel, and many years following the biblical prophet Elijah was last called to address the people, which was heavily engulfed in Baal worship. Israel was on their way to restoring their real divine devotion after experiencing a devastating drought and severe famine.
A spiritual renewal, however simple, started at the close of Elijah’s lifework, where God captured the nation’s attention once again. Elisha’s prophetic journey would now lay the groundwork for more changes in religion throughout Israel.
Elisha was a prophet in the Old Testament who existed in 800 B.C., during a period when God was concerned with the nation, people, and rulers of the earlier Israel. During this time, God assigned more than 30 prophets across the northern region of Israel as well as the southern part of Judah in an attempt to convert their people away from idol worship and other wickedness.
Facts About Elisha In The Bible
Elisha’s name translates as “God is salvation” in Hebrew (New Bible Dictionary). His given name is referred to only once in the entire New Testament (in Luke 4:27), using the Greek translation of his name, Elisaios.
When Elijah’s ministry was coming to an end, God told him to prepare a younger man called Elisha to fill his place. Elisha is the son of Shaphat, who came from Abel Meholah within the Jordan Valley (see 1 Kings 19:16).
Without a second thought, Elisha embraced the call to spiritual duty, abandoning the security of his house and family to pursue a life with an unforeseeable path that would demand his own sacrifices (1 Kings 19:19–20).
What Miracles And Prophecies Did Elisha Perform?
Elisha continued to travel across Israel after the Moab incident. He stumbled upon the wife of one of the prophets’ sons, whose spouse had died. This mother, living in destitution with her two boys, was facing the threat of her creditors taking them away. She just had a little jar of olive oil.
Elisha instructed the woman to gather as many vessels as she could and start pouring the precious oil into them. All of the containers were miraculously full. The lady sold the oil and paid off their debt (2 Kings 4:1–7).
A different woman who lived in Shunem noted the prophet traveling through the region constantly. Regarding him as a God-fearing man, she and her spouse arranged a tiny space for him to sleep in between travels. Elisha predicted that the woman and her spouse would shortly be blessed with a child in return for everything this old, barren woman did for him.
After several years, the young child was at work outside alongside his father in the scorching sun when he became unwell. The child died in the arms of his mother after being taken inside. She ran to get Elisha and took him to her home, where Elisha prayed to God and started his resuscitation efforts. The child was revived immediately.
The following miracle occurred at Gilgal when the prophets’ sons were cooking their meal. Sadly, one of the members unintentionally acquired a toxic item, which was then shredded and added to the dish.
Elisha placed some food into the household pot, and the deadly substance vanished. Another individual brought a small amount of bread and grain, which Elisha directed be divided among the 100 people in attendance. Surprisingly, there was plenty for all, with extras to go around.
The next one involves Naaman, the leader of the Syrian force. Naaman had been infected with leprosy. His wife’s helper, an innocent Israelite girl, suggested that he meet the prophet.
Elisha assigned Gehazi (his servant) to tell Naaman to wash himself in the waters of the Jordan River seven times. Naaman bathed in the water after first hesitating to comply with the odd demand, and he was amazed to discover that his disease was promptly cured (2 Kings 5).
In another instance, Elisha’s pupils asked permission to construct a new housing structure. An ax head fell off its handle and fell into the water of the Jordan River while chopping trees for the building. This was especially disappointing because it was just borrowed and most likely a steep tool. Elisha tossed a piece of wood into the river, and the ax head started to float, much to the shock of the pupils (2 Kings 6:1–7).
When a group of boys from Bethel mocked the prophet for his baldness, Elisha cursed them in the name of God, and two female bears came out of the forest and tore forty-two of the boys.
Elisha’s miraculous acts are works of kindness and healing. Others are very similar to a few of Christ’s wonders, like the multiplication of food in Matthew 16:9–10 as well as the curing of people with leprosy (Luke 17:11–19).
How Did Elisha Die In The Bible?
Some have said that God allowed Elisha to suffer from an undisclosed fatal disease. On the brink of death, Elisha delivered his final prophecy. In grave sorrow, Israel’s King Jehoash sought the prophet’s advice one more time. Elisha’s knowledge and prediction had benefited the king, resulting in triumphs for Israel.
Elisha’s final revelation must have provided some solace to King Jehoash. Elisha demonstrated to Israel’s King, with just arrows and a bow, that he would have a temporary triumph over the Arameans (2 Kings 13:14–19).
Following Elisha’s death, another miracle happened that proved this holy man of God’s power. We learn in 2 Kings 13:20–21 that the Israelites buried a person close to Elisha’s burial site. When the Moabite came in, they put the body inside Elisha’s grave and fled. When his body contacted Elisha’s bones, the man resurrected!
Lessons We Can Learn From Elisha
The prophet Elisha’s ministry and miracles, whether in responding to illness, death, monetary distress, starvation, or providing helpful advice to kings, highlight the truth that God would not avoid crises and hardships in the situations of His people.
Rather, God utilized these opportunities to strengthen their faith and confidence in Him. God frequently brings challenges and difficulties for our learning, wisdom, and growth in spirit.
Elisha’s life reflects the prophet’s modesty (2 Kings 3:11), his clear dedication to the Israel population (2 Kings 8:11–12), and his dedication to a lifelong ministry. He was committed to God’s call, gladly and dutifully following Elijah. Elisha unquestionably believed and relied on God. Elisha followed God, and God worked mightily through him.
Elisha’s life as a prophet teaches others about God’s standards and the rewards that come with living in faith. The message he sent is just as relevant today as we strive to become closer to God, who acted through Elisha. As Elisha had done when he was alive, we must ask for God’s assistance and seek the guidance of His Holy Spirit every day.
The story of Elisha in the Holy Bible is one of the most intriguing and compelling chapters in biblical records. As Elijah’s prophetic successor, Elisha benefited from his teacher’s knowledge, training, and finally, “a double portion of Elijah’s spirit” (2 Kings 2:9).
Through the Bible, notably 1 and 2 Kings, we learn how God summoned this prophet through Elijah to accomplish astounding miracles and preach compelling warnings to God’s disobedient people.
We consider the prophet Elisha to be a man who lived in strength and trusted in the God he loved. Elisha lived a determined and obedient life yet a spectacularly eventful one, as he lived by God’s command and under his loving guidance.