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CHAPTER 2 Aug. 28 
Elijah’s Public Ministry Ends
It happened, when Yahweh would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2Elijah said to Elisha, Please wait here, for Yahweh has sent me as far as Bethel. Elisha said, As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. So they went down to Bethel. 3The sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, Do you know that Yahweh will take away your master from your head today? He said, Yes, I know it. Hold your peace. 4Elijah said to him, Elisha, please wait here, for Yahweh has sent me to Jericho. He said, As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. So they came to Jericho. 5The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came near to Elisha and said to him, Do you know that Yahweh will take away your master from your head today? He answered, Yes, I know it. Hold your peace. 6Elijah said to him, Please wait here, for Yahweh has sent me to the Jordan. He said, As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. They both went on. 7Fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood opposite them at a distance; and they both stood by the Jordan. 8Elijah took his mantle, wrapped it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that they two went over on dry ground. 9When they had gone over, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you. Elisha said, Please let a double portion of your spirit be on me. 10He said, You have asked a hard thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so. 11It happened, as they still went on, and talked, that behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into the sky. 12Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horseman! He saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and tore them in two pieces. 13He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and struck the waters, and said, Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah? When he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha went over. 15When the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha. They came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16They said to him, See now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. Perhaps the spirit of Yahweh has taken him up, and put him on some mountain, or into some valley. He said, You shall not send them. 17When they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, Send them. They sent therefore fifty men; and they searched for three days, but didn’t find him. 18They came back to him while he stayed at Jericho; and he said to them, Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t go?’
Elisha’s First Miracles
19The men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, please, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land miscarries. 20He said, Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it. They brought it to him. 21He went out to the spring of the waters, and threw salt into it, and said, Thus says Yahweh, ‘I have healed these waters. There shall not be from there any more death or miscarrying’. 22So the waters were healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke. 23He went up from there to Bethel. As he was going up by the way, some youths came out of the city and mocked him, and said to him, Go up, you baldy! Go up, you baldhead! 24He looked behind him and saw them, and cursed them in the name of Yahweh. Two female bears came out of the woods, and mauled forty-two of those youths. 25He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.


2:11 Into the sky- This doesn’t mean that Elijah went to get his reward in Heaven. Nobody has ascended to Heaven (Jn. 3:13). Jesus was the first person to be given immortality (1 Cor. 15:20), and was the only person who never sinned. Elijah therefore had to die, because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The Bible presents the Kingdom of God on earth as the reward for the righteous, not going to Heaven at death. The dramatic snatching away of Elijah was in order to openly demonstrate that his public ministry had ended and been passed on to Elisha. It seems Elijah was snatched away into the sky and returned to earth somewhere else- hence the men go searching for him (:16). It seems this happened often in Elijah’s life (1 Kings 18:12). Some time after this, Elijah sent a letter (2 Chron. 21:12)- implying he was on earth.
2:12 The chariots and horseman of God appeared; and Elisha perceived that Elijah had finally become identified with them. For Elisha sees them and then describes Elijah as being them- the chariot and horseman of Israel. The Hebrew word for “mantle” is translated “glory” in Zech. 11:3. Elijah had earlier wrapped his presence in his own mantle / glory, rather than face up to the implications of God’s glory. But he got there in the end; hence the enormous significance of Elijah giving up his mantle when he finally ascends to Heaven in the cherubim chariot. Finally, Elijah became part of God’s glory; He merged into it rather than resisting it for the sake of his own glory. He was the charioteer of the cherubim; for his prayers had controlled their direction. This identification of ourselves with God’s glory, this losing of ourselves and our own insistence upon our rightness, and our focus on others’ wrongness... this is the end result of our lives if they are lived out after the pattern of Elijah’s. See on 13:14.
2:19 It could be that the people thought that the barren land was causing their women to be barren. This was evidently an incorrect superstition of the time; barren ground cannot make the women who live on it barren. But Elisha does not specifically rebuke them for believing such nonsense. Instead he performed the miracle of curing the barrenness of the land. The record says that there was no more barrenness of the land or women “according to the saying of Elisha which he spake”. Normally the people would have recoursed to wizards to drive away the relevant demon which they thought was causing the problem. But the miracle made it evident that ultimately God had caused the problem, and He could so easily cure it. This was a far more effective way of sinking the people’s foolish superstition than a head–on frontal attack upon it. The way Jesus dealt with the demons issue in the first century is identical in principle.

2:21 Land and water were seen as barren and bad because they were salty (Dt. 29:23; Jud. 9:45; Jer. 17:6); to put salt into bad water to cure it was therefore counter-instinctive. But this is how God loves to operate; we have to recognize the badness and acknowledge that God can work through it. Hence in this case, salt was used to cure saltiness.
2:23 Go up, you baldhead- They were doubting that Elisha was really in Elijah’s place, and were asking him to go up into the sky as Elijah had done; and they mocked the difference between hairy Elijah and Elisha’s baldness.