The first two chapters of 2 Kings starts with miracles and wonders! Here, you will read about Elisha’s “double portion,” received when he witnessed Elijah taken up by chariots of fire. There’s much to glean, so be sure and read along as we go through these amazing chapters!
In Case You Missed It!
I wrote about 1 Kings chapters 17 & 18 HERE.
Angela added to her Blogging Through the Bible page HERE.
Tammy’s exposition on 1 Kings 21 & 22 can be found HERE.
The King Enquires of Baalzebub
2 Kings chapter 1 begins by saying that Moab rebelled against Israel after Ahab died. And that leads right into King Ahaziah falling through the lattice in his upper chamber and becoming sick. He then sent messengers to ask the god of Ekron, Baalzebub, if he would recover from his disease.
Now, I have to just step back from the whole reading when I think about this. For a minute. So, let me get this straight. Ahaziah falls through a lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria. In the next verse, he’s got a disease and he wants to know if he’s going to recover from it.
Ok… did he have a disease prior to falling? Is that what made him fall? Or is he speaking in relation to the injuries sustained during the fall as a disease? At this point, I admit, I haven’t really delved that deep, but it’s on my list! In the meantime, if you are reading this and know the answer to this question, please feel free to drop that in the comment section. I, and my readers I’m sure, would love to know.
Messengers On Their Way…
So the messengers are on their way to ask about the outcome of their king’s disease, but the Lord has spoken to Elijah. He tells him to get up and go meet those messengers, and He wants Elijah to ask something and tell something…
…Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die…” (2 Kings 1:3-4)
Elijah did as God had told him to, and the messengers turned back. Ahaziah asked why they did that, and they relayed the messages that Elijah had given them. Word for word.
Ahaziah, after hearing the messages, wanted to know more about this man. In fact, that’s all he asked about when they finished relaying the message. And they answered him:
…He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite. (2 Kings 1:8)
Until I read this, I don’t believe I ever remember hearing a description of Elijah before. In reading this previously, I must have just skimmed over it or forgotten, but it seems interesting to me that the description here is a lot like that of John the Baptist in the New Testament, don’t you think? Of course, in my mind’s eye, John was far more a kind of “wild mountain man” but it did make me think about it.
Captains and Their Fifty
It seems to me, King Ahaziah sent out these captains to either kill or capture Elijah. Because when the first captain came and found Elijah on top of a hill, he called up for Elijah to come down. Elijah’s response was what we might consider very bold these days. He said, “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.” (1: 10)
I guess word got back to the king and so he sent another captain with another fifty men. Again, they found Elijah on a hill, called up for him to come down quickly, and they too wound up consumed by heavenly fire.
A third time, a captain and fifty more men are sent, but this captain has a different plan. THIS captain begins by falling on his knees and pleading for his life from the man of God. The angel of the Lord told Elijah not to be afraid, but get down and go to him. So that’s just what he did, and together they went to the king.
King Ahaziah died, just as Elijah said he would, and Jehoram became king after that. He was the son of Jehoshaphat because Ahaziah had no son of his own.
Elijah & Elisha
Chapter 2 of 2 Kings starts out by saying the Elijah would be taken up into heaven by a whirlwind. For the first few verses, every time Elijah planned to go somewhere, he would tell Elisha to tarry and wait for him. However, Elisha would have none of that! His answer, every time, was the same.
“And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.”
Another common thread was that everywhere they went, sons of prophets would come to Elisha to ask him if he knew his master was going to be taken away that day. He told them all the same thing as well: Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
Here’s another spot in the Scripture where I really had some questions. Like how did Elisha know that? And, in knowing it, how could he be calm about it? Or is that why he was sticking close to Elijah in the first place?
By the Jordan River, Elijah removed his mantle, wrapped it up, and hit the water with it. Immediately they divided and he and Elisha went over on dry land. On the other side, Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted from him before he was taken away.
Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit to be on him. Elijah told him plainly, it was a hard thing that he was asking. But, he told him, if he saw him when he was taken, that he would get what he asked.
It wasn’t that much longer, while they were walking, and a chariot of fire appeared and parted them both. The chariot was drawn by horses, also of fire. And a whirlwind took Elijah.
Elisha tore his own clothes in two, took up the mantle that had fallen from Elijah, and went back to the Jordan River. Hitting the water in the same way he had seen Elijah hit it, he asked, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? The waters parted again, and Elisha went over again to the other side.
Elijah Can’t Be Gone!
At Jericho, the prophet’s sons recognized Elijah’s spirit on Elisha. They bowed to him, but they also had an idea that they readily shared with him. There were fifty strong men they wanted to send out in search of Elijah. They thought the Spirit of the Lord might have Elijah up onto a mountain or down into a valley.
At first, Elisha said no, but they kept on until he finally told them to go on. After three days of searching, they came back empty-handed. Elisha, who had stayed at Jericho, reminded them he had told them not to go.
Elisha was then told about a situation that was very unpleasant for them. It seems their water was dried up and the ground barren. Elisha called for a cruse of salt which he took to the spring. Tossing it in, he said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.
The waters were immediately healed, “unto this day” the Word says, because of the words that Elisha spoke. This would be a good time to remember a blog post I wrote last year entitled, And God Said: The Truth About Words, where I talk about the power of words still today. If you have time, give it a read. It sheds a lot more light on why words accomplish more than you think they might.
The last three verses of Chapter 2 are certainly the hardest to read. From our place in today’s world, it’s hard to see why things had to play out the way they did. Still, it was recorded for a reason.
As Elisha was going up to Bethel, children came out of the city and began to mock him, chanting, “Go up, thou bald head.” He turns around and, for no reason that is blatantly listed in this Scripture, he curses them in the name of the LORD.
Immediately, two she bears came out of the woods and “tare” 42 children. I can only assume this meant that they were killed. And I can’t understand why.
I’ll just say again, I’m just SO glad we are living now under grace instead of under the law!
As we think back on what we’ve read so far, there are lots of things to talk about. In fact, I’ve already asked questions above. It seems like a lot was left out of this portion of the story. Does that make it more or less understandable? Are there things you still wonder about the events spoken of in these two chapters? If so, let’s discuss it!
Lord Jesus, we are so thankful to have these stories and recollections of mighty prophets from the past. So thankful to know how they lived their lives in dedication to you. We admit, we don’t understand everything that happened, but we ask that you open our eyes to what we don’t understand and let it take root in our spirit where it can grow. You said you would bring Scriptures to our remembrance, and I praise Your Name for it!