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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
2 Kings 2

 

 

Introduction

2 Kings 1:1 to 2 Kings 2:25. Last Days and Ascension of Elijah: Elisha Established as his Successor.—Here we have perhaps a third Elijah narrative, in which the prophet is represented as playing a part scarcely worthy of the Elijah of 1 Kings 17-19 or 21, who in the first section represents Yahweh against the Tyrian Baal, whereas in the latter he stands for righteousness opposed to legalised violence. Here the king's offence is that he sent to a Philistine oracle instead of inquiring of Yahweh, and his soldiers are punished by fire for summoning the prophet to surrender. The spelling of the prophet's name in Hebrew differs from that in the rest of the OT. The story is mentioned in the Gospel (Luke 9:54).


Verses 1-25

2 Kings 1:1 to 2 Kings 2:25. Last Days and Ascension of Elijah: Elisha Established as his Successor.—Here we have perhaps a third Elijah narrative, in which the prophet is represented as playing a part scarcely worthy of the Elijah of 1 Kings 17-19 or 21, who in the first section represents Yahweh against the Tyrian Baal, whereas in the latter he stands for righteousness opposed to legalised violence. Here the king's offence is that he sent to a Philistine oracle instead of inquiring of Yahweh, and his soldiers are punished by fire for summoning the prophet to surrender. The spelling of the prophet's name in Hebrew differs from that in the rest of the OT. The story is mentioned in the Gospel (Luke 9:54).

With ch. 2 we seem to enter upon a series of Elisha stories which occupy the greater part of the earlier chapters of 2 K. Elijah and Elisha lived, apparently, at "the Gilgal" (2 Kings 2:1), not the place of that name in the Jordan valley, or they could not have "gone down" from thence to Bethel. At Bethel and Jericho there were prophetic settlements (2 Kings 2:3) or companies (1 Samuel 10:5). These associations play an important part in the story of Elisha, who is in a sense their leader, whereas Elijah was a solitary prophet. "Son" simply means "disciple." Amos (Amos 7:14) denied that he himself was a professional prophet. By the doable portion of Elijah's spirit (2 Kings 2:9) is meant the share of the first-born. Elisha desires to be appointed his master's representative. Elijah's answer (2 Kings 2:10) shows how difficult it is to transmit a spiritual office. The chariots of fire were a sign of the Divine presence (2 Kings 6:17). When Elisha crossed the Jordan he could not have been seen from Jericho, which is not in sight of the river (2 Kings 2:15). He was recognised by the prophets as the successor of Elijah, whose spirit rested upon him. Two signs of Elisha's power are given, the healing of the spring at Jericho (2 Kings 2:19-22), which made the land miscarry, by casting in salt, the symbol of purification (Leviticus 21:3, Matthew 5:13, etc.), and the punishment of the children—not youths but "little boys," who mocked his baldness (2 Kings 2:23-25). Baldness is not an honourable sign of age in the East, but (a) of grief (voluntary baldness); (b) a discredit (see A. Macalister, Baldness, HDB). The bear (2 Kings 2:24) is rare in Western Palestine (but see 1 Samuel 17:34, Amos 5:19). The children were not necessarily punished by death, but were at least severely wounded.

2 Kings 2:12 a. Apparently describes Elijah as Israel's defence, her chariots and horsemen, cf. the application by Joash to Elisha of the same description in 2 Kings 13:14.—A. S. P.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Kings 2:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-kings-2.html. 1919.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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