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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Elisha (e-lî'shah), God his salvation. A distinguished prophet of Israel and successor of Elijah. The acts of his earlier ministry are related at considerable length. He is first mentioned as the son of Shaphat, the agriculturist of Abel-meholah in the valley of the Jordan. While occupied in guiding the plow he received the call of Elijah, and appears ever after to have attended on him. 1 Kings 19:16; 1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 3:11. How deep the affection was with which he regarded his master, the narrative of Elijah's last days on earth sufficiently testifies. At his translation Elisha asked a double portion of the departing prophet's spirit, secured his falling mantle, and had speedily full proof that the Lord God of Elijah was with him. 2 Kings 2:1-15. Elisha, though a young man, was bald. The young persons mocked at the great miracle just performed. Why should not the bald head go up after his master? the world would be well rid of both. Such profanity must have an instant significant punishment. And at the word of the prophet, speaking in God's name, she-bears destroyed a number of these mockers. 2 Kings 2:23-25. Many would hear and fear, and learn to reverence God's ambassador. He was the counsellor and friend of successive kings. He was the opposite to Elijah in most things. He lived in the city or with his students, honored and sought for, a welcome guest in the homes he graced by his presence. And yet he was filled with a "double"—i.e.. an elder brother's—portion of Elijah's spirit, both to work miracles and to give counsel for present and future emergencies. He multiplied the widow's oil, 2 Kings 4:5-8, and when the son of the good Shunammite—God's reward to her for her kindness to his prophet—died, he raised him to life. 2 Kings 4:8-37. He cured Naaman, smote Gehazi with leprosy, misled the Syrians, foretold abundant food, and when dying gave the king the promise of victory. 2 Kings 5:1-27; 2 Kings 6:1-33; 2 Kings 7:1-20; 2 Kings 8:1-29. But God would still put honor on his servant. He was buried, and afterwards, when Moabite bands were ravaging the country, and some one was to be carried to the tomb, the attendants, surprised by the spoilers, hastily thrust the corpse into Elisha's sepulchre. But no sooner had it touched the great prophet's bones than the dead man lived again. 2 Kings 13:20-21. Truly, by all these wondrous works it was abundantly proved that there was a God in Israel.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Elisha'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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