Elisha the “Man of God”. His name means “God of supplication or riches” (Strong’s #477). Elisha is mentioned once in the New Testament in the Book of Luke. God chose him to follow Elijah as the prophet to Israel, the wayward Northern Kingdom. He served many years “pouring water” on the hands of Elijah.
Elisha came into his own in 2 Kings 2 when he saw Elijah taken away to Heaven. He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s “ruwach” and he received it. (Note – this has for a long time been transferred to miracles.) “Ruwach” means spirit or life, power/miracles are implied and there are many people who count miracles and make a case for this happening. In Elijah, I started looking at the miraculous happenings not just miracles, and began to focus on “life” and the things in these men’s lives.
This is one of “those” things that for some reason I don’t seem to get “right”. I counted twenty-four miraculous things for Elijah and twenty-eight for Elisha. (I have heard 8/16 and even 17/34 for a count.) I tried and even redid Elisha – I will list verses at the end of the post. BUT the Bible says he got a double portion! I feel he did get a double of “ruwach” and things that are involved in life. Please bear with me, here are some things Elisha had more of than Elijah.
- Length of ministry – 24 or 25 years of ministry for Elijah and 47 to 50 years for Elisha. (I determined this by looking at the years of the kings that were in their lives.)
- Elijah – 2 kings of Israel; Elisha – 4 kings of Israel and 1 from Judah.
- Completed instruction of God to Elijah in the cave. Elijah – 1 (anointing Elisha); Elisha – 2 (anointing Jehu and telling Hazael he would be king)
- Influence/servants. Elijah – 2 servants, one unnamed (possibly the widow’s son) and Elisha. Elisha – At least Gehazi and a company (at least one) of prophets, that may have been fifty or more men in each.
Concerning miracles, I noticed this and it is worth mentioning! I am choosing not to quantify this topic. Many of the miraculous things that accompanied Elijah are by angels, or “the Lord says”. Most of the things Elisha did are not! The Bible simple states that the “man of God” spoke. To me that indicates that Elisha had a different type of relation with God than Elijah had during his life. Elisha also had many things happen that concerned water. Elisha, also helped “his kings” more with advice and warnings than Elijah. I will leave the argument of who is greater to someone else, we just need the miraculous again in our churches!
This list is intentional not pretty! Some of these I felt like I was “pushing it”. At times I picked one verse out of the story and did not give a range of verses for that story. All of these are in 2 Kings and I used the NIV translation – 2:12,14, 21, 23; 3:11,15; 4:1,16, 33, 41, 43; 5:14, 26, 27; 6:6, 9, 10 17, 18, 20; 7:1,2; 8:1, 7, 10; 9:1; 13:15, 21.