Elisha – The Man of God

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. Elijah – 2 kings of Israel; Elisha – 4 kings of Israel and 1 from Judah.
  3. Completed instruction of God to Elijah in the cave.  Elijah – 1 (anointing Elisha); Elisha – 2 (anointing Jehu and telling Hazael he would be king)
  4. 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.

Jeroboam and His Altar

Ten pieces of a new garment was to signal the start of a “new work” of God. Jeroboam however let “Egypt” in and let a powerful promise fall to the floor. 1 Kings 13 is a story of God’s love and a call to repent that was ignored by a “chosen vessel.” The promise to Abraham was still in effect; the prophecy to Judah and the selection of David had not been forgotten but Father God needed revival. Solomon had broken faith with Jehovah so He went to the other tribe of leaders – Ephraim (the second-born of Joseph and chosen of God – Genesis 48:20).

Jeroboam, instead of believing God, reacted in fear and took bad advice (12:26 – 28). One creative idea he had was to start his own festival for god and make religion easy for the people. So 1 Kings 13 finds him by his new altar on the 15th day of the 8th month making sacrifices to a golden goat and cow. This whole chapter is a layered look into the failures of Judah, Jeroboam, and the “old system.” But it is meant to show Jeroboam that he should change; which he did not (13:33). There are four main characters in this story that we need to look at: the man of God, Jeroboam, the old prophet, and the lion.

The Man of God – was not a prophet, priest, apostle, pastor, or teacher just a MAN. He got a Word from God, now we are not told how or from whom but he knew what he had to do and was serious about doing. I normally would have added my own adjective to this man but no where is he called anything else, including the final mention of this tale in 2 Kings 23:19, but a man of God. He spoke against the altar and predicted what would happen in 2 Kings, he prayed for Jeroboam’s hand, and even refused a meal and a gift. The mistake he made was to STOP (vs. 14). Who knows, possible he was the next prophet that would have been used to call Judah/Israel to repentance instead he symbolizes Judah and their stopping.

Jeroboam – the talented child of a single parent home who had all the potential but looked the wrong way. He was a challenge to the established system (Solomon) so it tried to kill him. To this point in the story he could be a shadow of Jesus but by 1 Kings 12:26 he becomes an “antichrist.” Remember Jehovah is trying to call him back to obedience but in 1 Kings 13:6 he uses the chilling phrase, “ the Lord YOUR God.” Egypt won. Verse 34 finishes the tale even though it took many years; he was destroyed from the face of the earth. NOTE. In 2 Kings 15:8 another Jeroboam is mentioned but he is not related to the first one. The Books of Kings tell the story of both Israel and Judah while Chronicles tells the story of David’s family and only mentions the kings of Israel when needed.

The Old Prophet – had not moved with God and was jealous. This character I like the least, feel sorry for the most, and never want to become. (He could be the lukewarm ones in the Book of Revelations 3: 16.) If he had gotten the word about the altar he did not act on it and he had not left his old way and moved to Judah like many other had done (2 Chronicles 11: 13 – 17).   He recognized the move of God and instead of helping the “man of God” finish his mission he condemned him to death. Jehovah even gave him a chance to repent; he could have gone with the man instead of grabbing a final moment of glory. His final wish to be buried with the man of God was so his bones would not be burned in 2 Kings 23.

The Lion – was the only one who did as God had instructed him. He killed the man of 1 Kings 13God did not eat him but stood guard over his body. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah comes to mind. Whatever symbolism you want to put with this lion he definitely stopped “a problem” from going back to Judah.

See Jeroboam -The Lord YOUR God