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The narrator has gone to great lengths in portraying Elijah and Elisha as a type of Moses and Joshua. a. It is not clear whether Elijah knew of his impending fate; however, his disciple, Elisha, is aware that his father-prophet is leaving and is reluctant to leave his side. Before Elijah is taken up, Elisha asks for a “hard thing”: to receive a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. In this transition the outgoing leader offers his successor the benefit of his wisdom and experience. (Elijah and Elisha will both be addressed by the title “father” in the community of prophets sometimes known as the children — meaning disciples — of the prophets, see 2 Kings 13:4 and the prophet Deborah as a mother in Israel in Judges 5:7.) CHAPTER 2. The great prophet Elijah will be taken up into the heavens, perhaps suggesting to the reader an end. On the way to crossing the Jordan river, Elijah parts the Jordan, bringing to mind vividly the activities of Moses at the Red Sea and Joshua at the Jordan. 2 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Life transitions are difficult, even when they are joyous on their face, like getting a new job or promotion, moving, or starting life with a (new) partner. Elijah asks Elisha what he can do for him before God takes him in 2 Kings 2:9, evoking God’s invitation to Solomon to “Ask what I should give you” in 1 Kings 3:5. Elisha is not quite ready to let go. (1-3) The awareness of Elijah’s coming departure. He reigned forty years in Jerusalem: This was a long and mostly blessed reign. The opening verse of this pericope hints at the focus of the following narrative, reminding the reader that everything that follows must be read in light of the end of the story. 2 Kings 2:1-10.ELIJAH DIVINES JORDAN. If he is daunted by it, he shows no sign. Commentary on 2 Kings 2:1-12. In some sense, every community of faith stands opposite Jericho with a mantle before it. Ewald's words, though not intended in an historical, but only in a literary sense, embody very forcibly what the humble believer may accept as the actual rationale of the occurrence related in 2 Kings 2:1-12: "An earthly career which had no equal in the purity of its devotion to the service of Jehovah, and was at the same time consummated by such powerful efforts to promote the kingdom of God, could only have a … Elijah and Elisha are miracle-working prophets and their exploits will have no equal until the miracles of Jesus. Just as Moses died opposite Jericho with Joshua prepared to enter into the land, so too is Elijah taken up, with Elisha prepared to return to the land. The story suggests that the prophetic office does not end with the death or even ascension of one particular figure, but it is available for all who choose to carry on that tradition. As Elijah makes his rounds to Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho, he requests that Elisha remain behind. The opening verse of this pericope hints at the focus of the following narrative, reminding the reader that everything that follows must be read in light of the end of the story. 1. The lectionary portion does not reveal the bestowal of Elijah’s spirit on Elisha; subsequent verses demonstrate the scope of Elisha’s powers. We for whom these texts are scripture may not see the whirlwind or chariots of God, but we will watch senior leaders pass on and step down and live through transitions of our own. One moment he is walking and talking with his companion-turned-successor, the next he is in the whirlwind. v1 After Ahab’s death, the nation called Moab *rebelled … Yet each time, Elisha demonstrates a tenacious commitment to remain with his “father” until the end. Elisha’s cry, “Father, father! Clearly Elisha is using inheritance language, which states that the rightful heir receives a double portion of the inheritance. Commentary on 2 Kings 2:1-12 Second Kings 2 begins with one of the most dramatic openings in the scriptures; casually mentioning that God’s plan to sweep Elijah away to heaven in a whirlwind … If Elisha can watch what God will do with and to Elijah, then he will receive what he has asked. Jehoash fell short of full commitment and complete godliness, but he did advanc… The voice of the prophet is rare indeed these days, not because all of the prophets have ascended into the heavens, but because few choose to see the whirlwind, and fewer still choose to live as though it has changed us. The separation was no doubt a grievous moment for Elisha; he rips his garments in two. Jewish readings see Elijah and Elisha as one of the pairs of great men who lead each generation from Moses and Aaron to the time of rabbinic period. Joshua was clearly the chosen one of God meant to succeed to Moses, the greatest prophet, and so too is Elisha depicted as the chosen one of God meant to succeed Elijah, the great prophet of Israel. In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. Important also to this narrative is the subtext. 2 Kings 2 – Elijah’s Ascension A. Elijah ascends to heaven. Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. This lesson is read as a companion text to the story of Jesus’s transfiguration. Elijah’s extraordinary ministry has come to an end and not necessarily at a time of his choosing. To the contrary, the text affirms that the power of this prophetic office remains firmly in place in the life of Elisha. Although outside the bounds of the lectionary reading this week, the subsequent verses suggest that Elisha does in fact carry on. In the Hebrew text, their statement to Elisha has a double edge. Underneath all of the supernatural occurrences is a narrative about the continuity of the community after a transition of leadership, particularly after a great and incomparable leader. Gilgal--This Gilgal (Jiljil) was near Ebal and Gerizim; a school of the prophets was established there. Having departed from Jericho and having crossed the Jordan River, they now stand literally in the region where Moses had died (Deuteronomy 34). But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. He therefore went to the different schools of the prophets to give them his last exhortations and blessing. (Joshua, Moses’s successor in the tradition, did the same in Joshua 3:7-17; Caleb is regarded as his partner in leadership.) His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And it came to pass, when the LORD was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. When Elijah struck the water, the waters parted and they walked through on dry land (cf. The great prophet Elijah will be taken up into the heavens, perhaps suggesting to the reader an end. Occasionally, in rare moments, those who have glimpsed upward and seen the whirlwind of God are compelled to bend down and pick up that mantle, believing that now is the moment for them to strike the waters. The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” has been traditionally understood to mean that he saw chariots of fire associated with the whirlwind. Some Christian readings see Jesus and John in that tradition with one of the proofs of Jesus’s divinity that he performs or exceeds all of Elijah’s miracles. This is supported by Elisha’s later vision of the chariots in 2 Kings 6:17 where he prays that his servant’s eyes be opened to see the chariots. Commentary on 2 Kings 2:1-8 (Read 2 Kings 2:1-8) The Lord had let Elijah know that his time was at hand. The prophets of Bethel (2 Kings 2:3) and Jericho (2 Kings 2:5) also knew that God was planning to take Elijah. He picks up the mantle that had first been thrown upon him in 1 Kings 19, struck the water of the Jordan, and parted it. The lection ends with Elijah’s ascent. Worth noting is verse 11 in which the narrator explains the Elisha is taken up in a whirlwind. Yet the image depicted is much more complex; it is a whirlwind coupled with raiding chariots and horses. This story ends by suggesting that Israel is at a moment of great transition. The reader may be enamored with the trappings of this story, and for good reason. Yahweh reassured him that there were seven thousand who had Literally they say to him, “Do you know that today the Lord is taking your master from over your head?” Clearly by the end of the story, Elijah will no longer the be the “head” over his disciple Elisha, but such a phrase is more than metaphorical in that Elijah will in fact be taken “over the head” of Elisha in the whirlwind. Even the bands of prophets at each site appear to understand the events that are to follow. Much of Elisha’s career will revolve around stories of Israel’s war.1. The end of Ahaziah’s rule as king of *Israel. 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