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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

14 June 2015
  + The Holy Prophet Elisha +
14 June, Old Testament

The Prophet Elisha and the ShunammiteAfter the prophet Elijah defeated the priests of Baal and then fled Jezebel's wrath, The Lord came to him on Mount Horeb. He told him to anoint new kings of Syria and Israel. He also commanded Elijah to anoint "Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, (1 Kings 19:16)" a member of the tribe of Issachar, to replace Elijah as the prophet of God to the northern kingdom of Israel ca. 849-786 B.C.

During Elijah's final days on earth, Elisha refused to leave his mentor's side. Elisha asked Elijah to grant him a final blessing, saying, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. (2 Kings 2:9)" Once he saw the elder prophet taken up into heaven, Elisha took up Elijah's mantle and assumed the prophetic office (2 Kings 2:1-14).

Like Elijah, Elisha played an active role in political affairs. He also performed many miracles, foreshadowing the miracles of God's own son. Among these, he cured the Syrian army commander Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27), fed a multitude of hungry men (2 Kings 4:42-44), and restored life to the son of a Shunammite woman (4:8-37). A vocal opponent of Baal worship, Elisha lived up to his name, which means "my God is salvation."

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Comments:
It seems to me that sometimes we read the Bible and simply pass over glaring inconsistencies in a kind of pious stupor. Why did Elijah flee from Jezebel’s wrath? He was not afraid of her husband, Ahab. Ahab’s messengers were afraid that Elijah would kill them by his word, as he had their predecessors. We know that fear is a sign of wrong doing. Was there something Elijah had done that did not please God, resulting in fear being born in Elijah?
Then he comes to the cave. Very often the reading about the prophets of Baal is read on one Sunday and the story about the cave on the following Sunday. One Sunday we rejoice in a grand, noisy, fiery exhibition, and the following Sunday we nod approvingly at the “still quiet voice.” Does this make sense? Is there any question that after the prophets of Baal incident, God ended Elijah’s ministry, in a way not dissimilar to how Moses earned God’s displeasure at Meribah?
About Elisha’s request. In Hebrew he literally asks for “two mouths.” This is an idiom applied to the right of the legal heir, the firstborn son in the family, to receive a double portion of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). In other words, Elisha was asking to be made the legitimate heir of Elijah. Too many people use this passage to claim that the Holy Spirit can be given quantitatively; some get more, some get less, and then we can get refills from time to time.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart


 
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