Elisha was the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah (1 Kings 19:16). His name means “God is salvation.” At first, he was chosen to be the prophet Elijah’s servant (1 Kings 19:19-21). But when Elijah was taken to haven, the Lord appointed him the prophet of Israel. He served the Lord for sixty years during the rule of kings Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash.
After God’s victory over the false prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, the Lord commanded Elijah to anoint Hazael king of Aram, Jehu king of Israel, and Elisha as the prophet that will come after him. God said, “Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu” (1Kings 19:17). Elisha’s ministry was clearly not in the same category as that of Hazael and Jehu. There is no record that Elisha ever used the sword literally to slay anyone. Elisha’s mission was one not of physical war but spiritual war (2 Corinthians 10:3–6).
Elijah put his mantel on Elisha which meant that he was called to the prophetic office. So, Elisha immediately left his farm work and asked to bid Farewell to his father and mother. Then, he took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and gave it to the people thus showing that he would never need them again. He turned his back to the past and entered the service of God (1 Kings 19:20,21).
Elisha loved Elijah as his father and did not wish to leave him. Knowing that the Lord will translate him to heaven, Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted before his departure. Feeling a sense of sons-hip, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. So, Elijah answered, “if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so” (2 Kings 2:10).
Elisha did see the chariot of fire that took Elijah to heaven. Then, Elijah threw his mantel and Elisha took it and struck the water of the Jordan River and it divided just as Elijah did before. So, when the sons of the prophets, who were from Jericho, saw this act, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:15). This miracle was a proof that what God had done through the older prophet He would do through his successor.
God performed many miracles through the prophet Elisha. Here is a list of those miracles:
1) Parting of the Jordan by the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him when he was taken alive to heaven (2 Kings 2:14).
2) Healing of the waters when Elisha cast salt in it so that there was no more death (2 Kings 2:21).
3) The Curse of the she bear that mauled forty-two of the youths for their mockery (2 Kings 2:24).
4) Filling of the Valley with water so that the animals may drink and not die (2 Kings 3:17).
5) Deception of the Moabites with the valley of blood so that they may loose the battle (2 Kings 3:22).
6) Filling of the vessels with oil to provide for the widow that needed money for the creditors (2 Kings 4:4).
7) Prophecy that the Shunammite woman would have a son (2 Kings 4:16).
8) Resurrection of the Shunammite’s son from death (2 Kings 4:34).
9) Healing of the gourds (2 Kings 4:41).
10) Increasing the bread to feed many (2 Kings 4:43).
11) Healing Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army from leprosy (2 Kings 5:14).
12) Perception of Gehazi’s transgression (2 Kings 5:26).
14) Floating of the iron Axe head over water (2 Kings 6:6).
15) Prophecy of the Syrian battle plans (2 Kings 6:9).
16) Vision of the chariots and horses for Elisha’s servant to have courage (2 Kings 6:17).
17) Smiting the Syrian army with blindness (2 Kings 6:18).
18) Restore the sight of the Syrian army (2 Kings 6:20).
19) The prophecy of the end of the great famine (2 Kings 7:1).
20) The prophecy that the scoffing nobleman would see, but not partake of the abundance (2 Kings 7:2).
21) Deception of the Syrians with the sound of chariots so they fled (2 Kings 7:6,7).
22) Prophecy of the seven-year famine (2 Kings 8:1).
23) Prophecy of Benhadad’s untimely death (2 Kings 8:10).
24) Prophecy of Hazael’s cruelty to Israel (2 Kings 8:12).
25) Prophecy that Jehu will smite the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:7).
26) Prophecy that Joash will smite the Syrians at Aphek (2 Kings 13:17).
27) Prophecy that Joash will smite Syria thrice but not consume it (2 Kings 13:19).
28) Resurrection of the dead man that touched the Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21).
Before Elisha’s death, King Joash of Israel came down to him, and wept over him. Then, Elisha asked him to take a bow and some arrows and strike out from the east window. And he said, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them.” Then Elisha said, “Take the arrows” and “Strike the ground”; so he struck three times, and stopped. Then Elisha was angry, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it!” (2 Kings 13:14-19). The lesson for Joash is a lesson for all. Results in the ministry of God are in direct proportion to the effort put forth.
2 Kings 13:20,21 tell us that, “Elisha died, and they buried him. And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year. So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”
Although the death of Elisha was a great loss to Israel, the resuscitation of the dead man gave hope and an evidence that the God of Israel was not dead. He was ready to perform miracles if people would listen to the messages of the departed prophet. The Almighty was ready to give His people victory over the enemy and restore peace to Israel.
In His service,