Elisha was an important prophet that led the prophets of God during the turbulent time of the kings in Israel’s history. He appears on the Biblical Timeline with world history during the 8th century BC. This prophet actively performed miracles and prophesized through the reign of four kings. Elisha performed his service for God over the course of 60 years. Elisha’s name means “my God is salvation”.
Elisha was the son of Shaphat who resided in Abel-meholah and he was a farmer by trade. When Elijah found him he was plowing a field with a team of oxen. Elijah had been on the run from Queen Jezebel because he had publically humiliated her god Baal. Jezebel was married to the wicked King Ahab and she sent Elijah a message that she was going to kill him. When Elijah heard this message he wanted to die but God told him to find Elisha. Once he located Elisha he told him that he placed his cloak on his shoulders. Elisha knew right away that he needed to go away with Elijah but he cooked a meal and said goodbye to his parents before he departed.
Elisha spent many years training under Elijah before the old prophet was taken up into heaven. God decided to take Elijah into heaven instead of allowing him to experience death. Elisha and Elijah were traveling toward the Jordan River near the end of his time on Earth. While they were walking there were a group of prophets who would run up to Elisha and tell him “the Lord is going to take your master away” and he would reply “I already know.”
The duo reached the Jordan River and Elijah used his cloak to part the waters. They walked across and Elisha had asked Elijah if he could be the next leader of the prophets. Elijah told him he would be able to lead the prophets if he was able to see him being taken away by God. They started to walk again and as they did a chariot with a horse made out of fire passed in between them and it took Elijah into heaven. Once the prophet was taken away he dropped his cloak and Elisha picked it up. Once again he used the cloak again to divide the waters of the Jordan River before crossing back over to the other side. There were a group of prophets who were watching from a distance and witnessed this miraculous event.
Elisha was now established as the leader of the prophets and he had become known to the people all throughout Israel and Judah. The Bible then records certain events from his life that displayed the many miracles that God performed in his life. The first miracle that he did was to restore the waters that surrounded the city of Jericho. The waters were apparently poisoned but Elisha added salt to it and then told the people that God made the water safe for them to drink. From that day on, no one died or became ill after drinking the water near Jericho.
Elisha used to travel throughout the region of Israel and Judah performing his duties as the leader of the prophets. Sometimes he passed through a region called Shunem and when he did he was shown great hospitality by a wealthy woman and her husband. They had fixed up a room for Elisha and his servant Gezhi in their home so he could have a decent place stay. Because of their hospitality, Elijah told the woman that she would have a son in her old age and she eventually had a child. The child died and the Shunemite lady told Elisha what had happened. Elisha brought him back to life by laying on him three times and breathing into his mouth.
Elisha saved a group of prophets from an early death by transforming poisonous stew into an edible substance. He fed 100 people with 20 loaves of bread at Baal Shalisha.
God also used Elisha to give prophesies to kings and to establish new monarchs on the thrones of Israel and Syria. When King Jehoshaphat of Judah and Joram of Israel went to war against the Moabites they asked Elisha to prophesize about the outcome. Even though Elijah despised King Joram for his wicked deeds he told them the Lord said that they would be victorious. He told a Syrian man named Hazael that he would be king of Syria and he sent one of his prophets to a military commander of Israel named Jehu to inform him that he would be the next ruler to govern the land.
Eventually Elisha became seriously ill in his old age and he was visited by King Jehoash. The king was upset at the fact that Elisha was about to die. Elisha performed one last prophetic message and used a bow and arrow to illustrate the fact that King Jehoash was going to defeat the king of Aram in battle. Elisha then passed away and was buried.
- 1 Kings 19: 19 – 21 Elijah chooses Elisha to become the next leader of the prophets.
- 2 Kings 4:17 performed the same miracles with the oil as Elijah. So a widow of one of the sons of prophets could pay her debts and sustain her family.
- 2 Kings 4: 8 – 36 Resurrected a Shunemite widow’s child after he prophesying that she would have one.
- 2 Kings 4: 38-41Transformed a poisonous soup into edible foods for the prophets in Gilgal.
- 2 Kings 7: 1-20 Hazael would be made king but he was going to kill Ben Hadad (suffocate) to take the throne and cause Israel to suffer. Elisha then told one of his prophets to anoint Jehu to king by destroying Ahab’s house.
- 2 Kings: 1 – 19 Elisha cures a Syrian military commander Naaman from leprosy.
- 2 Kings 3 Predicts that Israel, Judah and Edom would defeat the Moabites.
- 2 Kings 7: 1 – 20 Hazael would be made king but he was going to kill Ben Hadad (suffocate) to take the throne and cause Israel to suffer. Elisha then told one of his prophets to anoint Jehu to king by destroying Ahab’s house.
- 2 Kings 13: 14 – 19 Elijah tells King Jehoash that he would defeat the Arameans before he passed away.
- 2 Kings 13: 20 -21 a man brought back to life through Elisha’s body