Character Studies

Lesson 22

ELISHA

"And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." (2 Kings 2:9)

Text: 1 Kgs. 19:16 - 2 Kgs. 13:20
Name: "God is Savior" or "salvation"
Places: Northern kingdom (Israel)
Contemporaries: Elijah, Ahab, Jezebel, Jehu
References: Luke 4:27

ELISHA'S BACKGROUND
1 Kings 19:19-21
Selected by God to be a prophet (1 Kgs. 19:16)
A farmer, the son of Shaphat of Abel-Meholah (1 Kgs. 19:16, 19)

ELISHA AND ELIJAH
1 Kings 19:21; 2 Kings 2:1-18; 3:11
Humble and devoted servant of the prophet Elijah (1 Kgs. 19:21; 2 Kgs. 3:11; 2:1-6)
Asked to be Elijah's successor (2 Kgs. 2:9)
His request fulfilled (2 Kgs. 2:10-18)

ELISHA'S WORK AS A PROPHET
2 Kings 2:19-13:21 (5:8)
From his call to his death spanned a time of about 65 years (prophet for about 55 years)
The record of his prophetic work is not recorded in strict chronological order
Like Elijah's, his miracles showed the power of Jehovah over Baal while also showing God's mercy and salvation:
    1. Jordan River parted - 2 Kgs. 2:13-14 (Water)
    2. Spring purified at Jericho - 2 Kgs. 2:19-22 (Water)
    3. Widow's oil multiplied - 2 Kgs. 4:1-7 (Oil)
    4. Dead boy raised to life - 2 Kgs. 4:18-37 (Life of a child)
    5. Poison in stew purified - 2 Kgs. 4:38-41 (Flour)
    6. Prophets' food multiplied - 2 Kgs. 4:42-44 (Bread and grain)
    7. Naaman healed of leprosy - 2 Kgs. 5:1-14 (Flesh)
    8. Gehazi became leprous - 2 Kgs. 5:15-27 (Omniscient)
    9. Ax head floated - 2 Kgs. 6:1-7 (Nature)
  10. Syrian army blinded - 2 Kgs. 6:8-23 (Prayer)
  11. The bones of Elisha - 2 Kgs. 13:20-21 (Death)

THE MERCY AND JUDGMENT OF GOD
Romans 11:22
The Bible records 18 encounters between Elisha and needy people
The mercy and compassion of God are seen in Elisha's many miracles
(Elisha spent much of his time in the compassionate care of people)
The judgment of God was also on display:
    (Elisha also spoke condemnation upon the rebellious - 2 Kgs. 2:23-24; 5:20-27; cf. 9:1-10)

THE WORK OF ELISHA
The sons of the prophets (2 Kgs. 2:3, 5, 7; 15-18; 4:38; 6:1-7; 9:1, 4)
The kings of Israel & Judah (2 Kgs. 3)
The widow and the Shunammite woman (2 Kgs. 4:1-37; 8:1-6)
Naaman and Gehazi (2 Kgs. 5)
The Syrians (2 Kgs. 6:8-7:20; 8:7-15)
Jehu anointed king of Israel, destroyed the house of Ahab & removed Baal worship from Israel (2 Kgs. 9:1-10; 10:10-11, 27-31)
The death of Elisha (2 Kgs. 13:14-21)

THE CHARACTER OF ELISHA
Service to God and others is his hallmark (he zealously desired to serve God, 2 Kgs. 2:9)
Practiced compassion toward the trials of the people
Also showed stern, righteous indignation against irreverence
Prayer and action showed his faith in God's presence and power

LESSONS FOR US
It is good to aspire to and be involved in spiritual service.
The measure of greatness in Christ's kingdom is service (Matt. 20:26-28).
Great faith brings great rewards (cf. the Shunammite woman).
God's word must be followed faithfully in order to receive God's blessings (cf. Naaman).
God surely punishes the unrighteous.
God's prophetic word is true.

QUESTIONS
1. What was meant by Elisha's request that a "a double portion" of Elijah's spirit be upon him? (2 Kgs. 2:9)

2. Explain the expression, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" To whom and what occurrences was it applied? (2 Kgs. 2:11; 6:17; 13:14)

3. Who rebelled against Israel (2 Kgs. 3)? What was the outcome?

4. How did Elisha help a prophet's widow? (2 Kgs. 4:1-7)

5. What did the Shunammite woman do for Elisha? What did he (God) do for her? (2 Kgs. 4:8-37; 8:1-6)

6. What caused Naaman to be healed of his leprosy? (2 Kgs. 5:1-15)

7. What were Gehazi's sins and punishment? (2 Kgs. 5:20-27)

8. What did Elisha see when the Syrian army attempted to capture him? (2 Kgs. 6:8-23)

9. Who tried to kill Elisha and why? (2 Kgs. 6:24-7:2)

10. How did the famine and siege of Samaria end? (2 Kgs. 7:3-20)

11. Who were Ben-hadad (1 Kgs. 20:1; 2 Kgs. 6:24)? Hazael (1 Kgs. 19:15; 2 Kgs. 8:7-15; 12:17-18)? Jehu (1 Kgs. 19:16; 2 Kgs. 9 & 10)?

12. When Elisha neared death, why was he angry with the king of Israel? (2 Kgs. 13:14-19)

13. What happened when Moabites buried a man in Elisha's tomb? (2 Kgs. 13:20-21)