Two Kings Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

2 Kings 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

2 Kings 2:2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.

2 Kings 2:3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

sons of the prophets. These “sons of the prophets” were presumably in the line of prophets originally established by Samuel in what modern writers have called “schools of the prophets” (see notes on 1 Samuel 10:5-13; also 1 Samuel 19:24). Jezebel had killed many of these, but a significant remnant had been hidden and preserved (1 Kings 18:4).

2 Kings 2:4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.

2 Kings 2:5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

take away. This word, “take away” is the same Hebrew word as used for Enoch's translation into heaven, “took” (Genesis 5:24).

2 Kings 2:6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.

2 Kings 2:7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.

2 Kings 2:8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

2 Kings 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

a double portion. One indication of God's answer to Elisha's prayer is that, while Elijah performed seven recorded miracles, fourteen were performed through Elisha.

2 Kings 2:10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.

2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Elijah went up. This was a unique event in history, and was altogether miraculous. Enoch, who had also served as God's prophet in a time of deep apostasy, had likewise been taken into heaven (that is, the “third heaven,” where God's throne is located) without dying, but evidently no one had actually observed his translation (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5), as did Elisha at the translation of Elijah. Enoch's ministry had been to the whole world, essentially at the mid-point of the period from Adam to Abraham. Elijah's ministry had been to Israel, essentially at the midpoint of the period from Abraham to Christ. Elijah was taken up in a fiery tornado that seemed to surround a fiery horse-drawn chariot as he went up until he was out of Elisha's sight. It has been assumed that Elijah and Enoch have both been supernaturally preserved alive in heaven ever since that time in their natural bodies.

When the Lord Jesus returns, both dead and living believers will be translated into His presence, their bodies being supernaturally changed into immortal bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:20-21). If Elijah and Enoch are presently in natural bodies, it is possible that they will also return at this time to serve as His “two witnesses” on the earth during the 1260 days of great plagues on the earth that will quickly follow Jesus' return (see notes on Revelation 11:2-12). They will continue to be preserved alive to finish their unfinished testimony to both Israel and the Gentile world during that period. Finally, they will be slain and then they also will be raptured into heaven with immortalized bodies.

2 Kings 2:12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.

the horsemen thereof. Elijah, as God's prophet, was more powerful in the defense and guidance of Israel than all the king's chariots and horsemen.

2 Kings 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

2 Kings 2:14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

parted hither and thither. Elisha had requested a double portion of Elijah's spirit, and it is noteworthy that more miracles are recorded under Elisha's ministry than under Elijah's. The combined Elijah/Elisha period, under the kings Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash, lasted about eighty-five years. It was the time of Israel's deepest apostasy, but it was also the time of greatest demonstration of God's miraculous power, at least since the days of Moses and Joshua.

2 Kings 2:15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

2 Kings 2:16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.

seek thy master. These younger prophets assumed, quite naturally, that God had taken Elijah's spirit into heaven, leaving his body behind, and they wanted to give him a proper burial.

2 Kings 2:17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.

2 Kings 2:18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?

2 Kings 2:19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.

2 Kings 2:20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.

2 Kings 2:21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.

2 Kings 2:22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

2 Kings 2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

2 Kings 2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

cursed them. Elisha did not curse “little children,” as the King James Version translates the phrase (2 Kings 2:23). The Hebrew expression frequently connotes young, unmarried men of any age up to about thirty. This was evidently a gang of young hoodlums, instigated by the heathen priests of Baal to ridicule Elijah's successor. The jeering exhortation to “go up, thou baldhead” (2 Kings 2:23) was both a sarcastic reference to Elijah's supposed ascension (which they disbelieved) and a personal insult to God's chosen prophet. This challenge to Jehovah and the authority of His prophet could not be excused, so God made good on a warning issued long before: “And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; ... I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children” (Leviticus 26:21-22).

2 Kings 2:25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.