2 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were going from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said to Elisha, Tarry here, I pray you, for the Lord has sent me to Bethel. But Elisha replied, As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. So they went down to Bethel.
3 The prophets’ sons who were at Bethel came to Elisha and said, Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today? He said, Yes, I know it; hold your peace.
4 Elijah said to him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray you, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho. But he said, As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. So they came to Jericho.
5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said, Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today? And he answered, Yes, I know it; hold your peace.
6 Elijah said to him, Tarry here, I pray you, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan. But he said, As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. And the two of them went on.
7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood [to watch] afar off; and the two of them stood by the Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up and struck the waters, and they divided this way and that, so that the two of them went over on dry ground.
9 And when they had gone over, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you. And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.
10 He said, You have asked a hard thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you—but if not, it shall not be so.
11 As they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire parted the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, My father, my father! The chariot of Israel and its horsemen! And he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
14 And he took the mantle that fell from Elijah and struck the waters and said, Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? And when he had struck the waters, they parted this way and that, and Elisha went over.
15 When the sons of the prophets who were [watching] at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha. And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
16 And they said to him, Behold now, there are among your servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray you, and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley. And he said, You shall not send.
17 But when they urged him till he was embarrassed, he said, Send. So they sent fifty men, who sought for three days but did not find him.
18 When they returned to Elisha, who had waited at Jericho, he said to them, Did I not tell you, Do not go?
19 And the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, inhabiting of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the locality causes miscarriage and barrenness [in all animals].
20 He said, Bring me a new bowl and put salt [the symbol of God’s purifying power] in it. And they brought it to him.
21 Then Elisha went to the spring of the waters and cast the salt in it and said, Thus says the Lord: I [not the salt] have healed these waters; there shall not be any more death, miscarriage or barrenness [and bereavement] because of it.
22 So the waters were healed to this day, as Elisha had said.
23 He went up from Jericho to Bethel. On the way, [a]young [maturing and accountable] boys came out of the city and mocked him and said to him, Go up [in a whirlwind], you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!
24 And he turned around and looked at them and called a curse down on them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and ripped up forty-two of the boys.
25 Elisha went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.
- 2 Kings 2:23 This incident has long been misunderstood because the Hebrew word “naar” was translated “little boys.” That these characteristic juvenile delinquents were old enough to be fully accountable is obvious from the use of the word elsewhere. For example, it was used by David of his son Solomon and translated “young and inexperienced,” when Solomon was a father (I Chron. 22:5; cf. I Kings 14:21 and II Chron. 9:30 ). It was used of Joseph when he was seventeen (Gen. 37:2). In fact, not less than seventy times in the King James Version this word “naar” is translated “young man” or “young men.”