Elijah Is Taken to Heaven
2 It was almost time for the Lord to take Elijah by a whirlwind up into heaven. While Elijah and Elisha were leaving Gilgal, 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here. The Lord has told me to go to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 The groups of prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know the Lord will take your master away from you today?”
Elisha said, “Yes, I know, but don’t talk about it.”
4 Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha, because the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”
But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you live, I won’t leave you.”
So they went to Jericho. 5 The groups of prophets at Jericho came to Elisha and said, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?”
Elisha answered, “Yes, I know, but don’t talk about it.”
6 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here. The Lord has sent me to the Jordan River.”
Elisha answered, “As the Lord lives, and as you live, I won’t leave you.”
So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the groups of prophets came and stood far from where Elijah and Elisha were by the Jordan. 8 Elijah took off his coat, rolled it up, and hit the water. The water divided to the right and to the left, and Elijah and Elisha crossed over on dry ground.
9 After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
Elisha said, “Leave me a double share of your spirit.”[a]
10 Elijah said, “You have asked a hard thing. But if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours. If you don’t, it won’t happen.”
11 As they were walking and talking, a chariot and horses of fire appeared and separated Elijah from Elisha. Then Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw it and shouted, “My father! My father! The chariots of Israel and their horsemen!” And Elisha did not see him anymore. Then Elisha grabbed his own clothes and tore them to show how sad he was.
13 He picked up Elijah’s coat that had fallen from him. Then he returned and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Elisha hit the water with Elijah’s coat and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he hit the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and Elisha crossed over.
15 The groups of prophets at Jericho were watching and said, “Elisha now has the spirit Elijah had.” And they came to meet him, bowing down to the ground before him. 16 They said to him, “There are fifty strong men with us. Please let them go and look for your master. Maybe the Spirit of the Lord has taken Elijah up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
But Elisha answered, “No, don’t send them.”
17 When the groups of prophets had begged Elisha until he couldn’t refuse them anymore, he said, “Send them.” So they sent fifty men who looked for three days, but they could not find him. 18 Then they came back to Elisha at Jericho where he was staying. He said to them, “I told you not to go, didn’t I?”
Elisha Makes the Water Pure
19 The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, master, this city is a nice place to live as you can see. But the water is so bad the land cannot grow crops.”
20 Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt in it. He said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. From now on it won’t cause death, and it won’t keep the land from growing crops.’” 22 So the water has been healed to this day just as Elisha had said.
Boys Make Fun of Elisha
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. On the way some boys came out of the city and made fun of him. They said to him, “Go up too, you baldhead! Go up too, you baldhead!” 24 Elisha turned around, looked at them, and put a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two mother bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys to pieces. 25 Elisha went to Mount Carmel and from there he returned to Samaria.
- 2:9 Leave . . . spirit By law, the first son in a family would inherit a double share of his father’s possessions. Elisha is asking to inherit a share of his master’s power as his follower. He is not asking for twice as much power as Elijah had.