Well, yes, I think everyone has heard of Elijah.
No, no, not Eli-jah. I speak rather of Eli-sha, his successor. I was one of his disciples, and our community is devoted to his blessed memory.
Was Elisha greater than Elijah?
He was certainly no less than Elijah. He did assume the mantle which Elijah dropped as he was lifted into the sky.
Yes, I've heard the story. Elijah was carried away by a tornado, and they spent three days searching for his body, right? They never found it.
In our community, we say he was taken up into Paradise, and not by a mere whirlwind but by a chariot of fire and horses of fire. Elisha witnessed the miracle. [2 Kings 2:11-18]
So Elisha proclaimed that Elijah ascended into heaven?
He did indeed. He told his followers to stop seeking Elijah's body because he is no longer here on earth. And we trust in the words of scripture. You also ought to believe, ma'am.
I should become an Elisha-ite? Why?
Because of the miracles he performed! Wonders such as never before were seen! For example, he purified a polluted spring by tossing a bowl of salt into it. [2 Kings 2:19-22]
Did he? Moses did the same thing by throwing in a log. [Exodus 15:23-25]
Elisha walked across the Jordan River on dry ground. He used Elijah's mantle to part the waters. [2 Kings 2:13-14]
Joshua also parted the waters of the Jordan. He used the Ark of the Covenant. [Joshua 3:14:17]
Elisha spoke to a childless Shunammite woman and said unto her, This time next year, you will have a son in your arms. And it came to pass, as the word of the Lord foretold. A prophecy without parallel! [2 Kings 4:8-17]
Not so. Many other childless women have been promised a son within a year. One was Sarah, mother of Isaac. [Genesis 18:10-14, 21:1-7] Another was Hannah, mother of Samuel. [1 Samuel 1:6-20]
Have you yourself experienced the wonder of childbirth?
Yes, I have several children. Not that it's any of your business.
I pray that none of them have suddenly taken sick and passed away.
No, thank God.
Well, that did happen to the Shunammite's son. But Elisha lay across the boy's body and put his mouth to the child's mouth and prayed, and the boy returned to life! [2 Kings 4:18-37]
Elijah did the same. A boy had apparently died, but Elijah stretched himself across the boy and resuscitated him. [1 Kings 17:17-24]
Well, here is another wonder. A poor widow had nothing but one oil bottle in her house. Elisha told her to borrow empty containers from her neighbors, and she filled them all up with oil from her one flask! [2 Kings 4:1-7]
Elijah, too, multiplied a widow's oil. [1 Kings 17:9-16] If I may, sir, it seems to me that you're merely retelling old stories and attributing them to your own prophet.
Surely you haven't heard this one. When Elisha was yet alive, we disciples decided we needed a bigger place to live. To obtain the lumber, we went to the Jordan and chopped down some trees. I had to borrow an axe. I was felling a large tree when, wouldn't you know it, the head of the axe flew off! I stood there holding the wooden handle; the head fell into the river and sank.
You consider that a miracle?
Of course! The head was made of iron, and all know that iron does not float. Yet there it was on the surface of the water, thanks to Elisha and the Lord!
Another time a man brought us some bread, and Elisha commanded that it be distributed among us so we could eat. Gehazi asked, How am I supposed to feed a hundred men with only a few loaves? But Elisha told him, Thus says the Lord, they shall eat and have some left. And so it came to pass. [2 Kings 4:42-44]
Each man must have taken just the twentieth part of a loaf.
Or consider this. Do you allow your children to play with animals?
We have several sheep and a dog.
I mean wild animals. Like bears and lions.
No, of course not. I've instructed my children not to approach wild beasts.
Well, Elisha and I once encountered a gang of boys whose mothers hadn't taught them right. Dozens of little brats who had come out from town and found four bear cubs. They were amusing themselves by teasing the cubs. Elisha warned them not to, but they would not listen. They shouted, Get out of here, Baldy! Get along!
Baldy? Elisha was bald?
Well, no, but he did have a receding hairline, and he was rather sensitive about it. More importantly, the boys had shown disrespect to a prophet. Therefore, the man cursed them.
He put a curse on children? In the name of the Lord?
Yes. But there's more to the story. She-bears are very protective, you know, and the cubs' mothers must have heard the commotion.
When they saw what was happening to their little ones, two big bears came out of the woods and mauled the boys.
Yes, I stood there in awe.
That's not exactly what I meant.
I was in the presence of a miracle. The Lord had acted upon his blessed prophet's curse! Immediately! And not in a small way, either. The bears ripped 42 of those children apart! They tore them to pieces! [2 Kings 2:23-24]
Yes, even today I stand in awe of the Lord's wrath. Do you fear God as I do? Are you afraid of God and his cruelty? Let me offer you a pamphlet that gives all the gory details.
Uh, no, thanks. Perhaps you ought to continue on your way now. Maybe there are other tales that you can turn into Elisha fables.
Click here for other Bible stories I've retold in the first person.