Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page.


"Let Your Name Be Sanctified"



Chapter 10

CARRYING FORWARD THE UNFINISHED COMMISSION

Elijah personally executed hundreds of profaners of the sacred name of Jehovah God at the torrent valley of Kishon on the eastern flank of Mount Carmel. He also pronounced Jehovah's sentence of destruction upon other profaners of it, including King Ahab of Israel and his son King Ahaziah. At Mount Horeb Jehovah had given Elijah this commission: "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and you must come in and anoint Hazael as king over Syria. And Jehu the grandson of Nimshi you should anoint as king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah you should anoint as prophet in place of you. And it must occur that the one escaping from Hazael's sword, Jehu will put to death; and the one escaping from Jehu's sword, Elisha will put to death." (1 Kings 19:15-17) Years before his ascension to the heavens Elijah had anointed (appointed) Elisha as his successor, but he had not fulfilled the rest of this commission. He had to leave this for his successor to do, as it were in the name of Elijah.

2 Elisha was promised that if he saw Elijah when taken away he would receive two parts in Elijah's spirit. Elisha did see him when taken


1. How had Elijah dealt with profaners of Jehovah's name, and how was the unfinished portion of his commission to be carried out?
2. What did Elisha pick up, what did he do with it, and with what result?
166

heavenward. As Elijah was taken aloft in the windstorm, his familiar official garment fell from him, the one that he had thrown upon Elisha when appointing him as successor. Now it became Elisha's official garment to wear in carrying out the rest of the commission in place of Elijah, a sign of successorship. "After that he picked up the official garment of Elijah that had fallen off him, and went back and stood by the shore of the Jordan. Then he took the official garment of Elijah that had fallen off him and struck the waters and said: 'Where is Jehovah the God of Elijah, even He?' When he struck the waters, then they were gradually divided this way and that way, so that Elisha went across." — 2 Kings 2:9-14.

3 Where was Jehovah, the God of Elijah? Why, with Elisha. This first miracle by Elisha proved it. By Elisha Jehovah could perform miracles like those performed by Elijah, for now Elisha was truly his successor and he had got two parts of Elijah's spirit.

4 Elisha crossed the Jordan from the east bank to the west bank, in the direction of Jericho, "the city of the palm trees." Fifty of the sons of the prophets at Jericho, with whom Elijah had just had a farewell visit, had stood at a distance watching Elijah and Elisha go to the Jordan River. Now Elisha returned alone. "When the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho saw him some way off, they began to say: 'The spirit of Elijah has settled down upon Elisha.' Accordingly they came to meet him and bowed down to him to the earth." Whether they had viewed Elijah's ascension is not stated; but they said: "Here, now, there are with your servants fifty men, valiant persons. Let them go, please, and look for your master. It may be


3. With whom was Elijah's God thus proved to be, and what position did this one now occupy?
4. To the sons of the prophets of what city did Elisha now come, what remark did they make about him, and what request did they make?
167

that the spirit of Jehovah has lifted him up and then thrown him upon one of the mountains or in one of the valleys."

5 They kept urging Elisha till at last he said: "Send." The fifty men sent to scour the country on the other side of the Jordan searched for three days. They came back to Elisha at Jericho without Elijah's corpse. Elisha said: "Did I not say to you, 'Do not go'?" (2 Kings 2:15-18) Had they found Elijah's corpse they would likely have held thirty days of mourning. But this was no time for mourning. It was a time for work!

6 While staying at Jericho, less than ten miles from the Dead Sea or Salt Sea, Elisha performed his second miracle. He healed the bad water supply of the place right at its source. Hundreds of years later this water source was reported still healed. (2 Kings 2:19-22) From the low Jordan Basin, there far below sea level, Elisha decided to go back to the city of Bethel, about 3,000 feet higher, where there was also a company of sons of the prophets.

7 "As he was going up on the way, there were small boys that came out from the city and began to jeer him and that kept saying to him: 'Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!' Finally he turned behind him and saw them and called down evil upon them in the name of Jehovah. Then two she-bears came out from the woods and went tearing to pieces forty-two children of their number." — 2 Kings 2:23, 24.

8 They had seen a bald-headed man wearing Elijah's familiar official garment. They did not want any successor of Elijah around. He should either keep going on his way up to Bethel or get off


5. After making the desired search why did the sons of the prophets hold no mourning over Elijah?
6. What was the second miracle that Elisha performed, and from Jericho where did he proceed to go?
7. On his way up what experience did Elisha have, and how did his curse result to the disrespectful ones?
8. What did those jeers mean, and what proof did Elisha give of his prophetship as Elijah's successor?
168

the earth altogether by making an ascent into the heavens as the former wearer of that official garment had done. To answer this challenge of his being Elijah's successor and to teach these young people and their parents proper respect for Jehovah's prophet, Elisha called down evil upon the jeering mob in the name of the God of Elijah. It was a test of his prophetship. Two she-bears as fierce as if they had been bereaved of their cubs came out of the nearby woods and cornered forty-two of the jeerers. Their jeers turned to shrieks! Their parents were of no help. Judgment was executed in the name of Jehovah!

9 From Bethel Elisha went to Mount Carmel, where Elijah had prayed for fire from heaven to prove that Jehovah is the true God. From there he returned to the city of Samaria, the capital of the then-reigning King Jehoram the son of Ahab.  — 2 Kings 2:25.

10 After King Ahab had died and while his son Ahaziah was reigning, Mesha the king of Moab revolted and refused to pay tribute any longer to the king of Israel. This is the King Mesha who erected the black basalt stele that was found in 1868 at Dibon in Moab and which has been called the Moabite Stone. In the inscription on this King Mesha praises his god Chemosh and speaks of capturing the altar hearths of Jehovah. King Jehoram of Israel, King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom joined in a military expedition to put down King Mesha's revolt. Their armies got trapped in a waterless wilderness. King Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of Jehovah. A servant of King Jehoram said: "There is here Elisha the son of Shaphat, who poured out water upon the hands of Elijah." In faith King Jehoshaphat said: "The word of Jehovah exists with him."


9. From Bethel where did Elisha go, and then finally?
10. What now led up to Elisha's appearance before King Jehoshaphat of Judah?
169

11 Out of respect for King Jehoshaphat, who was still in Jehovah's favor, Elisha gave instructions on how to proceed to obtain water from Jehovah. Next morning when the water was provided in the ditches that had been dug in faith for water, it deceived the rebellious Moabites into making an attack that resulted in disaster for themselves.  — 2 Kings 3:1-27.

12 Elisha continued his close association with the various companies of the sons of the prophets. He protected their interests. A widow of one of these prophets found herself in debt and in danger of having the creditor seize her two sons as slaves. Elisha now worked his fifth miracle. An abundant quantity of edible oil was miraculously provided for her in her own home. Elisha then said to the widow: "Go, sell the oil and pay off your debts, and you and your sons should live from what is left." — 2 Kings 4:1-7.

13 Elisha used to pass through the town of Shunem in the valley of Jezreel, not far from Jezreel the city of royal residence of the king of Israel. There a childless Shunammite woman, the wife of an aged man, showed kindness to Elisha and his attendant Gehazi by providing for his regular lodging at her home. One day Elisha told her that she would be rewarded with a son. Elisha's word was realized. Years later she came riding to him the twenty-five miles from Shunem to Mount Carmel. Something was wrong with her miraculously given boy. Gehazi the attendant was sent ahead to inspect, and Elisha and the Shunammite followed. On the way there they were met by Gehazi with the report: "The boy did not wake up."


11. What miracle did Elisha now perform, with what result to the rebellious Moabites?
12. In whose interest did Elisha perform his fifth miracle, and how?'
13 14 (a) How did Elisha reward the kindness of the childless woman of Shunem? (b) How did Elisha perform his sixth miracle, toward her?
170

14 On arriving at the Shunammite's home Elisha himself found the boy dead. Likely he now remembered how his master Elijah had raised the son of the widow of Zarephath. Like Elijah, Elisha was a man of prayer. "He came in and closed the door behind them both and began to pray to Jehovah. Finally he went up and lay down upon the child and put his own mouth upon his mouth and his own eyes upon his eyes and his own palms upon his palms and kept bent over him, and gradually the child's flesh grew warm. Then he began walking again in the house, once this way and once that way, after which he went up and bent over him. And the boy began to sneeze as many as seven times, after which the boy opened his eyes. He now called Gehazi and said: 'Call this Shunammite woman.' So he called her and she came in to him. Then he said: 'Lift up your son.' And she proceeded to come in and fall at his feet and bow down to him to the earth, after which she lifted up her son [from Elisha's couch] and went out." — 2 Kings 4:8-37; 8:1-6.

15 This woman is one of the women meant when the account of Jehovah's witnesses and of their exploits in Hebrews, chapter eleven, says: "Women received their dead by resurrection." — Hebrews 11:35.

16 Elisha returned to Gilgal in the mountainous region, where he and his master Elijah had had a farewell visit with the sons of the prophets there. It was now a time of famine. On one occasion, after a meeting with the sons of the prophets, Elisha ordered a meal to be prepared. A stew was prepared. But one man of the kitchen force had gathered some unfamiliar wild gourds and had sliced them in with the stew. After tasting of the stew at meal, the sons of the prophets cried out: "There is death in the pot, O man of the true


15. How is this woman of Shunem referred to in Hebrews 11:35?
16, 17. At Gilgal how did Elisha save cooked food from being wasted during the famine without harm to the eaters?
171

God." Fearing death through food poisoning, they stopped eating.

17 Food could not be wasted during the famine, and so Elisha asked for some flour and threw it into the stew pot. Then he said: "Pour out for the people that they may eat." They served the stew, everybody ate and now "nothing injurious proved to be in the pot." — 2 Kings 4:38-41.

18 During the famine the sons of the prophets needed material support. A remnant in Israel who appreciated Jehovah's true prophets and did not bow the knee to Baal aided the prophets in behalf of their spiritual work. Thus from the town of Baal-shalishah, about fourteen miles northwest of Gilgal, a man came bringing food supplies to Elisha. A hundred men were with Elisha at the time. He told his waiter to set the gift of twenty barley loaves and some new grain before these people for them to have a meal. Dismayed, the waiter asked: "How shall I put this before a hundred men?" But Elisha said: "Give it to the people that they may eat, for this is what Jehovah has said, 'There will be an eating and a having of leftovers.'" So the waiter served the food gift, and the hundred ate to the full, and yet "they had leftovers according to the word of Jehovah." It was a miraculous multiplication of food! — 2 Kings 4:42-44.

A CHILD'S WITNESS LEADS TO RESULTS

19 Part of the commission that Elisha had to carry out had something to do with Syria to the north of Israel; but the time had not yet come to perform it. Syria was now independent of Israel and still held Ramoth-gilead, about twenty miles northeast of Elisha's home town. One who had helped to gain Syria's independence was an army chief named Naaman. But he had contracted


18. Under what circumstances at Gilgal did Elisha produce a necessary miraculous multiplication of food?
19. How did a witness concerning Elisha come to be given by an Israelite child in Syria?
172

leprosy. Naaman's wife had a little girl as a maidservant. Syrian marauder bands had taken her captive from the land of Israel. This Israelite girl knew about Elisha's miracles, and she had faith in his God Jehovah. She bore witness of her faith by saying to her mistress, Naaman's wife: "If only my lord were before the prophet that is in Samaria! In that case he would recover him from his leprosy." This witness of the Israelite girl was reported to the king of Syria. — 2 Kings 5:1-5.

20 The king now sent his army chief Naaman with a letter to King Jehoram of Israel asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy.

21 On receipt of the letter King Jehoram was dismayed. When Elisha heard of this he sent word to the king: "Why did you rip your garments apart? Let him come, please, to me that he may know that there exists a prophet in Israel." Naaman was directed to Elisha's home. Elisha sent out word for him to bathe seven times in the Jordan River and be clean. Naaman felt indignant that Elisha had not personally appeared and called "upon the name of Jehovah his God" and moved his hand over the affected part and cured the plague. To Naaman Syria's rivers were better than all the waters of Israel, and he could just as well bathe in them and get clean. But Naaman's servants helped him to the right viewpoint: "My father, had it been a great thing that the prophet himself had spoken to you, would you not do it? How much more, then, since he said to you, 'Bathe and be clean'?" Naaman now humbled himself. He plunged into the Jordan. Six times — no cure! Ah, but after the seventh plunge "his flesh came back like the flesh of a little boy and he became clean."  — 2 Kings 5:6-14.


20, 21. (a) Why did Elisha have King Jehoram send Naaman to him, and how did Elisha put Naaman's humility and faith to the test? (b) How did Naaman's cure come about?
173

22 Naaman returned with his horses and war chariots to the house of the man of the true God. Elisha appeared. Naaman made a confession of faith: "Here, now, I certainly know that there is no God anywhere in the earth but in Israel." Gratefully he offered Elisha a blessing gift. Elisha swore that he would not accept pay for the healing: "As Jehovah before whom I do stand is living, I will not accept it." Naaman now expressed his desire to worship Elisha's God, but it should be on Israel's soil. So Naaman said: "If not, please, let there be given to your servant some ground, the load of a pair of mules; because your servant will no more render up a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other gods but to Jehovah."  — 2 Kings 5:15-17.

23 Yet he had to return to the service of the king of Syria and accompany him into the house of the king's god named Rimmon; and as the king would be leaning upon Naaman's arm Naaman would have to bow down with the king before the idol of Rimmon. But now this would be merely mechanical on Naaman's part. So he said to Elisha: "May Jehovah, please, forgive your servant in this respect." Elisha believed Naaman's sincerity. "Go in peace," he told Naaman. — 2 Kings 5:18, 19.

24 Naaman and his bodyguard had got a good stretch of land away when he saw Elisha's attendant Gehazi running after them. In Elisha's name Gehazi asked for a gift. Naaman gave him two talents of silver instead of one, together with two changes of garments. This gift was brought to Gehazi's house, at Ophel. Empty-handed, Gehazi later stood before Elisha. He denied that he had gone anywhere. Then Elisha said to his greedy


22, 23. (a) What confession of faith did Naaman make before Elisha, and what request did he make in behalf of the true worship? (b) In regard to what mechanical action did he ask to be excused, and what did Elisha say?
24. What selfish advantage did Elisha's attendant Gehazi take of Naaman, and how was he punished for this?
174

attendant who had misrepresented his master: "Did not my heart itself go along just as the man turned to get down off his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to accept silver or to accept garments or olive groves or vineyards or sheep or cattle or menservants or maidservants? So the leprosy of Naaman will stick to you and your offspring to time indefinite." Gehazi left at once, "a leper white as snow." — 2 Kings 5:20-27.

25 Elisha got himself another attendant. The sons of the prophets with whom he was then associated felt their quarters were too cramped, and they suggested preparing larger quarters at the Jordan River. At the Jordan they began cutting down trees for building operations. One of the cutters had borrowed an axhead. As he was chopping away, it fell into the water. To Elisha he cried out: "Alas, my master, for it was borrowed!" He pointed out to Elisha where it had dropped out of sight. Elisha cut off a piece of wood and threw it at the place. The axhead came up and floated alongside. "Lift it up for yourself," Elisha said to him. He did. (2 Kings 6:1-7) It is to be expected that the building operations continued on to success.

26 Elisha still favored the kingdom of Israel against the king of the north, Syria. When the king of Syria planned a surprise attack at a certain place, Elisha warned King Jehoram of Israel, yes, on two occasions. King Ben-hadad of Syria asked who of his troops was betraying the secret maneuvers of his military forces to the king of Israel. "One of his servants said: 'None, my lord the king, but it is Elisha the prophet who is in Israel that tells the king of Israel the things that you speak in your inner bedroom.' " Where is this Elisha? The report is: "There he is in Dothan."


25. How did Elisha miraculously relieve the borrower of a utensil during building operations by sons of the prophets?
26. How were King Ben-hadad's ambushments against Israel foiled, and where was the one responsible reported to be?
175

(2 Kings 6:8-13) Dothan in Israel was about a hundred miles southwest of Damascus and was on the main caravan route from Damascus, capital of Syria, to Egypt. It was about nine miles northeast of Israel's capital, Samaria.

27 One morning Elisha's attendant rose up early and went out. Look! A military force of Syrians was surrounding Dothan with horses and war chariots, to get Elisha. When reporting this, the attendant said to the man of the true God: "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" Elisha said: "Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them." Elisha prayed for a miracle: "O Jehovah, open his eyes, please, that he may see." Jehovah did open his eyes to a supernatural sight. "Look! The mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha." — 2 Kings 6:14-17.

28 As the Syrian hosts closed in upon him, Elisha prayed for the opposite kind of a miracle: "Please, strike this nation with blindness." They did not recognize Elisha, but let him be their guide through Israel to apparently the man they were looking for. Elisha led them away from Dothan and nine miles southwest to Samaria. There Elisha prayed: "O Jehovah, open the eyes of these that they may see." What must have been their feelings when they found themselves in the heart of enemy territory! Elisha would not permit King Jehoram to strike them down. At Elisha's instructions, they feasted these enemy invaders and sent them back, without Elisha, to King Ben-hadad. He set no more ambushments against the Israelites. — 2 Kings 6:18-23.

29 Sometime afterward King Ben-hadad invaded


27. What miracle did Elisha perform for his frightened attendant
28. What miracles did Elisha perform on the Syrian hosts, and without whom were they sent back to Syria?
29 During the siege of Samaria, whom did King Jehoram blame for the severe famine, and what did Elisha tell the king and his adjutant?
176

Israel in force and laid siege to Samaria. Famine resulted inside the city, so that the king learned of at least one case of cannibalism. Blaming Elisha, who happened to be in the besieged city, he swore to take Elisha's head off. When the king and his adjutant arrived at Elisha's house, the king declared he had lost all hope of relief from Jehovah. Elisha promised a break in the famine the next morning, with foodstuffs selling cheap, in the very gateway of Samaria. The king's adjutant burst out: "If Jehovah were making floodgates in the heavens, could this thing take place?" Elisha said: "Here you are seeing it with your own eyes, but from it you will not eat." — 2 Kings 6:24 to 7:2.

30 Evening darkness was coming on. "Jehovah himself had caused the camp of the Syrians to hear the sound of war chariots, the sound of horses, the sound of a great military force, so that they said to one another: 'Look! The king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us!' Immediately they got up and went fleeing in the evening darkness and leaving their tents and their horses and their asses — the camp just as it was —  and they kept fleeing for their soul." After they had thus fled, four starving lepers, possibly including Gehazi, came to the fringe of the camp. Nobody was there! But food was there! They helped themselves to it, and then began pillaging the tents for valuable things. Finally, feeling guilty and selfish, they reported the flight of the Syrians to the gatekeepers of Samaria. Suspecting a ruse by the Syrians, the king sent out only two chariots of soldiers to investigate. The scouts returned and reported. Yes, the Syrians had truly fled!

31 In the morning when the gates were opened, there was a stampede of the people to go out and


30. How did Jehovah cause the sudden lifting of the siege of Samaria, and how did it come to be reported to the king inside?
31. Next morning, how did Elisha's prophecy come true regarding the king's adjutant?
177

plunder the Syrian camp. Food was found in abundance. It could now be sold cheap. The king's adjutant was assigned to take charge of the gate. In the stampede the people trampled him to death, before he could eat of the food. Elisha's prophecy had come true. — 2 Kings 7:3 to 8:20.

32 The presence of those four Israelite lepers outside the gates of Samaria while Elisha the healer of the non-Israelite leper, Naaman the Syrian, was inside reminds one of the words of the Son of God nine hundred years later in the same region. He was preaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, about thirty miles northeast of the city of Samaria. To his fellow townsmen in the synagogue the Son of God said by way of reproof: "Also, there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, but Naaman the man of Syria." This showed a lack of faith in the man of the true God in the land of Israel in Elisha's day. It added further proof to Jesus Christ's statement: "No prophet is accepted in his home territory." — Luke 4:24, 27.

33 Prior to this siege of Samaria in connection with which the four lepers featured, Elisha's reported miracles had numbered fifteen. These are to be compared with the eight reported miracles of his master Elijah. In the light of this there can be no doubt that he was the successor of Elijah. He had indeed received two parts of the spirit of Elijah, a first-born son's share. But there was still unfinished business according to God's commission given to Elisha's master. To this serious business Elisha turned his attention. Profaners of God's name were to be brought to account. The executioners of them now needed to be anointed.


32. The presence of those lepers there while Elisha was inside Samaria reminds us of what comment by Jesus Christ, and backs up what observation by him?
33. Evidence of what had multiplied by now regarding Elisha's position, but to what did he hereafter turn his attention?


Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!