Elisha’s Ministry

Discovery for Students

Elisha’s Ministry

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK

SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
2 Kings 1:1 through 8:15

KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“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.” (2 Kings 2:9)

BACKGROUND

The Book of 1 Kings closes with a brief introduction of the reign of Ahaziah, who succeeded his father Ahab as king of Israel. The Book of 2 Kings resumes the narrative of Israel as a whole, relating the histories of twelve kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and sixteen kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The events in the first eight chapters take place during the reigns of Ahaziah of Israel, and his successor, his brother Jehoram. However, rather than focusing on the kings themselves, as is typical in the rest of the two books, these chapters give special emphasis to the ministry of the Prophet Elisha.

Elisha’s ministry began by divine call (1 Kings 19:16, 19-21) and he first served as an apprentice to the Prophet Elijah. His prophetic role as Elijah’s successor began in approximately 848 B.C. after King Ahaziah’s death and Elijah’s departure to Heaven in a whirlwind. While Elijah’s focus had been primarily matters of state, Elisha more typically concentrated his efforts on the common people of the land. His ministry was approximately sixty-three years in length (including his time of service as Elijah’s apprentice) and touched six kings of Israel, whose reigns spanned ninety-seven years: Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash. This was one of the most wicked times in the Northern Kingdom’s history, and also the worst time politically and economically. In his prophetic role, Elisha had a major impact on four nations: Israel, Judah, Moab, and Syria. The prophet died in approximately 797 B.C. (2 Kings 13).

QUESTIONS

  1. In chapter 2 of our text, what spiritual attributes do you think were necessary for Elisha to see Elijah be taken up into Heaven, and thereby receive a double portion of Elijah’s spirit?
  2. When Elijah ascended in a whirlwind, his mantle fell from him. What did Elisha do with that mantle, and what was the significance of his action? 2 Kings 2:13-14
  3. Jehoram, king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, joined forces with the king of Edom in an alliance against Moab. When the water supply for their combined armies ran low and the fear of defeat intensified, the kings appealed to the Prophet Elisha concerning their plight. Why did Elisha show regard for King Jehoshaphat but not for King Jehoram? (2 Kings 3:1-3; 2 Chronicles 17:3-6). What lesson can we learn from this?
  4. The first seven verses of chapter 4 describe one of Elisha’s miracles. What occurred in this passage, and what lessons can we learn from it?
  5. Chapter 4 goes on to record several other miracles performed by Elisha. List these miracles and describe what they have in common. 2 Kings 4:16-17, 34-35, 38-41, 42-44
  6. Chapter 5 gives the account of the healing of Naaman, a Syrian captain who was afflicted with leprosy. Give a one- or two-word description of each of the main characters who were involved in this event.

    Israelite maid

    Naaman

    King of Syria

    King of Israel

    Elisha

    Naaman’s servants

    Gehazi
  7. What four miracles were involved in the capture of the Syrian army, as related in 2 Kings 6:8-23?
  8. How is God’s wonderful timing for those who trust in Him seen in the case of the Shunammite woman whose dead son had been raised to life through Elisha? 2 Kings 8:1-6
  9. As you review these eight chapters which focus on the miracles of the Prophet Elisha, what lesson from his life and ministry stands out the most to you?

CONCLUSION

Elisha’s longing and persistent desire for a double portion of his master’s spirit was granted, and during Israel’s darkest times, he brought help, hope, and instruction to those who were faithful to the Lord.