ELISHA, a member of the tribe of Issa char, a citizen of Abel-meholah, was a dis ciple of Elijah, and his successor in the pro phetic office. His prophetic ministry, which was exercised, as was that of Elijah, in northern Israel, began in the reign of Ahab, and con tinued through the reigns of Jehorant, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and during a part of the reign of Joash, thus covering a period of more than half a century. He was a man of very dif ferent character and mode of life from Elijah, although master and disciple seem to have been most warmly attached to each other. Elijah was a son of the desert; Elisha came from a quiet farm in the Jordan Valley. Elijah lived apart from men; Elisha, for the most part, dwelt in the city, either at Jericho among the sons of the prophets, or in his own home at Dothan or Samaria. Elijah had nothing to do with kings except to rebuke them; Elisha was their friend and counsellor. Yet it is easy to make too much account of their difference of character and life and to suppose that it affected essentially the prophetic aim and re ligious attitude, so that these were quite differ ent in the case of each prophet. But to claim that the work and spirit of Elisha were in marked contrast to those of Elijah would be to claim too much. The declaration of Jehovah to Elijah on Mount Horeb, "Him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu, shall Elisha slay" (1 Kings xix, 17), shows that it was Elijah's work of vengeance and destruction which Elisha was to cOntinue. If was Elisha, more over, who devised the plan for the destruction of the house of Ahab (2 Kings ix, 1-3). It was Elisha, also, who reproved King Joash for his lack of zeal for the utter overthrow of Syria (2 Kings xiii, 19). It is to be remembered in this connection that the accounts which we have concerning the career of Elisha, whatever the cause may be, relate rather to his deeds as a man, than to his work as a prophet.
For some six or seven years after his call to the office of prophet by Elijah at Abel-me holah (1 Kings xix, 19-21), he was a helper and disciple of Elijah. But we do not know just where he was in all this time, or the exact nature of his work. At the close of this time,
after the ascension of Elijah, he began his own independent work as a prophet (2 Kings ii, 13 22). The character of the narrative in the Second Book of Kings makes it impossible to arrange the events of his life in chronological order. It is better; therefore, to group them under two headings: (a) his deeds in private life; (b) his deeds• in public life.
Under the first class, we may put (1) the healing of the waters of Jericho (2 Kings 19-22) ; (2) the _punishment of the lads of Bethel (2 Kings 23-25) ; (3) the saving of a widow's son from slavery (2 Kings iv, 1-7); (4) the restoring of the Shunammite's son to life (2 Kings iv, 32-36); (5) the rendering of some poisonous pottage harmless (2 Kings iv, 38-A1); (6) the miraculous feeding of a hun dred men (2 Kings iv, 42-44) ; (7) the healing of Naaman the leper (2 Kings v) ; (8) the causing of the iron head of an axe to swim (2 Kings vi, 1-7).
Under the second class we may put (1) his helpful work in the campaign against Moab (2 Kings iii, 11-24) ; (2) his bringing of the Syrian army into Samaria, where they were made pris oners (2 Kings vi, 8-23) ; (3) his activity in the siege of Samaria (2 Kings 24, vii, 2) ; (4) his visit to Damascus to announce to Hazael that he shall be king of Syria (2 Kings viii 7-13) ; (5) the 'sending of a messenger to anoint Jehu to be king of Israel (2 Kings ix, 1-3) •, (6) The assuring of King joash that Israel should be victorious over Syria (2 Kings xiii, 14-19).
But the power of Elisha for good did not end with his life. Of him alone of all the prophets it is recorded that he wrought a miracle after his death. A dead man who was hastily cast into the sepulchre of the prophet, on touching the prophet's bones, came to life, and stood upon his feet (2 Kings xiii 20-21). Consult Grove, (Elisha) (in Smith's (Dictionary of the Bible,' 1868) ; Strachan, 'Elisha' (in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible,' 1899); Farrar, Book of Kings' (Chaps.
in the 'Expositor's Bible,' 1902).