What does it say?

Thomas Constable says that the book opens with the godly Elijah being transported to heaven and closes with the ungodly Jews being transported to Babylon.

On Israel’s throne Ahaziah continues the evils ways of his father Ahab (2Ki 1). Elijah intercepts messengers he sends to inquire of Baalzebub regarding an illness and sends them back to announce that he will die. Ahaziah sends to arrest Elijah and three times his men are devoured by God’s power. Ahaziah dies sonless and his brother Jehoram replaces him. Jehoram is not to be confused with his contemporary by the same name on the throne in Jerusalem.

Elijah is supernaturally transported to heaven and his disciple Elisha carries on his prophetic ministry (2Ki 2). His first solo miracles are to heal the contaminated waters of Jericho and later confront mockers in God’s power.

2 Kings 3 describes an unlikely alliance between Israel’s Jehoram, Jerusalem’s Jehoshaphat and Elisha against Moab. Abandoned by allies, Moab loses the battle. Archaeologists have discovered the Moabite king’s own account of the battle on what is called the Moabite stone.

God uses Elisha to miraculously provide for a widow and her children (2Ki 4). Elisha then visits a wealthy but sterile Shunamite woman that miraculously conceives and bears a son. The son later dies, but Elisha restores him to life. Elisha’s final act is the miraculous provision of resource in a time of famine.

What does it mean?

In this time of apostasy, Elijah and Elisha are God’s representatives and usher in one of three times of intense miracles including the times of the Exodus and life of Christ. The disrespect and hatred toward these prophets is really against God himself as they represent him before the people. No leaders are flawless, but even today much disrespect against those who faithfully serve God is really against God.

The “children” or “boys” of 2:22-25 are not literally small children, but an idiomatic Hebrew way to speak of immature young men who are mocking Elisha by calling him bald head, a culturally gross term of great disrespect. Elisha knows that this disrespect is really directed at God, not him personally as his representative.

How will I respond?

Peoples and nations pass from times of revival to apostasy, but God always has his witnesses. No matter the conditions around me, do I stand with God and his servants, or against God’s mission? What practical step can I take to express support to the leadership God has placed over me?