4 Kings Chapter 2
Eliseus will not part from Elias. The water of the Jordan is divided by Elias' cloak. Elias is taken up in a fiery chariot, and his double spirit is given to Eliseus. Eliseus healeth the waters by casting in salt. Boys are torn by bears for mocking Eliseus.
2:1. And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elias, into heaven, by a whirlwind, that Elias and Eliseus were going from Galgal.
Heaven. . .By heaven here is meant the air, the lowest of the heavenly regions.
2:2. And Elias said to Eliseus: Stay thou here, because the Lord hath sent me as far as Bethel. And Eliseus said to him: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And when they were come down to Bethel,
2:3. The sons of the prophets, that were at Bethel, came forth to Eliseus, and said to him: Dost thou know that, this day, the Lord will take away thy master from thee? And he answered: I also know it: hold your peace.
The sons of the prophets. . .That is, the disciples of the prophets; who seem to have had their schools, like colleges or communities, in Bethel, Jericho, and other places in the days of Elias and Eliseus.
2:4. And Elias said to Eliseus: Stay here, because the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And when they were come to Jericho,
2:5. The sons of the prophets, that were at Jericho, came to Eliseus, and said to him: Dost thou know that, this day, the Lord will take away thy master from thee? And he said: I also know it: hold your peace.
2:6. And Elias said to him: Stay here, because the Lord hath sent me as far as the Jordan. And he said: as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on together.
2:7. And fifty men, of the sons of the prophets, followed them, and stood in sight, at a distance: but they two stood by the Jordan.
2:8. And Elias took his mantle, and folded it together, and struck the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, and they both passed over on dry ground.
2:9. And when they were gone over, Elias said to Eliseus: Ask what thou wilt have me to do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Eliseus said: I beseech thee, that in me may be thy double spirit.
Double spirit. . .A double portion of thy spirit, as the eldest son and heir: or thy spirit which is double in comparison of that which God usually imparteth to his prophets.
2:10. And he answered: Thou hast asked a hard thing; nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, thou shalt have what thou hast asked: but if thou see me not, thou shalt not have it.
2:11. And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold, a fiery chariot and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
2:12. And Eliseus saw him, and cried: My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the driver thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own garments, and rent them in two pieces.
2:13. And he took up the mantle of Elias, that fell from him: and going back, he stood on the bank of the Jordan;
2:14. And he struck the waters with the mantle of Elias, that had fallen from him, and they were not divided. And he said: Where is now the God of Elias? And he struck the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, and Eliseus passed over.
2:15. And the sons of the prophets, at Jericho, who were over against him, seeing it, said: The spirit of Elias hath rested upon Eliseus. And coming to meet him, they worshipped him, falling to the ground.
They worshipped him. . .viz., with an inferior, yet religious veneration, not for any temporal, but spiritual excellency.
2:16. And they said to him: Behold, there are with thy servants, fifty strong men, that can go, and seek thy master, lest, perhaps, the spirit of the Lord, hath taken him up and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said: Do not send.
2:17. But they pressed him, till he consented, and said: Send. And they sent fifty men: and they sought three days, but found him not.
2:18. And they came back to him: for he abode at Jericho, and he said to them: Did I not say to you? Do not send.
2:19. And the men of the city, said to Eliseus . Behold the situation of this city is very good, as thou, my lord, seest: but the waters are very bad, and the ground barren.
2:20. And he said: Bring me a new vessel, and put salt into it. And when they had brought it,
2:21. He went out to the spring of the waters, and cast the salt into it, and said: Thus saith the Lord: I have healed these waters, and there shall be no more in them death or barrenness.
2:22. And the waters were healed unto this day, according to the word of Eliseus, which he spoke.
2:23. And he went up from thence to Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, little boys came out of the city and mocked him, saying: Go up, thou bald head, go up, thou bald head.
2:24. And looking back, he saw them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord: and there came forth two bears out of the forest, and tore of them, two and forty boys.
Cursed them. . .This curse, which was followed by so visible a judgment of God, was not the effect of passion, or of a desire of revenging himself; but of zeal for religion, which was insulted by these boys, in the person of the prophet; and of a divine inspiration: God punishing in this manner the inhabitants of Bethel, (the chief seat of the calf worship,) who had trained up their children in a prejudice against the true religion and its ministers.
2:25. And from thence he went to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.