ELIPANDUS: Bishop of Toledo. See Adoptionism, § 2.


His Call, Length of His Activity (§ 1).
His Character Compared with Elijah's (§ 2).
His Patriotism (§ 3).
His Miracles and Prophecy (§ 4).

Elisha (" My God is Salvation ") was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom, and succcessor of Elijah. According to I Kings xix. 16, 19, he was born at Abelmeholah and was the non of a wealthy landowner. He was called by Elijah from the plow to the prophetical work, and willingly left his home, requesting only to be allowed to take leave of his family. He then followed his master, whom he accompanied some time se an attendant (II Kings iii. 11), whose faithful and active disciple he proved himself until the letter's death. Thereafter he was the leader of the companies of prophets and was universally acknowledged as heir of the dignity of Elijah. His activity lasted for more than half a century; for according to II Kings r. His Call, ii.-ix., xiii. he was active from the be-

Length ginning of the reign of Jehoram of His to the beginning of that of Joaeh of Activity. Israel (895-840 or 85r798). The stories of Eliaha's work are largely involved in the history of King Jehoram, and thin period seems to have been the palmy days of his activity. But even if his labors began in the first year of that king, not all of his deeds recorded up to II Kings viii. 8 find room in that reign. Moreover, that Elisha was inactive during the twenty-eight years of Jehu'a reign and the seventeen years of that of Jehoahaz is precluded by II Kings xiii. 14. The time of some events, however, can not be fixed with certainty. The powerful championship of Elijah had effected a great change in the disposition of the people; the God whom he worshiped became again generally honored. True, Jezebel was still alive and had surrounded herself with priests of Baal, and the companions of Jehoram, the so-called Yahweh prophets, were still less filled with God's spirit. But Jehoram had forbidden the worship of Bawl (iii. 2) and treated Elieha with respect (II Kings iv. 13). Thus the prophet could await the issue till he became certain that the execution of the divine judgment on Ahab's house enjoined on him by his master could be accomplished. That done, Elisha's relation to Jehu, the avenger appointed by him, and to his son and grandson, could be more friendly (II Kings xiii. 14). 1n some places z. His the soil had become fit for the divine Character gifts of grace, and Elisha, in keeping

Compared with his name, could appear as a mediwith ator of divine salvation and blessing.

Elijah's. Severity was indeed one trait of his character (cf. II Kings ii. 23, v. 26, ix. 2 sqq.). But as compared with the militant Elijah, Elisha had the more peaceful mission se mediator to the faithful in Israel to bring to them the assistance and blessing of their God. This difference between the activities of Elijah and Elisha depended in peat upon the changed attitude of the people and also upon the personalities of the two men. Elisha dwelt more among the people and was more intimate with them than was Elijah. Though he sometimes lived in the solitude of Carmel, he was often in the colonies of the young prophets near Jericho and by the Jordan, at Gilgal and Bethel, and even had a permanent residence in Samaria.

He appeared as a philanthropist, a benefactor of the poor, a helper in distress, manifesting a tender solicitude for even the little needs of domestic life. As a healer of the sick, so the story goes, he became known even in Syria, and the Syrian captain Naaman, suffering from leprosy, came to Israel where he was healed by the prophet. The punishment of Gehazi, servant of Elisha, represents the penalty due to covetousness, and belongs with the lastnamed episode.


Elisha was not only a private benefactor, he was also the good genius of the country, so that even

King Jehoram when in distress was 3. His not deprived of his help, though he was Patriotism. unworthy of it. Having been suc-

cessful, through Elisha'a assistance, in a campaign against the Moabites (II Kings iii. 11 sqq.), when distress was caused by the Syrians he relied on the advice of the prophet. So accurately did Elisha inform him of the plans of the Syrians that their king imagined the existence of traitors in his own camp. The Syrian attempt made to capture the prophet was a failure, and resulted only in the capture of the Syrian force, which, by the humanity of the prophet, was spared the fate of prisoners of war (II Kings vi. 8 sqq.). Elisha's power was so manifest that Jehoram attempted to make him responsible for the horrors of a Syrian siege of Samaria (II Kings vi. 24 sqq., vii.). Because of the king's contumacy, involving also the people in divine punishment, Elisha was the channel of the announcement of the coming chastisement of the royal house and of the people. With sorrow Elisha announced to Hazasl his elevation to the throne of Syria (II Kings viii. 7 sqq.) and the consequent devastation of the kingdom of Israel.

Turning his attention to the affairs of his own people, Elisha caused the anointing of the energetic Jehu (q.v.) who, being an unrighteous instrument of righteous vengeance, destroyed the house of Ahab with unholy impetuosity (II Kings ix.-x.). Only by a complete misjudging of the dependence

of the true prophet upon a higher will .E. His Mir- can Elisha be reproached on account

acles and of these acts of obedience to his God. Prophecy. The authority among the people which

he enjoyed for decafiea, the testimony at his death of a king who lamented him as a father sad as Israel's protection, and his last utterances against the enemy threatening in the North (I Kings xiii. 14 sqq.) prove how much he had at heart the welfare of his country. Thus Elisha worthily followed the footsteps of his predecessor. He was not his equal in his unique spiritual power, but in him was embodied the lovelier grace and providence of God in the minutia' of life. The miracles accredited to him resemble on a smaller scale those of Elijah. Whether those miracles, which as in the case of Elijah are recorded with intentional emphasis upon the supernatural, are to be considered historical will depend upon one's attitude to the miraculous in general. The knowledge of future events or of things which are removed from the limited view of ordinary mortals can not be denied the prophet, since it must be conceded in the secular domain to the clairvoyant. It must not be forgotten that a childlike faith, especially that of a man of God, may discern as in a higher light things which take place in the sphere of the ordinary (cf. II Kings ii. 19 sqq., iv. 38 sqq., vi. 6 sqq.). In the case of Elisha it would be impossible to ascribe everything to ordinary earthly happenings. Whoever acknowledges in the life of the Son of God analogous deeds which transcended natural ability will not be able to deny them to his Old-Testament autetype or to credit

the story to poetical legend.

C. von Orelli.

Bibliography: The activity of Elisha is treated in the works on the history of Israel, for which consult the list under Aaes; cf. also the commentaries on the Books of Kings. Consult further: P. Cassel, Der Prophet Elsaa. Berlin, 1880; A. Kuenen, Prophets and Prophecy in Israel, London, 1877 (valuable): C. G. Montefiore, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 94-9b, ib. 1893; C. H. Cornill, Prophets of Israel. Chicago. 1897; R. C. Dodds, Ebiaha the Man of God, Winona, 1904; W. Erbt, Unteranchungen zar Geachschte der HebrBer, part i., Elia, Eliaa, Juna, Leipsic, 1907; Smith, prophets, passim; DB, i. 893-896; EB, ii. 127b-78; JE, v. 138-138.


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