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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 2

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1When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha had set out from Gilgal. 2Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to Bethel.’ Elisha replied, ‘As the LORD lives, your life upon it, I shall not leave you.’ They went down country to Bethel, 3and there a company of prophets came out to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that the LORD is going to take your lord and master from you today?’ ‘I do know,’ he replied; ‘say nothing.’

4Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, Elisha; for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.’ He replied, ‘As the LORD lives, your life upon it, I shall not leave you.’ So they went to Jericho, 5and there a company of prophets came up to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that the LORD is going to take your lord and master from you today?’ ‘I do know,’ he replied; ‘say nothing.’

6Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.’ The other replied, ‘As the LORD lives, your life upon it, I shall not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. 7Fifty of the prophets followed, and stood watching from a distance as the two of them stopped by the Jordan. 8Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up, and struck the water with it. The water divided to right and left, and both crossed over on dry ground.

9While they were crossing, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ 10‘You have asked a hard thing,’ said Elijah. ‘If you see me taken from you, your wish will be granted; if you do not, it will not be granted.’ 11They went on, talking as they went, and suddenly there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, which separated them from one another, and Elijah was carried up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12At the sight Elisha cried out, ‘My father, my father, the chariot and the horsemen of Israel!’ and he saw him no more.

He clutched hold of his mantle and tore it in two. 13He picked up the cloak which had fallen from Elijah, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14There he struck the water with Elijah's cloak, saying as he did so, ‘Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?’ As he too struck the water, it divided to right and left, and he crossed over.

15The prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, ‘The spirit of Elijah has settled on Elisha.’ They came to meet him, bowed to the ground before him, 16and said, ‘Your servants have fifty stalwart men. Let them go and search for your master; perhaps the spirit of the LORD has lifted him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley.’ But he said, ‘No, you must not send them.’ 17They pressed him, however, until he had not the heart to refuse. So they sent out the fifty men but, though they searched for three days, they did not find him. 18When they came back to Elisha, who had remained at Jericho, he said to them, ‘Did I not tell you not to go?’

19The people of the city said to Elisha, ‘Lord, you can see how pleasantly situated our city is, but the water is polluted and the country is sterile.’ 20He said, ‘Fetch me a new, unused bowl and put salt in it.’ When they had brought it, 21he went out to the spring and, throwing the salt into it, he said, ‘This is the word of the LORD: I purify this water. It shall no longer cause death or sterility.’ 22The water has remained pure till this day, in fulfilment of Elisha's word.

23From there he went up to Bethel and, as he was on his way, some small boys came out of the town and jeered at him, saying, ‘Get along with you, bald head, get along.’ 24He turned round, looked at them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD; and two shebears came out of a wood and mauled forty-two of them. 25From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and thence back to Samaria.

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