Gilgal: commonly identified with Jiljulieh, about seven miles north of Bethel, and different from the Gilgal in Dt 11, 30
near Shechem, and that in Jos 4 and 5
, passim, near Jericho.
Double portion of your spirit: as the first‐born son inherited a double portion of his father's property (Dt 21, 17
), so Elisha asks to inherit from Elijah his spirit of prophecy in the degree befitting his principal disciple. In Nm 11, 17. 25
, God bestows some of the spirit of Moses on others.
My father: a religious title accorded prophetic leaders; cf 2 Kgs 6, 21; 8, 9
. Israel's chariots and drivers: Elijah was worth more than a whole army in defending Israel and the true religion. King Joash
of Israel uses the same phrase of Elisha himself (2 Kgs 13, 14
This story, like the one about Elijah and the captains (ch 1
), is preserved for us in Scripture to convey a popular understanding of the dignity of the prophet. Told in popular vein,
it becomes a caricature, in which neither Elisha nor the bears behave in character. See note on 2 Kgs 1, 12
and the contrasting narrative in ch 4
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