Elisha, the Prophet of God

This Prophet Built on the Miracles of Elijah

Elijah casting his mantle on Elisha
Engraving of Elijah casting his mantle on Elisha from the Biblical story. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Elisha replaced Elijah as Israel's chief prophet and also performed many miracles through the power of God. He was a servant of the people, demonstrating God's love and compassion.

Elisha means "God is salvation." He was anointed by Elijah while plowing in his father Shaphat's field with 12 yokes of oxen. The large team of oxen would indicate that Elisha came from a wealthy family.

When Elijah passed by, casting his cloak on Elisha’s shoulders, his disciple knew it was a sign that he would inherit the mighty prophet’s mission. Israel desperately needed a prophet, as the nation was increasingly giving itself over to idolatry.

Elisha, who was probably around 25 years old at the time, received a double portion of Elijah's spirit before the latter was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha served as a prophet of the northern kingdom for more than 50 years, through the reigns of kings Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and into the reign of Joash.

Elisha's miracles included purifying a spring at Jericho, multiplying a widow's oil, bringing a Shunammite woman's son back to life (reminiscent of a miracle by Elijah), purifying a poisonous stew, and multiplying loaves of bread (foreshadowing a miracle by Jesus).

One of his most memorable acts was the healing of the Syrian army officer Naaman of leprosy. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan River seven times. He overcame his unbelief, trusted God, and was cured, causing him to say "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel." (2 Kings 5:16, NIV)

Elisha helped rescue the armies of Israel on several occasions. While events of the kingdom unfolded, Elisha dropped out of the picture for a time, then reappeared in 2 Kings 13:14, on his deathbed. The final miracle attributed to him happened after he died. A group of Israelites, frightened by approaching raiders, threw the body of one of their dead comrades into Elisha's tomb. When the corpse touched Elisha's bones, the dead soldier came to life and stood on his feet.​

Accomplishments of Elisha the Prophet

Elisha protected the kings and armies of Israel. He anointed two kings, Jehu and Hazael, King of Damascus. He also showed the common people that God was concerned with their individual lives and was present among them. He helped many people who were in distress.  His three-fold calling was to heal, to prophesy, and to complete Elijah's mission.

Strengths and Life Lessons of Elisha

Like his mentor, Elisha demanded rejection of idols and faithfulness to the true God. His miracles, both spectacular and minor, demonstrated that God can change history as well as the everyday lives of his followers. Throughout his ministry, he showed a deep concern for the well-being of the nation and its people.

God loves all people. The poor and helpless are as important to him as the rich and powerful. God wants to help those in need, no matter who they are.

References to Elisha the Prophet in the Bible

Elisha appears in 1 Kings 19:16 - 2 Kings 13:20, and in Luke 4:27.

2 Kings 2:9
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied. (NIV)
2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (NIV)
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Zavada, Jack. "Elisha, the Prophet of God." Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021, learnreligions.com/elisha-powerful-prophet-of-god-701158. Zavada, Jack. (2021, December 6). Elisha, the Prophet of God. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/elisha-powerful-prophet-of-god-701158 Zavada, Jack. "Elisha, the Prophet of God." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/elisha-powerful-prophet-of-god-701158 (accessed June 5, 2023).