Elijah prepares Elisha to become the new prophet. Elijah is taken up into heaven. Elisha takes up Elijah’s mantle and becomes the prophet.
2 Kings 2:1–15
1 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
Bruce L. Andreason wrote:
“Chapter 2 of 2 Kings records the final dramatic events of Elijah’s mortal ministry. Elijah set out on a journey with Elisha from Gilgal to Bethel, then from Bethel to Jericho, and finally from Jericho across the Jordan River . . . At each place Elijah directed his faithful disciple, ‘Tarry here, I pray thee’ (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6). But each time Elisha refused to leave his master’s side. He was determined to follow his leader until the very end of his ministry.
“At each stopping place, Elisha was questioned by the sons of the prophets, ‘Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?’ (2 Kings 2:3, 5). Elisha’s simple reply each time was, ‘Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.’
“Elisha’s loyalty to Elijah and his response to the sons of the prophets reminds us of the importance of sustaining our leaders right up to the time they are formally released, even when we know this may be soon.
“As Elijah and Elisha approached the banks of the Jordan River, Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water with it. Then something occurred that hadn’t happened since the days of Joshua over 450 years before: the water ‘divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground’ (2 Kings 2:8; see also Joshua 3:14–17). This was witnessed by 50 of the sons of the prophets.
“Once across the river, Elijah and Elisha continued their journey. Elijah asked his student-prophet what he would desire of him before his departure. ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me,’ Elisha replied (2 Kings 2:9). The term double portion refers to Elisha’s desire for the special inheritance that belongs to the worthy firstborn male in a family [see Bible Dictionary, “Firstborn”]. Elijah deferred the granting of this request to the will of the Lord, saying, ‘If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee’ (2 Kings 2:10).
“They continued to walk and talk, when suddenly a chariot with horses of fire descended from heaven, sweeping Elijah up off the ground toward heaven in a whirlwind. As they parted Elisha cried out, ‘My father, my father!’ Elijah then dropped his well-worn cloak to his faithful follower. When Elijah had disappeared from view, Elisha was overcome with grief, tearing apart his own outer garment (see 2 Kings 2:12). The sense of sadness over the release of a leader is often felt deeply by those who have been most affected by the leader’s ministry.
“Taking Elijah’s cloak, Elisha began the journey back to Jericho. When he approached the Jordan River, he struck the water as Elijah had and walked through again on dry ground. Witnessing this, the sons of the prophets who had seen the earlier miracle of parting the water exclaimed, ‘The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha,’ and paid appropriate respect to their newly chosen leader (see 2 Kings 2:15). When we sustain a new leader, it is our privilege to pray and come to know by revelation that those who have been called to lead us have indeed received authority from God.”
(“The Mantle of Elijah,” Ensign, Aug. 2002, 24, 26.)