*1 KINGS 18:19-21 *
Elijah has been /recommissioned/ by God and sent to the place of service: “/Go, return thy way/…” [19:15].
God has encouraged Elijah by:
§ The promise of coming judgement at the hands of Syrians: “/anoint Hazael king over Syria/…” [19:15].
§ The rising of Jehu to destroy Baalism: “/Jehu shalt thou anoint king over Israel/…” [19:16].
§ The anointing of Elisha as his successor: “/Elisha shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room/” [19:16].
§ The realisation that he, Elijah, was not alone: “/I have left me seven thousand/…” [19:18].
The first instruction that Elijah carries out is the anointing of Elisha to be prophet and his successor.
Elisha was one awesome prophet of God! His name means ‘my God is salvation’ and the whole ministry of Elisha would prove to be an outworked testimony to the meaning of his name.
*THE CALL OF ELISHA *
Elijah sets out to obey God, fully persuaded that God’s word will not fail.
*1. **The Encounter *
*a. **Elijah’s Obedience *
Elijah responded in obedience: “/so he departed hence/…” [19:19].
§ יֵּ֣לֶךְ - “/departed/” [19:19], qal imperfect, ‘to travel, take a journey’;
§ מִ֠שָּׁם - “/hence/” [19:19], ‘from out of there’;
*b. **Elisha *
Elisha is identified: “/he found Elisha the son of Shaphat/…” [19:19].
§ אֱלִישָׁ֤ע - “/Elisha/” [19:19], ‘my God is salvation’;
§ בֶּן־שָׁפָט - “/son of Shaphat/” [19:19], from ‘judge’; ‘one who presides over disputes in a legal capacity’;
§ יִּמְצָ֞א - “/found/” [19:19], qal imperfect, ‘to learn the location of’; ‘to uncover, discover’;
*c. **Elisha’s Life *
Elisha’s way of life: “/ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen/…” [19:19].
§ חֹרֵ֔שׁ - “/ploughing/” [19:19], qal participle, ‘cut a furrow into the earth as the first part of the planting process’;
§ צְמָדִים - “/yoke/” [19:19], ‘a collective of two of something’; the /niphal/ ‘to be attached’; the /nominative/ ‘team or yoke’;
§ This indicates that Elisha belonged to a family of considerable wealth.
§ To obey the prophetic call would mean doing so at a considerable personal loss, financially speaking.
It would mean counting the cost.
*2. **Elisha’s Call *
*a. **The Encounter *
Elijah makes contact with Elisha: “/Elijah passed by him…/” [19:19].
§ יַּעֲבֹ֤ר - “/passed/” [19:19], qal imperfect, ‘to cross over, to travel through’; ‘to make linear motion along route or path’;
§ אֵלָ֔יו - “/by him/” [19:19],
*b. **The Mantle *
Elijah took: “/his mantle/…” [19:19].
§ אַדַּרְתֹּ֖ו - “/mantle/” [19:19], ‘cloak made of animal hair’ and was a ‘garment of distinction’;
*i. **The Etymology *
The word is derived from the root word rd"a:
§ rd"a;* *(’adar), niphal, ‘be magnificent, majestic, splendid’; hiphil, ‘make magnificent, splendid’; ryDIa' (’addîr), adjective, ‘magnificent, excellent, splendid’; rd<a&,* *(’eder), nominative, garment(?), majesty (?); tr<D&<a'* *(’adderet), nominative, ‘splendor, robe’.
**The Practice *
This ‘garment of splendour’ was worn by person in positions of authority for the purpose of distinction:
§ The אַדַּרְתֹּ֖ו was worn by kings: “/For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him/…” [Jon.3:6].
§ The אַדַּרְתֹּ֖ו was worn by prophets: “/when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle/…” [19:13].
§ The אַדַּרְתֹּ֖ו was the official garment of the prophet and marked a man as a ‘spokesman for God’.
§ The אַדַּרְתֹּ֖ו represented a man’s /gift/, the /call/ of God, and the /purpose/ for which God had called him.
**The Holy Spirit *
In the Old Testament the Spirit of God appears most often as the Spirit that empowers and enables prophecy: “/the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he prophesied/” [1Sam.10:10].
§ Sometimes it was said that the Spirit of God clothed the prophet: “/the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon/…” [Jdg.6:34].
§ This is the background for the symbolism involved when Elijah cast his cloak around Elisha.
*c. **Elijah’s Action *
Elijah: “/cast his mantle upon him/” [19:19].
§ יַּשְׁלֵ֥ךְ - “/cast/” [19:19], hiphil imperfect, ‘to throw or hurl’; in the hiphil often implying ‘intensity or violence’;
§ אֵלָֽיו - “/upon him/” [19:19],
§ Throwing the אַדַּרְתֹּ֖ו over the shoulders of Elisha was a ‘symbolic act denoting his summons to the office of prophet’.
§ It was also a ‘sure sign of God’s gift that enabled him to fulfil the prophetic office and ministry.
§ This act by Elijah was a prophetic announcement that the gift of prophecy hade been given or would come to Elisha.
God uses men and women in our lives to reach us, to train us, to challenge us, etc, but they are only instruments God uses to point or guide us in the right direction.
§ There is a suddenness and unexpectedness about God’s call; Elisha was doing the ordinary things of life.
§ Elisha knew immediately that he was called by God.
§ Elijah throws his cloak, or mantle, upon Elisha, a symbolic way of transferring the prophetic power from one man to the next.
§ We must not lose sight of the fact that there was /divine initiative/ in Elisha’s call.
*ELISHA’S RESPONSE *
*1. **Elisha’s Obedience *
Elisha understood immediately what Elijah’s action meant
*a. **Elisha’s Life *
Elisha abandoned his current way of life: “/he left the oxen/…” [19:20].
§ יַּעֲזֹ֣ב - “/left/” [19:20], qal imperfect, ‘to abandon, desert’; “/so shall a man leave his father and mother/…” [Gen.2];
§ הַבָּקָ֗ר - “/oxen/” [19:20], ‘castrated oxen as more controllable for agricultural or carrying tasks’;
*b. **God’s Call *
Elisha hurriedly went after Elijah: “/ran after Elijah/…” [19:20].
§ יָּ֙רָץ - “/ran/” [19:20], qal imperfect, ‘linear motion with movement that is relatively swift or intense’;
§ אַחֲרֵ֣י - “/after/” [19:20],
For Elisha, there was no decision to make.
The fact of God’s call automatically made that decision for him.
Any other decision would only lead to futility, unhappiness and a lack of purpose in life.
§ Jesus and discipleship: “/we have left all and followed you/…” [Mar.10:28].
**Elisha’s Request *
*a. **Elisha’s Parents *
Elijah performs an act of genuine respect and honour for his parents: “/Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father/…” [19:20].
§ אֶשְּׁקָה־ - “/let/ /me kiss/” [19:20], ‘touch with the lips as a gesture of affection and mutual relationship’;
§ A sign of affection: “/Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them/…” [Gen.45:15].
§ A sign of farewell: “/they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law/…” [Ruth 1:14].
§ נָּא- “/I pray thee/” [19:20], particle of entreaty or exhortation, ‘please’;
*b. **Elisha’s Obedience *
Elisha would then follow in obedience: “/then I will follow thee/…” [19:20].
§ אֵלְכָ֖ה - “/follow/” [19:20], ‘to go, travel’; ‘motion to another place’;
§ אַחֲרֶ֑יךָ - “/you/” [19:20], ‘after’; ‘behind’;
Elisha’s request is so that he may properly cut his ties with the past
§ There is no /reluctance/ or /hesitation/; Elisha was prepared to forsake his family and his secular calling in order to obey God’s call.
§ The following actions show that Elisha wanted to make a /complete break/ with the past.
§ Family affections were to be subordinate to the Lord; the wealth he enjoyed in his father’s house was to be sacrificed also.
§ This is what Jesus requires of disciples: “/if any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple/” [Luk.14:26].
**Elijah’s Response *
*a. **Permission *
Elijah allows Elisha’s request: “/Go back again…/” [19:20].