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2Ki 2:1-10. ELIJAH DIVINES JORDAN.
1-7. when the Lord would take up Elijah--A revelation of this event had
been made to the prophet; but, unknown to him, it had also been
revealed to his disciples, and to Elisha in particular, who kept
constantly beside him.
9. Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee--trusting
either that it would be in his power to bequeath it, or that God, at
his entreaty, would grant it.
10. Thou hast asked a hard thing--an extraordinary blessing which I cannot, and God only, can give. Nevertheless he, doubtless by the secret directions of the Spirit, proposed to Elisha a sign, the observation of which would keep him in the attitude of an anxious waiter, as well as suppliant for the favor.
2Ki 2:11-18. HE IS TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN IN A CHARIOT OF FIRE.
11. behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire--some
bright effulgence, which, in the eyes of the spectators, resembled
12. Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father--that is, spiritual father,
as the pupils of the prophets are called their sons.
13. He took up also the mantle of Elijah--The transference of this prophetic cloak was, to himself, a pledge of his being appointed successor, and it was an outward token to others of the spirit of Elijah resting upon him.
14-18. smote the waters--The waving of the mantle on the river, and the miraculous division of the waters consequent upon it, was an evidence that the Lord God of Elijah was with him, and as this miracle was witnessed by the scholars of the prophets from Jericho, they forthwith recognized the pre-eminence of Elisha, as now the prophet of Israel.
16-18. fifty strong men, let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master--Though the young prophets from Jericho had seen Elijah's miraculous passage of the Jordan, they had not witnessed the ascension. They imagined that he might have been cast by the whirlwind on some mountain or valley; or, if he had actually been admitted into heaven, they expected that his body would still be remaining somewhere on earth. In compliance with their importunity, he gave them permission, but told them what the result would be.
2Ki 2:19-25. ELISHA HEALS THE WATERS.
20. Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein--The noxious qualities of the water could not be corrected by the infusion of salt--for, supposing the salt was possessed of such a property, a whole spring could not be purified by a dishful for a day, much less in all future time. The pouring in of the salt was a symbolic act with which Elisha accompanied the word of the Lord, by which the spring was healed [KEIL].
23, 24. there came forth little children out of the city--that is,
the idolatrous, or infidel young men of the place, who affecting to
disbelieve the report of his master's translation, sarcastically urged
him to follow in the glorious career.