29. “He Took Up…the Mantle of Elijah”

From Elijah’s simple action of placing his mantle on Elisha comes our understanding of the calling given to prophets and the gifts they receive in their acceptance of the call.

“Elisha and the Children: The Question of Accepting Prophetic Succession,” Fred E. Woods, BYU Studies, Volume 32, no. 3
The youths who taunted Elisha were probably not small children but were teenagers or near twenty years old; the name “Baldhead” may well indicate that the youths were calling Elisha a usurper of prophetic authority. The youths may have been employed as water carriers who were out of business when Elisha healed the water at Jericho.

“‘Follow the Prophet’: Eight Principles from 1 and 2 Kings,” Ronald E. Bartholomew, Religious Educator 9, no. 1 (2008)
When Elisha was given Elijah’s mantle, he didn’t stop to see if it fit, he simply did his best to perform the work the Lord called him to do. The great woman from Shunem who invited Elisha into her home for food and rest (2 Kings 4:8) is an example to us to make room for the prophet in our lives. Elisha blessed her and her husband to have a son; when that son died, Elisha brought him back to life. The story of Naaman teaches us to trust God’s servants and obey Him. The story of the Syrian army leaving food behind as they fled, giving the starving Israelites survival, tells us that prophets are also seers.

“Symbolic Action as Prophecy in the Old Testament,” Donald W. Parry, Sperry Symposium Classics: The Old Testament
In 2 Kings 13, Elisha and Joash together shoot an arrow, performing a symbolic action that described the prophecy that Joash would receive deliverance from Syria.

“Elijah and Elisha,” Lenet Hadley Read, Ensign, March 1988
Elisha’s miracles can be likened to the role of Christ as our Savior. As Elisha helped Israel overcome enemies, Christ will overcome all enemies of righteousness. As Elisha multiplied oil, bread, and grain, Christ also multiplied food for survival and witnessed that he is bread of life. As Elisha restored a man to life, Christ will restore life to all.