Summary of Elisha’s Life

I Kings 19:15-21 God commissions Elijah to anoint two kings as well as a prophet to be his successor. He finds the man the Lord had chosen, plowing his field, and throws his mantle upon him. Elisha, prepared by God, understands the sign perfectly, says goodbye to his parents, prepares a sacrifice and feast for friends and family, then leaves his home and ministers to Elijah.

II Kings 2:1-14 Close to his departure, Elijah tests Elisha’s faithfulness; Elisha resolves to stay near his master, even quieting the curious younger prophets who would distract him. He asks Elijah for a double portion of his spirit, which Elijah promises he will grant if Elisha witnesses his departure. Elisha perseveres, sees the whirlwind and chariots of fire take up his spiritual father, then gathers up Elijah’s mantle and parts the Jordan with it. He is ready for God’s work.

II Kings 2:15-25 Elisha discourages men from looking for Elijah; works a miracle of healing upon the prophets’ water supply; pronounces a curse upon children who mocked both him and Elijah’s passage to heaven.

II Kings 3 King Jehoram of Israel forms an alliance with King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom to fight against rebellious Moab; they enlist Elisha’s help. He disdains them, but for Jehoshaphat’s sake employs a minstrel who sings an inspired song which gives them direction. They win the battle against the Moabites.

II Kings 4: 1-7 Elisha provides a miracle supply of oil for a widow woman so she can sell it and pay her creditors.

II Kings 4:8-37 A childless couple from Shunem provides a comfortable lodging place for Elisha; he blesses them with a promised child. The child dies and Elisha restores him to life.

II Kings 4:38-44 Elisha performs a miracle preserving the lives of the prophets who had eaten poisonous gourds; he then feeds a hundred men with twenty loaves of barley and some ears of corn.

II Kings 5:1-27 In a unique and humbling way, Elisha heals the Syrian captain, Namaan,

of leprosy. He refuses a reward. His servant, Gehazi, covets and dishonestly asks for the reward and is cursed by leprosy.

II Kings 6:1-7 The prophets, building a new dwelling, take Elisha with them. He miraculously causes an axe-head, which a man had borrowed and lost in the Jordan river, to float to the top of the water.

II Kings 6:8-23 The king of Syria makes plans of attack upon the king of Israel; Elisha reveals it to the king of Israel every time, until the king of Syria finds out who the informer is and comes to capture him. God surrounds him with a heavenly host and reveals them to Elisha’s servant. Elisha smites the army with blindness, then brings them to the king of Israel in Samaria. He advises the king to feed them and send them home.

II Kings 6:24-33 Benhadad, king of Syria, besieges Samaria, resulting in famine and dire conditions. In angry desperation, the king threatens to kill Elisha, to whom the Lord reveals the plot.

II Kings 7:1-20 Elisha’s prophecy of God’s supply to Samaria comes true.

II Kings 8:1-6 The woman whose son Elisha had raised to life is miraculously granted favor with the king when he learns of the miracle Elisha had done for her, and he restores her property which had been lost because of a seven years’ famine.

II Kings 8:7-15 Elisha predicts the death of Benhadad and the evil reign of his successor, Hazael.

II Kings 9:1-37 Elisha sends one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu to be king of Israel; Jehu accomplishes the awful judgments of the Lord upon Jehoram, king of Israel, Ahaziah, king of Judah, and Jezebel, Ahab’s wicked queen.

II Kings 13:14-21 Elisha is sick unto death; he challenges King Joash concerning conquest over Syria. Joash halfheartedly responds and loses an opportunity. Elisha dies and is buried; a man being buried later is accidently thrown against the bones of Elisha and revives miraculously.


MEMORY VERSE: And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. —II Kings 6:16


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Elisha, successor of Elijah, is known as a “Model Spiritual Leader.” His name means “God is Salvation.” He prophesied through the reign of four kings and performed his service over sixty years.




When Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, some scholars feel he was referring to the property inheritance customs of that time, where the oldest son received twice as much of the father’s inheritance as each of the younger sons. In this interpretation Elisha is asking that he may be seen as the “rightful heir” and successor to Elijah. “Elisha considered himself the only child or first-born of Elijah, as the disciples of eminent teachers were called their children; so here he claims a double portion of his spiritual influence, any other disciples coming in for a single share only. ‘Sons of the prophets’ means no more than the ‘disciples’ or ‘scholars’ of the prophets. The original words mean two parts, rather than double the quantity” (Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary). Others interpret it to mean that he asked for greater prophetic power, which was proven by his performing twice the miracles than Elijah did.

Elisha possessed a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, yet differed from him in manner. He was milder and gentler, in contrast to Elijah’s rugged sternness. He was not as confrontational with the kings, nor was he given to bursts of despair, but quietly and calmly went among the common people, kings and captains alike. His miracles were acts of gentleness and mercy; healings, supplying needs and comforting mourners.

These were troubled times. Jesus later noted Elisha’s healing of Naaman as a miracle performed in a time of little or no faith. The kingdom was divided and there was not one good king who ruled over Israel. Judah was blessed by some good kings; however, some followed Israel’s kings in wickedness. There were political rebellions and uprisings, famines and sieges. Elisha’s steady patriotism, quiet humility, unwavering faith and faithful service provided both Israel and Judah with spiritual stability.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Industrious: What was Elisha doing when Elijah found him?
  2. Willing: Was Elisha ready to follow Elijah? What was the only thing he needed to do?
  3. A Servant: According to I Kings 19:21 and II Kings 3:11, what was the main thing Elisha did while he was with Elijah?
  4. Initiative and Courage: Share how Elisha exhibited these qualities when he struck the Jordan with Elijah’s mantle.
  5. Compassion: Note times where Elisha performed acts of mercy and love for those who were in need.
  6. Spiritual Vision: Share how Elisha’s motivation and strength came from “seeing the invisible.” 





We can learn much about spiritual leadership while studying the life of Elisha. Not much is said about him while he served Elijah. He was content to remain in the background. He didn’t strike out on his own, even when given the opportunity by Elijah. His zeal for God’s work above his own interests challenges me. He didn’t show disdain for his predecessor; he valued his accomplishments yet wanted to go farther, accomplish more, and more greatly promote God’s cause.

In the same humble spirit of Abraham, he disdained bribery and refused reward when it was offered. He did not curry favors with kings or captains. He quietly laid truth right where it was.

Elisha made the most of what he had learned under Elijah and improved upon it. Gehazi and King Joash had the same opportunity to learn from Elisha. Gehazi let covetousness rob him of advancement in spiritual matters; Joash missed his opportunity of complete defeat of Israel’s enemies when he was indifferent and lazy. Surely he knew there was something important—something more than just a game with arrows—when a dying prophet was giving him his last words!

The man who was serving Elisha at Samaria had the opportunity of a lifetime when God drew back his mental curtain and allowed him to see what encouraged and empowered Elisha. May God give us that same vision that our faith would never fail!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck





Isn’t it just like God to send a man to help people in the greatest time of need? Elisha was that man. He was positive, energetic and willing to respond to the needs of his day. Maybe because he sensed the declining faith of the people, he knew that he could use a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to meet the needs of his time. Elisha’s confidence in God was real. He with Elijah’s mantle and Elijah’s God parted the river Jordan, made the axe head float, neutralized the poisonous gourds in the soup, supplied oil for the widow, healed Naaman the leper, uncovered secret plots that would have destroyed lives and prophesied of future kings.

Certainly, his influence in different situations and the various manifestations of God’s power was proof enough that having Elisha around during their times of great distress was a real comfort to the people. They could rely on him to help in so many ways. He won the confidence of kings and the poor people alike. He was their “Savior.” Got a problem? “Call Elisha” was the term people relied on in his day. He was a lot like Jesus in that he did many miracles.

Today God places special calls upon the lives of saints who believe and who will allow God’s glory and love to be manifested through them. Isn’t it comforting to have men and women of God among us that we can rely on to help us in our needs today? God loves for us to reach out for divine help, and He loves to give us the desires of our heart. He works through His people to bless and answer the prayers of all those whose hope is in God.

—Bro. James Bell