Chariot of Fire
2 Kings 1:1-2:25
Elijah and King Ahaziah
1 After the death of King Ahab of Israel the country of Moab rebelled against Israel.
2 King Ahaziah of Israel fell off the balcony on the roof of his palace in Samaria and was seriously injured. So he sent some messengers to consult Baalzebub, the god of the Philistine city of Ekron, in order to find out whether or not he would recover. 3 But an angel of the Lord commanded Elijah, the prophet from Tishbe, to go and meet the messengers of King Ahaziah and ask them, “Why are you going to consult Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? Is it because you think there is no god in Israel? 4 Tell the king that the Lord says, ‘You will not recover from your injuries; you will die!’”
Elijah did as the Lord commanded, 5 and the messengers returned to the king. “Why have you come back?” he asked.
6 They answered, “We were met by a man who told us to come back and tell you that the Lord says to you, ‘Why are you sending messengers to consult Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? Is it because you think there is no god in Israel? You will not recover from your injuries; you will die!’”
7 “What did the man look like?” the king asked.
8 “He was wearing a cloak made of animal skins, tied with a leather belt,” they answered.
“It's Elijah!” the king exclaimed.
9 Then he sent an officer with fifty men to get Elijah. The officer found him sitting on a hill and said to him, “Man of God, the king orders you to come down.”
10 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “may fire come down from heaven and kill you and your men!” At once fire came down and killed the officer and his men.
11 The king sent another officer with fifty men, who went up and said to Elijah, “Man of God, the king orders you to come down at once!”
12 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “may fire come down from heaven and kill you and your men!” At once the fire of God came down and killed the officer and his men.
13 Once more the king sent an officer with fifty men. He went up the hill, fell on his knees in front of Elijah, and pleaded, “Man of God, be merciful to me and my men. Spare our lives! 14 The two other officers and their men were killed by fire from heaven; but please be merciful to me!”
15 The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him, and don't be afraid.” So Elijah went with the officer to the king 16 and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because you sent messengers to consult Baalzebub, the god of Ekron—as if there were no god in Israel to consult—you will not get well; you will die!’”
17 Ahaziah died, as the Lord had said through Elijah. Ahaziah had no sons, so his brother Joram succeeded him as king in the second year of the reign of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
18 Everything else that King Ahaziah did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel.
Elijah Is Taken Up to Heaven
1 The time came for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, 2 and on the way Elijah said to Elisha, “Now stay here; the Lord has ordered me to go to Bethel.”
But Elisha answered, “I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you.” So they went on to Bethel.
3 A group of prophets who lived there went to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha answered. “But let's not talk about it.”
4 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Now stay here; the Lord has ordered me to go to Jericho.”
But Elisha answered, “I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you.” So they went on to Jericho.
5 A group of prophets who lived there went to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha answered. “But let's not talk about it.”
6 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Now stay here; the Lord has ordered me to go to the Jordan River.”
But Elisha answered, “I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you.” So they went on, 7 and fifty of the prophets followed them to the Jordan. Elijah and Elisha stopped by the river, and the fifty prophets stood a short distance away. 8 Then Elijah took off his cloak, rolled it up, and struck the water with it; the water divided, and he and Elisha crossed to the other side on dry ground. 9 There, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what you want me to do for you before I am taken away.”
“Let me receive the share of your power that will make me your successor,” Elisha answered.
10 “That is a difficult request to grant,” Elijah replied. “But you will receive it if you see me as I am being taken away from you; if you don't see me, you won't receive it.”
11 They kept talking as they walked on; then suddenly a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire came between them, and Elijah was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out to Elijah, “My father, my father! Mighty defender of Israel! You are gone!” And he never saw Elijah again.
In grief Elisha tore his cloak in two. 13 Then he picked up Elijah's cloak that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He struck the water with Elijah's cloak and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” Then he struck the water again, and it divided, and he walked over to the other side. 15 The fifty prophets from Jericho saw him and said, “The power of Elijah is on Elisha!” They went to meet him, bowed down before him, 16 and said, “There are fifty of us here, all strong men. Let us go and look for your master. Maybe the spirit of the Lord has carried him away and left him on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No, you must not go,” Elisha answered.
17 But they insisted until he gave in and let them go. The fifty of them went and looked high and low for Elijah for three days, but didn't find him. 18 Then they returned to Elisha, who had waited at Jericho, and he said to them, “Didn't I tell you not to go?”
Miracles of Elisha
19 Some men from Jericho went to Elisha and said, “As you know, sir, this is a fine city, but the water is bad and causes miscarriages.”
20 “Put some salt in a new bowl and bring it to me,” he ordered. They brought it to him, 21 and he went to the spring, threw the salt in the water, and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I make this water pure, and it will not cause any more deaths or miscarriages.’” 22 And that water has been pure ever since, just as Elisha said it would be.
23 Elisha left Jericho to go to Bethel, and on the way some boys came out of a town and made fun of him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they shouted.
24 Elisha turned around, glared at them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys to pieces.
25 Elisha went on to Mount Carmel and later returned to Samaria.