First off, you have to listen to this. It’s the theme to Chariots of Fire and it is way more eighties than I realized it was.
There’s some nice hits in this reading. The evil kings really are kind of in the background. And we move from Elijah to Elisha. Like Solomon, Elisha knew how to play the wish game.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
“You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
Sure enough he sees him and gets double the portion of the spirit. Elijah, like Enoch–and evidently from some non-biblical story Moses–never dies. Instead,
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more.
Like Elijah, Elisha brings a child back to life, and performs a food miracle–purifies water for a town rather than bread for a widow. Elisha even has a feeding the 100 miracle. (Roughly 50 x less of the spirit than Jesus I guess.) But this is the best part of the story,
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.
Who decided to keep this one in? Joab son of Azriah is like, “Hezakiah, do we really want to keep this one? I mean, should we at least spice up the insults and like have them blaspheme the Lord or something?” Then Hezakiah–who happens to be thinning out a bit on top–is like, “Hell yes. This is a very important component of our cultural heritage.”