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1st Kings 19:15-21

God's Plan for Elijah

15 Then the LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him." 19 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." Then Elijah said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?" 21 He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

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Musings

What Elijah hears must be music to his ears. He gets to appoint two kings, one of which, Jehu, will supplant Ahab as well as name a successor in Elisha. Seven thousand Israelites have remained loyal to God (or at least not worshipped Baal) and will be the new start for the Northern kingdom. Elisha is selected to be Elijah's disciple and later his successor. Elisha asks to be allowed to say good-bye to his old life and Elijah seems to give him permission to do so. Of course the mantle Elijah really throws onto Elisha is not a fireplace mantle, but rather an outer robe or cloak that symbolizes the owner. Elijah giving it to Elisha is sort of a "what's mine is yours" moment.


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