2 Kings 2:6-8
“Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.”
This is another symbolic event. 500 years earlier, God had enabled Joshua to part the Jordan river in order to demonstrate to the Israelites that Joshua was Moses’ successor (who had divided the Red Sea). God now enables Elijah to repeat this miracle in order to provide confirmation to the fifty sons of the prophets that Elisha is his successor.
“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” (2 Kings 2.9)
The request for a “double portion” is a reference to Deuteronomy 21:17, in which God commands Israelite fathers to give their first-born sons a double-portion of his material wealth so they could lead the extended family. As Elijah’s spiritual son, Elisha asks for a double-portion of Elijah’s spiritual wealth so that he can succeed him as the lead prophet of his day. Elisha knows he has “big shoes to fill,” so it as if he is saying “I need twice your spiritual resources because I am half the man you are.”
“And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2.10)
Elijah knows he has no ability in himself to grant this request—only God can give Elisha this. So he tells Elisha that if the Lord allows Elisha to see him being taken up, then his request will be granted.
More tomorrow …