Lesson 97: 2 Kings 1–4
    Footnotes

    “Lesson 97: 2 Kings 1–4,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

    “Lesson 97,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

    Lesson 97

    2 Kings 1–4

    Introduction

    Elijah prophesied the death of Ahaziah. Elijah was translated, and Elisha took up the prophetic mantle. Because the kings of Israel and Judah sought and obeyed counsel from Elisha, they prevailed against the king of Moab in battle. The Lord also blessed a widow after she came to Elisha for help.

    Suggestions for Teaching

    2 Kings 1–2

    Elijah is translated, and Elisha takes up the prophetic mantle

    Ask students to think about a time when a Church leader they admire was released from his or her calling.

    • How did you feel when this person was released?

    • Why can it sometimes be difficult when leaders we admire are released from their callings?

    • What challenges can we sometimes experience in accepting a new leader?

    Invite students as they study 2 Kings 1–2 to look for truths that can help us when Church leaders are released.

    Summarize 2 Kings 1 by explaining that King Ahab died and his son Ahaziah continued in the wicked ways of his father. After being injured in a fall, Ahaziah sought counsel from a false god. In response, the Lord sent Elijah to tell Ahaziah that he would not recover from his injury and that he would die. This event occurred near the end of Elijah’s ministry.

    Explain that Elisha, who served with the prophet Elijah, revered his leader. Divide students into pairs. Invite each partnership to read 2 Kings 2:1–6 aloud. Ask one student in each pair to look for what Elijah requested of Elisha each time the Lord commanded Elijah to travel to a different location. Ask the other student in each pair to look for Elisha’s responses. After sufficient time, ask the class the following questions:

    • What did Elijah request of Elisha three times?

    • What did Elisha say to Elijah three times?

    • What can Elisha’s responses teach us about following the prophet?

    Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Kings 2:7–10. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Elijah asked Elisha after they crossed over the Jordan River. (You may need to explain that the “sons of the prophets” were groups of disciples who met together to worship the Lord and receive instruction under the direction of the prophets [see Bible Dictionary, “Schools of the Prophets”]. You may also need to explain that a mantle is a cloak.)

    • What did Elijah ask Elisha after they crossed the Jordan River?

    • What did Elisha desire from Elijah? (Explain that the request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit was essentially a request to inherit Elijah’s spiritual gifts, which would help Elisha to carry on the prophetic ministry.)

    • How did Elijah say Elisha would know if his request had been granted?

    Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Kings 2:11–14. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened next.

    • What happened to Elijah? (You may need to explain that Elijah was taken from the earth as a translated being.)

    • What did Elisha do that helped him cross the Jordan River? (Elisha called upon God to part the waters in the same way that Elijah had done earlier.)

    • What do you think the passing of Elijah’s mantle to Elisha represented? (The authority and power of a leader being transferred to the new leader. Explain that in the Church today we sometimes refer to a leader’s calling, authority, and duties as his or her “mantle.”)

    • What truth can we learn from these verses about what the Lord will do when He calls an individual to serve Him? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify a principle similar to the following: The Lord gives authority and power to those whom He calls.)

    Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Kings 2:15–18. Ask the class to follow along and look for how the sons of the prophets responded to Elisha’s new role as prophet.

    • Even though the sons of the prophets recognized that the prophetic mantle had fallen upon Elisha, what did they still want to do?

    • How might the reaction of the sons of the prophets show a lack of understanding about Elisha’s new role?

    • How can understanding the truth you identified from 2 Kings 2:11–14 help us when Church leaders are released and new leaders are called?

    Ask students to explain how they would use the truth they identified to help someone who is having a difficult time following a new Church leader. You may also want to invite students to share about a time when they knew that God had given a newly called leader authority and power.

    Summarize 2 Kings 2:19–22 by explaining that Elisha learned that the water in Jericho was unusable. Elisha healed the waters for the people, saving them from death and famine.

    Explain that according to 2 Kings 2:23–25 some youths (“not little children” [2 Kings 2:23, footnote a]) mocked Elisha as the Lord’s representative. Invite a student to read aloud 2 Kings 2:24 to learn what happened to these youths who mocked the Lord’s prophet.

    2 Kings 3

    The kings of Israel and Judah unite against Moab

    Invite a student to read aloud the following summary of 2 Kings 3:1–10:

    After Ahaziah died, his brother Jehoram became the king of Israel. The Moabites, who had been paying tribute to Israel, rebelled against Jehoram, who then sought help from Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. These two kings, along with the king of Edom, united to stop the Moabite rebellion. After they had traveled together for seven days, there was not enough water for the soldiers or their animals.

    Invite a student to read 2 Kings 3:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for whom the kings turned to for guidance.

    • To whom did the kings turn for guidance?

    Summarize 2 Kings 3:13–15 by explaining that Elisha assisted the kings.

    Invite students to read 2 Kings 3:16–20 silently, looking for what Elisha said the Lord would do for the army.

    • What did Elisha say the Lord would do?

    • What did the army need to do?

    Summarize 2 Kings 3:21–27 by explaining that because of how the sun was shining on the water in the valley in the morning, the water appeared as blood to the Moabites. The Moabites believed that the three armies of the kings had turned on each other and were now weakened or destroyed. The Moabites entered the Israelite camp so they could take any valuable possessions the armies had left behind, but instead they were ambushed and defeated.

    • What principle can we learn from this account about what we can do when we need the Lord’s help? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: If we seek for guidance from the Lord’s prophets, then we can receive His protection from those influences that would harm us.)

    • When have you followed the words of the Lord’s prophets and received the Lord’s help as a result?

    Encourage students to study the words of the prophets regularly so they can invite and receive the Lord’s help in their lives.

    2 Kings 4:1–7

    Elisha multiplies a widow’s oil to help her redeem her sons

    Give each student a small cup. Explain that they will understand the purpose of the cups as they study 2 Kings 4.

    Explain that a widow came to Elisha seeking help with a serious problem. Invite a student to read 2 Kings 4:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what she needed help with.

    • What did this widow need Elisha’s help with? (She needed help saving her sons from being forced into slavery to pay off a debt.)

    • What emotions do you think this mother was experiencing at this time?

    • How did the widow demonstrate her faith in the Lord?

    Invite a student to read 2 Kings 4:2–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the instructions Elisha gave to the widow.

    • What did Elisha tell the widow to do? How much oil did the widow have? How many additional vessels did Elisha tell the widow to gather?

    Invite a student to read 2 Kings 4:5 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the widow did next. Invite students to report what they find.

    To help students visualize the events recorded in 2 Kings 4:5–6, ask two students to act as the sons of the widow and gather the cups from each class member. Invite the two students to place the cups on a table at the front of the room. Hold up a larger cup or pitcher of water (make sure it contains less water than can fill the cups at the front of the class), and ask the class how many of the small cups they think the water in the pitcher can fill. After students respond, begin to fill the small cups with water. When you run out of water, ask students to read 2 Kings 4:6 silently and look for how the demonstration with the water and the cups is different from what happened with the widow’s oil.

    • What happened when the widow poured her one pot of oil into the empty vessels she had borrowed? (Miraculously, she was able to fill all of them.)

    Invite a student to read aloud 2 Kings 4:7. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Elisha said to the woman after this event.

    • What did Elisha say to do with the oil the Lord had blessed her with?

    • Why do you think the widow and her sons received more oil than they needed to pay their debts?

    • What principle can we learn from this account about what can happen when we turn to the Lord in faith? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: When we turn to the Lord in faith, He can bless us according to our needs and righteous desires.)

    Ask students to ponder a time when they made an effort to turn to the Lord when they were in need and the Lord in turn blessed them with what they needed or desired. Invite a few students to share their experiences with the class if they are not too personal or sacred.

    2 Kings 4:8–44

    Elisha performs miracles by the power of God

    Summarize 2 Kings 4:8–44 by explaining that as Elisha traveled, he promised a woman that she would bear a child. When that child later died, Elisha raised him from the dead. Elisha also purified a poisonous pot of pottage and multiplied food for the people to eat.

    Testify of the truths you have discussed, and invite students to act on these truths.

    Commentary and Background Information

    2 Kings 2:12–18. Gaining a witness of a newly called Church leader

    President Harold B. Lee taught that when members of the Church are converted, they will gain a personal witness of the divine calling of Church leaders:

    “The measure of your true conversion … is whether or not you are so living that you see the power of God resting upon the leaders of this church and that testimony goes down into your heart like fire” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1996], 520).

    2 Kings 2:23–24. Those who mocked the prophet Elisha were likely wounded, not killed

    In 2 Kings 2:23, footnote a, we learn that the people who mocked Elisha were “youths (not little children).” These youths were likely young men who were old enough to go into battle. The phrase “go up, thou bald head” was intentional mocking, scorning, or jeering that showed the youths’ contempt for God’s chosen prophet.

    Additionally, the bears likely did not kill the youths: “When [Elisha] ‘cursed them in the name of the Lord’ [2 Kings 2:24], he called upon the Lord to punish them (compare the imprecation in Jude 1:9); it is the opposite of blessing someone in the name of the Lord. The bears did not kill the offenders, as some commentaries assume, but ‘tare,’ or lacerated, them” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 301).