“Unit 20: Day 2, 2 Kings 1–13,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 20: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
Elijah prophesied the death of Ahaziah, the king of Israel and the son of King Ahab. 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.
Have you ever experienced a time when a Church leader you admire was released from his or her calling? How did you feel when this person was released?
Ponder why it can sometimes be difficult when leaders we admire are released from their callings. Also think about the challenges we can sometimes experience in accepting a new leader.
As you study 2 Kings 1–2, look for truths that can help us when Church leaders are released.
In 2 Kings 1 we read that King Ahab died and his son Ahaziah became king. 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.
Elisha, who served with the prophet Elijah, revered his leader. Read 2 Kings 2:1–6, looking for what Elijah requested of Elisha each time the Lord commanded Elijah to travel to a different location.
Notice that Elisha said to Elijah three times: “I will not leave thee.” You may want to mark each mention of this phrase in these verses.
- In your scripture study journal, write what you think Elisha’s responses and his desire to literally follow the prophet Elijah teach us about following the prophet in our day. In what ways can we stand by the prophet and never leave him?
Read 2 Kings 2:7–10, looking for what Elijah asked Elisha after they crossed over the Jordan River. 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”). Also, a mantle is a cloak.
Notice that verse 9 records that Elisha asked Elijah to give him a double portion of his spirit. This request was, in essence, a request to become Elijah’s spiritual heir and to carry on the ministry. In verse 10 we read how Elijah said Elisha would know whether his request had been granted.
Read 2 Kings 2:11–14, looking for what happened next.
In these verses we learn that Elijah was taken from the earth as a translated being. This means that his mortal body was changed so that it temporarily would not be subject to death. (Elijah later appeared in this translated form on the Mount of Transfiguration to lay his physical hands on Peter, James, and John.)
After Elijah was translated, Elisha called upon God to part the same waters in the same way that Elijah had done earlier. Why do you think Elisha did that? What might that symbolize or represent? Ponder what the sons of the prophets who were viewing the events from a distance (see 2 Kings 2:7) might have thought when they witnessed the power of God now working through Elisha.
What do you think the passing of Elijah’s mantle to Elisha represented?
In the Church today we sometimes refer to a leader’s calling, authority, and duties as a “mantle.” The prophet also receives a special spiritual endowment as part of his mantle. In our day, when a new prophet is sustained as President of the Church, Church members witness that the mantle of authority has descended upon him.
From these verses we learn the following truth: The Lord gives authority and power to those He calls. You may want to write this truth in your scriptures next to 2 Kings 2:13–14.
Read 2 Kings 2:15–18, looking for how the sons of the prophets responded to Elisha’s new prophetic role. Even though the sons of the prophets recognized that the prophetic mantle had fallen upon Elisha, what did they still want to do?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
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 that the Lord gives authority and power to those He calls help us when Church leaders are released and new leaders are called?
- In your scripture study journal, write how you would use the truth identified above to help someone who was having a difficult time following a new Church leader.
In 2 Kings 2:19–22 we read that when Elisha learned that the water in Jericho was unusable, he healed the waters for the people, saving them from death and famine. In 2 Kings 2:23–25 we read that a group of youths mocked Elisha’s power and authority as prophet, similar to how they had mocked Elijah earlier. (These were “not little children” [2 Kings 2:23, footnote a]; they were likely young men, perhaps 17–20 years old.) In their culture, baldness was considered a physical defect, so the taunt “Go up, thou bald head” suggests the youths were implying that both Elisha as an individual and the office of prophet should be mocked and ridiculed. This was intentional jeering, showing contempt for the prophet of God.
Read 2 Kings 2:24 to learn about what happened to these youths who mocked the prophet.
In 2 Kings 3:1–10 we learn that 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.
Read 2 Kings 3:11–12, looking for whom the kings turned to for guidance.
In 2 Kings 3:21–27 we learn 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.
From this account we learn that if we seek for guidance from the Lord’s prophets, then we can receive the Lord’s protection from those influences that would harm us. This help will come to us according to the Lord’s wisdom and timing.
Ponder an experience when you have followed the words of the Lord’s prophets and received the Lord’s help as a result. Study the words of the prophets regularly so you can invite and receive the Lord’s help in your life.
A widow went to Elisha, seeking help with a serious problem. Read 2 Kings 4:1, looking for what she needed help with.
If you were in this mother’s situation, what emotions do you think you would be experiencing, knowing that because you could not pay your debt, your sons would be forced into slavery to pay it off?
How did the widow demonstrate her faith in the Lord?
Read 2 Kings 4:2–4, looking for the instructions Elisha gave to the widow.
How much oil did the widow have?
How many additional vessels did Elisha tell the widow to gather?
Read 2 Kings 4:5–6, looking for what the widow did. What happened when she poured her one pot of oil into the empty vessels she had borrowed?
Read 2 Kings 4:7, looking for what Elisha said to the woman after this event. Why do you think the widow and her sons received more oil than they needed to pay their debts?
From this account we can learn that when we turn to the Lord in faith, He can bless us according to our needs and righteous desires.
- Ponder a time when you made an effort to turn to the Lord when you were in need and the Lord in turn blessed you with more than what you needed. Write about this experience in your scripture study journal.
In 2 Kings 4:8–44 we read that as Elisha traveled, he blessed the lives of those he met. He promised a woman that she would bear a child. When that child later died, Elisha raised him from the dead. Elisha also purified some poisonous food and multiplied other food. In 2 Kings 5 we learn that a man named Naaman came to Elisha seeking to be healed of a skin disease called leprosy. And in 2 Kings 6 we learn that Elisha performed a miracle that demonstrated God’s love for His children and His compassion for their concerns.
Read 2 Kings 6:15–16, looking for how Elisha and his servant reacted when they learned the Syrian army was surrounding them.
How did Elisha answer his servant’s question? Why is it important to remember to “fear not” (2 Kings 6:16), even when we are faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges? You may want to mark 2 Kings 6:16.
In 2 Kings 6:24–13:25 we learn about the wars between Israel and Syria and the reigns of several kings in both Israel and Judah.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Kings 1–13 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: