Study Guide

Elijah in 2 Kings

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Elijah only appears in the first two chapters of 2 Kings, before Elisha takes over as the new mega-prophet. But he manages to pull off two amazing feats in those few pages. First off, he calls down fire from heaven, immolating one hundred of the soldiers of Ahab's son, Ahaziah, when they come to arrest him. Yet, secondly, one of the most memorable moments from the Bible happens in the second chapter of 2 Kings when Elijah dies—or, rather, doesn't die. You'll involuntarily shout out, "Now that's what I call the Bible!" when you read it.

After parting the waters of the Jordan, and crossing over to the other side of the Jordan with his disciple Elisha, Elijah vanishes into heaven on a chariot of fire:

As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, "Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:11-12)

Like the mysterious character Enoch in Genesis, Elijah doesn't die. He is simply brought up to heaven, directly. It's a fitting end for so great a prophet.

His name means "My God is Yah [or, Jah]." ("Yah" or "Jah" being an abbreviated name for God—one Bob Marley was particularly fond of, for the record.)

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