Elisha means "God is salvation." He was anointed by Elijah while plowing in his father Shaphat's field with 12 yoke of oxen.
He received a double portion of Elijah's spirit before the latter was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha served as a prophet of the northern kingdom for more than 50 years, through the reigns of kings Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and into the reign of Joash.
Elisha's miracles included purifying a spring at Jericho, multiplying a widow's oil, bringing a Shunammite woman's son back to life (reminiscent of a miracle by Elijah), purifying a poisonous stew, and multiplying loaves of bread (foreshadowing a miracle by Jesus).
One of his most memorable acts was the healing of the Syrian army officer Naaman of leprosy. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan River seven times. He overcame his unbelief, trusted God, and was cured, causing him to say "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel." (2 Kings 5:16, NIV)
Elisha helped rescue the armies of Israel on several occasions. While events of the kingdom unfolded, Elisha dropped out of the picture for a time, then reappeared in 2 Kings 13:14, on his death bed. The final miracle attributed to him happened after he died. A group of Israelites, frightened by approaching raiders, threw the body of one of their dead comrades into Elisha's tomb. When the corpse touched Elisha's bones, the dead soldier came to life and stood on his feet.
Accomplishments of Elisha the Prophet:Elisha protected the kings and armies of Israel. He also showed the common people that God was concerned with their individual lives and was present among them.
Strengths of Elisha the Prophet:Like his mentor, Elisha demanded rejection of idols and faithfulness to the true God. His miracles, both spectacular and minor, showed that God can change history as well as the everyday lives of his followers.
Life Lessons from Elisha:God loves all people. The poor and helpless are as important to him as the rich and powerful. God wants us to help those in need, no matter who they are.
Hometown:Abel-meholah in the Jordan Valley.
Referenced in the Bible:Elisha appears in 1 Kings 19:16 - 2 Kings 13:20, and in Luke 4:27.
Family Tree:Father - Shaphat
Key Verses:2 Kings 2:9
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied. (NIV)
2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (NIV)
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.