Elisha performs miracles and healings
2 Kings 3:1-27 When he dies in 852BC, King Ahab is succeeded by his son Joram, who continues - like his father - to worship Baal. On the death of Ahab, King Mesha of Moab refuses to pay his annual tribute to the new king of Israel. In 849BC, King Joram of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah march out together into the Wilderness of Edom to fight King Mesha of Moab.
When the water supply runs out, Elisha orders them to dig ditches across a dry stream bed, which is filled by a flash flood the next morning. The Israelite sling-throwers then attack Moab's capital city, Kir Hareseth (meaning ‘the wall of broken pottery’, on the site of modern-day Karak) but fail to take the city. They are terrified when they see King Mesha sacrificing his eldest son to the Moabite god Chemosh on the city walls.
King Mesha inscribes an account of his ‘victory’ over the Israelites on a large piece of basalt (the ‘Mesha Stele’) which can still be seen today in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Mesha Stele in the Louvre Museum
2 Kings 4:1-7 Elisha performs a number of miracles during the famine that hits the country at this time. He miraculously multiplies the last remains of a widow’s oil supply so she can sell the excess oil to pay her debts.
2 Kings 4:8-37 Elisha had previously stayed in the home of a rich woman from Shunem near Jezreel (see Map 55). Although she was elderly, she had been blessed with a son. The son now dies. Elisha is summoned from Mt Carmel and miraculously brings the boy back to life.
2 Kings 4:38-44 Elisha returns to Gilgal during the famine. He purifies a poisonous pot of stew that no-one will eat, and miraculously feeds a hundred men with twenty small loaves of barley bread.
2 Kings 5:1-27 During a truce between Israel and Aram (Syria), Naaman, the King of Aram’s Syrian commander, is sent to Elisha at Samaria to be cured of leprosy. He washes seven times in the River Jordan and is healed.
Nearly nine hundred years later, these miracles of Elisha would have been well known to Jesus's Jewish audience when he performed miracles such as curing the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19), feeding the five thousand with five small loaves of barley bread (Matthew 14:13-21), and raising Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:21-43). The people were amazed and asked, 'Who is he?' Is he "Elijah or one of the prophets"? (Mark 8:28)
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