Last week we looked at the first 12 verses of 2 Kings 2 and focused on the blessing it was to be a spiritual father or mother and the blessing it was to have a spiritual mother or father. What I want to do in this week’s posts is focus on the outcome of verses 13-18, namely that we see Elisha transition from being a son to being a father.

Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

After grieving the loss of his spiritual father, Elisha looks up and sees that Elijah’s cloak had fallen from him as he was taken Home, the same cloak that Elijah had placed on him when he called him to be his disciple back in 1 Kings 19:19. When Elijah placed his cloak over Elisha he was physically demonstrating what his intentions were: to train, mentor, and disciple Elisha to be God’s prophet, God’s mouthpiece. That cloak represented Elijah’s divine call and authority. In placing it on Elisha he was saying “God has told me to anoint you as my successor, He has told me that I must prepare you to wear this cloak when I am gone.” I am sure seeing it, holding it, feeling it, smelling it brought back that and other memories.

Wiping the tears from his eyes, Elisha took that cloak, stood up and walked back to edge of the river Jordan; and as Elijah had done in the hour before, he struck the water with it and cried out, Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah? And the waters parted to the right and to the left and he walked back on dry ground to the company of prophets waiting on the far side.

The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha, they cried, and they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. Elijah was gone, but this miracle proved that the God of Elijah was with them still, and that He had chosen Elisha as Elijah’s successor.

Was he gone from this world or just from this place? After all, they did not see him die but taken. So the prophets offer to search for him. Elisha knows better, but when they kept insisting he gave them leave to look. After three days they came back to Jericho and reported that they couldn’t find him anywhere. Hearing their report, Elisha answered, Didn’t I tell you not to go?

Elisha was in one sense still the spiritual son of Elijah. In taking his cloak to be his own, in striking the water with it in the same manner, in calling on Elijah’s God, and taking his place as the leader of the prophets, Elisha was showing he was going to continue living for God in the same way and manner that his spiritual father had done.

But in another sense he was no longer a son but a father. He would now be the head spiritual father to the prophets. Now it was his turn to take on disciples and raise spiritual children of his own.

That cloak, once placed symbolically on him by his spiritual father was now given to him again by The Father. And the significance of it was palpable. What was promised in Elijah’s throwing it over Elisha’s shoulders years before was now a reality.

The thing I want us to realize from this passage is that the end goal of spiritual fathering or mothering is to raise up sons and daughters who become spiritual fathers and mothers, and digging into that will be the subject of my next post.


  1. Thank you for this post! I am reminded of how I taught and trained a young man in the ways of the Lord. He is now a pastor in Maryland.


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