St. Eliseus Prophet

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  1. Admin

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    St. Eliseus, Prophet

    Eliseus («God is my salvation») is a dominant figure of the IX cent. before Christ. We know the name of his father, Saphat, a native of Abel Meholah, to the south of Bet-Shan, and we know that his family was well off (I Kg. 19: 16-19). The object of a special and direct choice on the part of God (I Kg. 19: 16), he was called to follow Elias (I Kg. 19: 19 ff.). He succeeded Elias after the latter's mysterious disappearance, and he inherited the spirit of Elias in the measure established by the Law for the first-born (double that of the other heirs) (II Kg. 2: 1-15). That he merited the name «man of God» is revealed, above all, in the prodigies of every kind with which his life is woven. He worked them on his own behalf, on behalf of individuals and of entire communities.

    To his own advantage, he used the mantle left him by Elias to separate the waters of the Jordan, which he crossed dry-shod (II Kg. 2: 13 ff.). Moreover, he had two bears tear into pieces a group of young rogues who mocked his baldness as he was going to Bethel (II Kg. 2: 18-24).

    He worked many prodigies for individuals: he saved the widow of a prophet from her creditor by multiplying oil miraculously for her (II Kg. 4: 1-7); by his intercession he obtained a son for a prosperous lady of Sunam, from whom he had received hospitality, and then made him come back to life after he had died of sunstroke (II K. g. 4: 8-37); for a disciple of the schools of the prophets, he caused an axe fallen into the Jordan to be returned (II Kg. 6: 5 ff.); finally, he commanded a Syrian general, Naaman, to wash in the Jordan seven times, in order to be cured of a leprosy which subsequently afflicted Eliseus' own servant Giezi, who was guilty of avarice (II Kg. 5). The miraculous activity of Eliseus also benefited whole communities: for the citizens of Jericho he purified the unwholesome waters of their spring and made them drinkable (II Kg, 2: 19-22); in favor of the followers of the prophets, he made poisoned food eatable and multiplied bread for them (II Kg. 4: 38-44).

    Eliseus also took an active part in the political events of his country, exercising a profund influence upon them by his oracles and his prodigies. In the war of Joram, the king of Israel (853-42 B. C), who was allied with Juda and Edom against Mesa, king of Moab (ab. 850 B. C), Eliseus slaked the thirst of the army and foretold victory (II Kg. 3), because of his regard for Josaphat (ab. 870-49).

    In the wars that Ben-Hadad II, king of Damascus, waged against Israel, Eliseus intervened a first time by revealing the plans of the enemy to King Joram and also by using an artifice to capture their soldiers (II Kg. 6: 8-23); another time, during the siege that the same Ben-Hadad II laid to Samaria, the prophet foretold the end of the resulting famine and of the siege itself (II Kg. 6: 24-7: 20). Then, when Ben-Hadad became sick, Eliseus foretold his death and indicated his assassin would be Hazael, who, in fact, suffocated the king and reigned in his stead (II Kg. 8: 7-15). Through a disciple, Eliseus had Jehu (ab. 843-16 B. C.) secretly anointed, in Ramoth Galaad, as the future king of Israel, with the task of exterminating the house of Achab (II Kg. 9: 1-10).

    A short while before his death, which occurred about 790, Eliseus made his last appearance upon the political scene, to predict three victories against Syria to Joas (ab. 801-786), the second successor of Jehu (II Kg. 13: 14-19).

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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018