2 Kings 2:1 MEANING

2 Kings 2:1
(1) And it came to pass . . . whirlwind.--The compiler has prefixed this heading to the following narrative by way of connection with the general thread of the history. It seems to be indicated that the event happened in the beginning of the reign of Jehoram; but see Note on 2 Chronicles 21:12.

When the Lord would take up.--When Jehovah caused Elijah to go up, or ascend. This anticipates the conclusion of the story.

Into heaven.--Heb., accusative of direction, as in 2 Kings 2:11. The LXX. renders, ?? ??? ??? ??????? "as into heaven," perhaps to suggest that not the visible heavens, but God, was the real goal of the prophet's ascension.

By a whirlwind.--In the storm.

Gilgal.--Heb., the Gilgal, i.e., the Ring (comp. Isaiah 28:28, "wheel"), a descriptive name of more than one place. Here, Gilgal in Ephraim, the present Jiljilia, which stands on a hill south-west of Seil-n (Shiloh), near the road leading thence to Jericho. (See Deuteronomy 11:30; Hosea 4:15; Amos 4:4.) Hosea and Amos connect Gilgal with Bethel, as a sanctuary. It was probably marked by a ring of stones like those at Stonehenge and Avebury. From this spot the mountain land of Gilead, the Great Sea, and the snowy heights of Hermon, were all visible; so that the prophet could take from thence a last look at the whole country which had been the scene of his earthly activity.

Verse 1. - And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven. The subject is introduced as one of general notoriety, the writer professing rather to give the exact details of a well-known fact, than to relate a new fact unknown to his readers. "When the time came," he means to say, "for Elijah's translation, of which you, my readers, all know, the following were the circumstances under which it took place." The fact itself was deeply impressed on the Jewish consciousness. "Elias," says the Sou of Sirach, "was taken up in a whirlwind of fire, and in a chariot of fiery homes" (Ecclus. 48:9). He was ranked with Enoch, as not having seen death (Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 9:2. § 2), and was viewed as "continuing in heaven a mysterious life, which no death had ever interrupted, whence he was ready at any time to return to earth" (Ewald, 'History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 113). The scribes thought that he was beyond all doubt to make his appearance upon the earth in person, before the coming of the Messiah (Matthew 16:10). By a whirlwind. Sa'arach is not so much an actual "whirlwind" as a storm or atmospheric disturbance (συσσεισμός, LXX.). It is a word which only occurs here in the historical Scriptures. That Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Elisha had become to Elijah what Joshua was to Moses (Exodus 24:13) - his "minister," or regular attendant, from the time of his call at Abel-meholah (1 Kings 19:21). Elijah had no fixed residence, but moved from place to place as the Spirit of God suggested. His wanderings had now brought him to Gilgal (probably Jiljilieh, near Nablous), one of the most ancient sanctuaries of the land (1 Samuel 10:8; 1 Samuel 11:15, etc.), celebrated in the history of Saul and Samuel.

2:1-8 The Lord had let Elijah know that his time was at hand. He therefore went to the different schools of the prophets to give them his last exhortations and blessing. The removal of Elijah was a type and figure of the ascension of Christ, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Elisha had long followed Elijah, and he would not leave him now when he hoped for the parting blessing. Let not those who follow Christ come short by tiring at last. The waters of Jordan, of old, yielded to the ark; now, to the prophet's mantle, as a token of God's presence. When God will take up his faithful ones to heaven, death is the Jordan which they must pass through, and they find a way through it. The death of Christ has divided those waters, that the ransomed of the Lord may pass over. O death, where is thy sting, thy hurt, thy terror!And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind,.... Thereby lifting him up from the earth, and which, as it was the purpose and will of God, Elijah had notice of, as appears by his motions to different places, under a divine direction:

that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal, where it seems they met, a place where the Israelites first pitched when they came over Jordan, and where the tabernacle was for some time, and was famous for religious services, see Joshua 4:19.

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