“A surprising question”
Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
—2 Kings 2:9
Read 2 Kings 2:1-13
In all probability, Elijah knew that his earthly life would soon come to an end. For that reason, he wanted to leave Elisha behind, but Elisha was determined to remain with Elijah to the very end. It could be meaningful for the prophetic work that would be laid upon him.
The sons of the prophets in Bethel also knew that Elijah’s end was coming soon, so they prophesied that he would be taken away. In Jericho they knew this as well. As Elijah and Elisha walked toward the Jordan River, fifty prophets gazed after them from a distance. The sight must have been encouraging for Elijah, for it meant that the work of the Lord would continue.
Take notice where these schools of the prophets were located. One was at Bethel, the place where the golden calves were raised up, a very unwhole-some spiritual climate. But it was precisely in this place that young men were taught and moulded to commit their lives to the service of the Lord. The other school of the prophets was located at Jericho, a city rebuilt against God’s will, still under the curse of the Lord. Yet here too a school of the prophets was established for the extension of God’s Kingdom.
Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan River in a miraculous way. By dividing the waters, the Lord would exalt His servant before he would be taken away. At this time, Elisha was given an opportunity to make a wish. He asked that he might receive a double portion of the Spirit that filled Elijah. This was an amazing request, especially because Elijah was not able to give it to him. But when we look a little more carefully, we see that it was actually a prayer: Elisha said, “Let….”
Elisha asked for a double portion. One could say that he requested a double amount of what a prophet normally stood in need of to fulfill his work. Much would be required of Elisha in the future. Elijah made this amazing request to God in order that he might perform His will.
What does “a double portion of the spirit of Elijah” actually mean?