2 Kings 2:1-12

2 Kings 2:1-12
Transfiguration B12


Now when the LordA was about to take ElijahB upC to heavenD by a whirlwind,E Elijah and Elisha were on their wayF from Gilgal.G 

Notes on verse 1

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “Elijah” = Eliyyah. From el (God, god) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (see note A above)}. This is Elijah, “The Lord is God.”
C “was about to take…up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
D “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
E “whirlwind” = sa’ar. From sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, storm tossed; this is to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is a storm or whirlwind. It can also be stormy.
F “were on their way” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
G “Gilgal” = Gilgal. From galgal (wheel, wagon, whirl, whirlwind; something that rolls); from galal (to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove; rolling in a literal or figurative sense). This is Gilgal – perhaps circle of stones.

Elijah said to Elisha,H “StayI, J here; for the Lord has sentK me as far as Bethel.”L

Notes on verse 2a

H “Elisha” = Elisha. Related to “Elijah” in v1. From Elishua (Elishua, meaning “God is salvation”); {from el (see note B above) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe; in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Elisha, meaning “God is salvation.”
I “stay” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
J {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
K “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
L “Bethel” = Betheel. Related to “Elijah” and “Elisha” in v1. From bayit (house, household, palace, dungeon) + el (see note B above). This is Bethel, literally meaning “house of God.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives,M and as you yourselfN live, I will not leaveO you.” So they went down to Bethel. 

Notes on verse 2b

M “lives” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
N “you yourself” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
O “leave” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.

The companyP of prophetsQ who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you knowR that today the Lord will take your masterS away from you?”T

And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”U

Notes on verse 3

P “company” = ben. This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
Q “prophets” = nabi. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.
R “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
S “master” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
T “you” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
U “keep silent” = chashah. 15x in OT. This is silent or not doing anything.

4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stayV here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”W

But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 

The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew nearX to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?”

And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”

Notes on verses 4-5

V {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note J above.
W “Jericho” = Yericho. From yareach (moon); {from the same as yerach (month)} OR from ruach (small, breathe, perceive, anticipate, accept, enjoy). This is Jericho meaning either “moon city” or “fragrant place.”
X “drew near” = nagash. This is to draw, bring, or come near. It is approaching for any reason – as an attack on an enemy, in order to worship, to make an argument. It can also be used as a euphemism for sex.

Then Elijah said to him, “StayY here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”Z

But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty menAA of the company of prophets also went, and stoodBB at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 

Notes on verses 6-7

Y {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note J above.
Z “Jordan” = Yarden. Related to “went down” in v2. From yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”
AA “men” = enosh. From anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is human, humankind, another. It is mortal.
BB “stood” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.

Then Elijah took his mantleCC and rolled it up,DD and struckEE the water;FF

Notes on verse 8a

CC “mantle” = addereth. 12x in OT– this is the word used for the mantle that passes from Elijah to Elisha. From addir (majestic, excellent, mighty, powerful, or noble); from adar (wide, glorious, honorable, great, magnificent). This is something ample – glory, splendid, goodly. It could also refer to a cloak, robe, or garment.
DD “rolled…up” = galam. 1x in OT. This is to roll or wrap up or fold together.
EE “struck” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
FF “water” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.

the water was partedGG to the one side and to the other,HH until the two of them crossedII on dry ground.JJ

Notes on verse 8b

GG “parted” = chatsah. 15x in OT. This is to halve, divide, reach, participate.
HH “one side and to the other” = hennah + hennah. Perhaps from hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is here in a location or here in a time, i.e. now.
II “crossed” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
JJ “dry ground” = charabah. 8x in OT.  From chareb (to be waste or desolate, destroyer). This is dry ground, dry, or desert.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “TellKK me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”

Elisha said, “Please let me inheritLL, MM a double shareNN of your spirit.”OO

Notes on verse 9

KK “tell” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
LL “let…inherit” = hayah. This is to be, exist, happen, become.
MM {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note J above.
NN “share” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
OO “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.

10 He responded, “You have askedPP a hard thing;QQ yet, if you seeRR me as I am being taken from you, it will be grantedSS you; if not, it will not.” 

Notes on verse 10

PP “asked” = shaal. Same as “tell” in v9. See note KK above.
QQ “hard thing” = qashah. This is to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe.
RR “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
SS “granted” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.

11 As they continued walkingTT and talking,UU, VV a chariotWW of fire and horsesXX of fire separatedYY the two of them, and Elijah ascendedZZ in a whirlwind into heaven. 

Notes on verse 11

TT “continued walking” = halak + halak. Same as “were on their way” in v1. See note F above. Here, the word is repeated twice – the second time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
UU “talking” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
VV {untranslated} = hinneh. Related to “one side and to the other” in v8. From hen (see note HH above). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
WW “chariot” = rekeb. From rakab (to ride an animal or in some vehicle; also, bringing on a horse). This is a vehicle, wagon, or chariot. It can be cavalry or an individual rider.
XX “horses” = sus. Root may mean to skip as in jump for joy. This is a crane or a swift bird. It is also a horse as leaping.
YY “separated” = parad. This is to divide, break through, scatter, sever, stretch, to spread oneself, or to be out of joint.
ZZ “ascended” = alah. Same as “was about to take…up” in v1. See note C above.

12 Elisha kept watchingAAA and crying out,BBB “Father, father!CCC The chariots of IsraelDDD and its horsemen!”EEE

Notes on verse 12a

AAA “kept watching” = raah. Same as “see” in v10. See note RR above.
BBB “crying out” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
CCC “father, father” = ab. Literally “my father, my father.”  This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
DDD “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “Elijah” and “Elisha” in v1 & “Bethel” in v2. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note B above). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
EEE “horsemen” = parash. From parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter). This is a horseman or a horse. It doesn’t refer to riding horseback, but with some kind of vehicle, a chariot-driver, cavalry.

But when he could no longer seeFFF him, he graspedGGG his own clothesHHH and toreIII them in two pieces.JJJ

Notes on verse 12b

FFF “see” = raah. Same as “see” in v10. See note RR above.
GGG “grasped” = chazaq. This is to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden.
HHH “clothes” = beged. From bagad (to cover or conceal; figuratively, to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage). This is clothing, garment, robe, or some other kind of clothing. Figuratively, it can be treachery or pillaging.
III “tore” = qara. This is to tear or cut out in a literal or figurative sense. It an also be to revile or to apply eye make up – as though they are made to look larger.
JJJ “pieces” = qera. Related to “tore” in v12. 4x in OT. From qara (see note III above). This is pieces or a rag as torn from clothing.

Image credit: Nicholas Roerich “Elias the Prophet,” 1931.

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