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some valley.” “ They sent, therefore, fifty men, and they sought him three days, but they found him not.” Elisha was quite sure their search would be in vain, for he well knew that he had been taken from him by the powerful hand of the mighty God, who had thus at once freed him from a life of trial, and taken him to Himself.
Elisha soon gave proofs that he was fitted by his God to supply the place of the prophet who was gone; for, while at Jericho, he healed the unwholesome waters, by casting in some salt in the name of the Lord. When he left this place, as he was going to Bethel, some little children came out of the city, and mocked him, saying, “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head:” which was very wicked of them. It is very wrong of children to laugh at old people, or to treat them with any want of respect: they should remember that, if they do this, they are treating with disrespect those who are, most likely, wiser and better than themselves, and, instead of despising gray hairs or a bald head, they should look up to them with reverence and submission.(32) These poor children, who mocked at Elisha, were dreadfully punished; for two
bears rushed out of a wood near by, and tore forty-two of them to pieces.
Although Elisha was taken from the plough, and from tilling his land, to be a prophet of the Lord, yet we find the three kings of Judah, Israel, and Edom asking him to give them water; for they were all marching against the king of Moab, and they had no water for the people who were with them, nor any for their cattle. When they came before Elisha, he said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with thee?” telling him to ask the prophets of his father and of his mother, and see if their idols would supply his wants; “and Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee." The prophet then called for some music, and while it was played, the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he not only prophesied that the valley should be filled with water, but foretold for them a great victory over their enemy; and all these things came to pass.
Elisha seems to have gone about the country, and to have lived a little while in one place, and a short time at another,
giving up all his time and strength to do the will of his Heavenly Father. Indeed, the whole nation was so unsettled at this time, that the prophets of the Lord were almost the only persons who kept alive the religion of their forefathers, the good old patriarchs.
At one place Elisha met with a poor woman, whose husband was just dead, who had been a man fearing God. The woman came to him in great distress, telling him that a person, to whom they owed more money than she was able to pay, was come to take away her two sons: “and Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? and she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.” The prophet then told her to borrow as many empty vessels as she could get of all her neighbours, take them home, shut the door upon herself and her sons, and pour oil into them from the pot which she had, and as they were filled, to set them on one side. She did so, and He who had made the widow's oil and meal last so many weeks, to relieve the wants of the prophet Elijah, caused the oil to stay not until all the vessels were filled. Elisha then said, “Go sell the
hild it fell here was in to earth is go
oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.”
"And it fell on a day that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman," who always invited him to eat bread whenever he went that way. This good woman saw that Elisha was a man of God, and she said to her husband, “ Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall, and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick; and it shall be that when he cometh to us he shall turn in thither." Thus, through the kindness of this woman, the man of God was provided with a home that he might use as often as he pleased, whenever his duties called him that way. Do you not think it is very delightful to meet with such an instance of kindness and hospitality, so very different to the treatment these good men generally met with among a people who had forsaken the ways of the Lord ? It tells us that, although the multitude had given themselves up to evil, there were yet left those who loved to hear of their God. This woman's son was taken very ill one day when he was in the harvest field, and his father sent him home to his mother, who nursed him till noon, when he died. His mother then took the child, and laid him
on the bed in the prophet's little room, and begged her husband to send one of the young men and one of the asses, that she might go to the man of God: she went in the fulness of her heart, and brought him back with her. When Elisha came into his room, and found the dear child dead, he shut the door upon himself and Gehazi his servant, and prayed unto the Lord, who heard his prayers, and blessed the means made use of: the child sneezed seven times, and then opened his eyes. His mother was then called, and, when she received her child alive again, she fell at the prophet's feet, bowed herself to the ground, took up her son, and went out. Thus was she rewarded for her kindness to Elisha; and this is another of the many instances in which the Almighty has rewarded the cheerful giver. When we do a kind action, it should never be in the hope of a reward, but from a sense of duty, for the love of doing good, and of adding to the comfort of those around us: if these are our motives, we shall be fully repaid by the peace of our hearts; for none are so happy in this world as those who learn early to think little of themselves, and endeavourin every thing to promote the happiness of others.
Elisha then went into Gilgal, where