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2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; A. C. 896. for the Lord bath sent me to Beth-el. And Élisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el

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13 The mention here made of the sons, or disciples, or pupils of the Prophets, leads us to enquire what mode was adopted among the ancient Israelites to secure to them the advantages of education. When the Israelites first went down into Egypt

, and the patriarchal polity flourished among them in its full vigour, every father was of course the instructor as well as the head of his family. During their continuance in that country, although we know bat little of the manner in which they preserved among themselves the traditions of their ancestors, or maintained and declared their right to the holy land, we may be assured that the national faith was not suffered to decay; nor were they, at their departure from Egypt

, that rude and barbarous people which they are generally represented. Moses was skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt, and the perpetual presence of the God of Israel, the wonderful miracles wrought by Moses, the death of the generation which had been in some measure contaminated by idolatry in Egypt

, and the consequent instruction of the next, under the immediate superintendence of their inspired leader, prevented the possibility of ignorance, during their wandering in the wilderness. It is generally supposed too, that there was an uninterrupted succession of prophets from the time of Moses to the death of Malachi. The first places for their instruction, appointed by the Jews after their settlement in the holy land, were the Levitical cities, which might be called the Universities of Judea. The Levites too, were scattered through the country, as the standing ministry appointed by God himself, to instruct the people in general in all things which pertained to their law. It is, therefore, to be supposed that the common business of education fell as naturally into their hands at that time, as it has since done, generally speaking, to the Ecclesiastics in Christian countries.

The first notice which is taken in Scripture of the schools of the prophets, is 1 Sam. X. 10. or 1 Sam. xix. 20. The expression “ they saw the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing, as appointed over them,” is interpreted by the Chaldee Paraphrast, that Samuel was the head, or president, of a school of prophetical instruction. Samuel is by many supposed to have himself first instituted these schools : but it is more probable that he found them established in the Levitical cities, and in every place where the ark was settled, and where the people went up to worship. It is more certain that from the time of Samuel to the Babylonish captivity, they were never suffered entirely to degenerate, although they were too often influenced by the general bias of the people to idokatry. The most distinguished prophets, till the time of David, were presidents of these colleges. Elkanah, Gad, Nathan, and others, are supposed to have been to the prophets in their day, what Samuel was to the prophets at Naioth. They are said to have selected the most promising of the young Levites, with the Nazarites of other tribes. Hence we read of so many proplsets together in the time of Ahab. The chief places where they resided, seem to have been Bethel

, Jericho, Gilgal, and the Levitical cities in general. The people in Israel, after the revolt of the ten tribes, were accustomed to attend the prophets


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A.C. 896, came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that

the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?
And he said, Yea, I know it ; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray

for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said,
As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave
thee. So they came to Jericho.

5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it ; hold ye your peace.

6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.

for moral and religious instruction ; for we read, that when the woman of Shu-
nem was about to go up to Elijah, her husband asked her,--wherefore wilt thou
go to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath, 2 Kings iv. 23. When the
peculiar circumstances of the age demanded it, the prophets were gifted with
miraculous power. From the time of Samuel there appears to have been an
unbroken succession to the time of Malachi; of whom Elijah and Elisha were
the most eminent.

Prophecies were first committed to writing by Elijah, who wrote to Jehoram,
predicting his offences and punishment. The volume of Scripture may be con-
sidered as hav been under the continued superintendence of these holy men:
and the prophetical office, as Bishop Stillingfleet ingeniously and justly observes,
was a kind of Chancery to the law of Moses.

As God never left himself without witness to the Heathen world, in that He gave them rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons ; neither did He leave the people of Israel without a constant appeal to their hearts and understandings. Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel, David, Ahijah, Elijah, Elisha, and the prophets whose writings are still preserved, followed each other in close succession. In addition to these, there was the standing miracle of the perpetual accomplishment of the prophecies which referred to events near at hand. The oracular answer in the Holy of Holies: the appearance of the Shechinah; the very nature of the country respectively occupied by the twelve tribes ; the residence among them of the ancient Gibeouites; the judgments inflicted bath on the idolatrous princes of Israel and Judah, as well as on the surrounding nations ; these, with the lessons conveyed by the recurrence of the Sabbath, and of their great festivals, when the Levites taught the meaning of the ceremonial law, and otherwise instructed the people, took away all excuse for the frequent relapses of the Israelites into idolatry. Yet, if their repeated offences, in this respect, excite astonishment, let the present condition of the Christian world be considered; which presents us with too many instances of ingratitude and infidelity. The appeals which were made to the ancient Church of God were not more powerful than those which the Christian Church now enjoys: for in those days God spake by his prophets; to us He has spoken by his Son.

* Heb. in



xlviii. 9.
1 Mac, in. 58.

Heb. lip.

7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and A.C. 896. stood * to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.

8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, sight, or, overand smote the waters, and they were divided hither and against. thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 9 S And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me,

10 And he said, † Thou hast asked a hard thing : never- Hep. Thou theless

, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be in asking. so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.

11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that

, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of
fire, and parted them both asunder; and · Elijah went up : Ecclus
by a whirlwind into heaven.

12 G And Elisha saw it, and he cried, a My father, my a ch. xiii. 14.
father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And
he saw him no more : and he took hold of his own clothes,
and rent them in two pieces.

13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from
him, and went back, and stood by the I bank of Jordan;

14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him,
and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of
Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted
hither and thither; and Elisha went over.

15 And when the sons of the prophets which were view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty' & strong men; let them go, we pray thee, Heb, sons of and seek thy master : lest peradventure the Spirit of the strength. Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon || some moun- 1 Heb. one of tain, or into some valley.

And he said, Ye shall not send. 17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.

18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?

19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth : but the water is naught, and the ground * barren.

20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt curry therein. And they brought it to him.

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A.C. 896.

21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.

22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

23 | And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

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6 | And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same
time, and numbered all Israel.

7 And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Ju-
dah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me:

wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, cl Kings I will go up: "I am as thou art, my people as thy people, xxii, 4.

and my horses as thy horses.

8 And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

9 So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven

days' journey: and there was no water for the host, and for *Heb. at their the cattle * that followed them.

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!"

11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehosaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

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13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have A.C. 895,
I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father,
and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel
said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three
kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

14 And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before
whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence
of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward
thee, nor see thee.
15 But now bring me a minstrel.

And it came to pass,
when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came

16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley
full of ditches.

17 For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, nei-
ther shall ye see rain ; yet that valley shall be filled with
water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your

18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD:
he will deliver the Moabites also into your

19 And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice
city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of
, and * mar every good piece of land with stones.

* Heb. grieve.
20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat
offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the
way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they + gathered all that +Hcb. were were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the Heb, sira

himselj with a 22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun

upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood :

2 And they said, This is blood : the kings are surely $ slain

, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Heb, di24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Isra

and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but || they went forward smiting the Moabites, Or, they 25 And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees

: * only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof ; * Heb, until howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it.

26 9 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle
too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that




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