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Prophet Elisha

We climbed to the Chapel of the Prophet Elisha to celebrate the Liturgy on his feast day. It forms a double church with the Chapel of the Prophet Elijah.

In the distance, the chapel at the peak of Mount Sinai as we made our ascent.

The panel on the back of the bishop’s throne, with multiple shades of blue.

The icon of the Prophet Elisaie (Elisha) on the iconostasion. He holds a scroll with the words, ‘Open, I pray thee, O Lord, their eyes, and let them see’, (IV Kings 6:20 in the Septuagint, II Kings 6:20).

We read in IV Kings 6:14-17, ‘And the King of Syria sent thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of Elisaie was risen early and gone forth; behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots: and his servant said unto him, O master, how shall we do? And Elisaie said, Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisaie prayed, and said, O Lord, open, I pray thee, the eyes of the servant, and let him see. And the Lord opened his eyes, and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses, and there were chariots of fire round about Elisaie.’

I was reminded of a similar vision, and a similar message to take courage in the midst of afflictions, in an account from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers,

There was a time when Abba Moses of Petra was terribly embattled by porneia. When he could remain in his cell no longer, he went and revealed it to Abba Isidore. The elder invited him to return to his cell, but he would not accept that, saying, ‘Abba, I cannot’. So he took him and brought him up onto the housetop with him and said to him, ‘Look to the west’. He looked and saw a multitude of demons; they were milling around together and shouting, ready for battle. Then Abba Isidore also said to him, ‘Look to the east’. He looked and saw an innumerable host of glorious angels. Then Abba Isidore said to him, ‘Look, these are they who are sent to the holy ones by the Lord to help them; they in the west are the ones who are fighting against them. They who are on our side are the more numerous’. When he had given thanks to God, Abba Moses took courage from this and returned to his own cell.

4 comments to Prophet Elisha

  • EARLENE SCHMITT

    Inspiring account of Elisha’s faith and protection through his prayers!
    Who was the Syrian King opposing
    Israelites, was it Ben-hadad?

    • Father Justin

      The Prophet Elisha seems to have lived through the reigns of several Kings of Syria, from Ben-hadad I to his son Ben-hadad II, to Hazael, and even Ben-Hadad III. In the Septuagint, Ben-hadad II is known as King Ader. Josephus also refers to him as King Ader. ‘When the messengers brought word that he was in Dothain Ader sent to that city a large force of horses and chariots to take Eliseus.’ Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book Nine, chapter 4.

  • EARLENE SCHMITT

    Thank you v much Fr Justin! The history is so facinating. Surprising to hear Prophet Elisha saw many reigns of Syrian Kings.
    I’m now interested to review further, a historical overview of all the Prophets, as I was unfamiliar w this passage in the book of Kings. I enjoy reading “Halleys Handbook” commentary.

    • Father Justin

      In the fifth chapter we read that Naaman was the captain of the hosts of the King of Syria, but he was a leper. His wife had a maid who had been taken captive from Israel, and she said to her mistress that if he were to go to Samaria, Elisha would heal him of his leprosy. So the King of Syria sent ten talents of silver and six thousand pieces of gold and ten changes of raiment together with a letter to the King of Israel, ‘Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.’ And the King of Israel rent his clothes in despair. Elisha heard of this, and asked him to send Naaman to him. But when he came, Elisha sent out a messenger with the words, ‘Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.’ And Naaman was in a rage that Elisha would not even come out to see him in person. But his servants persuaded him, ‘My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.’ The entire account, to the end of the chapter, is so amazing. It is a joy every time I read it.

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