The call of Elisha – emails with My Professor, 14May – 146



Email with my Professor, 14MAY

Question to Professor, 7AM:

So, why did Elijah say “go back” to Elisha? Was he giving him permission to say “Goodbye” to his parents?

Why did he say “what have I done to you?”
Was be questioning Elisha’s faith????

The call of Elisha
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,’ he said, ‘and then I will come with you.’

‘Go back,’ Elijah replied. ‘What have I done to you?’

21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the ploughing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.


On May 14, 8:53 PM, Professor wrote:

Yes. He was giving permission for Elijah to say goodbye. In ancient Israel, family ties were extremely important and it would have been disrespectful and dishonorable to the max for Elisha to just ditch his family without saying goodbye.

HOWEVER- Contrast this with a similar story in the gospels-


61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62)

Notice the resonances with the Elijah/Elisha passage you quoted- including the request of the disciple in each to say goodbye, and even the mention of the plow. But look how Jesus’ response to the same request is different from Elijah’s. Elijah permits Elisha to go say goodbye, Jesus does not. What kind of shift in priorities does that suggest to you?



Reply to Professor, 9pm:

It is consistent with the shift from a mere (but mighty) prophet to the actual son of God…. Elijah was of the old covanent, Jesus represents the new covanent. (And Jesus was on a tight time schedule too) plus Jesus preached for when he sent out the 72, that if you are welcomed into a home then stay with the people, if you are not welcomed then move on…. I guess you can try but keep moving if you dont succeed, and try again.

I believe this now, that Jesus is the son of God, not must another prophet…. and I bet if you truly believed that 2000 yrs ago (and apparently the ones who interacted with Jesus knew and believed the predictions from the prophets’ stories), then you probably would have dropped everything easily… probably a mixture of true believers, and some ambulance chasers mixed in….

I twisted my ankle and fell tonight, and I am ok, but as I laid there I  said “really God? What’s the blessing in this?” But in that few minutes laid out in the parking lot, I did have to praise God that I wasn’t really badly hurt, I fell well, especially since I have been working out so much and my ankle is strong, and no one saw me…. So when I got back into the car, I reread Psalm 121… knowing that I was paying attention to this cool car color, wanting to take a photo and not paying attention to my footing on the uneven payment…

So in extension, if I take my eyes off the Lord I will stumble too…(or sink like Peter)…. and if I keep looking back at the old life I had, I will not plow straight either….

I need to be grateful for this new life…. I AM grateful. Amen

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you will not slumber;



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