Elisha, whose name means “God is salvation,” was the successor of Elijah in the office of the prophet in Israel (2 Kings 5:8). He was called to follow Elijah in 1 Kings 19:19, and he spent the next 7 or 8 years as the prophet’s protégé, until Elijah was translated into heaven. At that time, Elisha began his ministry, which lasted 60 years (c. 892-832 B.C.), spanning the reigns of kings Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Joash.

Elisha fulfilled the three-fold commission which his mentor had received in 1 Kings 19:15-16, part of which was that he would succeed Elijah as Israel’s prophet. It was during Elisha’s ministry that organized Baal worship was eradicated (2 Kings 10:28). In his ministry Elisha traveled widely and served as an advisor to kings, a companion of the common people, and a friend of both Israelites and foreigners.

The miracles Elisha performed are, for the most part, acts of helpfulness and blessing, such as the healing of Jericho’s waters (2 Kings 2:21), the resurrection of the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4:18-37), and the curing of Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5). Some of Elisha’s miracles, such as the multiplication of 20 barley loaves to feed 100 men, strongly resemble some of the miracles of Christ (2 Kings 4:42-44; cf. Matthew 16:9-10).

A study of the life of Elisha will reveal the prophet’s humility (2 Kings 2:9), his obvious love for the people of Israel (2 Kings 8:11-12), and his faithfulness in a lifelong ministry.