Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 19

Elijah appoints Elisha as a prophet

1 Kings 19:19

Elijah returned to central Israel. He went to the town called Abel Meholah, near to the river Jordan (19:16). He had gone there to find a farm worker called Elisha, whom God had chosen to be the principal prophet (holy man) in Israel after him.

We do not know whether Elijah already knew Elisha. Probably he did not (19:14). However, God knew Elisha (compare 1 Samuel 16:7) and he directed Elijah to him. As we shall soon see, Elisha was eager to serve God in this way.

Now that the first rain had fallen (18:45), farmers across Israel were preparing the land to sow grain. Before they could sow, they first needed to plough the land. The purpose of this task was to cut through the surface of the soil in a straight line. It was hard, heavy work. Two oxen (strong farm animals like small cows) pulled the wooden tool called the plough across the ground. Often, several farm workers worked after each other, with their oxen, across the same area of land.

Elisha was one of 12 men who were working together in this way. The other men with their oxen were in front of him; he was the last in the group. He had to concentrate hard to keep his oxen and his plough in a straight line. So probably, he did not even see that Elijah the prophet was approaching him.

Elijah simply took his own coat, and he placed it on Elisha’s shoulders. Then Elijah walked away; he did not even think that he needed to say anything to Elisha. God had chosen Elisha to be a prophet; so, Elijah expected God to complete the work that he had begun in Elisha’s life. By this simple act, Elijah had appointed Elisha to be the prophet after him.

Next part: Why Elijah put his coat on Elisha's shoulders (1 Kings 19:20)


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