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Who Was the Prophet Elisha?
Who Was the Prophet Elisha?

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Author: Israel Drazin
Price: $19.95 
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US release Date: 9/18/2024
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Format: Hard Cover
ISBN 10: 9657801605
ISBN 13: 9789657801604
Catalog Number: 7801-60
Number of Pages: 161
Year Published: 2024

Who Was the Prophet Elisha? compares the prophet Elisha to his predecessor Elijah. Elisha’s lists of twenty-nine activities and seemingly unnatural ones exceed those performed by Elijah: twenty-nine acts for Elisha against twenty for Elijah, eight seemingly unnatural ones for Elisha, and five for Elijah. It also analyses, among much else, why Jewish tradition extolled Elijah while the Book of Kings extols Elisha.

Fourteen Elisha prophecies can be understood as communications from God or as Elisha using his human intellect without any aid from God to realize what will occur. There are two instances where Elisha states something will happen if another thing is done. This is similar to magician stage tricks where the audience is prompted to look at the magician’s left and, unnoticed, produces his result with his right. Three natural acts: when he resurrects a child using artificial respiration, where he can detect that his servant stole items, and when he caught an axe-head by inserting a stick into it. One instance where the Bible states his dead body revived a soldier’s dead body when the latter touched his corpse. There are eight seemingly unnatural activities where it is difficult, but not impossible, to say they were not miracles. Surprisingly, four of the twenty-nine acts are where Elisha shows what appears to be human frailties.

Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin describes why Jewish tradition extols Elijah over Elisha despite the Bible seemingly saying the opposite of tradition. It praises Elisha, not Elijah. The Bible implies that God was displeased with Elijah and took him to heaven, a symbolic way of saying God killed him. In contrast, it praises Elisha so much that his corpse resurrected a person after his death. So why does the prophet Malachi apparently say that Elijah will announce the coming of the Messiah? Why is there a need for the messiah to be announced? Didn’t Maimonides say that the messianic age will be a natural period and the messiah a normal human who will live and die like other people, and the only difference is that it will be a time of peace? He said that prophecies such as a lion sleeping with sheep should be understood metaphorically as a time when people can coexist peacefully.
Is the idea that God was displeased with Elijah wrong? Did God like Elijah’s zeal and consider him His faithful messenger? Is the second-century Hellenistic Jewish sage Ben Sira wrong when he extols Elisha over Elijah because Elisha performed twice as many helpful activities? Is the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 47a also wrong when it states Kings 13:21 was written to praise Elisha? Did the prophet Malachi really contend Elijah would announce the Messiah?

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