Elijah is about to be translated into the Presence of the Lord; which had been communicated either from the prophet or the Lord to Elisha, and the two groups of prophetic students from Bethel and Jericho. In viewing this it appears as though it was test by Elijah for Elisha when being exhorted to “stay here”. Elisha refused to stay, but was determined to “not leave” Elijah. At Jericho fifty sons of the prophets were ready to observe Elijah’s translation along with Elisha.
Upon crossing the Jordan as a result of having smote the water and crossed the Jordan, Elijah asked Elisha “what may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha’s response was to “let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” It was a “hard thing”; but not an impossible thing requested. The request was to be granted provided Elisha saw the prophet ascend. The double portion was the spiritual right of Elisha, being the first born as a child of Elijah in a spiritual and prophetic sense. As they traveled, Elijah was swept away; to which Elisha responded “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” Several scholars agree that what is likely intended by this statement is “You who have provided more good for Israel that all the chariots and horses combined.”
Upon grasping the mantle, Elisha tore his own clothing in two as a sign of humility and then took the mantle to hit the waters and part them that he might return to the other bank of the Jordan where the fifty sons of the prophets were waiting. After insisting on searching for Elijah’s body, these fifty young men returned with no success, which Elisha reminded them it was of no good.
Elisha performed his first miracle when approached by the men of the city of Jericho stating the water wasn’t any good, as it resulted in it being “bad, and the ground barren.” Salt was placed in the origin of the water and the water was made sweet and productive again. A true miracle as salt typically has a negative impact on water.
We’re exhorted to have salt within, and when it’s from the Lord we too can have sweet rivers of water and become productive again as it nourishes the ground of people’s lives.
This miracle was followed up by one that resulted in the mauling of forty-two youths. They mocked Elisha, calling him an “empty head”, not just a “bald head”. Also, they were likely not just children as we understand; but were older, either in their late teens or early twenty’s. In any case they were insolent toward the man of God and paid a severe price for their actions.
Saint of God, you have been given a covenant of salt with Almighty God that will cause you to be not only sweet, but productive as well. Jesus exhorted us to “have salt” in ourselves. That will benefit those who come in contact with in our lives and ministry.