The designated successor of Elijah (1 Kgs. 19:19 ff.), who lived in the second half of the 9th cent. BCE. He seemed more at home in an urban environment than Elijah, even though his father was a farmer. He preferred city life (2 Kgs. 6:13) and had a residence in the city of Samaria (2 Kgs. 6:32). He visited religious centres like Bethel (2 Kgs. 2:23) and Gilgal (2 Kgs. 2:1) but was also attached to groups of ecstatic prophets (2 Kgs. 2:3–15) who lived in communities.
In the stories handed down in the oral tradition about Elisha and eventually written down, perhaps about 700 BCE, there is a strong element of sympathetic magic [[➝ magic and sorcery]], or the extraordinary combined with prayer to Yahweh, as when the prophet is said to have divided the waters of the Jordan after receiving the mantle of Elijah (2 Kgs. 2:13 f.) and when he struck his enemies with blindness (2 Kgs. 6:18 ff.). There is a similar kind of magic in the story of Elisha recovering a borrowed axe-head from the water and making it float (2 Kgs. 6:1–7). But it was a demonstration of the power of the God of Israel when he healed Naaman's leprosy during a temporary lull in the perennial conflicts between Israel and Syria (2 Kgs. 5:1–19). That Elisha was a prophet of an era before the great classical prophets of the 8th cent. is indicated by the use of music to induce his trance (2 Kgs. 3:15; cf. 1 Sam. 10:5–7); and the mockery of his baldness by a group of jeering boys suggests that he had assumed the tonsure, a ritual shaving of the head commonly practised by holy men (2 Kgs. 2:23). According to the narrative the boys were promptly devoured by bears as a punishment; a coincidence that is thus given a theological, and by no means agreeable, interpretation.
On the political level, Elisha aided the Israelites against Moabites (2 Kgs. 3:21–7) and Syrians (2 Kgs. 6:13–7:23). His motive was to persuade the kings of the absolute sovereignty of the God of Israel, who would tolerate no apostasy.
There are similarities between the story (2 Kgs. 4:42–4) of Elisha's miracle [[➝ miracles]] in feeding 100 people with twenty loaves, with some still left over, and the account in Mark (6:30–44) of Jesus' multiplication of loaves.

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  • ELISHA — (Heb. אֱלִישָׁע; God is salvation ), Israelite prophetic wonder worker of the ninth century B.C.E. in the days of jehoram son of ahab , jehu , jehoahaz , and joash . According to I Kings 19:16, God commanded elijah on Mount Horeb to anoint Elisha …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Elisha — (v. hebr. Elischa) ist ein Vorname. Weibliche Namensträger Elisha Cuthbert (* 1982), kanadische Schauspielerin Männliche Namensträger Elisha Abas (* 1971), israelischer Pianist Elisha Cook (1903 1995), US amerikanischer Schauspieler Elisha Graves …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Elisha — • A Prophet of Israel Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Elisha — masc. proper name, from Hebrew, lit. God is salvation, from El God + yesha salvation …   Etymology dictionary

  • Elisha — [ē lī′shə, ilī′shə] n. [Heb, lit., God is salvation] 1. a masculine name: var. Ellis 2. Bible a prophet of Israel, ordained by Elijah as his successor: 1 Kings 19:16, 19; 2 Kings 2 …   English World dictionary

  • Elisha — Infobox Saint name=Saint Eliseus birth date= death date= feast day=June 14 venerated in=Roman Catholic Church Eastern Catholic Churches Eastern Orthodox Church Lutheranism imagesize= caption=Russian icon of St. Eliseus, 18th century (Iconostasis… …   Wikipedia

  • Elisha —    God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel meholah, who became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16 19). His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Elisha — /i luy sheuh/, n. 1. Also, Douay Bible, Eliseus /el i see euhs/. a Hebrew prophet of the 9th century B.C., the successor of Elijah. II Kings 3 9. 2. a male given name. [ < Heb elishua lit., God has saved] * * * flourished 9th century BC Hebrew… …   Universalium

  • Elisha — noun Etymology: Hebrew Ĕlīshā‘ Date: 14th century a Hebrew prophet and disciple and successor of Elijah …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ELISHA BEN AVUYAH — ELISHA BEN AVUYAH, tanna, quoted once in the Mishnah as saying: Learning in youth is like writing with ink on clean paper, but learning in old age is like writing with ink on blotted paper (Avot 4:20). From the position of this saying toward the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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