New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:3 sons of the prophets. These “sons of the prophets” were presumably in the line of prophets originally established by Samuel in what modern writers have called “schools of the prophets” (see notes on I Samuel 10:5-13; also I Samuel 19:24). Jezebel had killed many of these, but a significant remnant had been hidden and preserved (I Kings 18:4).
2:5 take away. This word, “take away” is the same Hebrew word as used for Enoch’s translation into heaven, “took” (Genesis 5:24).
2:9 a double portion. One indication of God’s answer to Elisha’s prayer is that, while Elijah performed seven recorded miracles, fourteen were performed through Elisha.
2:11 Elijah went up. This was a unique event in history, and was altogether miraculous. Enoch, who had also served as God’s prophet in a time of deep apostasy, had likewise been taken into heaven (that is, the “third heaven,” where God’s throne is located) without dying, but evidently no one had actually observed his translation (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5), as did Elisha at the translation of Elijah. Enoch’s ministry had been to the whole world, essentially at the mid-point of the period from Adam to Abraham. Elijah’s ministry had been to Israel, essentially at the midpoint of the period from Abraham to Christ. Elijah was taken up in a fiery tornado that seemed to surround a fiery horse-drawn chariot as he went up until he was out of Elisha’s sight. It has been assumed that Elijah and Enoch have both been supernaturally preserved alive in heaven ever since that time in their natural bodies.
When the Lord Jesus returns, both dead and living believers will be translated into His presence, their bodies being supernaturally changed into immortal bodies (I Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:20-21). If Elijah and Enoch are presently in natural bodies, it is possible that they will also return at this time to serve as His “two witnesses” on the earth during the 1260 days of great plagues on the earth that will quickly follow Jesus’ return (see notes on Revelation 11:2-12). They will continue to be preserved alive to finish their unfinished testimony to both Israel and the Gentile world during that period. Finally, they will be slain and then they also will be raptured into heaven with immortalized bodies.
2:12 the horsemen thereof. Elijah, as God’s prophet, was more powerful in the defense and guidance of Israel than all the king’s chariots and horsemen.
2:14 parted hither and thither. Elisha had requested a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and it is noteworthy that more miracles are recorded under Elisha’s ministry than under Elijah’s. The combined Elijah/Elisha period, under the kings Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash, lasted about eighty-five years. It was the time of Israel’s deepest apostasy, but it was also the time of greatest demonstration of God’s miraculous power, at least since the days of Moses and Joshua.
2:16 seek thy master. These younger prophets assumed, quite naturally, that God had taken Elijah’s spirit into heaven, leaving his body behind, and they wanted to give him a proper burial.
2:24 cursed them. Elisha did not curse “little children,” as the King James Version translates the phrase (II Kings 2:23). The Hebrew expression frequently connotes young, unmarried men of any age up to about thirty. This was evidently a gang of young hoodlums, instigated by the heathen priests of Baal to ridicule Elijah’s successor. The jeering exhortation to “go up, thou baldhead” (II Kings 2:23) was both a sarcastic reference to Elijah’s supposed ascension (which they disbelieved) and a personal insult to God’s chosen prophet. This challenge to Jehovah and the authority of His prophet could not be excused, so God made good on a warning issued long before: “And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me;...I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children” (Leviticus 26:21-22).