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2 Kings 2:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it came to pass, when Jehovah would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— And it came about when the LORD was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And it came to pass when Jehovah would take up Elijah into the heavens by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And it came to pass, when Yahweh was about to take up Elijah in a storm into the heavens, that Elijah departed, with Elisha, from Gilgal.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And it cometh to pass, at Jehovah's taking up Elijah in a whirlwind to the heavens, that Elijah goeth, and Elisha, from Gilgal,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elias, into heaven, by a whirlwind, that Elias and Eliseus were going from Galgal.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it came to passe when the LORD would take vp Elijah into heauen by a whirlewinde, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And it came to pass, when the Lord was going to take Elijah{gr.Eliu} with a whirlwind as it were into heaven, that Elijah{gr.Eliu} and Elisha{gr.Elisaie} went out of Gilgal{gr.Galgala}.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And it came to pass, when Yahweh would take up Eliyyah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Eliyyah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And it came to pass, x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
when Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
would take up 5927
{5927} Prime
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
<8687> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 1162
(0853) Complement
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
liyy אֵלִיָּה 452
{0452} Prime
From H0410 and H3050; God of Jehovah; Elijah, the name of the famous prophet and of two other Israelites.
into heaven 8064
{8064} Prime
The second form being dual of an unused singular; from an unused root meaning to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the dual perhaps alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve).
by a whirlwind, 5591
{5591} Prime
From H5590; a hurricane.
that liyy אֵלִיָּה 452
{0452} Prime
From H0410 and H3050; God of Jehovah; Elijah, the name of the famous prophet and of two other Israelites.
went y3212
[3212] Standard
A primitive root (compare H1980); to walk (literally or figuratively); causatively to carry (in various senses).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
(1980) Complement
Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively).
with l` אֱלִישָׁע 477
{0477} Prime
Contracted for H0474; Elisha, the famous prophet.
from x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Gilgl גִּלגָּל. 1537
{1537} Prime
The same as H1536 (with the article as a properly noun); Gilgal, the name of three places in Palestine.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

2 Kings 2:1-7

_ _ 2 Kings 2:1-10. Elijah divides Jordan.

_ _ when the Lord would take up Elijah — A revelation of this event had been made to the prophet; but, unknown to him, it had also been revealed to his disciples, and to Elisha in particular, who kept constantly beside him.

_ _ Gilgal — This Gilgal (Jiljil) was near Ebal and Gerizim; a school of the prophets was established there. At Beth-el there was also a school of the prophets, which Elijah had founded, notwithstanding that place was the headquarters of the calf-worship; and at Jericho there was another [2 Kings 2:4]. In travelling to these places, which he had done through the impulse of the Spirit (2 Kings 2:2, 2 Kings 2:4-6), Elijah wished to pay a farewell visit to these several institutions, which lay on his way to the place of ascension and, at the same time, from a feeling of humility and modesty, to be in solitude, where there would be no eye-witnesses of his glorification. All his efforts, however, to prevail on his attendant to remain behind, were fruitless. Elisha knew that the time was at hand, and at every place the sons of the prophets spoke to him of the approaching removal of his master. Their last stage was at the Jordan. They were followed at a distance by fifty scholars of the prophets, from Jericho, who were desirous, in honor of the great occasion, to witness the miraculous translation of the prophet. The revelation of this striking event to so many was a necessary part of the dispensation; for it was designed to be under the law, like that of Enoch in the patriarchal age, a visible proof of another state, and a type of the resurrection of Christ.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

2 Kings 2:1-8

_ _ Elijah's times, and the events concerning him, are as little dated as those of any great man in scripture; we are not told of his age, nor in what year of Ahab's reign he first appeared, nor in what year of Joram's he disappeared, and therefore cannot conjecture how long he flourished; it is supposed about twenty years in all. Here we are told,

_ _ I. That God had determined to take him up into heaven by a whirlwind, 2 Kings 2:1. He would do it, and it is probable let him know of his purpose some time before, that he would shortly take him from the world, not by death, but translate him body and soul to heaven, as Enoch was, only causing him to undergo such a change as would be necessary to the qualifying of him to be an inhabitant in that world of spirits, and such as those shall undergo who will be found alive at Christ's coming. It is not for us to say why God would put such a peculiar honour upon Elijah above any other of the prophets; he was a man subject to like passions as we are, knew sin, and yet never tasted death. Wherefore is he thus dignified, thus distinguished, as a man whom the Kings of kings did delight to honour? We may suppose that herein, 1. God looked back upon his past services, which were eminent and extraordinary, and intended a recompence for those and an encouragement to the sons of the prophets to tread in the steps of his zeal and faithfulness, and, whatever it cost them, to witness against the corruptions of the age they lived in. 2. He looked down upon the present dark and degenerate state of the church, and would thus give a very sensible proof of another life after this, and draw the hearts of the faithful few upward towards himself, and that other life. 3. He looked forward to the evangelical dispensation, and, in the translation of Elijah, gave a type and figure of the ascension of Christ and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Elijah had, by faith and prayer, conversed much with heaven, and now he is taken thither, to assure us that if we have our conversation in heaven, while we are here on earth, we shall be there shortly, the soul shall (and that is the man) be happy there, there for ever.

_ _ II. That Elisha had determined, as long as he continued on earth to cleave to him, and not to leave him. Elijah seemed desirous to shake him off, would have had him stay behind at Gilgal, at Bethel, at Jericho, 2 Kings 2:2, 2 Kings 2:4, 2 Kings 2:6. Some think out of humility; he knew what glory God designed for him, but would not seem to glory in it, nor desired it should be seen of men (God's favourites covet not to have it proclaimed before them that they are so, as the favourites of earthly princes do), or rather it was to try him, and make his constant adherence to him the more commendable, like Naomi's persuading Ruth to go back. In vain does Elijah entreat him to tarry here and tarry there; he resolves to tarry nowhere behind his master, till he goes to heaven, and leaves him behind on this earth. “Whatever comes of it, I will not leave thee;” and why so? Not only because he loved him, but, 1. Because he desired to be edified by his holy heavenly converse as long as he staid on earth; it had always been profitable, but, we may suppose, was now more so than ever. We should do all the spiritual good we can one to another, and get all we can one by another, while we are together, because we are to be together but a little while. 2. Because he desired to be satisfied concerning his departure, and to see him when he was taken up, that his faith might be confirmed and his acquaintance with the invisible world increased. He had long followed Elijah, and he would not leave him now when he hoped for the parting blessing. Let not those that follow Christ come short by tiring at last.

_ _ III. That Elijah, before his departure, visited the schools of the prophets and took leave of them. It seems that there were such schools in many of the cities of Israel, probably even in Samaria itself. Here we find sons of the prophets, and considerable numbers of them, even at Bethel, where one of the calves was set up, and at Jericho, which was lately built in defiance of a divine curse. At Jerusalem, and in the kingdom of Judah, they had priests and Levites, and the temple-service, the want of which, in the kingdom of Israel, God graciously made up by those colleges, where men were trained up and employed in the exercises of religion and devotion, and whither good people resorted to solemnize the appointed feasts with praying and hearing, when they had not conveniences for sacrifice or incense, and thus religion was kept up in a time of general apostasy. Much of God was among these prophets, and more were the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. None of all the high priests were comparable to those two great men Elijah and Elisha, who, for aught we know, never attended in the temple at Jerusalem. These seminaries of religion and virtue, which Elijah, it is probable, had been instrumental to found, he now visits, before his departure, to instruct, encourage, and bless them. Note, Those that are going to heaven themselves ought to be concerned for those they leave behind them on earth, and to leave with them their experiences, testimonies, counsels, and prayers, 2 Peter 1:15. When Christ said, with triumph, Now I am no more in the world, he added, with tenderness, But these are. Father, keep them.

_ _ IV. That the sons of the prophets had intelligence (either from Elijah himself, or by the spirit of prophecy in some of their own society), or suspected by the solemnity of Elijah's farewell, that he was now shortly to be removed; and, 1. They told Elisha of it, both at Bethel (2 Kings 2:3) and at Jericho (2 Kings 2:5): Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? This they said, not as upbraiding him with his loss, or expecting that when his master was gone he would be upon the level with them, but to show how full they were of the thoughts of this matter and big with expectation of the event, and to admonish Elisha to prepare for the loss. Know we not that our nearest relations, and dearest friends, must shortly be taken from us? The Lord will take them; we lose them not till he calls for them whose they are, and who taketh away and none can hinder him. He takes away superiors from our head, inferiors from our feet, equals from our arms; let us therefore carefully do the duty of every relation, that we may reflect upon it with comfort when it comes to be dissolved. Elisha knew it too well, and sorrow had filled his heart upon this account (as the disciples in a like case, John 16:6), and therefore he did not need to be told of it, did not care for hearing of it, and would not be interrupted in his contemplations on this great concern, or in the least diverted from his attendance upon his master. I know it; hold you your peace. He speaks not this peevishly, or in contempt of the sons of the prophets, but as one that was himself and would have them composed and sedate, and with an awful silence expecting the event: I know it; be silent, Zechariah 2:13. 2. They went themselves to be witnesses of it at a distance, though they might not closely attend (2 Kings 2:7): Fifty of them stood to view afar off, intending to satisfy their curiosity, but God so ordered it that they might be eye-witnesses of the honour heaven did to that prophet, who was despised and rejected of men. God's works are well worthy our notice; when a door is opened in heaven the call is, Come up hither, come and see.

_ _ V. That the miraculous dividing of the river Jordan was the preface to Elijah's translation into the heavenly Canaan, as it had been to the entrance of Israel into the earthly Canaan, 2 Kings 2:8. He must go on to the other side Jordan to be translated, because it was his native country, and that he might be near the place where Moses died, and that thus honour might be put on that part of the country which was most despised. he and Elisha might have gone over Jordan by a ferry, as other passengers did, but God would magnify Elijah in his exit, as he did Joshua in his entrance, by the dividing of this river, Joshua 3:7. As Moses with his rod divided the sea, so Elijah with his mantle divided Jordan, both being the insigniathe badges of their office. These waters of old yielded to the ark, now to the prophet's mantle, which, to those that wanted the ark was an equivalent token of God's presence. When God will take up his faithful ones to heaven death is the Jordan which, immediately before their translation, they must pass through, and they find a way through it, as safe and comfortable way; the death of Christ has divided those waters, that the ransomed of the Lord may pass over. O death! where is thy sting, thy hurt, thy terror?

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

2 Kings 2:1

About to take, &c. — It is supposed, (tho' not expressly revealed) that Elijah flourished about twenty years, before he was translated, body and soul, to heaven, only undergoing such a change, as was necessary to qualify him for being an inhabitant in that world of Spirits. By translating him, God gave in that dark and degenerate age, a very sensible proof of another life, together with a type of the ascension of Christ, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

2 Kings 2:1

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from (a) Gilgal.

(a) Which was the place where the children of Israel were circumcised after they came over Jordan and had been forty years in the wilderness, (Joshua 5:9).

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
take up:

Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.
1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.
Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Revelation 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

by a whirlwind:

1 Kings 18:12 And it shall come to pass, [as soon as] I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and [so] when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.
1 Kings 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake:
Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,


1 Kings 19:16-21 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint [to be] king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint [to be] prophet in thy room. ... And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.


Joshua 4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth [day] of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
Joshua 5:9 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.
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Gn 5:24. Jsh 4:19; 5:9. 1K 18:12; 19:4, 11, 16. Jb 38:1. Lk 9:51. Ac 1:9. He 11:5. Rv 11:12.

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