When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.
The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "but do not speak of it."
Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went to Jericho.
The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," he replied, "but do not speak of it."
Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So the two of them walked on.
Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan.
Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied.
"You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah said, "yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours--otherwise not."
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.
He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. "Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, "The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha." And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
"Look," they said, "we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley." "No," Elisha replied, "do not send them."
But they persisted until he was too ashamed to refuse. So he said, "Send them." And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him.
When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, "Didn't I tell you not to go?"
The men of the city said to Elisha, "Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive."
"Bring me a new bowl," he said, "and put salt in it." So they brought it to him.
Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, "This is what the LORD says: 'I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.' "
And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!"
He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years.
He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made.
Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to supply the king of Israel with a hundred thousand lambs and with the wool of a hundred thousand rams.
But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.
So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel.
He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" "I will go with you," he replied. "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."
"By what route shall we attack?" he asked. "Through the Desert of Edom," he answered.
So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.
"What!" exclaimed the king of Israel. "Has the LORD called us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?"
But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD through him?" An officer of the king of Israel answered, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."
Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother." "No," the king of Israel answered, "because it was the LORD who called us three kings together to hand us over to Moab."
Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or even notice you.
But now bring me a harpist." While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha
and he said, "This is what the LORD says: Make this valley full of ditches.
For this is what the LORD says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.
This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also hand Moab over to you.
You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones."
The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was--water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.
Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border.
When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red--like blood.
"That's blood!" they said. "Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!"
But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.
They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it as well.
When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed.
Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."9
Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."10
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables12so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' "13
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?14The farmer sows the word.15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?22For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."24"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.25Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.28All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.29As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."33
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side."36
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"41
They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"