1 Kings 19:19

The Call of Elisha

19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.

Read 1 Kings 19:19 Using Other Translations

So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him.
So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away.

What does 1 Kings 19:19 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Kings 19:19

So he departed thence
From Mount Horeb, and came to Abelmeholah, which Bunting computes F26 at one hundred and fifty six miles:

and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was ploughing with twelve yoke
of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth;
which may be understood either of twelve couple of oxen drawing one plough; which was a large number, but will not seem strange when it is observed, that Abelmeholah, where Elisha was ploughing, lay in the vale of Jordan, which was a clayey stiff ground, and required such a number of oxen to plough it up, especially at the first tilling of it, as this might be {a}; compare ( 1 Kings 4:12 ) ( 7:46 ) A late traveller F2 observes, that at Damegraed, in upper Egypt on the Nile, six oxen yoked to plough had a great deal of difficulty to turn up the ground; or else, as the Jewish writers generally understand it, there were twelve ploughs, and a yoke of oxen to each, and a ploughman to attend everyone, and Elisha attended the twelfth; or was with one of the twelve, as the Targum, and might have the oversight of them all; Kimchi thinks, and so Abarbiuel after him, that this signified that he should be leader of the twelve tribes of Israel: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him;
the skirts of it.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 Travels p. 204.
F1 See Fuller's Pisgah-Sight B. 2. ch. 8. p. 175.
F2 Norden's Travels in Egypt and Arabia, vol. 2. p. 85.
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