And it came to pass, when they were gone over
Had got on the other side Jordan:
that Elijah said unto Elisha, ask what I shall do for thee, before I be
taken from thee;
for, having followed him so closely, he now made no more a secret of his assumption, and having had full trial of his attachment to him, and affection for him:
and Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be
the two parts of the gifts of the spirit he had, that of prophecy, and that of doing miracles, as some think; or two parts out of three of what Elijah was possessed of; or rather double as much, and which he might desire, not from a spirit of vanity and ambition to be greater than his master, but from an eagerness to promote the glory of God, and the interest of religion, to reclaim the Israelites from their idolatry, and establish the true religion, which he might observe Elijah was not able to do with that measure of grace and gifts he had; or however this phrase denotes an abundance, a large portion or measure, as it everywhere does. Many, after Ben Gersom, have thought it refers to the double portion of the firstborn, and that Elisha does not mean a double portion with respect to Elijah, but with respect to the junior prophets, with whom he might be considered as a firstborn, and so desired a double or greater portion than they, and which may be most correct F13; and when he asked this, he did not suppose it was in Elijah's power to give him it, only that he would pray to God, at parting with him, that he would bestow it on him.
F13 See Weemse of the Moral Law, l. 2. c. 7. p. 41.