First off, guys, I want to apologize for skipping an entire 24-hour period. I am so sorry about that guys. I want these to be fairly regular…and I’m having a hard time with that recently. So…hopefully I can find a time that I can post these every day – instead of, you know, being late or missing days. Because that’s not…that’s not good. I am so sorry guys. I’ll try not to do it again.
But anyway – to today’s passage!
(NIV1984) 1 Kings 19:19 – “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.”
Mostly I just want to focus on the first part today and return to the rest of it when I deal with Elisha’s reactions. I hope this is okay?
The first thing is this – bringing up the map again. This is the map I am using (http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/sanctified/sanctifiedimages/p137.jpg) but feel free to use your own (it is the same map I used previously – so! There you go!). Now, the problem with the map is it only has the arrow to Mount Horeb – but it probably took him a while to get back. It took forty days to get there – but somehow, I don’t think it necessarily took forty days to get back. So I’m shaky on the travel time there.
However, Abel Meholah, where Elisha lived, is near-ish to Jezreel – a little curved to the right, so probably a little longer to Abel Meholah than it is to Jezreel from the farthest south point on the map (Kadesh-Barnea). (Doing it this way because there’s not an Abel Meholah in Israel via Google Maps anymore – so averaging to Jezreel Valley again.)
This is about 255 kilometers of walking distance, which is approximately 158.45 miles. This is about 3.45 miles more than the distance from Saint Louis to Moberly (Missouri) or from Bountiful, UT to Pocatello, ID (pretty much the exact distance – it takes 158 miles, so that’s a closer estimate by far than that of STL to Moberly (Missouri)). It takes about 53 hours (straight) to walk that far – so that’d be over two days straight of walking. And this is assuming only 3 miles an hour. Maybe Elijah is going 4 miles an hour – then it only takes him about 40 hours. So, if he’s going about 3-4 miles an hour, it could take him anywhere from 40 to 53 hours of travel – not including sleeping or eating. Maybe he could eat on the journey – but he’d need to stop somewhere to sleep, and if we assume 8 hours of sleep a night, then that adds another sixteen hours to his journey.
All this to say that he had to go back even further than he originally left. So this is a huge undertaking, this going back.
After everything that has just happened, we only see Elijah fulfill one of the things that God commanded him to do. A part of me almost thinks he didn’t necessarily anoint the other two because we will see Elisha later appear and reveal these things to them – their kingships – and they don’t seem to have much of a clue about what’s going on. Or perhaps this is still early in Ahab’s twenty-two year reign. If so, the two might be toddlers and not remember the event at all.
Then again, so far the Bible has shown Elijah faithfully following the Lord’s commands whenever he hears them. This time, if he did, it doesn’t show it. Why? Because it is not as important as this scene. This scene is the culmination of Elijah’s journey to the mountaintop, which makes it hugely, vastly important. And this scene is God’s response to Elijah’s main cry of loneliness. Elisha is and will be the physical presence and constant reminder that Elijah is no longer alone.
In his loneliness, Elijah finds a companion in Elisha. My main, lingering question right now is this – what happened to Elijah’s servant? Is he still in Beersheba where Elijah left him? Or did Elijah pick him up along the way?
Things we do not necessarily get to know…not until heaven, at least!
Until my next post, you guys have a great day!