Among the prophetic narratives in the book of Kings, the stories about the "men of God" Elijah and Elisha are by far the most elaborate. Elijah and Elisha are presented as closely connected; they even carry the same title: "chariot of Israel and its horses." In 2 Kgs 2:12 Elisha cries out to Elijah using the appellation; later the Israelite king expresses his despair at Elisha's death (2 Kgs 13:14) by addressing him in the same way. In the current narrative sequence, the title is one of the features that present Elisha as the successor of Elijah. Second Kings 2 depicts Elijah's ascent to heaven in a fiery chariot and explains why Elijah carries the title. While no similar explanation is given in the case of Elisha, the tradition history of the images shows that the title is more easily connected with the Elisha narratives than with the Elijah stories. Elisha is seen as a supporter of various Israelite kings in military conflicts, and the Elijah narratives show a dependency on the Elisha material. It is likely, therefore, that the title "chariot of Israel and its horses" originated in the Elisha tradition and was later transferred to Elijah. Accordingly, 2 Kgs 2 was intended not only to present Elijah as Elisha's predecessor but also to provide an explanation why Elijah carries the title.


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pp. 257-270
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