The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 11—The Last Prophets of Israel

Through the loyal and long-continued efforts of Elijah, Elisha, and other contemporary prophets, the Lord prevented Ahab and Jezebel from establishing Syrian idolatry fully and permanently in Israel. The stern messages delivered by Elijah, the judgments of God that fell upon the house of Ahab, and the inspiring messages and beneficent miracles of Elisha, made a profound impression upon the nation. Great numbers were awakened and saved from idolatry and eternal ruin. AGP 118.1

Kings, princes, high officials, priests, and people gave the prophets more respectful consideration than they had received for two centuries. Elisha traveled throughout the kingdom with the greatest freedom. Rulers conferred with him regarding their serious problems. The people welcomed him wherever he journeyed. Many gave heed to his instruction. The general esteem in which he was held is revealed by King Joash when he heard that “Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.” 2 Kings 13:14. The king hastened to the bedside of the dying prophet, and when he came into his presence, he “wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” Verse 14. AGP 118.2

This high regard manifested by King Joash for the dying prophet, so vastly different from the former violent opposition of Ahab and Jezebel to Elijah, shows that the way had been prepared for a great reformation, and for the complete restoration of Israel to their true Sovereign and loving Lord. Elijah’s sacrificial life had not been spent in vain. It had arrested the apostasy, and turned the nation in the right direction. AGP 118.3

But the response was not full. The stand for entire reformation was not firm, not absolute. King Joash, who had expressed so clearly his sense of the great loss Elisha’s death would be to the nation, failed to make the reformation in his own life that Elisha’s messages called for. He could not, therefore, like good King Hezekiah of Judah, lead the people into the glorious reformation for which full preparation had been made. AGP 118.4

King Joash survived the death of Elisha ten or twelve years. During that time he gained the three victories Elisha said he would win in his conflicts with Ben-hadad, king of Syria. (See 2 Kings 13:19, 25.) Of his reign it was written: “He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: but he walked therein.” 2 Kings 13:11. AGP 119.1