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by Wayne Blank
"Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah"
In the time of The Judges, Gideon routed the Midianite army that then "fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah":
"So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of The Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
Near the time his retirement, Elijah was becoming weary i.e. "he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life." He was instead miraculously empowered to fast forty days and forty nights, something that only two others are recorded in the Scriptures to have done (see The Forty Day Fasts).
"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
Nevertheless, The Lord decided that Elijah had fulfilled his time of service; Elijah was instructed to appoint his successor, Elisha of Abelmeholah.
"And The Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room." (1 Kings 19:15-16 KJV)
As always, Elijah obeyed The Lord; Elijah "cast his mantle" upon Elisha.
"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. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.
Fact Finder: When Elijah was taken away by a "chariot of fire," where did he go?