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ELISHA (Late 9th century B.C.E.).

Biblical prophet on whose shoulders Elijah placed his mantle as his successor (I Kings 19:19). Elisha was the son of a wealthy landowner who lived east of the Jordan. Like Elijah, he wanted to rid Israel of Baal worship. He therefore secretly anointed Jehu, a general in the army, as king of Israel. Jehu led a revolt against Jehoram, son of Ahab, destroying him as well as his mother Jezebel, the idolatrous queen. Then Jehu exterminated the priests of Baal.

Elisha mingled with the people, helping them and winning their love. No other prophet in Israel is reputed to have performed as many miracles as Elisha. He is said to have divided the waters of the Jordan, resurrected a child, and healed the Syrian captain Naaman of leprosy. The many stories of Elisha’s miracle-working reflect the people’s love for the prophet who healed the sick and helped the poor. (II Kings 1-9:4, 13:14-21.)

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