|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-8 The Lord had let Elijah know that his time was at hand. He therefore went to the different schools of the prophets to give them his last exhortations and blessing. The removal of Elijah was a type and figure of the ascension of Christ, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Elisha had long followed Elijah, and he would not leave him now when he hoped for the parting blessing. Let not those who follow Christ come short by tiring at last. The waters of Jordan, of old, yielded to the ark; now, to the prophet's mantle, as a token of God's presence. When God will take up his faithful ones to heaven, death is the Jordan which they must pass through, and they find a way through it. The death of Christ has divided those waters, that the ransomed of the Lord may pass over. O death, where is thy sting, thy hurt, thy terror!
Verse 7. - And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view. It is a harsh judgment to blame the "sons of the prophets" for an idle and shallow curiosity in merely "standing" at a distance "to view" the wonderful event, which Elisha was determined to witness as closely, and associate himself with as intimately, as possible. For the sons of the prophets to have approached nearer, and hung on the skirts of Elijah, would have been an impertinence, Elisha's persistence is only justified by his strong affection, and the special office which he held, of attendant minister. The fifty students showed a courteous sense of what was due to the prophet's desire of seclusion by not pressing on his footsteps, and at the same time a real interest in him, and a reasonable curiosity, by quitting their college and "standing to view" on some eminence which commanded a prospect of the lower Jordan valley. There were many such eminences within a short distance of Jericho. And they two stood by Jordan. At length all other human companionship was shaken off - "they two" stood, side by side, on the banks of the sacred stream, which had played so important a part, and was still to play so far more important a part, in the theocratic history. All the world, except their two selves, was remote - was beyond their ken; the master and the servant, the prophet of the past and the prophet of the coming generation, were together, with none to disturb them, or interfere between them, or separate them. Jordan rolled its waters before their eyes, a seeming barrier to further advance; and Elisha may naturally have looked to see the final scene transacted in that "plain below a plain," the Jordan bed, sunk beneath the general level of the Ghor, green with lush grass and aquatic plants, and with beds of reeds and osiers, but squalid with long stretches of mud and masses of decaying vegetation, brought down from the upper river, and with rotting trunks of trees torn from the banks higher up. But the end was not yet. Jordan was to be crossed, and the ascension to take place from the plain whence Moses, when about to quit earth, had made his ascent to Pisgah.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off,.... To have a view, if they could, of the assumption of Elijah to heaven, and be witnesses of it:
and they two stood by Jordan; on the banks of it, even Elijah and Elisha.
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