2 Kings 2:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied.

New Living Translation
When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away." And Elisha replied, "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor."

English Standard Version
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”

New American Standard Bible
When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me."

King James Bible
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken from you." So Elisha answered, "Please, let me inherit two shares of your spirit."

International Standard Version
When they had crossed the Jordan River, Elijah invited Elisha, "Ask me what you want me to do for you before I'm taken away from you." So Elisha asked, "Please, may there be a double portion of your spirit upon me!"

NET Bible
When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "What can I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha answered, "May I receive a double portion of the prophetic spirit that energizes you."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
While they were crossing, Elijah asked Elisha, "What should I do for you before I'm taken from you?" Elisha answered, "Let me inherit a double share of your spirit."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when they had gone over, Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee before I am taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

King James 2000 Bible
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you. And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.

American King James Version
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you. And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be on me.

American Standard Version
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when they were gone over, Elias said to Eliseus: Ask what thou wilt have me to do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Eliseus said: I beseech thee that in me may be thy double spirit.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass when they had gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

English Revised Version
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when they had gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

World English Bible
It happened, when they had gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be on me."

Young's Literal Translation
And it cometh to pass, at their passing over, that Elijah hath said unto Elisha, 'Ask, what do I do for thee before I am taken from thee?' and Elisha saith, 'Then let there be, I pray thee, a double portion of thy spirit unto me;'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:9-12 That fulness, from whence prophets and apostles had all their supply, still exists as of old, and we are told to ask large supplies from it. Diligent attendance upon Elijah, particularly in his last hours, would be proper means for Elisha to obtain much of his spirit. The comforts of departing saints, and their experiences, help both to gild our comforts and to strengthen our resolutions. Elijah is carried to heaven in a fiery chariot. Many questions might be asked about this, which could not be answered. Let it suffice that we are told, what his Lord, when he came, found him doing. He was engaged in serious discourse, encouraging and directing Elisha about the kingdom of God among men. We mistake, if we think preparation for heaven is carried on only by contemplation and acts of devotion. The chariot and horses appeared like fire, something very glorious, not for burning, but brightness. By the manner in which Elijah and Enoch were taken from this world, God gave a glimpse of the eternal life brought to light by the gospel, of the glory reserved for the bodies of the saints, and of the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. It was also a figure of Christ's ascension. Though Elijah was gone triumphantly to heaven, yet this world could ill spare him. Surely their hearts are hard, who feel not, when God, by taking away faithful, useful men, calls for weeping and mourning. Elijah was to Israel, by his counsels, reproofs, and prayers, better than the strongest force of chariot and horse, and kept off the judgments of God. Christ bequeathed to his disciples his precious gospel, like Elijah's mantle; the token of the Divine power being exerted to overturn the empire of Satan, and to set up the kingdom of God in the world. The same gospel remains with us, though the miraculous powers are withdrawn, and it has Divine strength for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9. - And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. Elijah knows that the time is growing now very short. He will soon have left the earth. A yearning comes over him, before he goes, to leave his faithful follower, his trusty, persevering adherent, some parting gift, some token of his appreciation, some sign of his love. What does his "minister" desire? Let him ask what he will, and his master will, if it be possible, grant it. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. Elisha's request has been variously explained. The older commentators regarded him as having asked for twice as much spiritual and prophetical power as Elijah had possessed; and this interpretation is certainly favored by the reply of Elijah, as recorded in the next verse. But it is objected

(1) that Elisha's modesty would prevent him from asking so much; and

(2) that double the spirit and power of Elijah certainly did not rest upon him.

This latter fact is quite undeniable. As Keil says, "It is only a quite external and superficial view of the career of Elisha that can see in it a proof that double the spirit of Elijah rested upon him" ('Commentary on Kings,' ad loc.). To one who looks beneath the surface, and regards something besides length of life and number of miracles, Elisha is a very faint and feeble replica of Elijah. Ewald's judgment is here correct: "Elisha is great only so far as he continues and carries out with more force than any other man of his time the work which Elijah had begun with new and wonderful power... he did not possess any such intensity of inward power as his master" ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 82, Eng. trans.). Accordingly, Ewald, rejecting the old explanation, suggests one of his own - that Elisha asked for "two thirds of Elijah's spirit" (ibid., p. 81); but this would be a very strange and unusual request, even if the Hebrew could be made to mean it. Who ever asks for two-thirds of a thing? The third explanation, to which most modern commentators incline (Keil, Thenius, Patrick, Clarke, Pool, Bottcher), is that Elisha merely requested that he might receive twice as much of Elijah's spirit as should be received by any other of the "sons of the prophets." He made a reference to Deuteronomy 21:17, and asked for the "double portion" (literally, "double mouthful") which was the right of an eldest son. The only objection to this view is Elijah's answer (see the next verse).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And it came to pass, when they were gone over,.... Had got on the other side Jordan:

that Elijah said unto Elisha, ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken from thee; for, having followed him so closely, he now made no more a secret of his assumption, and having had full trial of his attachment to him, and affection for him:

and Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me; the two parts of the gifts of the spirit he had, that of prophecy, and that of doing miracles, as some think; or two parts out of three of what Elijah was possessed of; or rather double as much, and which he might desire, not from a spirit of vanity and ambition to be greater than his master, but from an eagerness to promote the glory of God, and the interest of religion, to reclaim the Israelites from their idolatry, and establish the true religion, which he might observe Elijah was not able to do with that measure of grace and gifts he had; or however this phrase denotes an abundance, a large portion or measure, as it everywhere does. Many, after Ben Gersom, have thought it refers to the double portion of the firstborn, and that Elisha does not mean a double portion with respect to Elijah, but with respect to the junior prophets, with whom he might be considered as a firstborn, and so desired a double or greater portion than they, and which may be most correct (m); and when he asked this, he did not suppose it was in Elijah's power to give him it, only that he would pray to God, at parting with him, that he would bestow it on him.

(m) See Weemse of the Moral Law, l. 2. c. 7. p. 41.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee—trusting either that it would be in his power to bequeath it, or that God, at his entreaty, would grant it.

let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me—This request was not, as is commonly supposed, for the power of working miracles exceeding the magnitude and number of his master's, nor does it mean a higher endowment of the prophetic spirit; for Elisha was neither superior to, nor perhaps equally great with, his predecessor. But the phrase, "a double portion," was applied to the first-born [De 21:17], and therefore Elisha's request was, simply, to be heir to the prophetic office and gifts of his master.

2 Kings 2:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
Elijah Taken to Heaven
8Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." 10He said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so."…
Cross References
Numbers 11:17
I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

Deuteronomy 21:17
He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father's strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.

1 Kings 19:16
Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
Treasury of Scripture

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you. And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be on me.

Ask what

2 Kings 13:14-19 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash …

Numbers 27:16-23 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over …

Deuteronomy 34:9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses …

1 Chronicles 29:18,19 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers…

Psalm 72:1,20 Give the king your judgments, O God, and your righteousness to the king's son…

Luke 24:45-51 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures…

John 17:9-13 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which you …

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on …

Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Acts 20:25-36 And now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching …

Elisha said

Numbers 11:17,25 And I will come down and talk with you there: and I will take of …

1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your …

2 Chronicles 1:9,10 Now, O LORD God, let your promise to David my father be established…

John 14:12-14 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that …

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I …

1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.

a double portion This probably refers to the law respecting the first-born, who had a double portion of the property of his father. As Elisha may have considered himself as the first-born of Elijah, so he requested a double portion of his spiritual influence.

Numbers 27:20 And you shall put some of your honor on him, that all the congregation …

Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, …

Zechariah 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, you prisoners of hope: even to day do …

Zechariah 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and …

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, …

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