2 Kings 1–13

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 137–39


Introduction

Elijah and Elisha were remarkable prophets who served at a time when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were steeped in idolatry. They both performed great miracles, but relatively few Israelites were converted to the living God during their ministry. Miracles do not convert the faithless; they strengthen those with faith (see D&C 35:8–11; 63:7–12).

As you study 2 Kings 1–13, learn how the ancient Israelites felt about the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. Think about why prophets are often rejected in their own day and what we can learn about the importance of listening to living prophets.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Kings 1–4. The Lord “clothes” His chosen servants with authority and power. With that authority and power they are able to do many mighty works and teach us what the Lord wants us to know. (50–55 minutes)

Display a picture of the President of the Church and ask students if they will worry about the future of the Church when the prophet dies. Read the following testimony of President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a Counselor in the First Presidency:

“This is the work of God, our Eternal Father, who lives and rules in the universe. It is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, the Living Son of the Living God. It has been established upon the earth with divine authority, with a prophet and other leaders called through the voice of revelation and trained through long years of service. It will never fail. It will continue to succeed” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 80; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 60).

Ask students how we know who the next President of the Church is to be. Explain that after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord provided a special witness of who was to succeed Joseph as President of the Church (see Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2nd ed. [religion 341–43, 2000], pp. 291–93). Today, following the death of the President of the Church, the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the new prophet.

Have students read 2 Kings 2:1–15 and tell what the Lord did to let Elisha and the sons of the prophets know that Elisha was to succeed Elijah. If needed, ask the following questions:

  • What did Elisha mean when he asked for a “double portion of [Elijah’s] spirit”? (see Deuteronomy 21:17).

  • What did Elijah’s mantle symbolize? (see the commentary for 2 Kings 2:14 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 64.)

  • Why was it important to show the sons of the prophets that “the spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:15)?

The lives of ancient prophets sometimes foreshadowed the life and mission of the Savior. Review the following miracles of Elisha. Have students look for how they are similar to those performed by Jesus Christ:

Tell students that in addition to being types of the Savior’s mortal ministry, the lives of Elijah and Elisha prefigure some of the works of the Savior’s Church in the latter days. Make a copy of the following chart to display or as a handout (partially adapted from Lenet Hadley Read, “Elijah and Elisha,” Ensign, Mar. 1988, 24–28). Have students take turns reading each item and encourage them to highlight the references in their scriptures.

Elijah and Elisha

The Church in the Latter Days

Elijah had power to seal and unseal the heavens (see 1 Kings 17:1).

In 1836 the Savior sent Elijah to restore the keys of the sealing power to the Church (see D&C 110:13–16).

The Lord sent ravens to feed Elijah during a famine (see 1 Kings 17:4).

The Lord nourishes the Church with revelation, powers, and blessings during this worldwide spiritual famine (for example, see D&C 110).

Elijah multiplied oil and flour to save the lives of the widowed and the fatherless (see 1 Kings 17:9–16).

Those who have not come unto Savior are spiritually widowed and fatherless—they are cut off from Jesus Christ, who is the Bridegroom, and from Heavenly Father. Those who receive Jesus Christ and His gospel are given power to become the sons and daughters of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (see John 1:12; Romans 8:16–17; D&C 39:4).

Both Elijah and Elisha raised the dead (see 1 Kings 17:17–23; 2 Kings 4:14–37; 13:20–21).

Because of His Atonement and Resurrection, Jesus Christ will raise all people from physical and spiritual death (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–22; Mosiah 16:7–8). He also called prophets and restored His Church to invite all to come unto Him and be raised from spiritual death (see D&C 1).

At an altar on Mount Carmel, Elijah reminded ancient Israel of the covenants they had made with the one true God (see 1 Kings 18:19–39).

In the latter days, Elijah restored keys that allow modern Israel to make eternal covenants with the Lord at altars in temples (see D&C 110:13–16).

Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume the wicked but spared the humble and obedient (see 2 Kings 1:9–15).

At the Second Coming, fire will destroy the wicked, but the righteous will be spared (see 1 Nephi 22:17; Joseph Smith—History 1:37).

Elisha healed the waters of Jericho so that they would no longer cause death or barren ground (2 Kings 2:19–22).

At the Savior’s Second Coming, this world will return to its paradisiacal glory, ending its telestial state (see Isaiah 11:6–9; Articles of Faith 1:10).

Elisha multiplied oil to ransom the faithful widow and her children, who were hopelessly in debt (see 2 Kings 4:1–7).

In Gethsemane, which means “oil press,” and on the cross, Christ paid for the sins of all mankind, including the people of the latter days, because we are all hopelessly in debt spiritually (see Matthew 20:28; Mosiah 16:4–5).

Elisha healed poisoned pottage and multiplied bread for one hundred faithful people (see 2 Kings 4:38–44).

Jesus Christ restored His Church on the earth. Part of the mission of the restored Church is to take the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, to all the world (see John 6:33–35; D&C 84:62).

Naaman, a Syrian, went to Elisha, the servant of the God of Israel, and was healed of his leprosy by washing in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:1–14).

All people receive the saving ordinances of the gospel from servants of God in modern Israel (see D&C 22; Articles of Faith 1:5).

Elisha blinded the eyes of the wicked and opened the eyes of the faithful (see 2 Kings 6:15–18).

The wicked are spiritually blind, but the righteous see and understand and are saved (see Matthew 13:10–17).

As students discover the symbolism in the lives of Elijah and Elisha, ask them how it testifies that the “mantle” of authority has been passed on and given to the Lord’s chosen servants in the latter days.

2 Kings 2:11. Elijah was translated and taken up to heaven so he could return and restore keys of the sealing power of the priesthood. Translated beings are changed in mortality so that they are not subject to physical pain and death, but that change is not the same as the change to immortality that occurs at the Resurrection. (15–20 minutes)

Read 3 Nephi 28:7–9, 36–40 and have students identify some of the characteristics of translated beings. List them on the board. Read 2 Kings 2:11 and look for who that verse says was translated. Ask students why they think Elijah was translated (see the commentary for 2 Kings 2:11 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 64). Read Malachi 4:5–6; Matthew 17:3; and Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16 and have students write them as cross-references for 2 Kings 2:11. Discuss how Elijah fulfilled the prophecy in Malachi 4:5–6.

weekly icon 2 Kings 5. Great blessings come to those who follow inspired counsel. (35–45 minutes)

Ask students:

  • When is it absolutely necessary to follow directions? (For example, repairing an engine, following a map, or playing a difficult piece of music.)

  • What usually happens when we fail to follow directions?

  • If you were deathly ill and a prophet gave you directions on how to be healed, would you follow them?

  • What if you considered his directions unusual or odd?

Explain that someone in the Old Testament had an experience like that with a prophet’s instructions. Read 2 Kings 5:1–14 with your students and discuss the following questions:

  • What part did pride play in Naaman’s refusal to bathe in the Jordan River? (see vv. 11–12).

  • How did Naaman’s servant convince him to follow Elisha’s direction?

  • What happened when he did what the prophet said?

Have students read Mosiah 3:19 and discuss how it applies to Naaman. Share the following statement by Elder Victor L. Brown, who was then a member of the Seventy:

“Naaman being a man of high position was insulted that Elisha would send a messenger and not show him the respect of coming himself. In addition, the simple nature of the message offended him. …

“Naaman needed to have the faith of a child to be obedient as a child before his flesh became clean as a little child’s” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 19; or Ensign, May 1985, 16).

Ask students:

  • How do people today sometimes rationalize counsel?

  • How is that like Naaman?

  • What does the story of Naaman and his servant teach us about the counsel of prophets?

Give each student a copy of the following statement by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Do not let pride stand in your way. The way of the gospel is a simple way. Some of the requirements may appear to you as elementary and unnecessary. Do not spurn them. Humble yourselves and walk in obedience. I promise that the results that follow will be marvelous to behold and satisfying to experience” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1976, 143; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, 96).

Write Obedience is the first law of heaven on the board. Ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“Obedience is the first law of heaven. All progression, all perfection, all salvation, all godliness, all that is right and just and true, all good things come to those who live the laws of Him who is Eternal. There is nothing in all eternity more important than to keep the commandments of God” (The Promised Messiah, 126).

Discuss the importance of obedience even when we may not understand all the reasons God asks us to be obedient. Remind students how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac and that the Israelites were told to put lamb’s blood around their doors in Egypt. Ask:

  • What blessings came to those people for their obedience?

  • What have the prophets asked us to do in our day that some may think unnecessary or senseless?

  • What blessings come to people who keep those commandments?

Have students read 2 Kings 5:15–27 and look for what Elisha’s servant Gehazi did (see the commentary for 2 Kings 5:15–16, 20–26 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, pp. 75–76). Ask:

  • Why was Gehazi punished for what he did?

  • What does this story teach us about why those who are truly the Lord’s servants do His work? (see 2 Nephi 26:29–31).

2 Kings 6:1–23. The Lord is concerned with the hopes and fears of all of His children, and He will send the help necessary to accomplish His will. (15–30 minutes)

Have students do activity A for 2 Kings 6–7 in their student study guides (p. 114), and discuss their answers. As you discuss 2 Kings 6:1–7, consider the following questions:

  • Why was the axe head important to the man who lost it?

  • Why do you think Elisha used God’s power to help retrieve the axe head? (see the commentary for 2 Kings 6:1–7 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 76).

Consider sharing experiences when the Lord helped you with problems that were not very important to others but were very important to you. (Remember that sacred experiences should only be shared when your class is spiritually prepared to receive them.) Invite students to share similar experiences they have had. Read the following statement by President George Q. Cannon, who was a member of the First Presidency:

“We humble people, we who sometimes feel ourselves so worthless, so good-for-nothing, we are not so worthless as we think. There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes and in the eyes of others but the truth remains that we are the children of God and that He has actually given his angels—invisible beings of power and might—charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1974], 1:2).

As you discuss 2 Kings 6:8–23, ask students how we can apply the phrase “they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (v. 16) to our day. Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:7 and 84:88 and share the following testimony by Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“In these times of widespread commotion, disorder, unrest, agitation, and insurrection, the hearts of many will fail. (D&C 45:26; 88:91.) Others will be sorely tried but will, in their extremities, seek succor from seers as did the anxious young man who approached the prophet Elijah as ancient Israel was surrounded: ‘Alas, my master! how shall we do?’ The answer of today’s prophets will be the same: ‘Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.’ Only when we are settled spiritually can we understand that kind of arithmetic. Only then will our eyes, like the young man’s, be opened” (We Will Prove Them Herewith, 19).

Ask: What do you think Elder Maxwell meant when he spoke of being “settled spiritually”? How can we achieve it?

2 Kings 6–13. Unrighteous leaders often lead their people to sin. Both Israel and Judah suffered because of wicked kings. (15–20 minutes)

Re-create the following chart on the board or on a poster or transparency. Include twenty empty rows on the chart so information can be added as you study 2 Kings. This chart can easily be updated as you continue to study 2 Kings (see the teachings uggestions for 2 Kings 14–19 and 2 Kings 20–25).

Kings of Israel

Wicked or faithful?

Scripture references

Kings of Judah

Wicked or faithful?

Scripture references

Divide the class into seven groups and assign each group one of the following kings. Give them ten minutes to study the scripture references for their king, have them prepare and present a one-minute overview of the king’s life, and have them fill in an entry for their king on the chart. (A complete listing of the kings of Israel and Judah can be found in “The Kings and the Prophets of Israel and Judah,” pp. 232–35, and Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 43.)

Read Mosiah 29:16–18 and discuss the effects of having a wicked king as opposed to a righteous king. Ask students:

  • During which king’s rule would you have preferred to live in Israel? in Judah? Why?

  • What does 2 Kings 6–13 teach that is important or helpful for our day?

  • What can we do to sustain our Church leaders? (see D&C 107:22).