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The Last Days of Elisha

There was a king of Israel named Jehoash. He heard that the old prophet Elisha was ill and about to die, and went down to his home to see him.

When he came to the room of the prophet, he bent over him and said: "Oh, my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof!"

By this he meant that Elisha was not only a prophet of the Lord but was also a means of defence against the enemies of Israel.

"Take your bow and your arrows," ordered the prophet of the king. And the king took his bow and arrows.

"Put your hand upon the bow," and the king did that also.

"Now open the window," and the king opened the window.

The old prophet looked out of the window, and again said to Jehoash, "Shoot," and the king shot his arrow out of the window.

"The arrow of the Lord's deliverance from Syria," said Elisha, "for you shall smite the Syrians and consume them." Elisha then turned to King Jehoash and told him to take his arrows and strike upon the ground with them. Jehoash took the arrows and struck upon the ground three times and then stopped. The man of God was angry with the king for stopping and said to him:

"You should have struck the ground five or six times, then you would have smitten Syria until you had consumed it, whereas now you shall conquer them but three times."

Then Elisha died and they buried him. Not long afterwards the Moabites invaded the land, and a band of them came near the sepulchre of Elisha. The people were burying a man but when they saw the band of the Moabites coming, in their haste they cast the dead man into the sepulchre of Elisha. As soon as he touched the body of the prophet, behold, he was made alive again and stood upon his feet.

After the death of Elisha, Jehoash fought against the Syrians and took from them the cities which they had captured from the people of Judah. Three times did Jehoash defeat the Syrians, but was not able to completely subdue them, even as Elisha had foretold before his death. Then Jehoash died and his son, Jeroboam, became king of Israel.

Many years passed, during which the kingdom of Israel had rulers, moat of whom were wicked kings that did not serve the Lord. The people also followed the heathen nations that were around them, and worshiped false gods. The Lord sent prophets to warn them, and at times punished them for wicked deeds, and sometimes the people would return to the worship of the Lord, but not for long.

At last the Assyrians came up and besieged Samaria, the capital city of Israel, and after three years took it, and made captive all the people of Israel and carried many of them away to Assyria. The king of Assyria sent people from his own country to dwell in the cities of Israel, and to work the fields and vineyards. The ten tribes that had revolted and set up their kingdom were scattered abroad and we do not read that they ever returned to their own land.