Dead Cows and Burned Plows

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke ofburning-plows oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.  Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.” 1 Kings 19:19-21 NIV

Elijah, a Prophet, was commanded by God to anoint several Kings as well as anoint Elisha as his protégé and successor. Until that time, Elisha was a farmer plowing his family fields, driving a team of oxen behind the plow. Just living his life.

In an instant his life is transformed when Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. At that time a man’s cloak was a prized possession. It served as his protection from the weather and any other dozen uses. But in this instance the cloak denoted the office of Prophet. The act of Elijah covering Elisha with his cloak was to show that he would be come Elijah’s successor. Elisha dropped what he was doing and ran after Elijah. But he stopped him and asked to be allowed to go back and say goodbye to his parents, to which Elijah agreed.

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