There were fifty strong men among them, capable of enduring any fatigue, and equal to any work or burden. Might these not go to search whether peradventure the Spirit of Jehovah had not uplifted and then cast Elijah into some remote corner of that desolate and rocky region near Jericho? 1It will be remembered that Christian legend has placed the scene of the temptation in that neighborhood - it need scarcely be said, contrary not only to the requirements of the Gospel narratives, but to the facts recorded about our Lord’s ministry in Galilee immediately after His baptism.
To men who entertained such notions, it would have been impossible to communicate even what Elisha had witnessed, still less its predicted import to himself. Accordingly he contented himself with a simple negative to their request. And this should have taught them what was the first duty as well as qualification alike of a prophet and of the sons of the prophet: simple, unquestioning obedience. But, like many of us, in the process of our personal sanctification, they had to learn it by painful experience. Their insistence at last made him “ashamed,” 2Bahr would render the Hebrew expression by “till he was disappointed,” viz., in his hope of dissuading them. But all the passages in the Psalms to which he refers mean “to be ashamed,” although in consequence of being disappointed in hope. In the other passages quoted by that critic (Judges 3:25; 2 Kings 8:11), the term could not possibly mean, disappointed in hope. since it might seem as if he felt less concern for his master than they, and he yielded to their importunity.
When after three daysunavailing search they returned to Jericho, he reminded them of his first refusal—although for reasons which need not be repeated, he did not even then communicate to them what he had witnessed. But ever afterwards a spirit of willing submission to Elisha prevailed among the sons of the prophets.
2. The next requisite seemed to make such public manifestation of his prophetic authority as would secure for his message the faith and submission of the people. Besides, this was necessary in the contest with Baal, whose worship, if it had been finally established, would, so to speak, have denationalized Israel, even as it ultimately led to that banishment which has not yet been recalled. It was of absolute importance that the presence of Jehovah