The Historicity of 1 & 2 Kings (Specifically Elijah's "Assumption")


#1

So the other day I did something I usually don’t like doing… engaging in the comment section of a news post. I had an exchange (I won’t even call it a discussion since the two “Christians” were less than charitable) that got into Mary’s assumption. One person said right off the bat, to not even mention Elijah or Enoch because the parallels aren’t valid, saying:

“The myths of Enoch and Elijah don’t prove anything. The individuals probably never existed and the stories about them probably have little, if any basis in fact.” He then went on to say something quite ridiculous when I asked him if he was even a Christian, saying, “Christianity does not require belief in the factual validity of Hebrew mythology.”

:ehh:

I then mentioned the Transfiguration, where Elijah appeared with our Lord, to which he had no direct reply. Then the other person chimes in with:

“Elijah went up in a chariot - laughable. Elijah didn’t die - Mary is said to have. Does that make Elijah one step holier than Mary? It’s all made up stories. Have you ever read the background? More smoke and mirrors. It’s so ridiculous it can’t be taken seriously.”

So here’s my question? Does anyone know a good source, or know off hand, the historicity of the two Books of Kings, specifically the passage where Elijah is taken up in the chariot? As a Catholic, I’ve never heard any interpretation other than that this was to be taken literally. I understand that the author of Kings took some liberties with the story, as these Books are not to be taken as straight history. But it seems like these two persons seem to doubt in anything spiritual as many Biblical scholars seem to in this age. If one thinks the story of Elijah is “smoke and mirrors” then what does one, as a Christian, call the story of Christ’s death and Resurrection?

I found this on the USCCB’s site regarding the passage with Elijah and the chariot, which I assume is taken from the NAB:

The story of Elisha’s succession to Elijah’s prophetic office is oddly set between the death of Ahaziah (1:17) and the accession of his successor (3:1). The effect is to place this scene, which is the central scene in the whole of 1–2 Kings, outside of time.** It thereby becomes almost mythic in its import **and reminds us that, behind the transitory flow of kings and kingdoms, stand the eternal word of God and the prophets who give it voice. Just as 1–2 Kings pivots on this chapter, so this scene too is concentrically constructed. Together Elijah and Elisha journey to Bethel, thence to Jericho, and thence across the Jordan. There Elijah is taken up in the whirlwind and Elijah’s mantle of power comes to Elisha. Now alone, Elisha crosses the Jordan again, returns to Jericho and thence back to Bethel.

So does the Church have an official stance on the story of Elijah? Is there actually an interpretation saying all of this was allegorical, because I’ve seen no evidence of that.

I’m just curious to know where these two got there information, and how to debunk it as I’ve always believed (and still do until otherwise shown) that the “assumption” of Elijah was literal. Would that be the Church’s interpretation?


#2

From the Apologetics Study Bible Introduction to Kings.

Introduction to 1 and 2 Kings

[LEFT]AUTHOR[/LEFT]
The books of 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts. They are the account of Israel and Judah from the final days of King David to the fall of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar in 597/6 B.C. They both comprise one complete narrative and exhibit the same literary characteristics. From a contemporary perspective, they are the closest to what we would call “history” in the modern sense, but with important differences noted below. The Septuagint (LXX) first divided the book into two, possibly because the Greek text required more space than the Hebrew. Various Greek and Latin manuscripts divide the text at different points, showing that there was no tradition of two books of Kings and that the division was made arbitrarily. The LXX gives 1 and 2 Kings the titles “Third and Fourth Kingdoms,” respectively. The compilers of this ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible evidently considered Samuel and Kings as one narrative split into four parts. Hebrew manuscripts, however, are unanimous in keeping Samuel and Kings as two separate books.
The authorship of 1 and 2 Kings, their literary style, and the principles used in their composition are linked together. The author or authors do not identify themselves, but the books consistently evaluate each king based upon the same moral criterion: How faithful was the king to the law of Moses, and especially to the requirements of the law as recorded in the book of Deuteronomy? If we assume a single author—as is mostly likely, given the books’ consistent historiography—then the author lived during or after the final events recorded in the book, that is, during or after the seventy years of Israel’s exile.
So who wrote the books of Kings? Jewish tradition (Talmud: Baba Bathra15a) attributes the books to Jeremiah, because 2 Kings 24:18–25:30 is repeated in Jeremiah 52. Certainly the focus upon the kings’ faithfulness to

[FONT=Sylfaen]Yahweh (or lack of it) fits a concern evident in Jeremiah. Against this conclusion is the fact that the account in Kings of the deportation and imprisonment of Jehoiachin (2 Kg 24:8-17) appears to have been written from Babylon, whereas Jeremiah was in Egypt at that time. We assume that the author or authors lived sometime during the final years of Judah since that is the time when the narrative ends. He or they presumably lived during the exilic period of Israel’s history, and so would have been either contemporaneous with or younger than Jeremiah.
Because there are verbal differences between the parallel passages of 2 Kings and Jeremiah, these suggest that both were copied from a larger common written source, perhaps the book of Deuteronomy since the list of phrases and expressions common to 1 and 2 Kings and Deuteronomy is extensive. This fact has led to a theory that Kings was edited by the same group of priests that edited Moses’ sermons into Deuteronomy. But there is a fundamental difference between the two books. Deuteronomy presents the lessons history teaches us (“Learn from your parents’ mistakes in Egypt and in the wilderness!”), while the books of Kings are much more concerned about the covenant and how closely the king and people followed it.
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#3

[LEFT][FONT=Sylfaen]PURPOSE[/LEFT]
Why were the books of Kings written? The answer lies in another question: What kind of historian was the author and what principles of composition and historiography did he use? The author’s purposes are revealed in the choices he made in the selection and arrangement of the events he chose to narrate, as well in explicit editorial comments made about those events.
Stepping back and looking at the sweep of the narration, we see a special emphasis upon David’s last days and Solomon’s achievements as kings. Then, beginning with Jeroboam I (1 Kg 12:25) of Israel, the northern kingdom, the author moves on to cover events contemporaneous with Jeroboam. He continues to narrate reigns in Judah until the death of Asa. After Asa, the author alternates his narration between the northern and southern kingdoms. This pattern shows the author’s purpose: to compare and contrast the two

kingdoms in light of God’s plan for Israel and how well they followed the Deuteronomic ideal for kings and kingdoms. The narration of each individual king has a similar literary pattern: (1) correlation of the date of the reigns of the two kingdoms: the name of the ruler, age at accession to rule, length of reign, name of the ruler’s mother; (2) the author’s theological assessment of the ruler: Did he follow the law of Moses or not? The literary pattern varies depending upon dynastic changes, especially frequent in the northern kingdom.
[LEFT]POLITICS AND HISTORY[/LEFT]
What can we deduce from the author’s choices in crafting his narration? First, the books of Kings present a different picture of Israel than one gets from contemporary records of other nations. For example, Omri is given only seven verses
(1 Kg 16:21-27) for his reign and accomplishments, but he was mentioned in Assyrian documents and was one of the most “important” rulers of the northern kingdom in terms of political and economic achievements. But the author of 2 Kings dismisses Omri as unimportant. Hezekiah is given three chapters (2 Kg 18–20), but the reign of Jereboam II—accounted by many as a true Golden Age for Israel—is told in just eight verses (2 Kg 13:13; 14:16,23,27-29; 15:1,8).
From a political standpoint, Omri and Jereboam II are important figures, but they are treated in just a few short verses. On the other hand, the short ministries of Elijah and Elisha comprise nearly one-third of the books. The author’s purpose is not to present a complete history of Israel but to emphasize certain events to support a specific interpretation of that history. He wanted to show how the kings led the nations to obedience to the Mosaic law or, more frequently, led them away from obedience and how God dealt with the nation and individuals as a result. He selected events and details that were relevant to that purpose. The books of Kings are the author’s reflection on the history of the monarchy. The human king of a theocracy had responsibilities laid out in Deuteronomy. The author is concerned to show how it worked out, in accordance with the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy.
The principles that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings

disaster, and that God is active in the judging of individuals and nations on the basis of the covenant are used by the author as his criteria for evaluation of the kings of Israel and Judah. For example, the author consistently condemns kings for allowing the worship of Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility on the “high places” (e.g. 2 Kg 17:9-10; see Dt 16:21). The emphasis on Ahab’s reign is due to his marriage to Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, and allowing her to introduce the worship of Phoenician gods into Israel (1 Kg 16:30-33). In contrast, the author reserves his unqualified praise only for Hezekiah (2 Kg 18:3-7) and Josiah (2 Kg 22:2) because they removed the high places and restored national worship to conform to Mosaic prescriptions. He gives qualified commendation to Asa (1 Kg 15:11-14), Jehoshaphat (1 Kg 22:43), Joash (2 Kg 12:2-3), Azariah (2 Kg 15:3-4), and Jotham (2 Kg 15:34-35) for generally following Deuteronomic prescriptions, but explicitly complains about their failure to remove the high places.

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#4

[LEFT][FONT=Sylfaen]WHAT SOURCES DID THE WRITER OF 1 AND 2 KINGS USE?[/LEFT]
The books of 1 and 2 Kings are not completely original documents. The author may be described as a compiler of information about Israel’s kings who then evaluated each king according to certain religious and moral principles. The text itself mentions at least three sources. The first source is theBook of Solomon’s Events (1 Kg 11:41), which contained contemporary events, biographical material, and extracts from the records in the temple archives. Scholars have assigned various parts of 1 Kings to this source: Solomon’s marriage with an Egyptian princess (1 Kg 3:1), judgment of the dispute over a newborn infant (1 Kg 3:16-28), lists of court officials (1 Kg 4:1-6) and government administrators (1 Kg 4:7-19,27), the treaty with Hiram of Tyre and preparations for building the temple (1 Kg 5:1-18), construction of the temple (1 Kg 6:1–7:51), the dedication of the temple (1 Kg 8:1-66), additional relations between Hiram and Solomon (1 Kg 9:11-14), the construction of terraces (1 Kg 9:24), the wisdom of Solomon and the visit of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kg 9:26–10:29), and possibly the story of two enemies of Solomon (1 Kg 11:14-25).
The second source, the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings, records events
from the time of Jeroboam I to Pekah (1 Kg 14:19—2 Kg 15:31) and is explicitly cited 18 times as a source. It contained not only current events, but also official records of significant political happenings and other memorable events from each reign.
The Historical Record of Judah’s Kings is the third source used for much of the material in 1 Kg 14:29—2 Kg 24:5, covering events from Solomon’s son Rehoboam and the dividing of the kingdom into two parts until the reign of Jehoiakim. It is cited 15 times as the author’s source. These are apparently extracts from court records of state archives in Jerusalem. Although this source is not explicitly mentioned, scholars have ascribed the reigns of Ahaziah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah to it; interestingly, their deaths and burials are not recorded, unlike the other kings of Judah. Some have also included Athaliah (2 Kg 11:1), who usurped the throne and ruled for seven years, as well as the construction projects of Asa
(1 Kg 15:23), the wars of Jehoshaphat (1 Kg 22:45), and the conduit of Hezekiah
(2 Kg 20:20).
There is the possibility that the author of Kings used other, unidentified sources. There are passages which are tightly composed and appear to be stand on their own as literary units. While only speculation, these literary units might include court records of David (1 Kg 1–2), three “cycles” of tradition for Elijah, Elisha, and Ahab: (1) the Elijah stories (1 Kg 17–19; 21; 2 Kg 1), which are very political and polemic; (2) the Elisha stories (2 Kg 2–13), which focus more upon the needs of religious groups and individuals and the narratives of the wars against Mesha, King of Moab (2 Kg 3:4-27).
The Elisha stories are integrated into the account of Jehoram, second son of Ahab, king of Israel. They are not in chronological order, and the name of the Israelite ruler is unmentioned (deliberately?), so it is not clear which of the Elisha stories actually occurred during the reign of Jehoram. Perhaps this reflects an attitude that the northern kingdom, Israel, had already been rejected by God because of their failure to respond in faith to the clear demonstration of the Lord’s reality and power by Elijah on Mount Carmel.
Some postulate an “Ahab source” (1 Kg 20; 22:1-38), but in what way it is different from the Elijah source is difficult to say. The Ahab narratives exhibit a consistent antagonism to the Arameans (1 Kg 20:42), but this is hardly grounds for distinguishing it from the Elijah source. The evidence simply does not allow it. Conclusions based upon this kind of “internal” evidence are subjective at best, and speculative at worst.
However, there is one further source that forces itself on our attention—the so-called “Isaiah source” (2 Kg 18:1–20:20). So named because it is almost a word-for-word parallel to Isaiah 36–39; either the exilic author of 2 Kings quoted from this eighth century B.C. prophet, or both cited a common source. Since 2 Kings 20:20 refers the reader to the *Historical Record of Judah’s Kings *for further information about Hezekiah’s reign, it is possible, even likely, that this is the common source. However, 2 Chronicles 32:32 refers to the Visions of the Prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, and the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel as a source separate from the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. While not completely certain, it is most likely the author of Kings copied his text from Isaiah directly.[/FONT]


#5

I’ll continue to hold that the “assumptions” of Elijah and Enoch are true until a serious reason is presented to believe otherwise; someone simply saying “it didn’t happen because is doesn’t happen” isn’t an argument at all.

ICXC NIKA


#6

I have some more resources electronically if you contact me.


#7

I completely agree with you. I’m curious to know where they got the idea from that the accounts of Elijah and Enoch being assumed are not literal, and also if there’s anything the Church has produced (footnotes in the Bible, documents, etc.) explicitly stating that such accounts are to be taken literally.

Maybe, Anthony, your other sources have those answers? Check your PMs if you don’t mind. Thanks.


#8

What specifically is your friends’s objection? I will send you some stuff when I get home later today.


#9

There are some using the historical critical method who take out anything miraculous in the bible and either try to explain it naturally or relegate it to myth. Perhaps ask him if he believes in Exodus, the crossing of the Red sea, and that Jesus actually rose from the dead bodily or if he believes in only a spiritual resurrection.

Also he may have just said that because it fits with his denial of the Assumption. In other words we sometimes polarize towards a certain interpretation of the bible because it fits our beliefs and preconception. Especially when in a debate.


#10

There are many difficulties in taking the stories of Elijah and Enoch as somehow teaching that they were assumed into Christian Heaven. That’s right. Christian Heaven. There was no admittance into Heaven, until the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why do you suppose Jesus began his ministry with the Gospel “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”? It was something startling and new!

There are many Catholic interpretations, which do not cause difficulties with the Catholic doctrines of Original Sin, and its penalty, regarding Elijah and Enoch.

Here is a link
to a very plausible explanation, that does no injury to Catholic Doctrine.

It is also important to keep in mind that the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary are intertwined and inter-related doctrines. Elijah and Enoch are NO WAY comparable to the Virgin Mary in Dignity, or prerogatives, or any other Divine favors.

The only difficulty in fact, is one of poor Biblical interpretation.


#11

Here is how the Catholic Commentary of Holy Scripture Deals with Elijah’s assumption:

§ g 2:1–12 Assumption of Elias—1. The manner of his passing from this world is unique except for Henoch, Gen 5:22. It has been maintained, in view of Mal 4:5, that he is to return before the Second Coming; but contrast Mk 9:10 ‘Elias is already come’, in the person of the Baptist. There were several Gilgals, ‘circle of stones’, the simplest type of shrine. This was probably the famous Gilgal between the Jordan and Jericho; cf. 5:38; 6:3. 2–8. They went (LXX) to Bethel, which was much higher. Elias paid a last visit of encouragement to the prophetic colleges (see § 410e–f) though he was not their head; cf. ‘thy master’, 3. They did not foresee his permanent disappearance (cf. 16) and they were not to witness his passing. Moses too had passed away alone, with no one to know his grave, Deut 34:6. Elias and Eliseus must have returned to the Jordan somewhere above Jericho, for there was a ford lower down, 2 Kg 19:40 f. The miracle (cf. Ex 14:21, Jos 3:13) prevented the others’ following, and the bush then hid the pair from view. 9. Two-thirds was the portion of the firstborn, Deut 21:17; Eliseus wished to inherit, with the office, the miraculous power and the primacy of Elias. 10. Elias doubted whether such extraordinary signs as he had wrought would be repeated in favour of an ungrateful people; cf. 3 Kg 19:14 ff. 11. The vision granted to Eliseus, however, was one withheld from ordinary men; cf. 6:17. Elias ascended in a storm, like that in which Yahweh descended, Ez 1:4; Job 38:1. 12. Elias, ‘Israel’s chariots and cavalry’ (MT), had been worth an army to his people. The event took place prob. in 851, after the death of Ochozias and before the Moabite campaign; cf. 3:11, and 13:14 below.

Smyth, K. (1953). 3 and 4 Kings. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 339). Toronto;New York;Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.


#12

Here is the Haydock Commentary for the Same Chapter:

Ver. 1. Heaven. By heaven here is meant, the air, the lowest of the heavenly regions, (Ch). through which he was carried by the ministry of angels, who directed the storm, (H.) to the place designed for him.—It is generally supposed to be Paradise, (C.) whither Henoch had been translated. H.—They are still living, (C.) and must come again, to invite all to repent. After which they will die martyrs, in the persecution of Antichrist. H.—See S. Aug. de Gen. ad lit. ix. 6. et Apoc. 11. W.—Eccli. 48:10. M.—They are a proof of a future resurrection. C.—To decide where the paradise which they inhabit, (H.) is situated. would be rash. S. Chrys. hom. 21. in Gen. &c. Some suppose it is still in some unknown region of the earth: others place it above the sky, (M.) or in the bosom of Abraham. C.—The Jews (ap. Munster) assert that Elias penetrated the sphere of fire, where his body was consumed. Vat.—The earthly paradise is very probably no longer existing, in its ancient luxuriant state. H.—It may now be covered with the waters of the Persian Gulf. Worthington.

Ver. 3. The sons of the prophets. That is, the disciples of the prophets; who seem to have had their schools, like colleges or communities, in Bethel, Jericho, and other places, in the days of Elias and Eliseus. Ch.—Many of these disciples might be also their children. Elias collected some fervent souls together even at Bethel, to preserve the true religion, as much as possible. He visited them before his departure. C.—Peace: let not Elias hear us.

Ver. 5. From thee. Heb. “from thy head,” thy superior, and raise him into the air, v. 3. C.

Ver. 6. Thee. Elias had tried the constancy of his disciple three times, as Christ required of S. Peter a triple confession of love. Jo. 21:17. H.—Humility might also prompt the prophet to desire to be alone. Salien.

Ver. 8. Mantle. Sept. μηλωτην, “sheep skin,” (M.) such as the prophets wore. The Syriac explains it of an ornament or bandage of the head; others, of a leathren mantle to keep off rain. Ad subitas nunquam scortea diset aquas. Martial xiv.

Ver. 9. Double spirit. A double portion of thy spirit, as thy eldest son and heir: or thy spirit, which is double, in comparison of that which God usually imparteth to his prophets; (Ch). or the power of working miracles, as well as of prophesying. W.—He wishes to excel his fellow disciples, rather than his master. T. Cajet. Amama.—Double often means, great and perfect. Jer. 17:18. If Eliseus even begged that he might perform more and greater wonders than his master, (as Christ enabled his disciples to surpass himself, in this particular. Jo. 14:12. H.) he might do it without pride, purely for the glory of God. He certainly shone forth with peculiar splendour; and some have enumerated sixteen or twenty-four of his miracles, while they can only find eight (Lyran.) or twelve recorded of Elias. See A. Lapide, in Eccli. xlviii. 13. C.—We read a similar expression in Pindar, (Olym. vi.) where Neptune gave his son Jamus (Θησαυρον διδυμον μαντοσυνας) “the double treasure of divination,” p. 50. Ed. Step. H.

Ver. 10. Hard thing. Heb. lit. “thou art hardened to ask” a thing so difficult, and which I have not the power to grant. But I will pray that thou mayst receive it; (C.) and I feel confident that thou wilt, if God shall grant thee the power to see me, at my departure. H.—This he did, v. 12. M.—Elias had perhaps imagined that his disciple would have desired some of his clothes, or some advice. C.—He left him his mantle, (v. 13. H.) and by prayer was enabled to communicate his spirit to him; as Moses and the apostles did to their assistants in the ministry. C.

Ver. 11. Horses. Angels assumed these forms, (Grotius) or a cloud, resembling a fiery chariot and horses, was impelled by a strong wind, under their guidance. Tostat. M. Salien, A.C. 914.—As the name of Elias is very like Helios, “the sun,” some have supposed that hey have the same meaning: (Sedulius, pasc. 1.) but the Heb. term signifies, “He is my God.” The pagans have taken occasion from this history to represent the sun drawn in a fiery chariot, by horses composed of the same element.

Animosos ignibus illis,
Quos in pectore habent, quos ore & naribus efflant. Metam. xii. C.

—Heaven; (see v. 1.) where he lives free from all disturbance. T.—It is a constant, that he will come again before the last judgment; as his representative, John the Baptist, announced the first appearance of our Redeemer. S. Greg. hom. 7. in Ev. Of this the Jews were convinced. S. Justin, dial. See Malac. 4:5.


#13

continued:

Ver. 12. Thereof. Thou alone wast equal to an army, in our defence. Chariots were then very common. C.—Chal. and Vatab. “Thou wast, by thy prayer, better to Israel than chariots and horses.” So we should call a person, a pillar of the state, &c. T.—In giving the character of Elias, the Holy Ghost dwells in a particular manner on his burning zeal. C.—Elias stood up as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch … he brought down fire from heaven thrice, on the holocaust, and on the captains. H.—Who can glory like to thee? Eccli. 38:14. See SS. Amb. and Chrys. on Elias. His resemblance with Christ is very striking. His name puts us in mind of Christ’s divinity; who burnt with zeal for God’s house, (Jo. 2:17) was persecuted, (C.) raised the dead to life, rose again and ascended triumphant into heaven, having imparted his blessing (H.) and his sacraments to his disciples. C.—No more, as he was taken from the company of men. H.—Pieces, to express his grief, at being deprived of so excellent a master. M.

Ver. 13. Mantle, as an earnest of his affection. By the imposition of this mantle, he had been called to be a prophet. 3 K. 19:19.

Ver. 14. Not divided. God thus prevented him from giving way to vanity, (Abul. q. 28.) or thinking that he could do any thing himself. H.—Elias. Heb. “where is he?” C.—The original and Sept. (Alex. and Vat.) do not specify that he struck the waters twice, or that they did not divide at first. H.—This is taken from other copies of the Sept. Amama.—The exclamation contains a most fervent prayer. Heb. “he smote the waters, and said: Where is the Lord God of Elias? and when he had stricken the,” &c. which removes the idea of presumption, which (H.) some discover in the words of Eliseus. T. Sanctius.—Now. Heb. aph hu. Sept. αφφω, retaining the words which Theodotion renders “the hidden” god. H.—“Even he himself.” Aquila. C.—When I stand so much in need of his assistance, (M.) having performed his important functions, which cannot be done without his spirit, nor without the confirmation of miracles, before an unbelieving people. H. …

Ver. 15. They worshipped him; viz. with an inferior, yet religious veneration, not for any temporal, but spiritual excellency. Ch. W.—They had stopped on a hill, (M.) to see the event, v. 7. H.—Jericho itself is two hours’ journey from the Jordan. Adric.—The sons of the prophets had seen what had happened at the translation of Elias, and perceiving that Eliseus was invested with his mantle, and with the power of working miracles, they did not hesitate to acknowledge him for their superior, during the absence of Elias, who they expected would return. C.

Ver. 16. Valley. It seems such translations were not uncommon. 3 K. 18:12. C.

Ver. 17. Send. He acquiesces, lest they might think that he was afraid of losing his superiority. M.

Ver. 19. Barren, owing to the salt or bituminous waters. Some think that they were muddy and of a loathsome smell. The fountain is still to be seen very abundant and excellent, watering the plain on the west of the city. Its source is about two miles distant on the road to Jerusalem. Maundrell, p. 134. C.—Other parts of the environs were very fertile. M.

Ver. 20. Put salt. He removes ever suspicion of imposture: if the waters were already saline, the remedy would seem contrary to his design, but it would display the miracle in a stronger light; and if they were only fetid and muddy, (C.) though (H.) salt might rectify a small quantity, (Palladius tit. 9. Vales, &c.) it could never correct the bad qualities of such a fountain for a length of time, by the mere force of nature. H.—Josephus (Bel. iv. 8.) represents Eliseus acting like a magician, being desirous to please the pagan readers with various embellishments. C.

Ver. 21. Barrenness. By the divine power they are become salubrious. H.

Ver. 23. Bald-head. It is not know whether Eliseus was really bald, or only wore his hair short, like the priests of the Lord, and the monks at present. It may also be a term of reproach, of which the emperors Julius Cæsar, Domitian, and Otho, were very sensible. Cæsar wore a crown of laurel, and Otho a sort of false hair, to hide this deformity. Sueton.

Quod summum formæ decus est, periere capilli. Petronius. C.

Ver. 24. Cursed them. This curse, which was followed by so visible a judgment of God, was not the effect of passion, or of a desire of revenging himself; but of zeal for religion, which was insulted by these boys, in the person of the prophet, and of a divine inspiration; God being determined to punish in this manner the inhabitants of Bethel, (the chief seat of the calf-worship) who had trained up their children in a prejudice against the true religion and its ministers. Ch.—The boys themselves were not so little as not to be aware of the insult they were offering to a minister of the God of Juda; and probably they acted thus out of hatred to him, at the instigation of their idolatrous parents. Sanc. C.—Lord. He called on him (M.) to revenge his own cause, (H.) “that the people might learn to take care of their souls, by the fear of death.” S. Aug. D.

Ver. 25. Carmel. To avoid the indignation of the populace, and to instruct his disciples.—Samaria. That he might be ready to give advice to the two kings, who were meditating an expedition against Moab. M.

Haydock, G. L. (1859). Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary (2 Ki 2). New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother.


#14

The stories of Elijah (Elias) and Enoch are historical facts:

Sir 48:12 Elias it was, who was covered with a whirlwind: and Eliseus (Elisha) was filled with his spirit: whilst he lived, he was not moved with the presence of any prince, neither could any bring him into subjection.

1 Macc 2:58* Elias* for being zealous and fervent for the law * was* taken up into heaven.

Sir 44:16 Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an example of repentance to all generations.

Sir 49:14 But upon the earth was no man created like Enoch; for he*** was*** taken from the earth.

Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and ****was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

[size=][FONT=“Arial”]Here, NT confirmations of Enoch’s existence without mention of his translation:

Lk 3:37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan

Jude 1:14 And*** Enoch ***also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

And one of many from the NT of Elijah’s historical existence:

Mt 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.[/FONT] [/size]

Following, is how the Catholic Church teaches us to understand historical events in the Bible:

“But when the Scriptures say that Cain rose against Abel and slew him, or that God rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom, if these events be the creation of folk-lorists, there is no truth in them ; they are false beliefs narrated as history. The nature of the narration of such facts and their context take them out of the category of allegory and parable ; they are narrated as history, and must be true as history. The object of the writer is to teach men this very history, and to move men to believe it. It may be called primitive history; but it still remains true history. The fact that many myths and fables mingle in the primitive history of other peoples does not necessitate that the history of the origin of the universe as related in the Bible must also have its myths and legends. By the fact of divine inspiration the history narrated in the Bible transcends all other history, for the reason that it is infallibly true. The historical parts of Holy Scripture, and in fact all its parts, are subject to proper hermeneutical laws to determine their sense ; but in the last analysis every sentence of the Bible, as it came from the inspired writer, must be true in its proper sense. History according to popular beliefs is false history, and can not be a part of the word of God”.

A General Introduction to Holy Scripture, pg. 236, A.E. Breen Ph.D., D.D.

God bless,

Mike


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