A thorough, textually grounded study of the Old Testament prophet Elisha and the ways he foreshadowed Jesus Christ of the New Testament.
Arnold’s (Elijah Between Judgment and Grace, 2015, etc.) latest book—originally published in French as Elisée précurseur de Jésus-Christ. Commentaire de 2 Rois 2-9 (2002) and here translated by Ludwig—is a meticulously detailed study of the prophet Elisha in the second book of Kings, with the specific thesis that he was an identifiable precursor to Jesus Christ. At first glance, this seems like a tall order, since, among other things, Elisha is portrayed as not merely a prophet but also a publicly esteemed councilor to kings and armies—a worker of miracles, yes, but very much an accepted figure of the establishment rather than a renegade rabbi preaching in the hinterlands of Nazareth before being put to an ignominious death by the Roman authorities. Yet Arnold argues for their similarities. “To read the ministry of this prophet [Elisha] in the light of the gospel is a source of great blessing,” Arnold writes. “Once you have started, you can hardly stop.” True to his word, Arnold proceeds to enumerate the many affinities between the two men: both worked many miracles, both seemed in possession of supernatural amounts of knowledge, each was anointed in his ministry by a fellow charismatic prophet figure (Elijah in the case of Elisha; John the Baptist in the case of Jesus), each appeared to need no step-by-step instruction from God, etc. But the greatest strength of Arnold’s book is his lively and accessible verse-by-verse analysis of Elisha’s ministry itself. Arnold’s commentary on 2 Kings is superb, drawing on an array of exegetical writing and sparkling with his own insights. Students of biblical studies will find this utterly fascinating reading.
Stimulating study of the career and ministry of the prophet Elisha in parallel to Jesus Christ.