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Elisha's Profile in the Book of Kings uses the tools of literary criticism to read the Elisha narrative as an integral component of the Deuteronomistic History compiled in the aftermath of the Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. From his investiture in 1 Kings 19 to his final cameo in 2 Kings 13, Elisha the prophet has one of the most extensively-narrated careers in Israel's royal history. During a particularly dark and contested era where the corrupt northern kings hold sway, Elisha enters the ideological battleground and boldly raises his voice and performs remarkable signs to stem the tide of injustice and religious inconstancy. Empowered by a double portion of his master Elijah's spirit, Elisha is a double agent who continues the task of dismantling the Omride dynasty. Moving between the international stage and more domestic locales, Elisha travels widely and interacts with a host of characters from virtually every socio-economic category, visiting foreign capitals and cities under siege as well as wealthy homes and obscure villages. With actions that range from feeding a multitude to mind-reading and raising the dead, Elisha's performance eclipses that of his master and ensures a lasting place in ancient Israel's prophetic heritage.
Keith Bodner is Professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in New Brunswick, after teaching for a number of years at Tyndale University College & Seminary in Toronto. He holds PhD degrees in biblical studies (University of Aberdeen) and English Literature (University of Manchester). He serves on the editorial board of the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, and is a former section chair (Bakhtin and the Biblical Imagination) for the Society of Biblical Literature. His 2008 book 1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary was awarded the R. B. Y. Scott Award from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, and his most recent work is Jeroboam's Royal Drama (Oxford University Press, 2012).