2 Kings 2–3; Mark 4

Elijah Taken to Heaven

Now when the Lord was about to mtake Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and nElisha were on their way from oGilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, pPlease stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel. But Elisha said, qAs the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they went down to Bethel. And rthe sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you? And he said, Yes, I know it; keep quiet.

Elijah said to him, Elisha, pplease stay here, for the Lord has sent me to tJericho. But he said, qAs the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they came to Jericho. rThe sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you? And he answered, Yes, I know it; keep quiet.

Then Elijah said to him, pPlease stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan. But he said, As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So the two of them went on. Fifty men of rthe sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah utook his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, vand the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you. And Elisha said, Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. 10 And he said, You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so. 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, wchariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, My father, my father! xThe chariots of Israel and its horsemen! And he saw him no more.

Then he took hold of his own clothes yand tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? And when he had struck the water, vthe water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

15 Now when rthe sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha. And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 And they said to him, Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that zthe Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley. And he said, You shall not send. 17 But when they urged him atill he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. 18 And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, Did I not say to you, Do not go?

19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful. 20 He said, Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it. So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went to the spring of water and bthrew salt in it and said, Thus says the Lord, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it. 22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.

23 He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead! 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, che cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. 25 From there he went on to dMount Carmel, and from there he returned eto Samaria.

Moab Rebels Against Israel

fIn the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twelve years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the gpillar of Baal hthat his father had made. Nevertheless, he clung to ithe sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, jwhich he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.

Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, kand he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. But lwhen Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab? And he said, I will go. mI am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses. Then he said, By which way shall we march? Jehoram answered, By the way of the wilderness of Edom.

So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and nthe king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. 10 Then the king of Israel said, Alas! oThe Lord has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab. 11 pAnd Jehoshaphat said, Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord? Then one of the king of Israel’s servants answered, qElisha the son of Shaphat is here, rwho poured water on the hands of Elijah. 12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 And Elisha said to the king of Israel, sWhat have I to do with you? Go to tthe prophets of your father and to uthe prophets of your mother. But the king of Israel said to him, No; it is othe Lord who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab. 14 And Elisha said, vAs the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you. 15 But now wbring me a musician. And when the musician played, xthe hand of the Lord came upon him. 16 And he said, Thus says the Lord, I will make this dry streambed full of pools. 17 For thus says the Lord, You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals. 18 This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, 19 and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water yand ruin every good piece of land with stones. 20 The next morning, about the time of zoffering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water.

21 When all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to put on armor, from the youngest to the oldest, were called out and were drawn up at the border. 22 And when they rose early in the morning and the sun shone on the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. 23 And they said, This is blood; the kings have surely fought together and struck one another down. Now then, Moab, to the spoil! 24 But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose and struck the Moabites, till they fled before them. And they went forward, striking the Moabites as they went.1 25 And they overthrew the cities, and aon every good piece of land every man threw a stone until it was covered. They stopped every spring of water and felled all the good trees, till only its stones were left in bKir-hareseth, and the slingers surrounded and attacked it. 26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 cswordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. 27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place dand offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.


The Parable of the Sower

Again vhe began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, wso that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And xhe was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: Listen! yBehold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And zwhen the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, ait withered away. Other seed fell among bthorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and ca hundredfold. And he said, dHe who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The Purpose of the Parables

10 And ewhen he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, fTo you has been given gthe secret of the kingdom of God, but for hthose outside everything is in parables, 12 iso that

they jmay indeed see but not perceive,

and may indeed hear but not understand,

lest they kshould turn and be forgiven.

13 lAnd he said to them, Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 mThe sower sows nthe word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it owith joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but pendure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately qthey fall away.1 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but rthe cares of sthe world and tthe deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and ubear fruit, vthirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.

A Lamp Under a Basket

21 wAnd he said to them, xIs a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 yFor nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 zIf anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. 24 And he said to them, Pay attention to what you hear: awith the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 bFor to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

The Parable of the Seed Growing

26 And he said, cThe kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; dhe knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once ehe puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 fAnd he said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like ga grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

33 hWith many such parables he spoke ithe word to them, jas they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them kwithout a parable, but lprivately to his own disciples he mexplained everything.

Jesus Calms a Storm

35 nOn that day, when evening had come, he said to them, Let us go across to the other side. 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves owere breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? 39 And he awoke and prebuked the wind and said to the sea, Peace! Be still! And the wind ceased, and qthere was a great calm. 40 He said to them, Why are you rso afraid? Have you still no faith? 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, sWho then is this, that even tthe wind and the sea obey him?