2 Kings 13:20, 21
And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.…
These verses contain a circumstantial notice of a singular miracle that was wrought at Elisha's sepulcher by contact with his bones. Bands of Moabites were ravaging the country, and one of these bands came upon the scene during a funeral. The mourners were terrified, and hastily thrust the corpse into Elisha's sepulcher, which was hard by; whereupon the dead man, having touched the bones of Elisha, revived and stood upon his feet. We notice -
I. THE GOOD MAN LAID IN HIS GRAVE. Elisha's sickness had proved to be indeed unto death, and his mortal remains had been reverently conveyed to a sepulcher. He who had been the means of restoring life to others, whose very bones were made the instrument of reviving the dead, was not able to protect himself from the universal law. He left the world by the same gate as ordinary mortals. It is pathetic to reflect that, however long and useful a life may be, this is always the end of it. The certainty of removal by death from the scene of their labors should animate those who are still in the vigor of their powers to work while it is today (John 9:4), and should lead those who enjoy the presence and services of good men to prize and honor these servants of God while they are here. From the side of the saint himself death is not a calamity, but a gain. "He rests from his labors, and his works follow him" (Revelation 14:13).
II. POWER ISSUING FROM THE GOOD MAN'S GRAVE. Though Elisha was not taken to heaven as Elijah was without tasting of death, he had yet great honor put upon him in his death. God set the seal on his prophetic work by making life-giving power to issue even from his grave. The miracle suggests to us the fact that from every good man's grave there issues in an important sense a life-giving power. The influence of men does not die with them. On the contrary, it is often greater after their deaths than during their lives.
1. Sometimes in a literal sense the grave is a source of new life to men. In the act of committing dust to dust, and ashes to ashes, holy impressions steal over men, new resolves take possession of their hearts. Many a man, e.g., has been brought to his senses at the graveside of a father or mother, whose counsels, perhaps, he disregarded in life.
2. Sometimes in a figurative sense souls are quickened by the bones of the dead. A man's actions, for instance, are things of the past when he is dead. But they may be written in a book, and become a source of life to countless generations who read them afterwards. It is but a few facts of any man's life which can Be thus rescued from oblivion - the mere bones of his history; but what a power is in them! So of a man's words. The fragments of a man's speech that can be preserved in any collection of his sayings are comparatively few. They are the mere bones of his speech. But they quicken souls through the ages. The words of David, of St. Paul, of the prophets, touch and work on souls to the present hour. The world is the living thing it is because of the influence of these dead men in it. They are
"The dead but sceptered sov'tans,
Who rule our spirits from their urns."
3. The highest life has come out of death. Jesus said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone," etc. (John 12:24). Elisha communicated resurrection-power without himself rising from the dead; Christ has himself risen, and is now the Principle of resurrection-life to others. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.