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What Does the Bible Say About..Elisha?

In 1 Kings 19:19-21, why would Elisha not just sell the land and equipment to the workers instead of slaughtering the oxen and burning the plows. I understand he did not want to have all that to worry about. I know that he gave up every thing so he could follow the Lord. But in doing so he has left a bunch of employee's with no work and having to go find a new farmer to work for. He could have sold a piece of every thing for a dollar and he would have no rights to the land or oxen. He could have still helped out the faithful works and shown the Lord that he trust Him and Him alone. There was no turning back. He was sold out to the Lord and that was good.


To be honest, my first reaction to your question was to think of an incident recorded in John 12. Mary had anointed Jesus with an expensive ointment. Judas asked why instead it wasn't sold and the money given to the poor. "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag and bare what was put therein." (v. 6)

Looking at the passage in question, though, your question is not valid.

The passage in 1 Kings 19:19-21 tells of Elijah choosing Elisha as his successor. Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke (24) oxen. When Elisha was called by Elijah he asked permission to say farewell to his family. He went back and slaughtered one yoke of oxen, broke their yoke for firewood, and prepared a going away feast. At a time when meat was a special treat, this was probably a major party. Then he went and followed Elijah.

Rather than destroying all twenty-four oxen and plows, as your question implies, he only slaughtered two animals. The other animals stayed within his household. He only burned one yoke and no plows. The remainder of the equipment stayed with the remaining oxen. There is no indication in the passage that there were any other employees, but if there were they would continue to be employed by Elisha's parents. Rather than portraying Elisha as an unthinking employer who mistreats his workers, the picture is of a son throwing a party before he leaves the homestead and still leaving most of the equipment and livestock so that his parents wouldn't be without a livelihood.