Elisha, Elijah and Entering the Land

May 13, 2008

Reading in the beginning of II Kings, I noticed this pattern:
Elijah, on his way out of the land goes from Gilgal to Bethel (II Kings 2:1-2), Bethel to Jericho (II Kings 2:4), Jericho to cross the Jordan (II Kings 2:6).

Elisha, on his way back in to the land, goes across the Jordan (II Kings 2:13) to Jericho (II Kings 2:18), Jericho to Bethel (II Kings 2:23), Bethel to Samaria vis Mt. Carmel (2:25).

The Israelites, on their way in to the land, go across the Jordan (Josh 3:1ff), battle at Jericho (5:13ff), battle at Ai–“which” it says “is located near Beth Aven, east of Bethel” (7:2)–and from Ai they return to their camp at Gilgal (10:8 ) which they established earlier (5:10). 

Though it is a somewhat loose ordering, I’m wondering at the similarity between these passages.  The funciton of the Elijah-Elisha connection is obvious (substantiating Elisha as Elijah’s replacement, especially his request for double Elijah’s spirit).  The question I am left with, which you can perhaps answer is, “Why the apparent connection between Elijah-Elisha and the Joshua account of entering the land?”