Elisha Receives The Mantle From Elijah
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Play a game that involves answering questions, singing, acting, drawing, and sculpting – a Cranium® type of game. Focus on the meaning behind the passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha. Explore the concept of modern-day picking up of mantles, including the benefits and challenges in doing so.
For scripture and objectives, see above.
- Read the Scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the Bible Background provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials.
- Cardstock, 1 8 ½” x 11” sheet for every 2 students
- Chalk or marker
- Chalkboard or whiteboard
- Copy machine or printer
- Game Questions
- Map showing Jericho and the Jordan River
- Timer or stop watch [Optional]
Before the Start of Class
- Cut each 8 ½” x 11” sheet of cardstock into six pieces. Create one letter on each card: E, L, I, S, H, and A. Make enough sets of ELISHA cards to have one for every 2 students in the class.
- Copy or print the game questions for use during the lesson.
- Write the key verse on the board.
Open - Introduction
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Games Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
Ask: How many of you have ever had someone help you do your homework?
How many of you have ever had someone teach you something new?
Say: Today we are going to talk about the experience of learning and teaching and what is called “the taking up of a mantle.”
Ask: Has anyone ever heard that term used, to “take up the mantle?” Make sure the students don’t confuse a “mantle” with a mantel - an ornamental frame around a fireplace.
Say: We will talk more about taking up the mantle. Let’s first begin with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. A suggestion: “Dear God, We are thankful to be here today to learn about your word. Help us to be open to learning about what it means to take up your mantle. Amen.”
Ask: This story took place many years before Jesus was born. Where do you suppose we would we find this story in the Bible? [In the Old Testament]
Say: Our story is found in a book of the Bible called Second Kings. Besides being divided into two testaments, the 66 books in the Bible are further divided into collections. We say that the book of 2 Kings is part of a collection of Bible books called “History.”
If you have time: Review the names of the first five books of the Bible, that they are part of a collection called “Law,” that the next 12 books make up the History section - Joshua through Esther.
Say: We are going to be playing a game today that will help us see how well we know our Bible story. Let’s review our story before we play our game.
Distribute Bibles if needed. Have the children find the story in 2 Kings, chapter 2, verses 1-15.
Say: The characters in our story are two prophets.
Ask: What is a prophet? [A messenger of God]
Say: The two prophets we are going to read about are named Elijah and Elisha. We can say that Elisha was a disciple of Elijah.
Ask: What is a disciple? [One who follows and learns from a teacher, and who tries to act as his or her teacher does.]
Say: Elijah was considered the greatest prophet in Israel. Elisha learned a lot from Elijah. He learned about how to be a prophet of God.
Teach the way to remember which prophet came first -- just like in the alphabet, “j” in EliJah comes before “s” in EliSha.
Say: God had told Elijah to pick Elisha as his disciple. So Elijah went and found Elisha at home plowing his fields. In a dramatic, symbolic gesture Elijah threw his mantle over Elisha.
Ask: There is that word, mantle. What is a mantle?
Say: A mantle is a loose, sleeveless cloak. Because of what happens in our story a mantle has come to represent something more than just a cloak.
Read the Bible story to the students.
[Note: After the second week of the Rotation the students will become more familiar with the story. Have them locate the Scripture in their Bibles. Then ask them to tell you the story. Have them check their Bibles for accuracy.]
Ask: What has the mantle come to represent? [A passing on of knowledge, faith, and understanding]
Dig - Main Content
Play the Game
Divide the class into teams with 2 persons on each team. (Having 3 on a team is OK.)
The team with the member whose birthday is closest to today goes first.
Game Play Rules:
Each team is trying to collect letter cards to spell the name ELISHA.
There are 6 different types of activities. Doing each activity correctly wins the team a letter towards spelling “Elisha.” The first team to spell “Elisha” wins though it is recommended that play continues until all teams have spelled “Elisha” or time almost runs out. Leave time for the closing.
The six different activities are:
E = Energizing Factual Questions
L = Life Application Questions
I = Interesting Drawings
S = Sculpting
H = Have-to-do-it
A = Act it out.
The I and S activities are to be done by one team member while the other team member(s) try to guess what is being depicted. So show these cards (or read them quietly) to one member of the team.
Other game hints:
Bibles are an important tool in this game; encourage use for readers.
When someone draws an “L” type question: explain that there are no right or wrong answers. The workshop leader will determine whether the answer earns a letter.
Use every opportunity during game play to allow discussion that may occur from a particular question/answer.
You may wish to set a time limit on how long the students have to answer the questions.
Using the key verse written on the white board, have everyone read the key verse. Then ask a student to erase one word. Then have everyone read the verse filling in the missing word. Have the students take turns erasing words each time reading the verse aloud as a group. You may consider that each time you read the verse you say it in a different way – whispering, while standing on one foot, slowly, quickly, and so forth.
Say: Elisha received a double share of Elijah’s spirit. He picked up Elijah’s mantle and carried on the faith and belief in God that he had learned from Elijah. This week, look for ways you can pick up the mantle of faith.
Adaptations - Younger Children
Leave out looking up the passage in the Bible.
For the Energizing Questions offer multiple-choice responses. For example, the question: How did Elijah part the water? Offer (a) He stretched out his staff over the water. (b) He hit the water with his cloak or mantle. (c) He threw a stone in the water.
A children’s Bible with this story is The Beginner’s Bible. Brentwood, TN: Mission City Press, 1989. Pages 218-223.
Derden, Jaymie. “Rotation.org Writing Team: Bible Background.” 2006.
MacQueen, Neil. “Elijah Rotation.” 2001. (some life-application questions)
The E’s – Energizing Factual Questions -- Allow use of Bibles to help answer these questions.
In what book of the Bible is our story found? [2 Kings]
When Elijah met Elisha, what was Elisha doing? [Plowing, 1 Kings 19:19]
Name one of the towns that Elijah and Elisha were near? [Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho]
What river did Elijah and Elisha cross together? [Jordan River, 2 Kings 2:7-8]
How did Elijah part the water? [He used his cloak or mantle, 2 Kings 2:8]
When Elijah asked Elisha what he requested, what was it Elisha asked for? [A double share of your spirit, 2 Kings 2:9]
How would Elisha know his request was granted? [He would see Elijah taken from him, 2 Kings 2:10]
How was Elijah taken away? [By a whirlwind, 2 Kings 2:11]
What did Elisha do when he saw the chariots of fire and Elijah taken up to heaven? [He called out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And then he tore his clothes in two pieces. 2 Kings 2:12 Elisha’s exclamation likely means that he had seen the vision and thus he was assured of his request. Tearing his clothes would be a traditional expression of mourning.]
The L’s – Life Application Questions -- There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Use material from the Bible Background to help you discuss these questions with the students.
Do you suppose Elisha was greedy to ask for “a double share of your spirit?”
Our identity as individuals and as a community of faith is woven together from those who came before us. Who is passing on the mantle of faith and discipleship to us?
Elijah laid the foundation for Elisha’s ministry, just as those who go before us provide a foundation for our learning. How do we learn about faith from those around us?
The Chariot of Fire comes taking Elijah. But his mantle is left behind. Elisha's options were to follow in his friend's footsteps and be faithful to God, or to play it safe and go home. He chose to follow. What decisions do you need to make about being a disciple of Jesus? [And if you don't sense a decision now, how can you prepare yourself for the “day of decision” – your “Jordan river crossing” that will surely come?]
Who around you in your daily life needs you to be their hero? How can you show or share with younger or older people, your faith?
Elijah asked Elisha, “what may I do for you, before I am taken from you?” How would you answer a question like that – what would you need to carry on the faith?
Elijah passed on a physical mantle to Elisha. What are our “mantles” today? What rituals and physical signs do we use as rites of passage? What could we use to symbolize and remember these events?
God has provided us with spiritual leaders who share their loving presence. What are the advantages of carrying this mantel forward (or is it a burden)?
The I’s – Interesting Drawings -- One team member draws while other team member tries to guess what is being drawn. Stick figures are ok.
Quickly draw: Elijah wearing his mantle
Quickly draw: Elijah and Elisha walking together
Quickly draw: Elijah separating the waters of the Jordan [Hint: Elisha would be there too]
Quickly draw: Elijah and Elisha crossing the Jordan River
Quickly draw: a chariot of fire
Quickly draw: Elisha separating the water of the Jordan River
Quickly draw: Elisha tearing his clothes into two pieces
Quickly draw: The company of prophets bowing down to Elisha
The S’s – Sculpting -- One team member sculpts while other team member tries to guess what is being sculpted.
Sculpt: Elijah and Elisha walking together
Sculpt: The company of prophets
Sculpt: Elijah wearing his mantle
Sculpt: the parted Jordan River
Sculpt: Elijah and Elisha crossing the Jordan River
Sculpt: a chariot
Sculpt: a fiery horse
Sculpt: Elisha holding Elijah’s mantle on the banks of the Jordan River
The H’s – Have-to-do-it
Find Jericho on the map.
Find the Jordan River on the map.
Sing the key verse using whatever tune you’d like.
Do the key verse in a rap.
TRUE OR FALSE: Three times Elijah asked Elisha to stay where he was. Each time Elisha said he would stay. [False, each time Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” Elisha was surely devoted to Elijah!]
TRUE OR FALSE: The company of prophets had been watching Elijah and Elisha at a distance. They saw Elijah taken up into heaven. [False, in fact they searched for Elijah]
Team members say the memory verse together.
We all need to keep on learning new things from others around us. Teach an adult in the room a new dance step.
The A’s – Act it out
Act out Elijah and Elisha walking to Jericho and what they said to one another. [2 Kings 2:4]
Pretend that one of you is the company of prophets. Act out what they say to Elisha and what he says back. [2 Kings 2:5]
Act out Elijah striking the water with his mantle. Then be Elijah and Elisha crossing the river.
Act out Elisha asking Elijah for a double share of his spirit. [Use the key verse in your acting.]
Act out Elijah’s response to Elisha’s request for a double share of his spirit. [2 Kings 2:10]
Act out Elisha watching the chariots of fire and his response. [2 Kings 2:12]
Act out Elisha going back across the Jordan River. [2 Kings 2:14]
Elijah was taken into heaven in a whirlwind. Make the sound of what that whirlwind could have sounded like.
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2006 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material