When Elisha is jeered by youths in 2 Kings 2:23-25 he is told (as many translations have it) to "Go up" or "Go on up". The new NIV (2011) renders this as "Get out of here." Is this a fair translation of the idiom? What were the young boys telling Elisha to do? To go on up to Bethel? To go on up to heaven like Elijah? Is it just an idiom for "Get out of here?"
The word here is עֲלֵה , which usually means "arise" or "go up". This is the same root that is used for the burnt offering, called the olah because its sweet savor rises heavenward. It is also the word used in Elijah's ascent. But we see that in many translations of the 36 uses of this verb in Tanakh, it is also used to refer to going to other places, and it doesn't seem to always mean going to a higher elevation (though I haven't consulted elevation maps of the middle east).1
One possibility is that the children meant to taunt Elisha, saying he should "go up" like Elijah did. That would depend on the children knowing about that. If the incident is occurring as Elisha leaves Jericho for Bethel then they might know; they probably didn't see it, but days have passed and rumors will be rumors. This would be a speculative interpretation (the text doesn't provide enough information to support it). If, on the other hand, the incident happens near Bethel, that is less likely. It seems to me to be happening near Bethel because after the incident it says Elisha went on to Carmel -- it doesn't say he then went to Bethel. But, again, the text is sparse.
If it isn't a reference to Elijah, then what does it mean? This is not the usual word for "to go", which is halak (c.f. Gen 12:1, lech l'cha), nor the usual word for "stand up" (kum, like in Song of Songs 2:13). עֲלֵה seems to convey both "arising" and going to a destination, but no destination is named in this passage. So we are left with "go up", and the sense that he should go somewhere (not just wander). "Go up" is a correct translation; I'm not sure it's fair to read it as just "scram". Whether they are telling him to go to Bethel or to keep going (to Carmel) or to go up like Elijah, or something else, is not clear from the text.
1 In post-biblical usage, alah applies to going to Jerusalem -- which is in the mountains, thus at a higher elevation. In modern Hebrew, the word refers to moving from the diaspora to Israel, even if one isn't going to Jerusalem; perhaps this is seen as a spiritually higher place.