(KJV)1 Kings 19:20-21

And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? [21] And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

(KJV)Luke 9:61-62

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. [62] And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Elijah allowed Elisha to go back & bid farewell to family but it would seem Christ here refuses to allow the man to set things in order & follow after him

  • It isn't a duplicate. The old question asks whether Jesus was quoting something from the Old Testament. The new question asks whether what Jesus says in Luke contradicts something in the Old Testament.
    – user15733
    Jan 10 '17 at 22:18
  • 1
    Two stories at two different times does not a contradiction make.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 11 '17 at 6:56
  • Christ's use of looking back is a reference to Genesis 19:26, where it expresses longing. Clearly, this was not the case with Elisha.
    – Lucian
    Aug 9 '17 at 7:03

One possible interpretation is that there was a difference in intent between Elisha and the man to whom Christ spoke. Cyril of Alexandria explains:

For one drew near saying, I will follow thee, Lord; but first let me go and bid farewell to those in my house.” The promise then that he makes is worthy of emulation, and full of all praise: but the fact of his wishing to bid farewell to those at home shews him, so to speak, divided, and that he had not as yet entered upon the course with unshackled mind. For look how, like some colt eager for the race, there holds him back as with a bridle, the stream of worldly things, and his wish in part still to take interest in this world’s occupations. For no one hinders him from hastening, if he will, to the wished for mark, according to the free inclinations of his mind. But the very wish to consult first with his relatives, and to make those his counsellors who were not likely to entertain sentiments similar to his own, nor to share at all in his resolution, sufficiently proves him infirm and halting, and not as yet fully inclined to act upon his desire of following Christ.

Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter LIX

It is clear from the Old Testament Scripture, however, that Elisha was not double-minded and clearly intended to follow after Elijah. This is also acknowledged in the writings of the Church Fathers:

But mark both their faith, and their obedience. For though they were in the midst of their work (and ye know how greedy a thing fishing is), when they heard His command, they delayed not, they procrastinated not, they said not, “let us return home, and converse with our kinsfolk,” but “they forsook all and followed,” even as Elisha did to Elijah.”

John Chrysostom, Homily XIV on the Gospel According to St. Matthew

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