1 Kings 19:15-16 NASB

15 The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

God gives Elijah instructions to anoint Hazael,Jehu and Elisha in their respective offices.It seems Elijah only manages to anoint Elisha as his successor.( 1 Kings 19:19)

Some time later Elisha anoints Jehu as king of Israel.( 2 Kings 9)

Elisha meets Hazael in Damascus and predicts the evil he will do and his rise to the throne but there is no record of him ever anointing him.

Could Elijah have anointed Hazael before he was taken up?

  • Oriental kings were quite literally anointed with fragrant oil upon their enthronement, much as Roman victors were quite literally crowned with laurels upon their triumphant return. However, since Elijah was a Prophet rather than a spa attendant, I assume either the expression in question was idiomatic, or the details were spelled out elsewhere (see 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 12:15; 26:22; 32:32). – Lucian Dec 22 '18 at 5:05

We have no record of Elijah anointing anyone. This is not to suggest that he did not anoint anyone but it is not recorded in Scripture. On this verse, the Pulpit commentary has:

In the Hebrew the time of the anointing is indefinite. This commission has long been a crux interpretum. For neither Hazael, nor Jehu, nor Elisha, so far as we have any record, was ever anointed by Elijah. Elisha was called by him to the prophetic office. Hazael, it is barely possible, may have been anointed secretly, like David (1 Samuel 16:2, 13), but all that we gather from Scripture is, that he was called in an indirect way, and certainly not anointed, by Elisha (2 Kings 8:12-15). Jehu was certainly anointed, but it was neither by Elisha nor Elijah (2 Kings 9:1, 6), but by one of the sons of the prophets. All we can say, consequently, is that the command was obeyed in the spirit, and no doubt in the best possible time and way.

Thus, the answer to the question is that we have no record of Elijah anointing: In fact, his successor anointed some but not Elijah. Further, the record in 1 Kings 19:19 is NOT strictly of an anointing (with oil) but merely an appointment. The same pulpit commentary above offers some further remarks:

… we can readily understand that the word "anoint" was, as in Judges 9:8, Isaiah 61:1, never meant to be construed literally. For in the first place, we have no record elsewhere of the anointing of any prophet; and secondly, it is remarkable that when Elijah might so easily have anointed Elisha, he did nothing of the kind. It is clear, therefore, that he understood the word to mean "appoint." And the root idea of anointing, it must be remembered, was the setting apart for the service of God (Exodus 29:6). Hence it was (Bahr) that vessels (Exodus 30:26 sqq.), and even stones (Genesis 28:18), were anointed. And when we find that these three persons were set apart sooner or later, and in different ways, to fulfil the high purposes of God, that ought to suffice us.

Sometimes we must be satisfied with the Bible's way of using words and its incomplete history of events.

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