We know the prophet Elijah called fire down from heaven, killing bands of soldiers; and we know he slew the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. But his successor, Elisha, who had received the double portion of God's spirit, had a compassionate temperament who seems not to have been disposed to taking life.

Yet here we have the verse detailing the "swords":

And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. (1 Kings 19:17, KJV)

Whom, then, having escaped the swords of Hazael and of Jehu, did Elisha slay?

NOTE: Both Hazael and Jehu literally slayed people, so if one chooses to interpret Elisha's part as symbolic, one needs to carefully support this.

1 Answer 1


1 Kings 19:

17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.

Whom did Elisha kill?

I do not take the part with Elisha literally.

Benson explained:

God had appointed these three persons to punish the apostate Israelites for their idolatries, and that one or other of them should infallibly execute his judgments upon them:

Hazael, however, began to slay them before Jehu was king, 2 Kings 8:28-29; though his cruelty was much increased afterward.

Jehu destroyed those, whom Hazael did not, as King Joram himself, and Ahaziah, and all the near relations of Ahab.

Elisha is said to slay them, either because he brought down, by his prayers, destruction upon the forty-two children of Beth-el, that idolatrous city, 2 Kings 2:24; or because by God’s appointment he inflicted the famine, 2 Kings 8:1;

God used Hazael and Jehu's swords to kill. The rest would be killed by Elisha's prophetic words.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.