The passing of the mantle to Elisha was validated in three signs. One, Elisha, the new Joshua, parted the Jordan River and headed toward Jericho, reversing Elijah’s steps. The company of prophets realized that Elijah had passed his prophetic work on to Elisha, so they revered him as the new representative of God for Israel.
Two, the men of Jericho said something lethal was in the water causing humans and animals to miscarry and die. Historically, Joshua had cursed anyone who would try to rebuild Jericho (Josh. 6:26), and during Ahab’s reign, someone did pay the price of that curse (1 Kings 16:34). Through Elisha’s miracle, the city that was under a curse now received a blessing from Yahweh—fresh, healthy water.
Three, as Elisha traveled to Bethel, some boys came out of the city to ridicule this new Joshua who had come to pagan Bethel to root out Canaanite worship. In saying, “Go up, you baldhead!” they essentially meant “Get out of here; we don’t want anything to do with you.” In their mockery these guys are showing contempt and hostility toward Yahweh and His representative. So Elisha brought on God’s judgment against these mockers, and she-bears attack the boys (see Lev. 26:21-22). God will not be mocked; He will have the last word (Gal. 6:7).
What are some ways you can stand for the honor of God when He is mocked in this world?