Daily Archives: March 12, 2008

The Home of Elisha

Abel Meholah (or Abel-meholah), NAS, ESV is a tell in the Jordan Valley, about 10 miles south of Beth-shean. It is mentioned only three times in the Bible. The Midianites, who were fleeing from Gideon’s army of 300, fled as far as the border of Abel Meholah (Judges 7:22).

Solomon (reigned 970-931 B.C.) set up administrative officers over Israel. Baana, the son of Ahilud, was over the fifth district that included Abel Meholah.

Baana the son of Ahilud, in Taanach, Megiddo, and all Beth-shean that is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, as far as the other side of Jokmeam (1 Kings 4:12, ESV).

Many of us likely would find Abel Meholah of interest as the home of Elisha the prophet. When Elijah met the LORD at Horeb, the mountain of God, he was told to do three things: (1) Anoint Hazael king over Aram [Syria]; (2) Anoint Jehu king over Israel; (3) Anoint Elisha from Abel Meholah to take his place as prophet. This took place around the middle of the 9th century B.C. See 1 Kings 19:11-16.

Elijah and Elisha were two of the more important oral prophets of Israel. Elijah was among the settlers of Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan (1 Kings 17:1).

The identification of Abel Meholah is uncertain. Two sites east of the Jordan River have been suggested. The biblical statements seem to favor a site on the west side of the Jordan. Four sites have been suggested. Check the Anchor Bible Dictionary for details and a bibliography. Our photo is of Tell Abu Sus. Future excavations may help settle this question. This is a beautiful example of a tell. Who knows what might be buried within it?

Abel Meholah in the Jordan Valley. Possible home of the prophet Elisha. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.