The Prophet Elisha
The Iconography
In 2 Kings 2:1-111 the prophet Elijah makes Elisha his successor and then is taken to Heaven in a fiery chariot, as in the first picture on the right. Chapters 3-9 then recount Elisha's miracles and prophecies in Israel. Among them was the cure of Naaman of Aram by means of immersion in the River Jordan (2 Kings 5:1-14), interpreted by Christians as a type of baptism.2 The tapestry in the second picture on the right alludes to this typology by echoing the arrangement of figures in images of the baptism of Christ.

Portraits of Elisha in the West may have him in the habit of the Carmelite order, as in the third image at right. Other than that, there is little consistency in his portraits.

Prepared in 2021 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University.


Elisha watches as Elijah ascends to Heaven in a fiery chariot. (See the description page.)

The cure of Naaman in the Jordan River (See the description page.)

Lorenzetti's portrait of Elisha, 1329. (See the description page.)


  • 1475: Portrait of Elisha on a rood screen in Venice.


  • In the Latin Vulgate and the Douay-Rheims translation, his name is Eliseus.


  • Lived in the 9th century B.C.


1 The references here to 2 Kings correspond to 4 Kings in the Vulgate.

2 Glossa Ordinaria, II, 889.