2:11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a fiery chariot 1 pulled by fiery horses appeared. 2 They went between Elijah and Elisha, 3 and Elijah went up to heaven in a windstorm. 2:12 While Elisha was watching, he was crying out, “My father, my father! The chariot and horsemen of Israel!” 4 Then he could no longer see him. He grabbed his clothes and tore them in two.
1 tn Though the noun is singular here, it may be collective, in which case it could be translated “chariots.”
2 tn Heb “look, a chariot of fire and horses of fire.”
3 tn Heb “and they made a division between the two of them.”
4 sn Elisha may be referring to the fiery chariot(s) and horses as the Lord’s spiritual army that fights on behalf of Israel (see 2 Kgs 6:15-17; 7:6). However, the juxtaposition with “my father” (clearly a reference to Elijah as Elisha’s mentor), and the parallel in 2 Kgs 13:14 (where the king addresses Elisha with these words), suggest that Elisha is referring to Elijah. In this case Elijah is viewed as a one man army, as it were. When the Lord spoke through him, his prophetic word was as powerful as an army of chariots and horses. See M. A. Beek, “The Meaning of the Expression ‘The Chariots and Horsemen of Israel’ (II Kings ii 12),” The Witness of Tradition (OTS 17), 1-10.