Why Did Elisha Die from Sickness


2 Kings 13:14: “Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness, whereof he died.”

I’m perplexed by this Torah passage. Elisha asked and received a double portion of Eliyahu’s spirit. Eliyahu never tasted physical death and Elisha was endowed with his mentor’s quickening power. He possessed supernatural abilities in a finite world. Why then would illness cause his demise?

According to 2 Kings 13:21, a corpse touched Elisha’s bones and was restored to life. How then could Elisha succumb to sickness with chayah (Chet~Yud~Hei) infusing his bones, joints and marrow?



  1. The Talmud teaches, Sotah 47a, that Elisha had been sick with the same sickness twice before and he recovered. His sicknesses were a punishment for his having behaved in a harsh way twice. Once, when he cursed the youths who had behaved in such an insolent fashion towards him. The second time was when he excommunicated Gechazi and cursed him with Tzara’at (a form of spiritual leprosy).

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team