The Concept of “Double Portion” By Babatunde Olugboji
The idea of a “double portion” in the Bible is one of a double blessing. The Bible makes specific reference to a double portion in six places. When someone receives a double portion, he gets a gift twice as much as that given to others. It was first mentioned in the Law of Moses in respect of the right of the firstborn. (Deuteronomy 21: 17) A firstborn son was entitled to twice the inheritance of that of the other sons, in addition to the right of succession.
Because Hannah could not have children, her husband tried to assuage her pain with an extra blessing. (1 Samuel 1: 5) After his sufferings, Job received double for his trouble. (Job 42: 10)
Near the end of Elijah’s time on earth, he offered his protégé Elisha a gift: “What can I do for you before I am taken from you?” Elisha answered, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” (2 Kings 2: 9). Elisha requested to be considered the successor of Elijah and to be “doubly blessed” with power in the prophetic office.
When Elisha first made his request, Elijah answered, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:10) After Elisha watched Elijah taken up to heaven, he picked up Elijah’s cloak. Returning to the Jordan River, he called out to the Lord and struck the water with the cloak.
The water opened up, and Elisha walked across on dry ground. This act affirmed the transition of the prophetic office from Elijah to Elisha as well as the fulfillment of Elisha’s request. Throughout 2 Kings, the many miracles Elisha performed confirmed that he had indeed been granted a double portion.
The miraculous crossing of the Jordan was witnessed by men from the school of prophets. “Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.” (2 Kings 2:15) From that point forward, these men appear to have followed Elisha as their spiritual leader. (2 Kings 4: 38–41)
Two other miracles soon follow the parting of the Jordan River. First, Elisha turned bad water into clean water. (2 Kings 2:19–22) Second, he cursed a group of young men who mocked him, and two bears came from the woods and attacked them. (2 Kings 2: 23–24)
The taking of Elijah to heaven, the parting of the water, the response of the company of prophets, and the two additional miracles recorded immediately afterwards all affirm that Elisha’s request for a double portion was both honorable and granted by God. Elisha’s ministry was one of the most influential in the Bible and continues to be remembered today. Interestingly Scripture records exactly twice as many miracles through Elisha (28 miracles) as took place through Elijah (14 miracles).
Since the Mosaic Law stipulated a double portion for firstborn sons, the concept has been used throughout history to refer to God’s abundant blessing. Christ was called the “firstborn over all creation” (Colossian 1:15), a title that indicates His position as the Blessed One and rightful Heir of all things.
As you ask for abundant blessings this week, God will grant your request in the name of Jesus.
Have a great week.
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