Here is a Bible Gateway word search for "Elisha". I didn't know there were names before and after Elisha that started with "Elisha-" I wonder what they mean. I wonder if Elisha was a "modern" version of the other names. Not sure about the chronology. I wonder if he was a descendant...
The Elisha we want shows up in 1 Kings 19:16. You could do a word study with his fathers' name. You can do a word study with the place name and learn more about where he came from.
I'm opting to retell the stories with observations thrown in - sometimes verbatim, sometimes not. I have 8 posts about Elisha and one about Character activities. I'll try to put up one post each day.
1 King 19 (NIV)
"15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. [Elisha was annointed at the same time as 2 kings who show up later by the way. He was anointed to succeed Elijah as prophet.] 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. [Annointed to put people to death? Not what I was expecting to find.] 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."[A God-given word of encouragement in the context of all this.]
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. [Elisha is a farmer. He's working at farming when God calls him. He was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. Was it an average number or was he wealthy? What does it mean he was driving the twelth pair? He was obviously physically strong. He worked the earth but this might be a cultural/historical farming question.] Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. [Elisha must have known what this gesture meant. Another historical/cultural question.] 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. [Apparently he didn't ignore it or take a few days to think about it.] "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you." [His family and saying "Good by" was important to him?]
"Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?"[Is Elijah saying "Go ahead. Go back." or is he saying, "Why are you following me, anyway?"]
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant." [Elisha burned the plow he worked with to cook the oxen he worked with and gave it to the people to eat. Looks like he was done with farming and he wasn't coming back. He fed people. Is this like selling your farm and giving the proceeds to the poor?]