Elijah, the great prophet who has traveled the length of Israel and spoken the word of the Lord directly to Israel’s king, is now about to take the longest journey of all. Somehow he knows that his time has come. His disciple Elisha knows too, but they do not speak of it. Instead, Elijah turns to Elisha and says, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.”
Elisha will hear none of it. He vows, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they go down to Bethel together, with the unspoken reality of impending death accompanying them.
When they reach Bethel, the prophets of that city can see the reality that follows Elijah like a shadow. They take Elisha aside and ask if he knows. He replies, “Yes, I know; keep silent.” The reality of what lies ahead may be inescapable, but let it remain unnamed. Some realities seem too large and too powerful to be named.