The stone room hummed. The walls seemed to radiate with energy. A dozen men formed a circle, squatting on the floor, their enwrapped bodies folded with their head between their knees, their hands extend to the heavens. In an instant the humming stopped. One of the men lowered his arms and lifted his head. “Yonah,” he called. His voice was soft, almost musical. “Come here my son.”
One of the other men lifted his head, and lowered the shawl from his brow to rest on his shoulders. He shook out his long black hair and slowly rose to his feet. His eyes shone with dark intensity, as he approached his master.
When Yonah’s eyes met the prophet’s, Elisha’s own eyes widened. He resisted an urge to pull away. Their dark intensity frightened him. An aura of blood red fire danced around Yonah’s countenance. Elisha hesitated. Maybe it was a mistake to send Yonah. Maybe he should be the one to deliver this message after all. Those eyes reminded him so much of Eliyahu’s. Had it made a difference when Elisha anointed the king of Aram? Had his tears mitigated the judgment? No, probably not. Elisha still saw the same vision of destruction. But there would be tears just the same. Not for Yehu. And not from him either. Yehu could be cold and cruel when he wanted to be. That is why the Almighty chose him for this task. And Yonah. Elisha doubted that Yonah would shed a tear, would feel remorse at the necessity of his role, and the blood that would be spilt as a result. Elisha watched the flames of blood dancing around Yonah’s face. No, there wouldn’t be any remorse. And maybe that is the way it was supposed to be.
Elisha looked up into the waiting face of his disciple, and smiled. The smile only barely touched his eyes. “Yonah, my son, gird up your loins, and take this vial of oil.” Elisha removed a small ceramic flask from the folds of his robes. “Go to Ramoth Gil`ad, to the army there. And when you are there find Yehu the son of Yehoshephat the son of Nimshi. Take him aside, and bring him to an inner chamber.” Elisha paused. He read Yonah’s face again and suppressed a shudder. He didn’t need to tell the young disciple anything. The youth already knew, the way only a youth can know.
Elisha continued just the same. “When you have him alone, take this flask of oil and pour it over his head and say, ‘Thus says the Almighty: I have annoited you king over Yisrael.’ Then, my son, open the door and flee. Do not hesitate. Do not wait.”
Yonah slowly took the flask. Elisha thought that the youth’s eyes burned even brighter, if that wer at all possible. “Yes, my father. I will do as you have instructed. He opend the leather cord around the flask and hung it around his neck. Then Yonah tied up the edges of his salmah and darted from the room. Elisha’s heart went with him.