By Peter & Mary Minson
A retelling of the story of Elijah and Elisha, in the style of "Terminator".
Note: This play is designed for participation by congregation/audience, who play some impromptu parts.
I Kings 19
Elisha the ploughboy (his accent is that of a street-wise Brooklyn Jew).
Elijah the Prophet (as Schwarzenegger/Terminator, with hunting vest, shades, hot glue gun, ammo belt, etc. For his final appearance he also needs a very impressive robe).
Robe-bearers (children positioned at the point Elijah makes his final entrance, ready to slip under the robe)
12 (or 24, if available) "oxen"
(Scene: As the Director sets up, he tells the congregation that this is the story of the call of Elisha to be a prophet, and Elisha was a ploughman. So we need 12 oxen. Call up 12 people, organise them in pairs - a light rope round the lot holds them together. Encourage them to moo! Put the robe-bearers where Elijah will make his final appearance. Put the Momma and Poppa in some obvious place ready to get a microphone for their lines.
Oivey, oivey, this is my life already!
I'm a yiddishe boy who plougs hs mit my oxen every day.
You have all your fancy goy machinery, your computers,
your personal bankers in their Toyotas,
your real estate, your education, your tractors, your letters to write,
your food to prepare, your rugby and your toys,
but here is me ... and what do I have?
Ya, just me and my oxen, and everything to me, they are.
And this is my life you see,
to plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the ground!
My furrows, they're straight, you see?
And the seed - quality seed - I know where to get it, you know,
then in it goes.
Congregation: (prompt to read from OHP) (Whisper) LOOK OUT ELISHA - SOMEONE'S COMING NEAR!
(Enter Elijah - as Schwarzenegger - with glue-gun and ammo belt)
Elijah: I am the Appointinator.
I komm from the mountain of the Lord God Almighty.
God hass told me vot to do.
I only take God-sized appointments.
God said to target three men. I VILL find them. I'll be back! (Exits)
Elisha: And it's a great life, you know this? And I don't need nothing else, see? I don't need no rainbows to inspire me, like, I mean I don't need no pot of gold. This is a good life, oivey!
Congregation: (From OHP) (Softly) LOOK OUT ELISHA - FOR ALL YOU HOLD DEAR !
Elijah: (Re-enters) I'm back. I just found the first man on
I always find my man.
God said, "Go to the desert near Damascus and find Hazael."
I obey orders. That's what I am programmed to do - what God says.
So I went to the desert, and there was Hazael, just like God said.
God said, "Appoint this man King of Syria".
So I did it. With my 9mm Uzi Automatic Appointing Anointer here. (Brandishes glue-gun).
I anointed him. I anointed him good! When I anoint someone, it sticks!
Now he's anointed and appointed.
I have two more targets...Prince Jehu, and some dude name of Elisha.
Hasta la vista, baby! (Exits)
Elisha: Ya, ya, I just like to plough. This is it, you see.
Ploughing. I'm good at it. Everybody knows. I won the Silver Plough
champion ribbon last year for the tightest corner. Here...I'll show
you. (Proceeds to direct oxen to demonstrate a tight corner.)
So! What you think of that? That's something else, huh? You might say I cornered the market. Yust another little yoke!
Congregation: (From OHP) (Loudly) LOOK OUT ELISHA - BUT DO NOT FEAR!
Elijah: (Re-enters) I got him. Numero Duo. God said,
"Appoint Jehu as King of Israel."
I only take out God's appointments. So I found Prince Jehu in Samaria,
and now he's totally anointed. Totally appointed!
Just one more appointment to go.
Elisha's his name. Ploughing is his game.
When I finish anointing him, he'll never be the same.
(Menacingly) You like my little poem!!?
(Humourlessly) Ha, ha!
I'll be back. (Exits)
Elisha: And you know some of my secret - ya, I told you
Always I am getting the right seed. (Touches nose in gesture of secret shared.)
I'm no schmuk! I know a man who knows a man mit the good seed, ya!
But more! I'm up early &endash; no late TV programmes for me. What? You never hear the old Jewish proverb about the oily boid the woim to be catching?
Everybody say the proverb: The Oily Boid Catches the Woim.
(Congregation repeats it)
Ya, well now you're lookin' at the oily boid!
And more again!
These oxen - I treat them well. I take care of my animals, you know?
And yokes! I can tell a good yoke. You know the little yoke about the three Jewish boys from Brooklyn ... ah, no ... Brooklyn ain't been settled yet for 2000 years already!
No, I mean yokes for my oxen.
I get good timber and I carve them, personalised, numbered yokes for each of my oxen.
Did I show you my wonderful oxen already?
Hey! Let me show you how my team can plough!
(Does so, around the church again)
So here I am, a happy man, ploughin' forever, ploughin' free,
And so far, there's even a voice in the Bible about me.
Listen, here it is:
Easy to remember: 1st Kings 19:16 ... that's my voice!
Ya, my very own voice! Don't you schmuks be mockin' my voice,
cos I bet you ain't got a voice in the Bible about you!
Mind you, I don't understand it, but it's there. It goes like this:
"And Elisha the son of Shaphat" - that's my dad! -
"of Abel-meholah" - that's where I live! -
"shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy place."
Don't you be asking me what that means, I don't know, but it's about me,
...hey anyway, I gotta be ploughing, not yammering on. (Drives team off again.)
Congregation: (OHP) (Shouts) LOOK OUT ELISHA - ELIJAH'S COMING FROM THE REAR!!
(Re-enter Elijah, this time also wearing the Robe, under which several children are hiding, ready to fling it on Elisha.)
Elijah: I've been sent to make three hits - just three
I got Hazael just as he was coming out of the desert near Damascus,
and I hit him with the anointing of the Lord to be king of Syria.
That was numero uno, baby!
(Menacingly, to congregation) Say, "Numero uno, baby!" (Congregation repeats)
Dat's right! Target number two was Prince Jehu.
He thought he could hide, but I tracked him down to an oasis 3 days' running from where I hit Hazael.
So I did what I had to do - I anointed Jehu to be king of Israel.
(Menacingly to congregation) Say, "Numero Duo, baby!" (Congregation repeats)
Ja, dat's very gut. And now I have target numero three in my sights.
I'm here to anoint this Elisha to follow me as prophet.
I terminated the prophets of Baal on the mountain,
but this Elisha - he'll make ME look like a Sunday School teacher!
Where is this man? He can't run. He can't hide.
The Appointinator sees all.
(He searches the church, in all the wrong places. Meanwhile, the congregation repeat the four warnings.)
(Whisper) LOOK OUT ELISHA - SOMEONE'S COMING NEAR.
(Softly) LOOK OUT ELISHA - FOR ALL YOU HOLD DEAR.
(Loudly) LOOK OUT ELISHA - BUT DO NOT FEAR.
(Shout) LOOK OUT ELISHA - ELIJAH'S COMING FROM THE REAR!
(Elijah spots him)
Elijah: Ah, there you are, little man. Come with me if you
want to live.
Take my cloak now, my little helpers, and throw it on that yiddish ploughboy's shoulders to be a sign to these people that God saves.
That's right, throw it on him! Ja. Throw it on him now.
Elisha: (Staggering around underneath the cloak) Aaaahhhh! What's happening? All of a sudden I'm hit with this vision!
Like, I see a mother begging me to do something about her dead son. Little old me!
And I see some king of Some Area complaining about his people starving so bad that they start eating their kids!
And I see another lot of people needing food, and only 20 barley loaves in front of me to feed them!
And I see a pot of poisoned soup ... how's that going to be made edible?
And I see a foreign general standing outside my tent covered with horrible sores, wanting Yahweh God to heal him.
And ... oh ... (emerging from cloak, placing it round his shoulders) the vision's fading now, like the dust settling after my oxen have tramped over it.
And...oh my! There were no oxen in the vision!
What could it all mean? This prophet's robe? This vision?
Who am I with my one liddle voice in the Bible to leave behind my oxen, the good soil, my good seed, my plough, and going on to all this other stuff in the dream? Is all this vision stuff meant to show how God saves?
Is this all so that YOU (indicates audience) can know more about God's ways and how he cares for you? Oivey, oivey! I dunno. Like, I don't know if I should do it.
Whaddaya think? Go travelling with that Appointinator dude,
Elijah? He's trouble.
Hey ... it looks like I might have to give up the yoke for the cloak!
And not just me! Something tells me that later on, YOU'll have to put on a yoke too - the yoke of the master carpenter from Nazareth. So maybe the yoke's on you, folks.
Hey, Appointinator ... er, Elijah, if that's your name.
Elijah: You talking to me?
Elisha: Umm, er, Mr ... er, Appointinator ... um ... Reverend ... ahh ... just let me say good bye to my old momma and poppa.
Elijah: Why not? Have I said a word to you yet?
Elisha: No, but some things don't need to be said. Sometimes I just get the picture, see? (No response from Elijah). OK, a man of few words, already, this Elijah guy! Well, goodbye Mom and Dad!
Mum: (Director cues these lines to 2 "apppointed" members of
congregation. They don't need scripts) Elisha! Be reasonable! Be
Don't go with that man in the dark glasses!
God doesn't call people to take risks!
Think or your poor old mother!
Do you want to break my heart?
Do you want to leave me with your father? He drives me crazy!
Elisha: Sorry Momma! When the Spirit of God says "move" ... man, you gotta move. Poppa will look after you.
Dad: Elisha, don't be crazy!
Why did we pay for all that education?
And what about your business?
What about your career?
What about your reputation?
Folks who tangle with that prophet, finish up a dead loss!
My boy ... take it from your old Poppa ... that Appointer-man is a Terminator!
Don't leave me with your dear old Momma ... she drives me crazy!
Elisha: Sorry Poppa! God's calling me,
and I only have two choices - obey and pay the price,
or go my own way, and have a nice neat and tidy life that doesn't feature God at all.
And Poppa ... don't you want to see more than one voice in the Bible about your little boy?
So ... how does Elijah said it? "Hasta la vista, baby!"
And you, my lovely team of oxen.
It's time for you to get some new masters. (Sends them back to their seats)
All except you two. Congratulations!
You've just been selected to be part of a farewell feast!
And just so I don't get too tempted to come back to my old life,
Let's burn up the yokes and plough and tackle right now
and use it for a hangi.
Then I'll be off and see how God saves people.
By the way, anyone know what my name means, already?
(The two prophets begin to exit.)
Elisha: "We'll be back!"
© Copyright Mary and Peter Minson 1997. All rights
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the authors would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed.
They may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org