Elijah Escapes from Jezebel
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ELIJAH ESCAPES FROM JEZEBEL
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1 Kings 16:19-33
19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.
20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?
Omri King of Israel
21 Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri. 22 But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.
23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents[a] of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.
25 But Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.
27 As for the other events of Omri’s reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.
Ahab Becomes King of Israel
29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.
1 Kings 16:34
In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
1 Kings 17: 1
Elijah Announces a Great Drought
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
1 Kings 17:2-6
Elijah Fed by Ravens
2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:7-24
Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”
1 Kings 18:1-15
Elijah and Obadiah
18 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”
8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”
9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”
15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
1 Kings 18:16-24
Elijah on Mount Carmel
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
1 Kings 18:25-40
25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
1 Kings 18:46
46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
1 Kings 19:1-4
Elijah Flees to Horeb
19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
1 Kings 19:5-8
5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
Having fled for his life from Beersheba, Jacob settled down for the night at Luz. While asleep, he dreamed of a ladder - or stairway - leading up to heaven, with angels going up and down. In his dream, the LORD renewed his covenant promise to give the land of Canaan to Jacob and his descendants. God also promised that “all the families of the earth will be blessed” through Jacob’s offspring (Genesis 28:14). Jacob was awestruck and declared “This place ... is surely the house of God” (Genesis 28:17). He set up a stone pillar as an altar and re-named the place Bethel (‘Beth-el’ means ‘House of God’).
The site of Bethel is now occupied by the Palestinian West Bank village of Beitin, on the outskirts of Al-Bireh, 3 miles / 5 km to the northeast of Ramallah. Beitin was a prosperous town during Roman times, and still contains the remains of a Byzantine monastery built to commemorate Jacob’s dream. An ancient tower now marks the spot where it is believed Jacob had his vision of the ladder leading up to heaven and where, earlier, Abraham built an altar on his journey south from Shechem to the Negev Desert (see Genesis 12:8-9).
Source: The Bible Journey
Jericho (the ‘city of palm trees) is one of the oldest cities in the world. Remains of the earliest settlement at the base of the ancient ‘tell’ outside the modern city have been dated to around 8000BC. The city has been fought over many times, and a long-repeated pattern of conquest, abandonment and re-building has led to numerous settlements of different ages buried one under another on the mound that can be seen today.
Jericho is situated on the floor of the Jordan Valley, some 880 feet / 270 metres below sea level. It has lush vegetation in an otherwise dry and arid area. It is an oasis surrounded by desert, watered by a spring – the Ein es-Sultan – that never runs dry.
Visitors can still see the remains of ancient Jericho at Tel es-Sultan, the settlement mound just outside the modern city. This mound – which was excavated by Dame Kathleen Kenyon in 1952 - is made up of the remains of many layers of civilisation resulting from the repeated destruction and resettlement of the city over many centuries. Kenyon found remains of a glacis (a slippery, sloping mound built at the foot of a city wall) and remains of the fallen city wall in the ditch at the foot of this glacis. These remains, and up to a metre of ash and debris, dating from the Late Bronze Age (around 1400BC) are now believed to have resulted from the razing of the city following the capture by the Israelites under Joshua.
The archaeology shows that the city was then abandoned for several centuries. The Bible agrees that Jericho was abandoned after its destruction by Joshua in c.1406BC, and later records that the city was rebuilt by Hiel of Bethel in c.850BC during the reign of King Ahab of Israel (see 1 Kings 16:34).
Source: The Bible Journey
The city of Jezreel (meaning ‘God sows’) was built on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the Valley of Jezreel (the 'Valley of Israel'), on the site of the modern village of Zirin. The valley – which took its name from the city – formed an important routeway between the Jordan Valley near Beth Shean and the coastal plain north of Mount Carmel (near the modern city of Haifa). As a result, the city had a strategic location, guarding this important east-west corridor that separated the hills of Galilee in the north from the uplands of Samaria to the south.
Jezreel is first mentioned in the Bible when the newly-conquered land of Canaan was divided amongst the tribes of Israel in c.1405BC (see Joshua 19:18), but it only attained importance when King Ahab and Queen Jezebel built a royal residence there in c.874BC. The palace included a lookout tower from which soldiers and chariots approaching from the Jordan Valley could easily be spotted (see 2 Kings 9:17). It was to this palace at Jezreel that King Ahab returned in c.867BC after three years of drought devastated the land and the prophet Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (see 1 Kings 18:20-40 & 44-46).
Some ten years later, in c.856BC, King Ahab planned to expand his palace at Jezreel. When Naboth, the owner of the vineyard on the eastern slope of the hill below the palace, refused to sell his land, Jezebel arranged for him to be stoned to death. When Elijah heard of Naboth’s murder, he prophesied the death of both Ahab and Jezebel (see 1 Kings 21:1-23). Ahab was killed four years later in 852BC in the battle for Ramoth Gilead (see 1 Kings 22:29-38), while Jezebel was thrown to her death from her room in the royal palace at Jezreel by her own eunuchs in 842BC. This occurred immediately after Jehu had deposed and killed her son Joram outside the city walls, and had dumped his body in the vineyard that had been so cruelly appropriated by the royal couple fourteen years earlier (see 2 Kings 9:14-33).
Source: The Bible Journey
The Mount Carmel range (Hebrew ‘Kerem-El’ - ‘the Vineyard of God’) stretches inland from the Mediterranean coast at Haifa and runs south of the River Kishon and the Valley of Jezreel. It was one of the celebrated ‘high places’ where altars to the god Baal were commonplace and sacred wooden ‘Asherah poles’ (representing fruitful trees) were set up to worship the Sidonian fertility goddess, Asherah. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on their ‘home ground’ and claimed this ‘holy place’ for the one true God.
Today, visitors to Mount Carmel can look out across the River Kishon and towards the Mediterranean Sea from the Carmelite monastery at Daliyet el Carmel. Inside the chapel is a replica of the stone altar that Elijah built to make his sacrifice to God. Above the altar, Elijah is depicted praying beneath a locust bean (carob) tree.
Elijah’s Cave at the foot of Mount Carmel in modern-day Haifa is said by Jewish tradition to be the cave in which Elijah hid from King Ahab before fleeing south towards Beersheba. The fortified Monastery of Mar Elias, on a hilltop to the north of Bethlehem, is believed to mark another spot where Elijah rested during his southbound flight from Queen Jezebel. The Greek Orthodox monastery - at which visitors are welcome - was built by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in 1160AD.
Source: The Bible Journey