THE STORY OF ELIJAH AND AHAB (PART 1)

Zack Martin
Zack Martin
@zack-martin
10 years ago
70 posts

This is the beginning of a 3 part Bible Study about Elijah and Ahab. Ahab wasnt a good King, in fact he was married to Jezebel who wasnt even an Israelite, but a Sidonian, and served Baal. Anyway, Elijah came to Ahab and told him that there wasnt going to be any rain until Elijah aid it would rain. With Ahab married to Jezebel, who worshipped Baal. I can imagine the double take Elijah had, knowing that Jezebel was so wicked and would probably try to kill Elijah. Guess what? God knew that and had a plan to save Elijah.

God told Elijah to get away, and also told him where to go. To the brook of Cherith, which flows into the river Jordan. There God sent ravens to feed Elijah. But, the drought dried up the Cherith, and Elijah had to make other pans, but, again Guess What? He provided a widow to take care of Elijah! It is here that God grants the miracle of stretching the meal and flour, and water to filled the need of all, Elijah, the widow, and her son.

1 Kings 17

17:1 Elijah Proclaims a Drought

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab,"As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."
2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
8 Elijah and the Widow

Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink." 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.'"
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

17 Elijah Revives the Widow's Son

Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah,"What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?"
19 And he said to her, "Give me your son." So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD and said, "O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?" 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, "O LORD my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him." 22 Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.
23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives!"
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth." NKJV


1 Kings 17:1

Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead ['Eeliyaahuw ha-Tishbiy mitoshaabeey Gil`aad The third word may be rendered either from the present Hebrew text, as in the King James Version, or, by a slight change of punctuation, Elijah the Tishbite, from Tisbi of Gilead: so also the Septuagint renders it: Eeliou ho profeetees ho ek Thesboon tees Galaad]. The site of this place has not yet been discovered; but if the latter meaning of the words be adopted, it conclusively settles two points:

(1) That Thisbe was not in Naphtali, as has been supposed (Reland, 'Palaestina,' p. 1035), but in Gilead; and (2) that Elijah was not a resident merely, being a foreigner by birth, as Keil maintains ('Commentary,' in loco); an Ishmaelite (many of that race being on the confines of Gilead), as Michaelis suggests; but a native Gileadite. Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. viii., ch. xiii., sec. 2) describes him as a native of Thesbon, a district in the Gilead country.' This prophet is introduced as abruptly as Melchizedek-his birth, parents, and call to the prophetic office being alike unrecorded. The commencement of his recorded ministry was at a great public crisis in the national history of Israel, when measures had been adopted by the court of Samaria which threatened to extinguish the very existence of true religion in the land. Jeroboam and his immediate successors had introduced an unhappy innovation in religion, by not only changing the central place of worship and the appointed time of the festivals, but by patronizing the use of Egyptian symbols. Still they adhered to the worship of Yahweh in connection with images. Ahab effected a far worse revolution by the introduction of the pagan or Phoenician idols, Baal and Ashtaroth, and building sanctuaries to them. Through the seductive influence of the court, the people of Israel, previously prone to idolatry, followed the pernicious precedent, and the worship of Yahweh was at a low ebb in the kingdom of Israel. Elijah appeared in this state of affairs.

1 Kings 17:1

Said unto Ahab. The prophet appears to have been warning this apostate king how fatal both to himself and people would be the reckless course he was pursuing; and the failure of Elijah's efforts to make an impression on the obstinate heart of Ahab is shown by the penal prediction uttered at parting.

Before whom I stand - i.e., whom I serve (Deut 18:5).

1 Kings 17:1

There shall not be dew nor rain these years. Not absolutely; but the dew and the rain should not fall in the usual and necessary quantities. This was a calamity incident to the land of Israel, and applied for the punishment of sin (cf. 1 Kings 8:33; Deut 11:17; 28:23). Such a suspension of moisture was sufficient to answer the corrective purposes of God, while an absolute drought must have converted the whole country into an uninhabitable waste. The duration of this drought is stated by the Apostle James (James 5:17), to have been three years and six months.

1 Kings 17:1

But according to my word. Not uttered in spite, vengeance, or caprice, but as the minister of God. The impending calamity was in answer to his earnest prayer, and a chastisement intended for the spiritual revival of Israel. Miracles and prophecies are the two grand evidences of a divine revelation. And in particular, the commission of a true prophet was attested steal by the occurrence of extraordinary events in the future, conformably to his announcement. Drought was the threatened punishment of national idolatry (Deut 11:16-17; 28:23); and Elijah now made a particular application of the divine denunciation.

1 Kings 17:2

And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,

1 Kings 17:3

Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.

1 Kings 17:3

Get thee hence ... At first the king may spurned the prediction as the utterance of a vain enthusiast; but when he found the drought last, and increase in severity, he sought Elijah, who, as it was necessary that he should be far removed from either the violence or the importunities of the king, was divinely directed to repair to a distant and unknown retreat.

And turn thee eastward, [qeedmaah; not mizraach due east, but only in an easterly direction form the point of departure-in all probability Samaria-inclining either north or south (cf. 1 Kings 7:39; Num 34:3,15); Septuagint, kata anatolas].

1 Kings 17:3

And hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan, [bnachal, in a torrent-bed, or water-course (wady); Septuagint, en too cheimarroo Chorrath; Kriyt, the name of a torrent (signifying a cutting, or separation-namely, through a mountain ravine); `al pneey ha-Yardeen, on the face of the Jordan.] The difficulty is to discovers locality which answers all the conditions of the text. Three different places have had their claims advocated by eminent scholars. Since the words translated "before," are used elsewhere (Gen 25:18; Josh 19:11) to denote 'east,' Eusebius and Jerome ('Onomast.,' article 'Chorath') have placed Cherith in the trans-Jordanic country; and Rabbi Swartz ('Palestine,' p. 51) takes the same view, placing it in Wady Alias el-Yabis, which is south of Mahanaim, and runs into the Jordan a few miles below the ford opposite Beth-shan (Kirby and Mangles, p. 305).

In favour of this claimant, it has been urged that Elijah would naturally wish to have the Jordan as a protecting barrier between him and the bloodhounds of the court, who laboured to track his route. The intermixture of hill and valley that forms a characteristic feature of that region, covered with dense woods, abounding in flowing streams, and in caverns on the precipitous sides of the rocky ravines, in strongly urged in support of the hypothesis that Wady Alias was the Cherith, while local traditions lend it additional confirmation. But this description is equally applicable to other localities in Palestine; and, as shown above, the words "before" and "eastward" are not sufficiently precise to establish the determinate claims of this spot. One reason for this conclusion is the language of Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. viii., ch. xiii., sec. 2), who, while he does not mention the name of the brook, says that Elijah 'departed into the southern parts;' and the traditions of the Church have almost uniformly placed the brook of Elijah on the west side of the Jordan. Accordingly, considering "eastward" as meaning 'southeast'-the direction in which the traditions describe the locality to have been situated-and "before" as denoting 'toward' (Gen 18:26), modern scholars are divided in opinion between two wadys which lead down from the central mountain-chain to the western bank of the Jordan.

The one is Wady Fasael, flanked on both sides by steep precipitous rocks, and frequently swept by searching winds (Van de Velde, 'Syria and Palestine,' ii., p. 309). The only foundation for its claim is the possession of a living fountain ('Ain), which in a time of severe and prevalent drought would be a great boon to the fugitive prophet; and yet this very circumstance of its having a perennial spring is a direct refutation of its claim to be Cherith; not only because the brook dried up, while the living or flowing waters did not, but, because the Cherith had no fountain, only a "brook," which would become dry when the protracted drought had exhaled all the moisture of the land.

The honour of having been the real Cherith of the prophet is assigned now by general consent to Wady Kelt, a little south of Wady Fasael, and answering more fully than it to the description given in this passage. Its extension "eastward;" its numerous arch-mouthed caverns, any of which might have served as a safe hiding-place from the myrmidons of the court; its "brook" (nachal, not ain) flowing with impetuous current, yet capable of being dried up for want of rain to feed it, and producing a narrow strip of fresh verdure along the sides of its channel; its 'cut' or separation of the tremendous precipices at the deep bottom of the gorge; its opening at the termination "before" or 'upon the face of' the Jordan; its name Kelt, euphonized by the Arabs from the ancient Cherith, through a not-uncommon substitution of L for R; and its being, moreover, beyond the confines of the kingdom of Israel, and within the territory of that of Judah-all these circumstances combined, harmonizing, as they appear to do, with the scriptural description, with Josephus, and with local traditions, have, in the minds of competent judges; created a strong presumption that its wild, unfrequented, precipitous fastnesses afforded Elijah the refuge where he was commanded to seek. Its vicinity to Gilgal, where he had so many friends and followers, and their ignorance of the place of his retreat, would induce Ahab to search for him in every quarter rather than there (Robinson, 'Biblical Researches,' ii, p. 288; Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 299, 300; Osborne's 'Palestine, Past and Present,' pp. 391-396; Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 191).



1 Kings 17:4

And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there, [haa`orbiym; Septuagint, tois koraxin]. The idea of such unclean and voracious birds being employed to feed the prophet has not only been a fertile subject of ridicule to infidels, but appeared to many believers so strange that they have laboured to make out the Orebim, which in our version has been rendered ravens, to be-as the word is used, Ezek 27:27 - merchants, or Arabians (2 Chron 21:16; Neh 4:7), or the citizens of Arabah, a town alleged, on Rabbinical authority, to have been near Beth-shah (Josh 15:6; 18:18). Jerome states that the inhabitants of this town supplied the prophet with food; and the testimony of this writer, who lived in the fourth century of our era, is considered all the more valuable that he spent several years in Palestine for the purpose of acquiring an accurate acquaintance with the Hebrew language, and with the manners of the people, with a view to the exposition of the Scriptures.
In the common printed editions of the Vulgate, corvi, ravens, is the word used in this passage; but in 2 Chron 21:16 and Neh 4:7, Jerome with propriety renders the original word Arabians. The Arabic version considers Orebim, in this passage, as denoting a people, and not ravens. To these authorities may be added the opinion of the Jewish Commentator Jarchi, who interprets the term in the same manner, conceiving it to be impossible for the Lord's prophet to receive food from creatures declared unclean by the law, of whose authority he was a zealous upholder and unflinching defender. These considerations have seemed in the minds of many to carry so much weight that they have considered the only probable interpretation of the passage is, that the Orebim who brought to Elijah bread in the morning and flesh in the evening, with unbroken regularity for a whole year, were not ravens, but the inhabitants of the city Orbo, or traveling merchants belonging to the caravans from Arabia. [As to the latter hypothesis, Ezek 27:27 has, w`orbeey ma`raabeek, and the occupiers of thy merchandise.]
But the word is here closely connected with that which follows, so as to be dependent for its meaning upon the association; and `orbiym is never used by itself to denote merchants. Besides, the position of Elijah's retreat refutes the supposition. The caravan route of the Arabian traders did not lie in the direction of the Wady Kelt; and as their travels were made only at distant periodical intervals, it is evident that they could not be the parties who brought the prophet big daily supplies. As little could it be some kind inhabitants of the town of Orbo; because, admitting the existence of such a town, of which, however, there is no historical evidence, its people would, according to the genius of the Hebrew language, have been called, not Orebim, but Arabaiim; and then, how could the prophet be said to "hide himself," if he were dependent for his daily subsistence on the friendly attentions of benevolent persons in the neighbourhood?
The secret of his retreat must inevitably have transpired; and yet it is said that, notwithstanding Ahab sought for him with untiring industry in all quarters, his hiding-place could not be discovered. It would have been impossible, while a system of vigilant espionage was maintained in every part of the country, and tempting rewards would be held out to any who would volunteer the much-wished-for information, that Elijah could have remained concealed, had his supplies of food been derived either from Arabian merchants or the inhabitants of a neighbouring town. The common rendering, then, in our opinion, is preferable to either of these conjectures; and if Elijah was miraculously fed by ravens, it is idle to inquire where they found the bread and the flesh, for God would direct them. "He commanded the ravens to feed" the prophet. In the Scripture history of God's providence, such commands are frequently represented as given to the lower animals. The serpents, the locusts, the fish, the billows of the sea, and the clouds of heaven, are all severally represented as acting at the mandate of God and being employed in his service (2 Chron 7:13; Ps 78:23; Isa 14:12; Jonah 2:10; Amos 9:3). 'Properly speaking,' says Dr. Paxton, 'the inanimate and irrational parts of creation cannot receive and execute the commands of the Almighty: they are only passive instruments employed by Him, in His providential dispensations, to produce certain effects. To command the ravens, then, is to make use of them in providing for the necessities of his servant-to impart for a time an instinctive care to supply him with food, to which they were by nature entire strangers, and which they ceased to feel when the end was accomplished.'
Of course, the flesh was suited to the taste of ravenous birds; and as the distance between Jerusalem and Cherith was not very great, it is possible, as some have suggested, that the fowls might have snatched it from the altar at the temple and carried it in their talons to the prophet's hiding-place. But as to the bread, that was not food adapted to their instincts; so that their being instinctively stimulated to carry a portion of it daily along with the meat was a strong proof of a miraculous influence being exerted over them. But the ravens are solitary birds; it is the rooks which are gregarious, flying abroad in flocks, morning and evening; and hence, as a single raven could not bring a sufficient quantity of the viands, a difficulty is felt by some to account for the fact of the prophet's continued subsistence through such agency. As an attempt at removing this difficulty, we subjoin the following remarks by the editor of 'Calmet,' without committing ourselves to the adoption of his theory:
The original word "raven" includes the whole genus corvus; and, consequently, it may have been the rook, as Taylor conjectures, not an unclean bird, which was employed on this occasion.' The same learned writer conjectures that the support of Elijah was obtained in some such way as this-`Let us suppose,' says he, 'for a moment that Elijah was concealed in some rocky and mountainous spot where passengers never strayed, and that here a number of voracious birds had built their nests on the trees which grew around it, or on the projections of the rocks. These flying every day to procure food for their young, the prophet availed himself of a part of what they brought; and while they, obeying the dictates of nature, designed only to provide for their offspring, Divine Providence directed them to provide at the same time for the wants of Elijah; so that he gathered, whether from their nests, what they dropped or brought to him, or occasionally from both means enough for his daily support. But I rather think, there being a good many of them, some might furnish him with bread (i.e., grain) and others flesh, and vice versa, at different times; so that a little from each made up his solitary but satisfactory meal. To such straits was the exiled prophet driven, and such, was the dependence of this zealous man of God.' After the lapse of a year the brook dried up, and this was a new trial to Elijah's faith.

1 Kings 17:5-7

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. 7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. NIV

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1 Kings 17:8

And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,

The word of the Lord came unto him. Zarephath, or Sarepta, now Surafend, where he was directed to go, was far away on the western coast of Palestine, about nine miles south of Zidon, and within the dominions of Jezebel's impious father, where the famine also prevailed. Meeting at his entrance into the town, the very woman who was appointed by Divine Providence to support him, his faith was severely tested by learning from her that her supplies were exhausted, and that she was preparing her last meal for herself and son. The Spirit of God having prompted him to ask, and her to grant, some necessary succour, she received a prophet's reward (Matt 10:41-42)
Matt 10:41-42
41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." NIV

;and for the one meal afforded to him, God, by a miraculous increase of the little stock, afforded many to her.

1 Kings 17:9

Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

Which belongeth to Zidon, ['sher l-Tsiydown] - which is by or near Zidon. Sarepta was situated between Zidon and Tyre, close to the Mediterranean. The etymology of the name indicates that it was a place for smelting metals. Robinson ('Biblical Researches,' iii., 414) says that in the rocks at the foot of the hills he saw numerous tombs excavated, which apparently belonged to this ancient city.

1 Kings 17:10-13

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

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1 Kings 17:14

For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.

The barrel of meal shall not waste, [lo' tiklaah] - be ended, consumed.

1 Kings 17:15-16

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.
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1 Kings 17:17

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

The son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick. A severe domestic calamity seems to have led her to think that as God had shut up heaven upon a sinful land in consequence of the prophet, she was suffering on a similar account.

1 Kings 17:18

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

What have I to do with thee? The phrase is elliptic, and the meaning is, What is there in common to us two-to me, a sinful woman, and thee, a man of God-that we should thus have come together to my harm? (cf. Judg 11:12; 2 Kings 3:13: see Trench 'On Miracles,' p. 104.) Without answering her bitter upbraiding, the prophet takes the child, lays it on his bed, and, after a very earnest prayer, had the happiness of seeing its restoration, and along with it, gladness to the widow's heart and home.

There is a remarkable difference noticeable between the miracles of the Old and the New Testaments. 'We find,' says Trench, 'the holy men of old sometimes bringing-if one may venture so to speak-hardly, and with difficulty, the wonder-work to pass. It is not born without pangs: there is sometimes a momentary pause, a seeming uncertainty about the issue; while the miracles of Christ and His apostles are always accomplished with the highest ease' (Num 12:13-15; 1 Kings 18:42-44; 2 Kings 4:31-35). The prophet was sent to this widow, not merely for his own security, but on account of her faith to strengthen and promote which he was directed to go to her, rather than to many widows in Israel, who would have eagerly received him on the same privileged terms of exemption from the grinding famine. The relief of her bodily necessities became the preparatory means of supplying her spiritual wants, and bringing her and her son, through the teaching of the prophet, to a clear knowledge of God, and a firm faith in His Word (Luke 4:25).

Conclusion of Chapter: You know God doesnt promise anyone a bed of roses to live in (although from time to time He allows it), but He does promise to be with us through it all. Elijah has, here, made a curse on the Jewish Kingdom of Ahab, and it put him in harms way. God takes Elijah (1st) to the Brook of Cherith, and then when it dried up, (2nd) to the widows house in Zarephath, and he remained here for close to 3 and years. Even when we MUST stand up to the world on GODS DEMAND, He will protect us and care for us in every way.

Next Study of the story of Elijah & Ahab will be Chapter 18.

God Bless Everyone,
Rev. Zack Martin Sr.




--
In His Name,
Rev. Zack martin Sr.

updated by @zack-martin: 03/07/15 12:16:28AM

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