What happened to Elijah? Did Jezebel have him killed?
“And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee”(1 Kgs 21:1-3).
Ahab came into the house and he was greatly unhappy because he had said,
“I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die” (1 Kgs 21:4-10).
And they did exactly as Jezebel told them to do. Two men, children of Belial, showed up and after a discussion they took him out of the city and stoned him to death. Since Naboth was dead Jezebel told Ahab to take possession of the vineyard.
“And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.
Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house (1 Kgs 21:17-29).
And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses (1 Kgs 22:1-4).
There hadn’t been anymore wars for three years, and at the end of the three, King Jihsohat came down to the king of Israel. The king of Israel then gathered around 400 prophets and asked if she should attack Ramoth-gilead, and they said,
Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?
8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so (1 Kgs 22:6-8).
The king of Israel then told an officer to bring the Prophet Hasten to him. At this time, the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat sat in their thrones wearing robes and all the prophets prophesied before them.
And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them (1 Kgs 22:11).
Then the messenger he had sent to obtain Micaih came back and said, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
And Micaih said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak (1 Kgs 22:13-14).
And the king asked Micaiah the same thing he had asked the other prophets, and only of what he said was the same of what the others said.
And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you (1 Kgs 22:16-28).
The two kings went up to Ramoth-gilead, and the king of Israel said,
I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.
So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.
Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? (1 Kgs 22:45).
Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, reigned for two years, and he began after Jehoshaphat had reigned for 17 years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, like his parents. He served and worshipped Baal, which angered the Lord.
God Knows the Beginning to End:
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel
God can reveal the future. Nowhere is this more evident than in the remarkable prophecies of what would happen to Abraham’s descendants through Jacob’s offspring, the 12 tribes of Israel.
One of God’s most remarkable claims is found in the Book of Isaiah:
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Is 4:9-10).
Here God not only says that He can reveal the future; He also claims the power to bring it to pass!
God’s promises to Abraham, while astounding in their magnitude, nevertheless started small—with the promise of a son, Isaac, to be born to him and Sarah, which was Isaac (Gen:17:19-21; 21:1-3).
Isaac, in turn, had two sons, Jacob and Esau (Gen25:19-26).
Jacob had 12 sons, from whom the 12 tribes of Israel are descended.
Prophesied Birth of a Nation
But long before this, before Abraham even had a son at all, God revealed to Abraham the fact that his descendants would go through one of the most remarkable “birth processes” a people could go through—they would be enslaved in a foreign land before emerging as a nation.
We find this prophesied in the Book of Genesis:
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance (Gen 15:13-14).
This is referring, of course, to the Exodus. The remarkable chain of circumstances leading to the fulfillment of this prophecy is spelled out in Genesis 37-50 and Exodus 1-14.
While the Exodus itself is one of the Bible’s best-known stories, the events that led up to it aren’t so well understood.
This leads all the way to King Solomon.
The Kingdom Divides
Solomon’s love for women, evil women, he walked away from God and started worshiping pagan gods.
Solomon’s ill-chosen path set the kingdom on a road from which there would be no recovery. Because of Solomon’s sins, God announced that He would tear the kingdom away from him and give it to one of Solomon’s subjects (1 Kgs 11: 11-13).
Indeed, most of the kingdom would split away to follow a rival; only a minority would remain to follow Solomon’s son and the kings of David’s line.
This prophecy was fulfilled a few years later at Solomon’s death when most of the tribes broke away to follow Jeroboam, leader of the northern kingdom, Israel.
The rest remained with Solomon’s successor, Rehoboam, leader of the southern kingdom of Judah (1 Kgs 12; 2 Chr 10-11).
The two kingdoms would become rivals—and sometimes enemies—for the next two centuries.
Jews and Israelites
Most people assume that the Jews and Israelites are one and the same. But this is clearly not true.
Any look at history and these relevant Bible chapters shows they were two separate kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah (from which the term Jew is derived).
As an interesting historical note, the first time the word Jews appears in the Bible, it is in 2 Kgs 16:5-6) where Israel is allied with another king and at war with the Jews.
Finally, in 722 B.C. the northern kingdom was crushed and its people carried away into captivity at the hands of the Assyrians—”beyond the River” as God had warned their first king two centuries earlier.
Judah Follows in Israel’s Footsteps
The story of Judah, the southern kingdom, is somewhat different though equally tragic.
Both kingdoms quickly abandoned the true God and sank into moral and spiritual depravity.
While the northern kingdom never once had a righteous king, Judah at least had a handful that turned to God and instituted religious reforms aimed at turning the people to proper worship of the true God.
They should have listened to God, but just like most people today, they were consumed with their own greed.
The Prophet Isaiah
The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah,
…Hear the word of the Lord.
Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.
And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (2 Kgs 20:16-18).
God sent many other prophets—including Micah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk and Jeremiah—to warn Judah, but to no avail.
As the Assyrians vanquished the Israelites in several waves of invasions and deportations, so the Babylonians took away the Jews in several deportations before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Many details of the biblical accounts of the downfalls of Israel and Judah are confirmed by Assyrian and Babylonian records from the time, demonstrating again the accuracy of the biblical record.
Judah’s Exile and Return
The outcome of Judah’s exile, however, was far different from that of the northern kingdom.
Israel was deported to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire and its people lost their national and ethnic identity (for more details and to understand who they are today, request a free booklet “The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy”).
But God gave Judah an encouraging promise through this prophecy from Jeremiah:
For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive (Jeremiah:29:10-14).
Here, too, we find a remarkable prophecy that was fulfilled to the letter.
This 70-year period appears to have begun with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s temple—the center of Jewish worship—in 586 B.C. and to have concluded with the completion of a new Jerusalem temple in 516 B.C.
The biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the return of many of the Jewish exiles from Babylon.