I bet Ahab is scarred now. What’s up with Jezebel, I’ve heard that name, but nothing good.
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there” (1 Kgs 19:1-3).
Elijah walked into the wilderness for a day before he sat down under a juniper tree and felt that he was going to die. He then said to God,
“It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lordcame to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, theLord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (1 Kgs 19:4-13).
Elijah then explained to God how upset he was with Israel, what he did, and that Jezebel said she was going to kill him.
And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.
So Elijah left and found Elisha plowing the 12 yoke of oxen before him and cast his 1 mantle upon him. Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said,
Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kgs 19:15-18).
“..Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?
And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him” (1 Kgs 19:20-21).King Ben-hadad of Syria gathered all his men and 32 other kings and attacked Samaria. He then sent messengers to King Ahab that said, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
“And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad,
Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.
And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Benhadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;
Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away” (1 Kgs 20:3-6).
The King of Israel called on the elders of the land and asked what he should do and they told him not to do that. So the king of Israel sent the messengers back with…
“…All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
And Benhadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.
And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith theLord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.
And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou” (1 Kgs 20:9-14).
Ahab then counted his soldiers, 232,000, then he numbered the people and there were 7,000. And at noon they travelled towards Syria.
And some of Ben-hadad’s men came and told him that men from Samaria were coming. And he told them that it didn’t matter if they came in peace or war, to take them alive.
The men and their army approached Ahad and they were killed, and the other Sryians fled, so Israel pursued them.
“And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter, but king Ben-hadad escaped” (1 Kgs 20:21).
“And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.
And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.
But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.
And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life” (1 Kgs 19:22-31).
Ben-hadad agreed with his servant, and he said to Israel,
“I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.
Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Benhadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Benhadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.
Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.
So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.
And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.
And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and th’ed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria” (1 Kgs 19:32-43).
1 There are at least four Hebrew terms for mantel. Is this case it is probably a sole garment, and probably made of sheepskin, such as is worn by the modern dervishes.
The Ministries of
Elijah and Elisha
The considerable power and wealth the Omride Dynasty brought to Israel also rent the fabric of Israelites society. Phoenician influence at the court in Samaria proved troubling. This was best symbolized by the marriage of Ahab to Jezebel, a Phoenician princess of Tyre.
Social and economic tensions built up within Israel society between the privileged classes favored by the royal court, mostly city dwellers whose lifestyles grew increasingly luxurious, and those distrustful of foreign influences, mainly rural elements isolated from political and perhaps economic power.
An additional source of tension was the official patronage of Baal worship by the royal court. Ahab built a temple of Baal at Samaria (1 Kgs 18:19).
In addition, Jezebel ruthlessly suppressed the prophets of Yahweh in Israel. These policies prompted a major crisis of the soul for Israel.
In response, God sent two unique prophetic figures – Elijah and Elisha – to minister to the nation. Both prophets remain enigmatic due to the paucity and nature according to these resources, yet each guided Israel at critical junction.
Elijah was a dour, solitary figure who hailed from Tishbe in Gilead (major references to Elijah are found in 1 Kgs 17-19, 21; 2 Kgs 1-2).
He appeared suddenly and mysteriously when least expected. An implacable foe of Baalism, Elijah opposed both Ahab and Jezebel publicly as the “troubler of Israel.”
He announced God was sending a drought upon the land, a tactic aimed at the heart of Baalism, whose chief deity brought the rain. Having made the announcement, Elijah retreated to the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan (1 Kgs 17:1-7).
Next, he traveled to Zarephath near Sidon, where he stayed with a widow and raised her son from death (1 Kgs 17:8-24).
Elijah found Elisha, presumably at his home village, Abel-meholah. The exact location of Abel-meholah is uncertain, but it seems to have been west of the Jordan River, perhaps near the eastern part of the Jezreel Valley.
Elisha left his fields to become the devoted disciple of Elijah. Sometime after the death of Ahaziah (850 B.C.), Elisha followed Elijah from Gilgi through Bethel and Jericho to the Jordan River.
Elisha differed in some respects from Elijah. He appeared frequently in the company of the “sons of the prophets” and functioned more often as a counselor to kings. The Bible records numerous miracles Elisha performed, among them (2 Kgs 2:19-22, 4:8-37, 4:38-41, 5).
Like Elijah, it is difficult to plot the movements of Elisha, though he often appeared at Mount Carmel and Samaria. The most prominent role Elisah played was kingmaker.
He was the instrument of political revolution in Damascus and Israel (2 Kgs 8:7-15). The main difference between the two prophets is that Elijah didn’t die, God took him to heaven, as He had done with Enoch.