31 July 2012

 

Through the Power of God, Elijah multiplied food and raised the dead

- Extracted from the 1st Book of Kings, Chapter 17:

 

1 Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, 'By the life of Yahweh, God of Israel, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain these coming years unless I give the word.'

 

2 The word of Yahweh came to him,

 

3 'Go away from here, go east and hide by the torrent of Cherith, east of the Jordan.

 

4 You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.'

 

5 So he set out and did as Yahweh had said; he went and stayed by the torrent of Cherith, east of the Jordan.

 

6 The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.

 

7 But after a while the stream dried up, for the country had had no rain.

 

8 And then the word of Yahweh came to him,

 

9 'Up and go to Zarephath in Sidonia, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.'

 

10 So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks. Addressing her he said, 'Please bring a little water in a pitcher for me to drink.'

 

11 She was on her way to fetch it when he called after her. 'Please', he said, 'bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.'

 

12 'As Yahweh your God lives,' she replied, 'I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.'

 

13 But Elijah said to her, 'Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son.

 

14 For Yahweh, God of Israel, says this: Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when Yahweh sends rain on the face of the earth.'

 

15 The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son.

 

16 The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as Yahweh had foretold through Elijah.

 

17 It happened after this that the son of the mistress of the house fell sick; his illness was so severe that in the end he expired.

 

18 And the woman said to Elijah, 'What quarrel have you with me, man of God? Have you come here to bring my sins home to me and to kill my son?'

 

19 'Give me your son,' he said and, taking him from her lap, he carried him to the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his bed.

 

20 He cried out to Yahweh, 'Yahweh my God, by killing her son do you mean to bring grief even to the widow who is looking after me?'

 

21 He stretched himself on the child three times and cried out to Yahweh, 'Yahweh my God, may the soul of this child, I beg you, come into him again!'

 

22 Yahweh heard Elijah's prayer and the child's soul came back into his body and he revived.

 

23 Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. 'Look,' Elijah said, 'your son is alive.'

 

24 And the woman replied, 'Now I know you are a man of God and the word of Yahweh in your mouth is truth itself.'

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You asked, 糎ho is Elijah?

 

Here痴 the Answer according to Accredited Church Records:

 

Elijah (Hebrew 'Eliahu, "Yahweh is God") = Elias.

 

The loftiest and most wonderful prophet of the Old Testament. What we know of his public life is sketched in a few popular narratives enshrined, for the most part, in the First (Third) Book of Kings. These narratives, which bear the stamp of an almost contemporary age, very likely took shape in Northern Israel, and are full of the most graphic and interesting details. Every part of the prophet's life therein narrated bears out the description of the writer of Ecclesiasticus: He was "as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch" (48:1). The times called for such a prophet.

 

 

Under the baneful influence of his Tyrian wife Jezebel, Ahab, though perhaps not intending to forsake altogether Yahweh's worship, had nevertheless erected in Samaria a temple to the Tyrian Baal (1 Kings 16:32) and introduced a multitude of foreign priests (xviii 19); doubtless he had occasionally offered sacrifices to the pagan deity, and, most of all, hallowed a bloody persecution of the prophets of Yahweh.

 

 

Of Elijah's origin nothing is known, except that he was a Tishbite; whether from Thisbe of Nephtali (Tobit 1:2) or from Thesbon of Galaad, as our texts have it, is not absolutely certain, although most scholars, on the authority of the Septuagint and of Josephus, prefer the latter opinion. Some Jewish legends, echoed in a few Christian writings, assert moreover that Elijah was of priestly descent; but there is no other warrant for the statement than the fact that he offered sacrifices.

 

 

His whole manner of life resembles somewhat that of the Nazarites and is a loud protest against his corrupt age. His skin garment and leather girdle (2 Kings, 1, 8), his swift foot (1 Kings 18:46), his habit of dwelling in the clefts of the torrents (xvii,3) or in the caves of the mountains (xix, 9), of sleeping under a scanty shelter (xix, 5), betray the true son of the desert. He appears abruptly on the scene of history to announce to Ahab that Yahweh had determined to avenge the apostasy of Israel and her king by bringing a long drought on the land. His message delivered, the prophet vanished as suddenly as he had appeared, and, guided by the spirit of Yahweh, betook himself by the brook Carith, to the east of the Jordan, and the ravens (some critics would translate, however improbable the rendering, "Arabs" or "merchants") "brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the torrent" (xvii, 6).

 

 

After the brook had dried up, Elijah, under Divine direction, crossed over to Sarepta, within the Tyrian dominion. There he was hospitably received by a poor widow whom the famine had reduced to her last meal (12); her charity he rewarded by increasing her store of meal and oil all the while the drought and famine prevailed, and later on by restoring her child to life (14-24).

 

 

For three years there fell no rain or dew in Israel, and the land was utterly barren. Meanwhile Ahab had made fruitless efforts and scoured the country in search of Elijah. At length the latter resolved to confront the king once more, and, suddenly appearing before Abdias, bade him summon his master (xviii, 7, sq.). When they met, Ahab bitterly upbraided the prophet as the cause of the misfortune of Israel. But the prophet flung back the charge: "I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house, who have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed Baals" (xviii, 18). Taking advantage of the discountenanced spirits of the silenced king, Elijah bids him to summon the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel, for a decisive contest between their god and Yahweh. The ordeal took place before a great concourse of people (see MOUNT CARMEL) whom Elijah, in the most forcible terms, presses to choose: "How long do you halt between two sides? If Yahweh be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him" (xviii, 21). He then commanded the heathen prophets to invoke their deity; he himself would "call on the name of his Lord"; and the God who would answer by fire, "let him be God" (24). An altar had been erected by the Baal-worshippers and the victim laid upon it; but their cries, their wild dances and mad self-mutilations all the day long availed nothing: "There was no voice heard, nor did any one answer, nor regard them as they prayed" (29). Elijah, having repaired the ruined altar of Yahweh which stood there, prepared thereon his sacrifice; then, when it was time to offer the evening oblation, as he was praying earnestly, "the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench" (38). The issue was fought and won. The people, maddened by the success, fell at Elijah's command on the pagan prophets and slew them at the brook Cison. That same evening the drought ceased with a heavy downpour of rain, in the midst of which the strange prophet ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezrael.

 

 

Elijah's triumph was short. The anger of Jezebel, who had sworn to take his life (xix, 2), compelled him to flee without delay, and take his refuge beyond the desert of Judah, in the sanctuary of Mount Horeb. There, in the wilds of the sacred mountain, broken spirited, he poured out his complaint before the Lord, who strengthened him by a revelation and restored his faith. Three commands are laid upon him: to anoint Hazael to be King of Syria, Jehu to be King of Israel, and Elisha to be his own successor. At once Elijah sets out to accomplish this new burden. On his way to Damascus he meets Elisha at the plough, and throwing his mantle over him, makes him his faithful disciple and inseparable companion, to whom the completion of his task will be entrusted. The treacherous murder of Naboth was the occasion for a new reappearance of Elijah at Jezrael, as a champion of the people's rights and of social order, and to announce to Ahab his impending doom. Ahab's house shall fall. In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth will the dogs lick the king's blood; they shall eat Jezebel in Jezrael; their whole posterity shall perish and their bodies be given to the fowls of the air (xxi, 20-26). Conscience-stricken, Ahab quailed before the man of God, and in view of his penance the threatened ruin of his house was delayed. The next time we hear of Elijah, it is in connexion with Ochozias, Ahab's son and successor. Having received severe injuries in a fall, this prince sent messengers to the shrine of Beelzebub, god of Accaron, to inquire whether he should recover. They were intercepted by the prophet, who sent them back to their master with the intimation that his injuries would prove fatal. Several bands of men sent by the king to capture Elijah were stricken by fire from heaven; finally the man of God appeared in person before Ochozias to confirm his threatening message. Another episode recorded by the chronicler (2 Chronicles 21:12) relates how Jehoram, King of Judah, who had indulged in Baal-worship, received from Elijah a letter warning him that all his house would be smitten by a plague, and that he himself was doomed to an early death.

 

According to 2 Kings 3, Elijah's career ended before the death of Jehoshaphat. This statement is difficult but not impossible to harmonize with the preceeding narrative. However this may be, Elijah vanished still more mysteriously than he had appeared. Like Enoch, he was "translated", so that he should not taste death. As he was conversing with his spiritual son Elisha on the hills of Moab, "a fiery chariot, and fiery horses parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11), and all the efforts to find him made by the sceptic sons of the prophets disbelieving Elisha's recital, availed nothing. The memory of Elijah has ever remained living in the minds both of Jews and Christians.

 

According to Malachias, God preserved the prophet alive to entrust him, at the end of time, with a glorious mission (iv, 5-6): at the New Testament period, this mission was believed to precede immediately the Messianic Advent (Matthew 17:10, 12; Mark 9:11); according to some Christian commentators, it would consist in converting the Jews (St. Jer., in Mal., iv, 5-6); the rabbis, finally, affirm that its object will be to give the explanations and answers hitherto kept back by them. I Mach., ii, 58, extols Elijah's zeal for the Law, and Ben Sira entwines in a beautiful page the narration of his actions and the description of his future mission (Sirach 48:1-12). Elijah is still in the N.T. the personification of the servant of God (Matthew 16:14; Luke 1:17; 9:8; John 1:21). No wonder, therefore, that with Moses he appeared at Jesus' side on the day of the Transfiguration.

31 July 2012

Elijah said to her, 'Do not be afraid, 
go and do as you have said; 
but first make a little scone of it for me 
and bring it to me, and then make some 
for yourself and for your son. 
For Yahweh, God of Israel, says this: 
Jar of meal shall not be spent, 
jug of oil shall not be emptied, 
before the day when Yahweh sends rain 
on the face of the earth.'