The Prophet Elijah

Irini Kabitsis, Jennifer Parascandolo, and Riley McGlinchey

Plot

1 Kings 17: Elijah's first action was to tell King Ahab, the wicked ruler of Israel, that the rain is over until Elijah gives word for it to resume. Then, in answer to God's command, he goes into hiding. When he is in hiding he is drinking brook water and eating food delivered by ravens. Elijah goes to lodge with a widow woman and her son who are extremely poor. She can't provide a proper meal for him. She tells Elijah that she is going to gather two sticks and that her and her son are going to eat it and die. Elijah tells her to prepare him food anyway, and a cooking miracle takes place. Her cooking oil and meal just lasts and lasts and lasts. All is good until the widow's sons dies. The widow is so sad that she blames Elijah for his death. Elijah brings her son back to life.


1 Kings 18: Obadiah, Ahab's house manager, has been blaming Elijah for the drought and the famine for the last three years. Elijah prepares for the showdown against Jezebel's prophets. Elijah has to fight against 850 pagan prophets. The pagan priests dressed up and sacrificed a bull, while they prayed until noon. Elijah began to mock them, saying that their God was asleep or busy. The priests began to cut themselves. Elijah has the altar soaked with water before he prays to God for him to bring fire down from Heaven. After a few seconds all the water was burnt up. After, Elijah commanded that all these false prophets be put to death. After, Elijah fled to Jezreel.


1 Kings 19: Elijah was scared of Jezebel so he ran away to the wilderness. It was the same wilderness that Moses had visited when he received the law and the same place where the Israelites made the golden calf. God spoke to him there and Elijah began to complain to God about how bad things are. He said that everyone has forsaken God but him, and they all want to kill him. He sat under a broom tree and he wanted to take his life. After his complaining, a mountain-splitting wind followed by an earthquake followed by a fire happened right before Elijah's eyes. God created a new king for Syria and Israel and a new prophet, Elisha, in Elijah's place.


Symbolic Interpretations

- The setting of Mount Carmel is symbolic because revelations often occur on mountains (example: Moses' meeting with God on Sinai; Elijah's encounter with the Baal priests, his encounter with God himself, and Jesus' transfigurations on the Mount of Olives)

- The ravens are symbolic of Arabs. Ravens normally symbolize unclean spirits, in contrast to white doves, which symbolize the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew word for "ravens" is oreb. The root of this word is arab. One translation of the Bible indicates that Elijah was fed by Arabs, rather than by ravens

- The broom tree is a symbol of renewal. The broom tree provided renewal for Elijah. The broom tree's embers were used to bake a cake of bread for Elijah and God provided Elijah water in the desert

Background

The author is unknown for this story, but Jewish tradition says that Jeremiah put the books together.The story takes place in the northern kingdom of Israel during around 874-853 B.C.E. Elijah was alive when the people of God were worshipping other Gods. Their King and Queen were Ahab and Jezebel and they led the people away from God.


Characters

  • King Ahab- Selfish, evil ruler of Israel. He always wanted more.
  • Queen Jezebel- Wife of King Ahab. Sets up wicked idols to false god Baal.
  • Elijah- One of the most important prophets
  • Prophets of Baal- Jezebel had 850 prophets of Baal. Performed strange worship ceremonies.
  • Elisha- Elijah's student, when he is called on by Elijah he leaves his comfortable live on the farm.
  • The Widow of Zarephath and her son- Good women full of faith, Elijah brings her son back to life. She provided food for Elijah.