Lesson 4: Elijah
All Scripture passages here are from the NET Bible; used by permission.
1 Kings 17:1, 18:41-46 & 21:17-24
Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As certainly as the LORD God of Israel lives (whom I serve), there will be no dew or rain in the years ahead unless I give the command.”
(1 Kings 18:41-46) 18:41 Then Elijah told Ahab, “Go on up and eat and drink, for the sound of a heavy rainstorm can be heard.” 18:42 So Ahab went on up to eat and drink, while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel. He bent down toward the ground and put his face between his knees. 18:43 He told his servant, “Go on up and look in the direction of the sea.” So he went on up, looked, and reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times Elijah sent him to look. 18:44 The seventh time the servant said, “Look, a small cloud, the size of the palm of a man’s hand, is rising up from the sea.” Elijah then said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up the chariots and go down, so that the rain won’t overtake you.’” 18:45 Meanwhile the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind blew, and there was a heavy rainstorm. Ahab rode toward Jezreel. 18:46 Now the LORD energized Elijah with power; he tucked his robe into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
(1 Kings 21:17-24) 21:17 The LORD told Elijah the Tishbite: 21:18 “Get up, go down and meet King Ahab of Israel who lives in Samaria. He is at the vineyard of Naboth; he has gone down there to take possession of it. 21:19 Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: “Haven’t you committed murder and taken possession of the property of the deceased?”’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: “In the spot where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood they will also lick up your blood – yes, yours!”’” 21:20 When Elijah arrived, Ahab said to him, “So, you have found me, my enemy!” Elijah replied, “I have found you, because you are committed to doing evil in the sight of the LORD. 21:21 The LORD says, ‘Look, I am ready to bring disaster on you. I will destroy you and cut off every last male belonging to Ahab in Israel, including even the weak and incapacitated. 21:22 I will make your dynasty like those of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah because you angered me and made Israel sin.’ 21:23 The LORD says this about Jezebel, ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the outer wall of Jezreel.’ 21:24 As for Ahab’s family, dogs will eat the ones who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the country.”
1 Kings 17:2-9
17:2 The LORD told him: 17:3 “Leave here and travel eastward. Hide out in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. 17:4 Drink from the stream; I have already told the ravens to bring you food there.” 17:5 So he did as the LORD told him; he went and lived in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. 17:6 The ravens would bring him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he would drink from the stream. 17:7 After a while, the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 17:8 The LORD told him, 17:9 “Get up, go to Zarephath in Sidonian territory, and live there. I have already told a widow who lives there to provide for you.”
1 Kings 17:10-24
17:10 So he got up and went to Zarephath. When he went through the city gate, there was a widow gathering wood. He called out to her, “Please give me a cup of water, so I can take a drink.” 17:11 As she went to get it, he called out to her, “Please bring me a piece of bread.” 17:12 She said, “As certainly as the LORD your God lives, I have no food, except for a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. Right now I am gathering a couple of sticks for a fire. Then I’m going home to make one final meal for my son and myself. After we have eaten that, we will die of starvation.” 17:13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you planned. But first make a small cake for me and bring it to me; then make something for yourself and your son. 17:14 For this is what the LORD God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour will not be empty and the jug of oil will not run out until the day the LORD makes it rain on the surface of the ground.’” 17:15 She went and did as Elijah told her; there was always enough food for Elijah and for her and her family. 17:16 The jar of flour was never empty and the jug of oil never ran out, just as the LORD had promised through Elijah. 17:17 After this the son of the woman who owned the house got sick. His illness was so severe he could no longer breathe. 17:18 She asked Elijah, “Why, prophet, have you come to me to confront me with my sin and kill my son?” 17:19 He said to her, “Hand me your son.” He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him down on his bed. 17:20 Then he called out to the LORD, “O LORD, my God, are you also bringing disaster on this widow I am staying with by killing her son?” 17:21 He stretched out over the boy three times and called out to the LORD, “O LORD, my God, please let this boy’s breath return to him.” 17:22 The LORD answered Elijah’s prayer; the boy’s breath returned to him and he lived. 17:23 Elijah took the boy, brought him down from the upper room to the house, and handed him to his mother. Elijah then said, “See, your son is alive!” 17:24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a prophet and that the LORD really does speak through you.”
Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.
1 Kings chapter 18
18:1 Some time later, in the third year of the famine, the LORD told Elijah, “Go, make an appearance before Ahab, so I may send rain on the surface of the ground.” 18:2 So Elijah went to make an appearance before Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 18:3 So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who supervised the palace. (Now Obadiah was a very loyal follower of the LORD. 18:4 When Jezebel was killing the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah took one hundred prophets and hid them in two caves in two groups of fifty. He also brought them food and water.) 18:5 Ahab told Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grazing areas so we can keep the horses and mules alive and not have to kill some of the animals.” 18:6 They divided up the land between them; Ahab went one way and Obadiah went the other. 18:7 As Obadiah was traveling along, Elijah met him. When he recognized him, he fell facedown to the ground and said, “Is it really you, my master, Elijah?” 18:8 He replied, “Yes, go and say to your master, ‘Elijah is back.’” 18:9 Obadiah said, “What sin have I committed that you are ready to hand your servant over to Ahab for execution? 18:10 As certainly as the LORD your God lives, my master has sent to every nation and kingdom in an effort to find you. When they say, ‘He’s not here,’ he makes them swear an oath that they could not find you. 18:11 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back.”’ 18:12 But when I leave you, the LORD’s spirit will carry you away so I can’t find you. If I go tell Ahab I’ve seen you, he won’t be able to find you and he will kill me. That would not be fair, because your servant has been a loyal follower of the LORD from my youth. 18:13 Certainly my master is aware of what I did when Jezebel was killing the LORD’s prophets. I hid one hundred of the LORD’s prophets in two caves in two groups of fifty and I brought them food and water. 18:14 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back,”’ but he will kill me.” 18:15 But Elijah said, “As certainly as the LORD who rules over all lives (whom I serve), I will make an appearance before him today.” 18:16 When Obadiah went and informed Ahab, the king went to meet Elijah. 18:17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it really you, the one who brings disaster on Israel?” 18:18 Elijah replied, “I have not brought disaster on Israel. But you and your father’s dynasty have, by abandoning the LORD’s commandments and following the Baals. 18:19 Now send out messengers and assemble all Israel before me at Mount Carmel, as well as the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah whom Jezebel supports. 18:20 Ahab sent messengers to all the Israelites and had the prophets assemble at Mount Carmel. 18:21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? If the LORD is the true God, then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!” But the people did not say a word. 18:22 Elijah said to them: “I am the only prophet of the LORD who is left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 18:23 Let them bring us two bulls. Let them choose one of the bulls for themselves, cut it up into pieces, and place it on the wood. But they must not set it on fire. I will do the same to the other bull and place it on the wood. But I will not set it on fire. 18:24 Then you will invoke the name of your god, and I will invoke the name of the LORD. The god who responds with fire will demonstrate that he is the true God.” All the people responded, “This will be a fair test.” 18:25 Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls for yourselves and go first, for you are the majority. Invoke the name of your god, but do not light a fire.” 18:26 So they took a bull, as he had suggested, and prepared it. They invoked the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us.” But there was no sound and no answer. They jumped around on the altar they had made. 18:27 At noon Elijah mocked them, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” 18:28 So they yelled louder and, in accordance with their prescribed ritual, mutilated themselves with swords and spears until their bodies were covered with blood. 18:29 Throughout the afternoon they were in an ecstatic frenzy, but there was no sound, no answer, and no response. 18:30 Elijah then told all the people, “Approach me.” So all the people approached him. He repaired the altar of the LORD that had been torn down. 18:31 Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes that descended from Jacob, to whom the LORD had said, “Israel will be your new name.” 18:32 With the stones he constructed an altar for the LORD. Around the altar he made a trench large enough to contain two seahs of seed. 18:33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. 18:34 Then he said, “Fill four water jars and pour the water on the offering and the wood.” When they had done so, he said, “Do it again.” So they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time.” So they did it a third time. 18:35 The water flowed down all sides of the altar and filled the trench. 18:36 When it was time for the evening offering, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and prayed: “O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 18:37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance.” 18:38 Then fire from the LORD fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench. 18:39 When all the people saw this, they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, “The LORD is the true God! The LORD is the true God!” 18:40 Elijah told them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let even one of them escape!” So they seized them, and Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley and executed them there. 18:41 Then Elijah told Ahab, “Go on up and eat and drink, for the sound of a heavy rainstorm can be heard.” 18:42 So Ahab went on up to eat and drink, while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel. He bent down toward the ground and put his face between his knees. 18:43 He told his servant, “Go on up and look in the direction of the sea.” So he went on up, looked, and reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times Elijah sent him to look. 18:44 The seventh time the servant said, “Look, a small cloud, the size of the palm of a man’s hand, is rising up from the sea.” Elijah then said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up the chariots and go down, so that the rain won’t overtake you.’” 18:45 Meanwhile the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind blew, and there was a heavy rain-storm. Ahab rode toward Jezreel. 18:46 Now the LORD energized Elijah with power; he tucked his robe into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
1 Kings 19:1-18
19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, including a detailed account of how he killed all the prophets with the sword. 19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this warning, “May the gods judge me severely if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life as you did theirs!” 19:3 Elijah was afraid, so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 19:4 while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub and asked the LORD to take his life: “I’ve had enough! Now, O LORD, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.” 19:5 He stretched out and fell asleep under the shrub. All of a sudden an angelic messenger touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 19:6 He looked and right there by his head was a cake baking on hot coals and a jug of water. He ate and drank and then slept some more. 19:7 The LORD’s angelic messenger came back again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, for otherwise you won’t be able to make the journey.” 19:8 So he got up and ate and drank. That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 19:9 He went into a cave there and spent the night. All of a sudden the LORD spoke to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 19:10 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the LORD, the sovereign God, even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 19:11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Look, the LORD is ready to pass by.” A very powerful wind went before the LORD, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 19:12 After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper. 19:13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. All of a sudden a voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 19:14 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the LORD, the sovereign God, even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 19:15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came and then head for the Desert of Damascus. Go and anoint Hazael king over Syria. 19:16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to take your place as prophet. 19:17 Jehu will kill anyone who escapes Hazael’s sword, and Elisha will kill anyone who escapes Jehu’s sword. 19:18 I still have left in Israel seven thousand followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.”
1 Kings 19:19-21
19:19 Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen; he was near the twelfth pair. Elijah passed by him and threw his robe over him. 19:20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, then I will follow you.” Elijah said to him, “Go back! Indeed, what have I done to you?” 19:21 Elisha went back and took his pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He cooked the meat over a fire that he made by burning the harness and yoke. He gave the people meat and they ate. Then he got up and followed Elijah and became his assistant.
2 Kings 8:15 and 9:13
The next day Hazael took a piece of cloth, dipped it in water, and spread it over Ben Hadad’s face until he died. Then Hazael replaced him as king.
(2 Kings 9:13) Each of them quickly took off his cloak and they spread them out at Jehu’s feet on the steps. The trumpet was blown and they shouted, “Jehu is king!”
2 Kings chapter 2
2:1 Just before the LORD took Elijah up to heaven in a windstorm, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. 2:2 Elijah told Elisha, “Stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As certainly as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 2:3 Some members of the prophetic guild in Bethel came out to Elisha and said, “Do you know that today the LORD is going to take your master from you?” He answered, “Yes, I know. Be quiet.” 2:4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he replied, “As certainly as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho. 2:5 Some members of the prophetic guild in Jericho approached Elisha and said, “Do you know that today the LORD is going to take your master from you?” He answered, “Yes, I know. Be quiet.” 2:6 Elijah said to him, “Stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he replied, “As certainly as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they traveled on together. 2:7 The fifty members of the prophetic guild went and stood opposite them at a distance, while Elijah and Elisha stood by the Jordan. 2:8 Elijah took his cloak, folded it up, and hit the water with it. The water divided, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 2:9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “What can I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of the prophetic spirit that energizes you.” 2:10 Elijah replied, “That’s a difficult request! If you see me taken from you, may it be so, but if you don’t, it will not happen.” 2:11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a fiery chariot pulled by fiery horses appeared. They went between Elijah and Elisha, and Elijah went up to heaven in a windstorm. 2:12 While Elisha was watching, he was crying out, “My father, my father! The chariot and horsemen of Israel!” Then he could no longer see him. He grabbed his clothes and tore them in two. 2:13 He picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen off him, and went back and stood on the shore of the Jordan. 2:14 He took the cloak that had fallen off Elijah, hit the water with it, and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” When he hit the water, it divided and Elisha crossed over. 2:15 When the members of the prophetic guild in Jericho, who were standing at a distance, saw him do this, they said, “The spirit that energized Elijah rests upon Elisha.” They went to meet him and bowed down to the ground before him. 2:16 They said to him, “Look, there are fifty capable men with your servants. Let them go and look for your master, for the wind sent from the LORD may have carried him away and dropped him on one of the hills or in one of the valleys.” But Elisha replied, “Don’t send them out.” 2:17 But they were so insistent, he became embarrassed. So he said, “Send them out.” They sent the fifty men out and they looked for three days, but could not find Elijah. 2:18 When they came back, Elisha was staying in Jericho. He said to them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t go’?” 2:19 The men of the city said to Elisha, “Look, the city has a good location, as our master can see. But the water is bad and the land doesn’t produce crops.” 2:20 Elisha said, “Get me a new jar and put some salt in it.” So they got it. 2:21 He went out to the spring and threw the salt in. Then he said, “This is what the LORD says, ‘I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or fail to produce crops.” 2:22 The water has been pure to this very day, just as Elisha prophesied. 2:23 He went up from there to Bethel. As he was traveling up the road, some young boys came out of the city and made fun of him, saying, “Go on up, baldy! Go on up, baldy!” 2:24 When he turned around and saw them, he called God’s judgment down on them. Two female bears came out of the woods and ripped forty-two of the boys to pieces. 2:25 From there he traveled to Mount Carmel and then back to Samaria.