Back before the start of the story I’ve been telling here, Ahab was already king.
Ahab became king of Israel and stayed like that for twenty-two years. He did a LOT of evil, more than any that came before him. You might say he raised the bar for evil. He not only considered it beneath him to sin like the ones before him, but he married a princess from another kingdom and set up temples and altars for the pagan gods of fertility and nature that she worshiped.
This princess (now Queen of Israel) was named Jezebel. She became famous for her evil. I don’t know if it is still in usage, but back in my day when an analogy was wanted to refer to a woman of evil influence she was called a “Jezebel.” She must have been pretty good to Ahab because he pretty much did whatever she told him to do. And she told him to kill all the prophets of the Lord and eliminate the religion altogether.
Ahab carried this order out and thousands of Jewish holy men were slaughtered. If you remember from Fire on the Mountain, Obadiah (chief adviser to Ahab) took 100 hundred prophets of God and hid them in a couple of caves.
And THEN there was good old Elijah!
He escaped the slaughter because he was too slippery for Jezebel. Whenever he saw something coming he got out of town and fast! He continued to really aggravate Jezzy by raising all kinds of trouble for the kingdom. He really WANTED to get away and stay hidden from her. He seemed to be really fearful of her, but God kept sending him back into the battle.
He sent a drought on Israel that lasted over three years. He told Ahab that it was going to happen and that God was ordering it and that he was carrying out the order. Well, when things began to dry up it was Elijah everyone had on their mind. Forget the fact that the REASON for it was because of the sin against God! NEVER crossed their mind! Personally I think that because they already believed in Ba’al that they didn’t think God was all that powerful and that it was Elijah who was stopping the rain. But, because Elijah said it was because Ba’al was being worshiped and everyone knew that Ba’al and Asherah were being worshiped because of Jezebel that made Jezebel ESPECIALLY hot! and she went out after him.
Orders were issued to capture Elijah and bring him to “justice.” I think we all know the kind of “justice” being discussed here. Now, when that happened it doesn’t say it was Elijah’s idea to run and hide. It says God instructed him to go to a valley and hide out and that he would be fed by ravens and drink from a brook. Elijah did just that and stayed there until the brook dried up and then went to stay with a widow. All of this we discussed earlier.
Then there was that whole Fire on the Mountain thing (on Mount Carmel) where he not only showed up all the holy men of Ba’al as impotent fools and showed that the REAL God was powerful to the max, but then he turned around and had the 850 false prophets who showed up for the humiliation SLAUGHTERED by the people who came to watch the show.
How do you think Jezebel took THAT one? I bet you think right.
So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them. (1 Kings 19:2 NIV)
Yep, you got it. She said the gods could do with her what they wanted as bad as it might be if she didn’t make sure that Elijah was just as dead as the false prophets within 24 hours.
He did. He ran like the wind. This time I don’t think he needed God to tell him it was time to split. He just killed nearly a thousand of Jezebel’s pets and made her look like a fool. I think he knew just how seriously infuriated Jezebel was and just who wore the pants in that family anyway.
Ahab went around saying I am King! I am King a lot, but I think it was well known that Jezzy held Ahab’s manhood in a jar at her bedside. Talk about a Jezebel!
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba . . . he went . . . into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord, he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down . . .and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ . . . by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel . . . came back . . ., touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.
(1 Kings 19:3-9 NIV)
We’re going to leave Elijah asleep there in the cave on Mount Horeb for now, but there is a very important part of the story of his time on Horeb coming up. And we’re not quite finished with Jezebel either.
You can catch up on the story to this point by clicking on the “Prophet Series” link at the top of this article and following the links there for the earlier articles.
You can follow the still to come article(s) on Elijah as well as the other prophets in the series (Elisha is next) by subscribing to No Greater Love in whatever way best suits your needs. The is a Follow Blog Via Email link in the top of the right sidebar of this page and every page in the blog.
I look forward to seeing you back.
In Christ’s Love, Michael