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elijah Summary and Overview

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elijah in Easton's Bible Dictionary

whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings 17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the name given to the prophet. Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24). During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for his work (compare Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord, he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to his prayer (James 5:18). Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave. Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here, Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; compare 2 Kings 8:7-15; 9:1-10). Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings 1:1-16). (See NABOTH T0002645.) During these intervals he probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where. His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and the account of the destruction of his captains with their fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at this time on Mount Carmel. The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets, and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither" when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which fell from him as he ascended. No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John 1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people. James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8). He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8; Matt. 3:4)." How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may, the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35; Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples. They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised." (2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning (compare 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah; while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2 may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the beginning of Jehoram's reign.

elijah in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(my God is Jehovah) has been well entitled "the grandest and the most romantic character that Israel ever produced." "Elijah the Tishbite,... of the inhabitants of Gilead" is literally all that is given us to know of his parentage and locality. Of his appearance as he "stood before" Ahab (B.C. 910) with the suddenness of motion to this day characteristic of the Bedouins from his native hills, we can perhaps realize something from the touches, few but strong, of the narrative. His chief characteristic was his hair, long and thick, and hanging down his back. His ordinary clothing consisted of a girdle of skin round his loins, which he tightened when about to move quickly. #1Ki 18:46| But in addition to this he occasionally wore the "mantle" or cape of sheepskin which has supplied us with one of our most familiar figures of speech. His introduction, in what we may call the first act of his life, is the most startling description. He suddenly appears before Ahab, prophesies a three-years drought in Israel, and proclaims the vengeance of Jehovah for the apostasy of the king. Obliged to flee from the vengeance of king, or more probably of the queen (comp. #1Ki 19:2| he was directed to the brook Cherith. There in the hollow of the torrent bed he remained, supported in the miraculous manner with which we are all familiar, till the failing of the brook obliged him to forsake it. His next refuge was at Zarephath. Here in the house of the widow woman Elijah performed the miracles of prolonging the oil and the meal, and restored the son of the widow to life after his apparent death. 1Kin 17. In this or some other retreat an interval of more than two years must have elapsed. The drought continued, and at last the full horrors of famine, caused by the failure of the crops, descended on Samaria. Again Elijah suddenly appears before Ahab. There are few more sublime stories in history than the account of the succeeding events --with the servant of Jehovah and his single attendant on the one hand, and the 850 prophets of Baal on the other; the altars, the descending fire of Jehovah consuming both sacrifice and altar; the rising storm, and the ride across the plain to Jezreel. 1Kin 18. Jezebel vows vengeance, and again Elijah takes refuge in flight into the wilderness, where he is again miraculously fed, and goes forward, in the strength of that food, a journey of forty days to the mount of God, even to Horeb, where he takes refuge in a cave, and witnesses a remarkable vision of Jehovah. #1Ki 19:9-18| He receives the divine communication, and sets forth in search of Elisha, whom he finds ploughing in the field, and anoints him prophet in his place. ch. 19. For a time little is heard of Elijah, and Ahab and Jezebel probably believed they had seen the last of him. But after the murder of Naboth, Elijah, who had received an intimation from Jehovah of what was taking place, again suddenly appears before the king, and then follow Elijah's fearful denunciation of Ahab and Jezebel, which may possibly be recovered by putting together the words recalled by Jehu, #2Ki 9:26,36,37| and those given in #1Ki 21:19-25| A space of three or four years now elapses (comp. #1Ki 22:1,51; 2Ki 1:17| before we again catch a glimpse of Elijah. Ahaziah is on his death-bed, #1Ki 22:51; 2Ki 1:1,2| and sends to an oracle or shrine of Baal to ascertain the issue of his illness; but Elijah suddenly appears on the path of the messengers, without preface or inquiry utters his message of death, and as rapidly disappears. The wrathful king sends two bands of soldiers to seize Elijah, and they are consumed with fire; but finally the prophet goes down and delivers to Ahaziah's face the message of death. No long after Elijah sent a message to Jehoram denouncing his evil doings, and predicting his death. #2Ch 21:12-15| It was at Gilgal --probably on the western edge of the hills of Ephraim-- that the prophet received the divine intimation that his departure was at hand. He was at the time with Elisha, who seems now to have become his constant companion, and who would not consent to leave him. "And it came to pass as they still went on and talked, that, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (B.C. 896.) Fifty men of the sons of the prophets ascended the abrupt heights behind the town, and witnessed the scene. How deep was the impression which he made on the mind of the nation may be judged of from the fixed belief which many centuries after prevailed that Elijah would again appear for the relief and restoration of his country, as Malachi prophesied. #Mal 4:5| He spoke, but left no written words, save the letter to Jehoram king of Judah. #2Ch 21:12-15|

elijah in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

ELI'JAH (my God is Jehovah), OR ELI'AS (which is the Greek form of the name). Matt 17:3. A native of Gilead, and called the "Tishbite," probably from the name of the town or district in which he lived. 1 Kgs 17:1. He was one of the greatest of prophets. He is first introduced to our notice as a messenger from God to Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, probably in the tenth year of his reign. He was sent to utter a prophecy of a three years' drought in the land of Israel. After delivering this startling and distressing prophecy, he was directed to flee to the brook Cherith, Place of Elijah's Sacrifice where he was miraculously fed by ravens. When the brook had dried up he was sent to a widow-woman of Zarephath, and again the hand of the Lord supplied his wants and those of his friends. He raised the widow's son to life. 1 Kgs 17. After the famine had lasted the predicted period, Elijah encountered Ahab, and then ensued the magnificent display of divine power and of human trust upon the ridge of Carmel. 1 Kgs 18. See Ahab. The reaction from such a mental strain left the prophet in a weak, nervous condition, and in a fit of despondency he fled from Jezebel into the "wilderness" and desired death. But by angel-food nourished and inspirited, he journeyed 40 days, until he reached Mount Sinai. There the downcast man of God was witness of Jehovah's strength and experienced Jehovah's tenderness in a very remarkable vision. 1 Kgs 19:9-18. Encouraged by the assurance that contrary to his supposition he did not stand alone as the only worshipper of the Lord in Israel, and, moreover, having a fresh commission granted him, forth from Mount Sinai he was sent with renewed zeal and confidence. He anointed Elisha to be prophet in his room. 1 Kgs 19. He then retired into privacy, but after the dastardly murder of Naboth he suddenly appeared before the guilty king and announced the judgment of Jehovah against the royal pair. 1 Kgs 21. Several years after occurred the prophecy of Ahaziah's death. 2 Kgs 1:3. See Ahaziah. The slaughter by five of the two companies of troops sent to take Elijah must have greatly increased the popular awe of the prophet. After executing the prophetic office for probably 15 years Elijah was translated to heaven in a miraculous manner. Elisha had persisted in accompanying him across the Jordan, and it was while they were talking together that in a "chariot of fire" Elijah was carried up. Fifty men of the sons of the prophet were witnesses of the extraordinary scene, although they only beheld it afar off". A fruitless search was made for the body of Elijah, under the impression that the Spirit had deposited it somewhere. 2 Kgs 2. b.c. 896. Malachi prophesied, 2 Kgs 4:5, that Elijah would reappear as the forerunner of the Messiah. Our Lord explained to his disciples that Elijah did really appear in the person of John the Baptist. Elijah, with Moses, appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration, conversing with Jesus. Luke 9:28-35. Elijah was the prophet of deeds. He left no writings save the letter to Jehoram, king of Judah, 2 Chr 21:12-15, which was delivered after his death. But he made a profound impression upon his contemporaries as a bold man, faithful, stern, self-denying, and zealous for the honor of God. 1. A priest who had married a foreign wife. Ezr 10:21.

elijah in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

("God-Jehovah".) (1 Kings 17:1, etc.). "The Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead." No town of the name has been discovered; some explain it as "Converter." His name and designation mark his one grand mission, to bring his apostate people back to Jehovah as THE true God; compare 1 Kings 18:39 with Malachi 4:5-6. In contrast to the detailed genealogy of Samuel, Elisha, and other prophets, Elijah abruptly appears, like Melchizedek in the patriarchal dispensation, without father or mother named, his exact locality unknown; in order that attention should be wholly fixed on his errand from heaven to overthrow Baal and Asherah (the licentious Venus) worship in Israel. This idolatry had been introduced by Ahab and his idolatrous wife, Ethbaal's daughter Jezebel (in violation of the first, commandment), as if the past sin of Israel were not enough, and as if it were "a light thing to walk in the sins of Jeroboam," namely, the worship of Jehovah under the symbol of a calf, in violation of the second commandment. (See AHAB; AARON.) Ahab and his party represented Baal and Jehovah as essentially the same God, in order to reconcile the people to this further and extreme step in idolatry; compare 1 Kings 18:21; Hosea 2:16. Elijah's work was to confound these sophisms and vindicate Jehovah's claim to be God ALONE, to the exclusion of all idols. Therefore, he suddenly comes forth before Ahab, the apostate king, announcing in Jehovah's name "As the Lord God of Israel liveth (as contrasted with the dead idols which Israel worshipped) before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." The shutting up of heaven at the prophet's word was, Jehovah's vindication of His sole Godhead; for Baal (though professedly the god of the sky)and his prophets could not open heaven and give showers (Jeremiah 14:22). The socalled god of nature shall be shown to have no power over nature: Jehovah is its SOLE Lord. Elijah's "effectual" prayer, not recorded in 1 Kings but in James 5:17, was what moved God to withhold rain for three years and a half; doubtless, Elijah's reason for the prayer was jealousy for the Lord God (1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14), in order that Jehovah's chastening might lead the people to repentance. In "standing before the Lord" he assumed the position of a Levitical priest (Deuteronomy 10:8), for in Israel the Levitical priesthood retained in Judah had been set aside, and the prophets were raised up to minister in their stead, and witness by word and deed before Jehovah against the prevailing apostasy. His departure was as sudden as his appearance. Partaking of the ruggedness of his half civilized native Gilead bordering on the desert, and in uncouth rough attire, "hairy (2 Kings 1:8, Hebrew: "lord of hair") and with a girdle of leather about his loins," he comes and goes with the suddenness of the modern Bedouin of the same region. His "mantle," 'adereth, of sheepskin, was assumed by Elisha his successor, and gave the pattern for the "hairy" cloak which afterwards became a prophet's conventional garb (Zechariah 13:4, "rough garment".) His powers of endurance were such as the highlands of Gilead would train, and proved of service to him in his after life of hardship (1 Kings 18:46). His burning zeal, bluntness of address, fearlessness of man, were nurtured in lonely communion with God, away from the polluting court, amidst his native wilds. After delivering his bold message to Ahab, by God's warning, he fled to his hiding place at Cherith, a torrent bed E. of Jordan (or else, as many think, the wady Kelt near Jericho), beyond Ahab's reach, where the ravens miraculously fed him with "bread and flesh in the morning ... bread and flesh in the evening." (See CHERITH.) Carnivorous birds themselves, they lose their ravenous nature to minister to God's servant, for God can make the most unlikely instruments minister to His saints. It was probably at this time that Jezebel, foiled in her deadly purpose against Elijah, "cut off Jehovah's prophets" (1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 19:2). The brook having dried up after a year's stay he retreated next to Zarephath or Sarepta, between Tyre and Sidon, where least of all, in Jezebel's native region, his enemies would have suspected him to lie hid. But apostates, as Israel, are more bigoted than original idolaters as the Phoenicians. From Joshua 19:28 we learn Zarephath belonged to Asher; and in Deuteronomy 33:24 Moses saith, "let Asher dip his foot in oil." At the end of a three and a half years of famine, if oil was to be found anywhere, it would be here, an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. At God's command, in the confidence of faith, he moves for relief to this unpromising quarter. Here he was the first "apostle" to the Gentiles (Luke 4:26); a poor widow, the most unlikely to give relief, at his bidding making a cake for him with her last handful of meal and a little oil, her all, and a few gathered sticks for fuel; like the widow in the New Testament giving her two mites, not reserving even one,: nor thinking, what shall I have for my next meal? (Luke 21:2.) So making God's will her first concern, her own necessary food was "added" to her (Matthew 6:33; Isaiah 33:16; Psalm 37:19; Jeremiah 37:21); "the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the oil fail until the day that the Lord sent rain upon the earth." Blessed in that she believed, she by her example strengthened Elijah's faith in God as able to fulfill His word, where all seemed hopeless to man's eye. Her strong faith, as is God's way; He further tried more severely. Her son fell sick, and "his sickness was so sore that no breath was left in him." Her trial brought her sins up before her, and she regarded herself punished as unworthy of so holy a man's presence with her. But he restored her son by stretching himself upon the child thrice (as though his body were the medium for God's power to enter the dead child), and crying to the Lord; hereby new spiritual life also was imparted to herself, as she said, "by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth." Toward the close of the three and a half years of famine, when it attacked Samaria the capital, Ahab directed his governor of the palace, the Godfearing Obadiah who had saved and fed a hundred prophets in a cave, to go in one direction and seek some grass to save if possible the horses and mules, while he himself went in the opposite direction for the same purpose. Matters must have come to a crisis, when the king set out in person on such an errand. It was at this juncture, after upward of two years' sojourn at Zarephath, Elijah by God's command goes to show himself to Ahab. Overcoming the awestruck Obadiah's fear, lest, when he should tell the king, Behold Elijah is here, meanwhile the Spirit should carry him away, Elijah, whom Ahab's servants had been seeking everywhere in vain for three years, now suddenly stands before Ahab with stern dignity. He hurls back on the king himself the charge of being, like another Achan, the troubler of Israel; "I have not, troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house, in that ye have spoken the commandments of Jehovah, and thou hast followed Baalim." On Carmel the issue was tried between Jehovah and Baal, there being on one side Baal's 450 prophets with the 400 of Asherah, "the groves"), who ate at Jezebel's table under the queen's special patronage; on the other side Jehovah's sole representative, in his startling costume, but with dignified mien. (See CARMEL; ASHTORETH.) Amidst Elijah's ironical jeers they cried, and gashed themselves, in vain repetitions praying from morning until noon for fire from their god Baal, the sun god and god of fire (!), and leaped upon (or up and down at) the altar. Repairing Jehovah's ruined altar (the former sanctity of which was seemingly the reason for his choice of Carmel) with 12 stones to represent the tribes of all Israel, and calling upon the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to let it be known that He is the Lord God, he brought down by prayer fire from heaven consuming the sacrifice, wood, stones, and dust, and licking up the water in the trench. The idolatrous prophets were slain at the Brook Kishon, idolatry being visited according to the law with the penalty of high treason against God the king of the national theocracy (Deuteronomy 13:9-11; Deuteronomy 13:15; Deuteronomy 18:20). Then upon the nation's penitent confession of God follows God's removal of the national judgment. The rain, beginning with the small hand-like cloud, and increasing until the whole sky became black (Luke 12:54; Luke 13:19), returned as it had gone, in answer to Elijah's effectual prayer, which teaches us to not only pray but also wait (James 5:17-18; 1 Kings 18:41-45). Ahab rides in his chariot across the plain 16 miles to Jezreel, in haste lest the rainflood of the Kishon should make the Esdraelon or Jezreel plain impassable with mud; Elijah, with Spirit-imparted strength from "the hand of the Lord upon" him, running before, but no further than the entrance of the city, for he shrank from the contamination of the court and its luxuries. Jezebel's fury upon hearing of the slaughter of her favorite prophets knew no bounds: "so let the gods do to me and more also, if I make not. thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow" (1 Kings 19:2). Elijah fled for his life to Beersheba of Judah, with one attendant, and leaving him there went a day's journey into the wilderness. His not having heretofore moved to the neighboring land of godly Jehoshaphat, and his now fleeing to its most southerly town, farthest from Ahab's dominion, and thence into the desert, at first sight seems strange. But upon closer search into Scripture it is an undesigned propriety that he avoids the land of the king whose one grand error was his marrying his son Jehoram to Athaliah, Ahab's and Jezebel's daughter, at least as early as the sixth or seventh year of Jehoshaphat and the tenth or eleventh of Ahab (Blunt's Undesigned Coincidences); thereby he became so closely allied to the ungodly Ahab that at the Ramoth Gilead expedition he said to the latter, "I am as thou art, my people as thy people" (1 Kings 22:4). In this flight Elijah's spirit of faith temporarily gave way. After the excitement of the victory over the Baal priests, and the nervous tension which under God's mighty hand sustained him in running to Jezreel, there ensued a reaction physically and an overwhelming depression of mind; for the hope which had seemed so bright at Carmel, of a national repentance and return to God, the one ruling desire of his soul, was apparently blighted; his labors seemed lost; the throne of iniquity unshaken; and hope deferred made his heart sick. Sitting under a juniper (retem, rather broom) he cried in deep despondency: "It, is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life." God, with tender considerateness, first relieved his physical needs, by sending to his exhausted frame "tired nature's kind restorer, balmy sleep," and then, by His angel, food; and only when nature was refreshed proceeds to teach him spiritually the lesson he needed. By God's command, "in the strength of that meat" (the supernatural being based on the natural groundwork) he went, Moses like, 40 days and 40 nights unto a cave at Horeb where he "lodged" for the night (Hebrew lun). It was the same wilderness which received Moses fleeing from Pharaoh, and Elijah now fleeing from Ahab, and lastly Paul escaping from the Judaic bondage of ritualism. The lonely wilderness and awful rocks of Sinai were best fitted to draw the spirit off from the depressing influences of man's world and to raise it up to near communion with God. "He sought the ancient sanctuary connected with the holiest, grandest memories of mankind, that his spiritual longings might be gratified, that he might have the deepest sense of the greatness and nearness of God. He wished to be brought down from the soft luxuriant secondary formations of human religion (the halting between two opinions, between the luxurious Baal worship and the uncompromising holy worship of Jehovah) to the primary stratification of God's religion ... to the naked, rugged, unyielding granite of the law" (Macmillan, The Garden and City). Jehovah there said, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" thou whose name implies thy calling to witness for God Jehovah, away from the court and people whom thou wast called to reprove! Elijah pleads his "jealousy for Jehovah God of hosts," and that with all his zeal he is left. the sole worshipper of Jehovah, and that even his life they seek to take away. God directs him to "go forth and stand upon the mountain before the Lord," as Moses did when "the Lord passed by." There by the grand voice of nature, the strong wind rending the rocks, the earthquake, and the fire, (in none of which, though emanating from God, did He reveal Himself to Elijah,) and lastly by "a still small voice," God taught the impatient and desponding prophet that it is not by astounding miracles such as the fire that consumed the sacrifice, nor by the wind and earthquake wherewith God might have swept away the guilty nation, but by the still small voice of God's Spirit in the conscience, that Jehovah savingly reveals Himself, and a revival of true religion is to be expected. Those astounding phenomena prepared the way for this, God's immediate revelation to the heart. Miracles sound the great bell of nature to call attention; but the Spirit is God's voice to the soul. Sternness hardens; love alone melts. A John the Baptist, Elijah's antitype, the last representative of the Sinaitic law, must be followed by the Messiah and His Spirit speaking in the winning tones of Matthew 11:29. The still small voice constrained Elijah to wrap his face in his mantle; compare Moses, Exodus 3:6; Isaiah 6:2. A second time to the same question he gives the same reply, but in a meeker spirit. Jehovah therefore cheers him amidst despondency, by giving him work still to do for His name, a sure token that He is pleased with his past work: "Go, return ... to the wilderness of Damascus, and anoint Hazael king over Syria, Jehu ... over Israel, and Elisha ... prophet in thy room. Yet (adds the Lord to cure his depression by showing him his witness for God was not lost, but had strengthened in faith many a secret worshipper) I have left Me 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed unto Baal," etc. Elisha he first sought out and found in Abel Meholah in the valley of the Jordan on his way northward, for spiritual companionship was his first object of yearning. Casting his mantle on him as the sign of a call, he was followed by Elisha, who thenceforth became his minister, and who executed subsequently the former two commands. (See ELISHA.) Apostasy from God begets injustice toward man. Puffed up with the success of his war with Syria, and forgetting the Lord who had given him victory (1 Kings 20), Ahab by Jezebel's wicked hardihood, after vainly trying to get from Naboth the inheritance of his fathers, had him and his sons (2 Kings 9:26, compare Joshua 7:24) slain for falsely alleged blasphemy, and seized his property as that of a criminal forfeited to the crown; the elders of Jezreel lending themselves to be Jezebel's ready instruments. (See NABOTH.) With Jehu and Bidkar his retinue riding behind, he proceeded to take possession of the coveted vineyard on the following day (compare "yesterday," 'emesh, "yesternight," the mock trial and murder of Naboth having taken place the day before); but, like a terrible apparition, the first person he meets there is the enemy of his wickedness, whom his conscience quails before, more than before all other foes. "Hast thou found me (compare Numbers 32:23) O mine enemy? .... I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself (as a captive slave bound) to work evil," etc. The dogs should lick his blood "in the place" where they licked Naboth's (fulfilled on his son Jehoram, Ahab's repentance causing judgment to be deferred); Jezebel and Ahab's posterity should be (what Orientals regard with especial horror) the food of dogs and birds (1 Kings 21:19-24). Twenty years later Jehu remembered the very words of the curse, so terrible was the impression made by the scene, and fulfilled his part of it (2 Kings 9:7-10; 2 Kings 9:25-26; 2 Kings 9:33-37). Three years later, part of the judgment foretold came to pass upon Ahab, whose blood, after his fall in the battle of Ramoth Gilead, the dogs licked up while his chariot was being washed in the pool of Samaria. His successor Ahaziah after a two years reign, during which Moab rebelled, fell from a lattice and lay sick. Sending to consult concerning his recovery the Philistine oracle of Baalzebub at Ekron, he learned from his messengers that a man met them saying, "Is it not because there is not a God in Israel that thou sendest to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down, .... but shalt surely die" (2 Kings 1:6). As usual, Elijah's appearance was sudden and startling, and he stands forth as vindicating Jehovah's honor' before the elect nation. Ahaziah, with his mother's idol-mad vindictiveness, sent a captain with fifty to arrest this "lord of hair" (Hebrew text: 2 Kings 1:8) whom he at once guessed to be Elijah. Emerging from some recess of Carmel and taking his seat on "the hill" or "mount" (Hebrew), he thence met the captain's demand, "Man of God, the king saith, come down," with "If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty." So it came to pass. Again the same occurred. The third, however, escaped by begging him to hold his life precious and to spare him. Elijah went down, under God's promised protection, and spoke the same message of death to the king in person as he had previously spoken to the king's messenger. This was his last interview with the house of Ahab, and his last witness against Baal worship. The severity of the judgment by fire is due to the greatness of the guilt of the Israelite king and his minions who strove against God Himself in the person of His prophet, and hardened themselves in idolatry, which was high treason against God and incurred the penalty of death under the theocracy. It is true the Lord Jesus reproved the fiery zeal of James and John, "the sons of thunder," as ignorant of the true spirit of His disciples, when they wished like Elias to call down fire to consume the Samaritans who would not receive Him. But the cases are distinct. He was not yet revealed to the half-pagan Samaritans as clearly as Jehovah had been through Elijah to Israel, the elect nation. His life was not sought by the Samaritans as Elijah's was by Israel's king and his minions. Moreover, the temporal penalties of the theocracy, ordained by God for the time, were in our Lord's days giving place to the antitypes which are abiding. Shortly afterward Elijah wrote a letter (miqtab) which came subsequently "to Joram," son of the pious Jehoshaphat: "Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father (of whom thou art proving thyself so unworthy a successor), because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor... of Asa, king of Judah, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring like ... the house of Ahab, and hast slain (Elijah writes foreseeing the murder, for his translation was before Jehoshaphat's death, 2 Kings 3:11, after which was the murder) the brethren of thy father's house which were better than thyself, behold with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, thy children, thy wives, and all thy goods, and thou shalt have great sickness ... until thy bowels fall out" (2 Chronicles 21). Already in Elijah's lifetime Joram had begun to reign jointly with his father Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 8:16; 2 Kings 8:18) and had betrayed his evil spirit which was fostered by Athaliah his wife, Ahab's daughter. Jehoshaphat in his lifetime, with worldly prudence, while giving the throne to Joram, gave Joram's brethren "great gifts and fenced cities." But Elijah discerned in Joram the covetous and murderous spirit which would frustrate all Jehoshaphat's forethought, the fatal result of the latter's carnal policy in forming marriage alliance with wicked Ahab. Therefore, as Elijah had committed to Elisha the duty laid on himself by God of foretelling to Hazael his elevation to the Syrian throne (Elisha being Elijah revived in spirit), so Elijah committed to him the writing which would come after Elijah's translation to Joram with all the solemnity of a message from Elijah in the unseen world to condemn the murder when perpetrated which Elijah foresaw he would perpetrate. The style is peculiarly Elijah's, and distinct from the narrative context. So Isaiah foretold concerning Cyrus' future kingdom (Isaiah 44-45); and Ahijah concerning Josiah (1 Kings 13:2). Fairbairn makes it be called "a letter from Elijah" because he was ideal head of the school of prophecy from which it emanated, and his spirit still rested upon Elisha. But the language, 2 Chronicles 21:12, implies in some stricter sense it was Elijah's writing delivered by Elisha, his successor, to Joram. But see Lord A. C. Hervey's view JEHORAM. Elijah's ministry was now drawing to its close. Symptoms appear of his work beginning to act on the nation, in the increased boldness of other prophets to the king's face, besides Elijah himself: e.g. 1 Kings 20:35-36; again, Micaiah, 1 Kings 22. Hence, we find not less than fifty called "sons of strength" at Elijah's translation (2 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 2:7); and these settled at Bethel, one of the two head quarters of idolatry. To these sons of the prophets, as well as to Elisha, it was revealed that their master Elijah was about to be caught up front them. Elijah sought that privacy which he felt most suitable to the coming solemn scene; but Elisha would not leave him. To Gilgal (the one on the W. border of the Ephraimite hills), Bethel, and Jericho successively, by the Lord's mission, Elijah went, giving probably parting counsels to the prophets' schools in those places. Finally, after parting asunder the Jordan with his mantle, he gave Elisha leave to ask what he would, and having promised that he should have a double portion of Elijah's spirit, a chariot and horses of fire parted the two, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. The "hardness" of Elisha's request, and its granting being dependent on his seeing Elijah ascend, imply that it is to be got from God not (Matthew 19:26) man; that therefore he must look up to Him who was about to translate Elijah, not to Elijah himself. The "double portion" is not "double" what Elijah had, for Elisha had not tidal; but, as the firstborn son and heir received two portions, and the other children but one, of the father's goods (Deuteronomy 21:17), so Elisha, as Elijah's adopted son, begs a preeminent portion of Elijah's spirit, of which all the other "sons of the prophets" should have their share (Grotius); compare Deuteronomy 21:15. But the comparison in the context is not with other prophets but with Elijah. Double, literally, "a mouth of two," is probably used generally for the spirit in large or increased measure, the spirit of prophecy and of miracles. Elisha performed double as many miracles, namely, 16 as compared with Elijah's eight; and the miracles of a like kind to Elijah's; compare 1 Kings 17:17-24 with 2 Kings 4:29-37; 1 Kings 17:16 with 2 Kings 4:1-7. Elisha, when getting his choice, asked not for gains, honors, or pleasures, but for spiritual gifts, with a view, not to his own glory, but to the glory of God and the edification of the church. Seeing that the national evils were so crying, he sought the only remedy, an increased measure of the Spirit, whose power had already began somewhat to improve the state of the nation. As Elijah's ascension was the forerunner of Elisha's possessing an influence such as Elijah had not, Elisha becoming the honored adviser of kings whereas Elijah had been their terror, Elisha on his deathbed being recognized as "the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof" by king Joash just as Elijah had been by Elisha, so Christ's ascension was the means of obtaining for the church the Holy Spirit in full measure, whereby more souls were gathered in than by Jesus' bodily presence (John 16:6-15; Ephesians 4:8-14). When the Old Testament canon was being closed, Malachi, its last prophet, threw a ray over the dark period of 400 years that intervened until the New Testament return of revelation, by announcing, "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Our Lord declares that John the Baptist was the Elias to come (Matthew 11:14; Matthew 17:12). This is explained in Luke 1:11; Luke 1:17, which refers to Malachi 4:5-6; "he shall go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers (Jacob, Levi, Moses, Elijah, Malachi 1:2; Malachi 2:4; Malachi 2:6; Malachi 3:3-4; Malachi 4:4, who had been alienated as it were by their children's apostasy) to the children (made penitent through John's ministry), and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just." John was an Elijah, but not the Elijah, from whence to the query (John 1:21), "Art thou Elias?" he answered, "I am not." "Art thou that prophet?" "No." Elijah is called by Malachi "the prophet," not the Tishbite, as he here represents the whole series of prophets culminating in the greatest, John (though he performed no miracles as Elijah). The Jews always understood a literal Elijah, and said, "Messiah must be anointed by Elijah." As there is a second consummating advent of Messiah, so also of His forerunner (possibly in person as at the transfiguration, Matthew 17:3, even after which He said (Matthew 17:11), "Elias shall first come and restore all things," namely, at "the times of restitution of all things"), possibly a prophet clothed with Elijah's miraculous power of inflicting judgments, which John had not. The miracles foretold of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:4-5, "fire out of their mouth," i.e. at, their word; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:10; "power to shut heaven that it rain not," James 5:17; Luke 4:25; and "to turn the waters to blood and smite the earth with all plagues ") are the very ones characteristic of Moses and Elijah. The forerunning "the great and dreadful day of Jehovah" can only exhaustively refer to Messiah's second coming, preceded by a fuller manifestation of Elijah than that of John before Messiah's first coming. Moses and Elijah's appearance at the transfiguration in glorified bodies is a sample of the coming transfiguration (Moses, buried by the Lord, of the sleeping saints; and Elijah, translated without death, of living saints) and of their reign with Christ over the earth in glorified bodies, as Peter, James, and John are a sample of the nations in the flesh about to be reigned over. The subject of Moses' and Elijah's discourse with Jesus on the mount was His decease, for this is the grand center to which the law as represented by Moses, and the prophets represented by Elijah, converge. Elijah's translation was God's witness for His faithful servant to the apostate postdiluvial world, as Enoch's to the antediluvial, against their unbelief. God's voice, "This is My beloved Son, hear Him," attests that the servants must bow to the Son for whose coming they prepared the way (compare Revelation 19:10 end). Rome's barefooted Carmelites have many absurd traditions as to the derivation of their order from Elijah himself, and as to the "cloud out of the sea" typifying the Virgin Mary, to whom a chapel is dedicated on the imaginary site of Elijah's seeing the cloud!