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Ahab, and said to him, that God foretold, he || she said, they must perish by the famine, for would not send rain nor dew in those years they had nothing for themselves any longer. upon the country, * but when he should ap Hereupon, he said, “Go on with good coupear. † And when he had confirmed this by rage, and hope for better things : but first of an oath, he departed into the southern parts, all make me a little cake and bring it to and made his abode by a brook, out of which me; for I foretel to thee, that this vessel of he had water to drink; as for bis food, ravens meal, and this cruse of oil shall not fail, until brought it to him every day. But when that God send rain." When the prophet had said river was dried up, for want of rain, he came this, she came to him, and made the cakes; of to Zarephrath, a city between Sidon and Tyre: which she had part for herself, and gave the and this at the command of God. For God rest to her son, and to the prophet also. Nor told him that he should there find a woman did any thing of this fail, until the drought who was a widow, that should give him sus ceased. I Now Menander nientions this tenance. So when he was not far off the city, drought, in bis account of the acts of Ethbaal, he saw a woman gathering of sticks. So king of the Tyrians : where he says,
66 Under God informed him that this was the person him there was a want of rain from the month who was to give him sustenance; so he came Hyperberetæus, till the month Hyperbereand saluted her, and desired her to bring him tæus of the year following. But when he some water to drink. But as she was going made supplications, there came great thunders. so to do, he called to her, and asked her to This Ethbaal built the city Botrys in Phænibring him a loaf of bread also. She affirm cia, and the city Auza in Libya.” By these ed upon oath, that she had at home nothing words he designed this want of rain that was more than one handful of meal, and a little in the days of Ahab : for at that time it was oil: and that she was going to gather some that Ethbaal also reigned over the Tyrians, as sticks that she might knead it, and make Menander writeth. bread for herself and her son; after which Now the son of this woman, who sustained :
his father's name was Sabaca, and his birth altogether mi their season, he then began to be enraged at Elijah, as the raculous : wbilst others again will needs have it, that he cause of the national judgment, and forced bim, at God's was Phineas, the son of Aaron, who, after having lived command, to save his life by flight: and from that time a long while concealed, appeared again in the world un the three years of the historian are to be computed, der the name of Elijab. But where the Scripture is silent, though from the first notice which Elijah, gave Ahab of all particulars of this kind are of small authority. This, this approaching calamity, to the expiration of it, were however, may be said with safety of him, that he was one certainly three years and an half. This calamity is said of the chief, if not the prince of the prophets of his age; to have been procured by Elijalı's prayers : but we must a man of great and elevated soul, of a generous and un not therefore imagine that his prayers were spiteful and daunted spirit, a zealous defender of the cause of God, malicious, but necessary rather, and charitable to the ofand a just avenger of the violation of his honour. Calmet's fenders; that by the sharp and long affliction which they Comment. B.
produced, God's honour, and the truth of his word and * St. James's words are tbese:- Elias was a man sub threatenings (which was now universally contemned) ject to the like passions as we are; and he prayed might be vindicated; and that the Israelites (whose preearnestly, that it might not rain, and it rained not on the sent impunity hardened them in their idolatry) might earth for the space of three years and six months. Our hereby be awakened to see their wickedness, their depen
blessed Saviour makes mention of the like compass of dence upon God, and the necessity of their returning to
dictory to what the sacred bistory tells us, viz. That lib. 6, c. 2, and Pool's Annotations. B.
his a year, which they called the early and latter rain. The not curing her son when he lay sick, but rather suffering former of these was in the month Nisan, which answers him to die, her faith began to drop ; wbereas, upon seeing to our March ; and the other in the mooth Marbeshvan, him revive, her faith revived with him; and through the which answers to our October. Now, at the beginning joy of having him restored to her again, she accounted this of the draught, Abab might very probably impute the laiter miracle much greater than the former. Le Clerc's want of rain to natural courses; but when, after six Com. B. months, neither the former nor the latter rain. fell in
tained him, by taking away her son ; and he
the prophet, fell into a distemper, till he gave that rain was coming. Now the famine had up the ghost, and appeared to be dead.* The seized upon the whole country i and there mother, therefore came to the prophet, weep was a great want of what was necessary for ing and beating her breast, and uttering such sustenance : insomuch that it was not only expressions as her passions dictated to her, men that wanted it, but the earth itself also; and complained to him, that he had come to which did not produce enough for the horses, reproach her for her sins, and that on this ac and the other beasts of what was useful for count it was that her son was dead. But he them to feed on, by reason of the drought. bade her be of good cheer, and deliver her So the king called for Obadiah, || who was son to him ; for that he would restore him steward over his cattle, and said to him, that again to her alive. So when she had de
So when she had de- he would have him go to the fountains of walivered her son up to him, he carried him into ter, and to the brooks: that if any herbage an upper room, where he himself lodged, could be found for them they might mow it and laid him down upon the bed ; and cried down, and reserve it for the beasts. . And unto God, and said that God had not done so when he had sent persons all over the babi. well in rewarding the woman who had sus table earth to discover the prophet Elijah, and prayed that he would send again the soul of company him. So it was resolved they should the child into him, and bring him to life again. make a progress; and divide the ways beAccordingly God took pity on the mother, and tween them; and Obadiah and the king went was willing to gratify the prophet ; that he the one one way, and the other another. Now might not seem to have come to her to do her it had happened, that the same time when a mischief; and the child, beyond all expec Queen Jezebel slew the prophet's, that this tation, came to life again. So the mother re Obadiah bad concealed a hundred prophets, turned the prophet thanks, and said, she was and had fed them with bread and water.** But then clearly satisfied that God did converse when Obadiah was alone, and absent from the with him. t
king, the prophet Elijah met him, and asked | Aster a little & while Elijah came to king him who he was? And when he had learned Ahab, according to God's will, to inform him it from him, he worshipped him. Elijah then
* Some of the Hebrew doctors (and herein they are that Josephus's original reading was no small time afterfollowed by sonie Christians) are of opinion, that this wi ward. dow's son was the prophet Jonas; that after bis restora § About An. 913. tion, his mother gave him to Elijah; that after he attend ll There are some Jewish doctors who think that this ed on the prophet, as long as he lived; and on a certain Obadiah was the same with him whose writings we have occasion was dispatched by him to Nineveh, as every one among the twelve minor prophets. They pretend that know. But besides that these traditions are destitute of he was married to that woman of Shunem, where Elisha any
real proof, Jonah was an Hebrew, as he himself' de used to lodge; that be was a disciple of the prophet Eliclares, cbap. i, 9, and a native of Gath-bepher, as we read jah, and the last of the three capiains whom king Aba2 Kings xiv. 25, whereas the widow's son was a natise of ziah sent to apprehend bim; and that for this reason he Zarephtha, a town belonging to the kingdom of Sidon, had compassion on him, though he had destroyed the otbers and by birth a stranger to the race of Israel. Calinet's that came before him, with fire from beaven, 2 Kings i. Com. B.
9, &c. but all these things are pure apocrypha. Obadiah + See 1 Kings xvii. 17–24.
bimself, in his discourse with Elijah, sufficiently tells us Josephus, in his present copies, says, that a little who he was, viz. a person truly religious, who worshipped wbile after the recovery of the widow's son Sarepta, God God alone, had a singular affection for his servants; sept rain upon the earth; whereas, in our other copies, enough, one would thinli
, to have made Ahab discard, if it is after many days, 1 Kings xviii. 1.
not persecute him, had he not found him so highly useful are also intimated there, as belonging to this drought and in the management of his domestic affairs, as lo connive famine. Nay we have the express mention of the third at his not worshipping Baal, or the calves; especially as year: which I suppose was reckoned from the recovery we read nothing of bis going up to Jerusalem, wbich was of the widow's son, and the ceasing of this drought in a defect that God might perhaps think proper to dispense Pbænicja, which, as Menander informs us bere, lasted with. Calmer's and Patrick's Commentaries. B. one wbole year.
And both our Saviour and St. James affirm, that this drought lasted in all three years and six Josephus here seems to mean that this drought affectmonths, as their copies of the Old Testament then inform ed all the babitable earth. ed them. Luke iv. 25, Jam. v. 17. Isuspect, therefore, ** i Kings xviii. 4.
bade him go to the king, and tell him, that he || and gather together all the people to Mount was ready to wait on him. But Obadiah, re- Carmel, with his own prophets, and those of plied, “ What evil have I done to thee, that his wife; telling him how many there were ihou sendesť me to one who seekest to kill of them; as also the prophets of the groves, thee; and hath sought over all the earth for about four hundred in number. And as all thee? :: Or art thou so ignorant as not to the men whom Ahab sent for ran away to the know, that the king hath left no place un aforenamed mountain, the prophet Elijah stood touched, into which he hath not sent persons in the midst of them, and said : “ How long to bring thee back, in order if they could take will ye live thus in uncertainty of mind and thee, to have thee put to death?” He also opinion ?” he also exhorted them, that in case acknowledged he was afraid lest God should they esteemed their own God to be the true appear to him again, and he should go away and the only Deity, they would follow him into another place; and that when the king || and bis commandments; but in case they esshould send him for Elijah, and he should not teemed him to be nothing, but had an opinion be able to find him, he should be put to death. || of the strange gods, and that they ought to He desired him, therefore, to take care of his worship them, his cotinsel was that they preservation, and told him how diligently be | should follow them. And when the multihad provided for those of his own profession, stude made no answer to what he said, Elijah and had saved a hundred prophets, when Je- desired, that for a trial of the power of the zebel slew the rest of them, and had kept them strange gods, and of their own God, he, who .concealed ; and that they had been sustained was his only prophet, while they bad four by him. But Elijah bade him fear nothing, hundred, might take an heifer, and kill it, as but
go to the king, assuring him upon oath, a sacrifice, and lay it on pieces of wood, and that he would certainly shew himself to Ahab not kindle any fire; and that they should do that very day.
the same things, and call upon their own gods So when Obadiah had informed the king to set * the wood on fire : for if that were that Elijah was there, Ahab met him, and done, they would thence learn the nature of asked him in anger; “ If he were the man
“ If he were the man the true God. † This proposal pleased the that afflicted the people of the Hebrews, and people. So Elijah bade the prophets chuse was the occasion of the drought that they lay | out an beifer first and kill it, and to call on under?" but Elijah, without any flattery, said, their gods. But when there appeared no efthat Ahab was himself the man, and his || fect of the prayer, or invocation of the prohouse, which brought such sad afflictions upon phets upon their sacrifice, Elijah derided them, them: and that by introducing strange gods and bade them call upon their gods with a into their country, and worshipping them ; loud voice; for they might either be on a and by leaving their own, who was the only journey, or asleep. And when these prophets true God; and having no manner of regard had done so from morning till noon, and I cut to him. However, he bade him go his way, themselves with swords and lances, § accord
* This was the ancient way of God's declaring himself | selves in the same manner as did these priests in their inpleased with sacrifices. See Gen. xv. 17.
vocation of Baal, the god of the Phænicians. + This is not the first time, wherein God had declared
§ A strange method one would think, to obtain the fa. his approbation of bis worshippers, by sending down fire vour of their gods! And yet, if we look into antiquity we to consume the sacrifices, Lev, ix. 24, and Judg. vi. 21. shall find, that nothing was more common in the religious and though perhaps it may be possible for evil spirits, who rites of several nations than this barbarous custom. To may have great knowledge how to manage meteors and this purpose we may observe, that (as Plutarch, De super. exhalations to their purposes, to make fire descend from stitione, tells us) the priests of Bellona, when they sacrithe clouds ; yet, since tbey can do nothing without a di ficed to that goddess, were wont to besmear the victim vine permission, it is rd to think, that, in a matter of with their own blood : that the Persian Magi (according competition between him and false gods, be should give to Herodotus, lib. 7. c. 191.) used to appease tempests, evil spirits any licence to rival him in his miracles. Le and allay the winds, by making incisions in their flesh; Clerc's Commentary. B.
that they who carried about the Syrian goddess, (as Apu| Mr. Spanheim takes notice here, that in the worship leius, lib. 8. relates,) among other mad pranks, were, of Mithra, the god of the Persians, the priests cut them every now and then, cutting and slashing themselves VOL. I. (27.)
ing to the custom of their country, and he his head upon his knees; and bade his serwas about to offer his sacrifice, he bade the
vant go up to a certain elevated place, and prophets go away, bot desired the people to look towards the sea : and when he should come near, and observe what he did, lest he see a cloud rising any where, he should give should privately hide fire among the pieces him notice of it; for till that time the air had of wood. So upon the approach of the mul been clear. When the servant had gone up, titude, he took twelve stones, one for each and had said many times that he saw notribe of the people of the Hebrews; and built thing; at the seventh time of his going up
he an altar with them, and dug a very deep. said, that he saw a small black thing in the trench. And when he had laid the pieces of sky, not larger than a man's foot. When wood upon the altar, and upon them bad laid Elijah heard that, he sent to Abab, and de: the pieces of the sacrifice, he ordered theinsired him to go away to the city before the to fill four barrels with the water of the foun storm of rain came down. So he came to tain, and to poar it upon the altar, till it ran the city Jezreel. And in a little time the air over it; and till the trench was filled with the was all obscured, and covered with clouds; water poured into it. When he had done this,
When he had done this, and a vehement storm of wind came upon the he began to pray to God, and to intreat him to earth, and with it a great deal of rain. And manifest his power to a people that had been the prophet was under a divine fury, and ran in an error a long time. Upon which words along with the king's chariot unto Jezreel, a a fire came on a sudden from heaven, in the city of Izar. * sight of the multitude, and fell upon the altar, When Jezebel, the wife of. Ahab, underand consumed the sacrifice, till the very wa stood what signs Elijah had wrought, and ter was set on fire, and the place was become how he had slain the prophets, she was angry, dry.
and sent messengers to him ; and by them Now when the Israelites saw this, they fell threatened to kill him, † as he had destroyed down upon the ground, and worshipped one her .prophets. At this Elijah was affrighted, God, and called him the only great and the and fled to the city called Beersheba ; which only true God: but they called the others l is situate at the utmost limits of the country mere names, framed by the wild opinions of belonging to the tribe of Judah, towards the
So they caught their prophets ; and, | land of Edom. And there he left his servant, at the command of Elijah, slew then). Elijah and went away into the desert. I He pro also said to the king, that he should go to din- | also that he might die: for that he was not ner, without any farther concern; for that in a better than his fathers; nor therefore need be little time he would see God send them rain. | very desirous to live when they were dead ; Accordingly Ahab went his way: but Elijah and he lay and slept under-a certain tree. And went up to the highest top of Mount Carmel, when somebody awakened him, and he was and sat down upon the ground, and leaned risen up, he found food set by him, and wa
Comarnirona with knives, till the blood gushed out: and that even to ture, Jezreel; for that was the city meant in the History this day some modern travellers tell us, that in Turkey, of Naboth. Persia, and several parts of the Indies, there are a kind of fanatics, who think they do a very meritorious thing, and
+ This certainly was the effect of her blind rage, and what is highly acceptable to the Deity, in cutting and
not of any prudence in her; for prudence would have admangling their own flesh. • Dii autem nullo debent colli
vised 'her to conceal her resentment, until she had been genere' (says Seneca, as he is quoted by St. Austin De Civ. ready to put her designs in execution; whereas this sendDei, 6. c. 10.) si et hoc volunt. Tantus est perturbatæ ing him word was giving bim notice of his danger, and mentis, et sedius suis pulsæ furor, ut sic dii placentur, admonishing him to avoid it. But, since he had the conquemadmodum ne homines quidem sæviunt teterrimi, et in
fidence to come wbere she was, she migbt think perhaps, fabulas traditæ crudelitatis,'&c. Calmer's and Le Clerc's
that he was as courageous as she was furious; that, upon Commentaries. B.
this notice he would scorn to fly; and she too, in her pride, * For Izar, we may here read with Hudson and Coc might scorn to kill him secretly or surreptitiously, resolvceius, Isachar, i..e, of the tribe of Isachar, for to that
ing to make him a public sacrifice. Patrick's Commentary tribe did Jezreel belong: and presently, chap. xv. we
and Pool's Annotations. B. may read for Izar, with one Ms. nearly, and the Scrip 1 1 Kings xix. 3, 4.