Jewish educational and Hebrew scholar Irene Lancaster delves into Elijah’s dramatic confrontation with the prophets of Baal.
The Jewish neighborhood is at the moment learning the story of the Golden Calf in Exodus 30:11-34:35, and parallel to this story of idol worship within the wilderness comes the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
This story may be discovered within the Book of Kings I 18:1-39. King Ahab from the House of Omri has married Jezebel, and Baal worship turns into the norm within the Northern Kingdom, usually often known as Samaria.
At this level Elijah seems and prophesies a drought that may final for quite a lot of years. Elijah then hides by a brook and is fed by ravens. But then the brook additionally dries up.
Next, Elijah travels northward and is sustained by a poverty-stricken widow. Elijah performs a miracle which supplies sufficient flour and oil till rain seems once more.
In addition Elijah additionally revives the widow’s son from a death-like state and the widow realizes that Elijah is a person of G-d.
Now we come to the topic of our present studying in Chapter 18. After three years, Elijah is to point out himself to King Ahab and rain will resume.
In the meantime, the top of the palace family, Obadiah, has hidden the true prophets of G-d, in addition to feeding them.
He encounters Elijah and acts as a go-between with Ahab. Ahab comes to fulfill Elijah and calls him ‘a troubler of Israel’.
However, Elijah retorts that it’s Ahab and his father’s home who’re the true troublers. By forsaking the mitzvot (commandments) of the Lord and worshipping the Baalim, it’s they who’ve introduced drought and famine to the land.
Ahab is to ship the entire of Israel to Mount Carmel in Haifa, in addition to the prophets of Baal and Ashera. And Elijah then utters the well-known query to the assembled individuals:
‘How lengthy will you halt between two opinions?’
This rhetorical query implies that typically the individuals comply with G-d and typically Baal. They can not make up their minds as to who’s the true G-d.
The phrase for ‘halt’ additionally means ‘Pesach’, thus alluding to the pageant which takes place in lower than a month.
The phrase right here translated as ‘opinions’ additionally means a department, a division or a divided opinion. It has even been translated in context as ‘limping on two unequal legs’.
The persons are informed to cry out to their god to supply fireplace for his or her sacrifice. But in useless. And they even carry out their ritual Baal dance, with no end result. Elijah tells them to shout louder in case their god is in any other case engaged, and even asleep.
But to no avail, even after they began slicing themselves.
By distinction, Elijah takes 12 stones to represent the 12 tribes which make up the Jewish individuals, named ‘Israel’ by the true Lord. G-d supplies fireplace for Elijah and his individuals and consumes their burnt providing.
And in verse 39, ‘when all of the individuals noticed it, they fell on their faces and mentioned: ‘The Lord, He is G-d; the Lord He is G-d.’
The individuals now consider absolutely. They not sit on the fence. And that is an instance of a miracle that got here true, on prime of Mount Carmel in Haifa, often known as Elijah’s metropolis.
That is why the service for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, ends with this occupation of religion, first expressed by the Children of Israel on the highest of Mount Carmel in Haifa.
In Chapter 19 Elijah is able to move on his mantle, as his life’s mission is over. And in verse 12 he discovers that G-d just isn’t within the loud noise of the wind, earthquake or fireplace, however within the ‘nonetheless small voice’.
Soon after this, Elijah encounters Elisha, ploughing with 12 yoke of oxen, once more symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel, and ‘forged his mantle over him’.
So usually in life we prevaricate till it’s too late. We do not make choices after we ought to, thus enabling unhealthy outcomes.
On the opposite hand, it’s a reward to know after we ought to hand over the reins, when our work is completed and after we ought to take a again seat.
The Hebrew Bible comprises easy classes for all times, and none extra so than the injunction on us to distinguish the false from the true.
And that can be why on the Pesach Seder we pour an additional cup of wine for the prophet Elijah, precursor of the Messiah. We depart the cup in a single day, and miraculously by dawn, the wine at all times disappears.
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