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Elijah Escapes from Jezebel

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Ahab Marries Jezebel

King Ahab of Israel marries the Phoenician princess Jezebel of Sidon. Jezebel introduces Baal worship into the royal court, so Ahab builds a temple to Baal at Samaria and erects a sacred ‘Asherah pole’ to worship the Sidonian fertility goddess Asherah. Jezebel sets about killing the prophets of the LORD.

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New Settlement at Jericho

In c.869BC, Hiel, an Israelite chieftain from Bethel builds a new settlement on the ruins of Jericho, destroyed over six hundred years earlier by Joshua in c.1406BC.

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Elijah: Tishbe in Gilead

At about the same time (c.870BC), the prophet Elijah, from Tishbe in Gilead, tells King Ahab of Israel that the LORD, the one true God of Israel, has decreed that there will be a serious drought for two or three years.

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Elijah Escapes from Samaria

At about the same time (c.870BC), the prophet Elijah, from Tishbe in Gilead, tells King Ahab of Israel that the LORD, the one true God of Israel, has decreed that there will be a serious drought for two or three years.

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Elijah Escapes from Samaria

When the brook dries up, Elijah goes to Zarephath, and stays for the three years of the drought with a widow and her son. The widow uses her last bit of flour and oil to bake some bread for Elijah.

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Elijah Meets with Ahab

In the third year of the drought (c.867BC), Elijah goes to Samaria to see King Ahab. En route he meets Obadiah, Ahab’s chief steward, who has tried valiantly to rescue the LORD’s prophets from the clutches of Jezebel. Elijah goes with Obadiah to meet Ahab.

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Elijah Rebukes Ahab

Elijah rebukes King Ahab for abandoning the LORD and worshipping the gods of Sidon. He tells Ahab to assemble the people of Israel and the prophets of Baal (together with the prophets of the fertility goddess Asherah) on Mount Carmel. He challenges the people to make up their mind – to serve Baal or the LORD.

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Prophets of Baal Killed

Elijah tells the prophets of Baal to prepare a sacrifice and ask their god to consume the offering with fire. The prophets of Baal shout and dance all day, but nothing happens. Elijah then builds an altar and lays a bull on it as an offering to God. He pours water over the offering and the wood, and then prays, “LORD, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel... Prove that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant” (1 Kings 18:36). The LORD sends down fire on the altar. The people shout “The LORD is God!” (1 Kings 18:39) and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal are put to death in the valley of the River Kishon.

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Elijah to Jezreel

Elijah then climbs to the top of Mt Carmel, looks west across the Mediterranean Sea and sees a small cloud on the horizon. He tells Ahab to return to Jezreel before heavy rain bogs down his chariot. Elijah runs ahead of the chariot to Jezreel.

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Jezebel Seeks Revenge

Jezebel seeks revenge and Elijah hides before fleeing to Beersheba .From Beersheeba, Elijah walks into the desert and prays he might die.

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Sustained by an Angel

An angel sustains Elijah with food and water and he walks forty days across the desert to Mt Sinai.

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Mt Sinai

The LORD appears to Elijah on the top of Mt Sinai - at the same spot where God had met with Moses nearly six hundred years earlier in c.1452BC (Exodus 20:1-26). God appears not in a strong wind, not in an earthquake or a fire; but speaks to Elijah in a quiet, gentle voice. Elijah is told to return to Damascus where he stirs up opposition to King Ben-Haddad of Aram and the godless King Ahab of Israel.

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Calls to Elisha

Elijah returns home and calls Elisha to be his assistant.

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Prophesies Fulfilled

During the final years of his reign, the aging King Ahab appoints his son Ahaziah as co-regent. Ahaziah is badly injured after falling from the window of an upper room in the palace at Samaria. He sends messengers to consult Baal-Zebub (the ‘Lord of the flies’), the Philistine god of Ekron to see if he will recover. The messengers meet Elijah, who prophesies that Ahaziah will not recover because he has turned away from the LORD. Ahaziah dies and his brother Jehoram (shortened to ‘Joram’ in 2 Kings) becomes co-regent.

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Taken Up to Heaven

Elijah is nearing the end of his life. In c.853BC, he sets off from Gilgal with Elisha and visits the prophets at Bethel and Jericho. Elijah then strikes the River Jordan with his cloak and the water divides so the two men can cross over. As they climb away from the riverbank, Elijah is taken up to heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot of fire.

Click colored sequential icons for summaries and scripture links.

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