Study Guide

1 Kings Chapter 19

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Chapter 19

Earth, Wind, And Fire

  • When Ahab tells Jezebel about Elijah killing all of her prophets, she's not happy.
  • She sends a message to Elijah: "Let the gods kill me if I fail to do to you what you did to my prophets by this time tomorrow."
  • So Elijah goes into hiding in the wilderness.
  • He sits down under a tree and tells the Lord that he thinks it's about time he died.
  • He falls asleep, but an angel wakes him up and tells him to eat. Elijah finds a cake and some water next to him, and he eats and drinks before he falls asleep again.
  • The angel comes to wake him a second time, and tells him, "You'd better eat up, or you won't have the energy to make the journey you're about to go on."
  • Elijah wakes up and eats again. He then heads off to Horeb, a.k.a. Sinai, the mountain of God.
  • He doesn't eat anything for fourty days and fourty nights during his journey.
  • Finally, he arrives at Horeb. He finds a cave and sleeps.
  • In the cave, the Lord's voice comes to him and asks, "Whatcha doin', Elijah?"
  • Elijah explains, "Well, I've been really loyal to you, Lord. But the Israelites are breaking your covenants and tearing down your altars and killing your prophets. I'm the only one left and now they're trying to kill me, so I'm hiding out here."
  • The Lord tells Elijah to go stand on the mountain, because the Lord is going to be there.
  • Before he has the chance to go out, a furious wind passes by the cave and tears up the rocks on the mountain—but the Lord's not in the wind.
  • Then an earthquake comes and shakes the cave—but the Lord's not in that either. Then a fire comes, but still no Lord.
  • Finally, Elijah hears "a sound of sheer silence" (NRSV 19:12—or in the KJV, "a still small voice"). He wraps his face in his cloak and walks to the mouth of the cave.
  • Again, he hears a voice ask, "Whatcha doin'?"
  • Again he answers, using the exact same words as before.
  • The Lord tells him to go back to the wilderness of Damascus. On his way, he should anoint Hazael as king of Syria, Jehu as king of Israel, and Elisha as the prophet that will take Elijah's place when he's gone.
  • The Lord says that whomever escapes from Hazael's sword will be killed by Jehu, and whomever escapes from Jehu's sword will be killed by Elisha.
  • He says there are still 7,000 people left in Israel that don't worship Baal.
  • So Elijah goes back, and on his way he passes by Elisha's farm.
  • Elisha's out plowing a field with twelve oxen, and Elijah puts his cloak on Elisha as he's walking by. Elisha understands this as a symbolic call to go away with Elijah and serve God.
  • Elisha gets permission to have a little going away party, then follows Elijah from that day forward.

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