1 Kings 17: Elijah saves a child

Synopsis:

Elijah is a Tishbit in Gilead. He predicts there will be no dew or rain these years. The Lord tells Elijah to go east and hide by the brook Cherith near Jordan. Drink from the brook for I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. Once the brook dries up for lack of rain the Lord tells him to go to Zarepahath. He asks a woman there for food and she says, I have only enough for me and my son. He tells her bring it anyway and he was able to feed the woman, and her son and Elijah for many days.  At some point the son falls ill and stops breathing.  Elijah stretches himself on top of the child three times and prays to God to revive the child. The child is revived. The woman says, now I know you are a man of God.

In other words:

Elijah saves a child and becomes a prophet.

Favorite bit:

1 Kings 17:4, 6 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.

Weirdest bit:

1 Kings 17:21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. (Not sure why he had to lie on top of the unbreathing child 3 times, but it seems to have worked. Maybe it was like CPR).

Moral Lesson Learned:

Be nice to ravens (1 Kings 17)

1 Kings 18: Elijah slaughters the prophets of Baal (metaphorically and literally)

Synopsis:

After 3 years of drought, Elijah comes back to Israel to speak to King Ahab and bring back the rain. Ahab asks Elijah why he has troubled the land with drought. Elijah says, I didn’t, you did by forsaking God and following Baalim. Elijah then proposes a contest of gods. Let’s go to mount Carmel. Bring 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the groves which eat at Jezebel’s table.  Slaughter 2 bulls.  They choose the bulls. We will put it on wood but light no fire. They called on Baal from morning until noon to light the fire. The fire remained unlit. Elijah mocked them. At evening, Elijah built an altar using 12 stones for the 12 tribes of Israel. He poured water over the wood and bully 3 times. Then he prayed and the fire of the Lord consumed the sacrifice and evaporated all the water.  The prophets of Baal, upon Elijah’s orders were all killed. A big storm came and Ahab took his chariot to Jezreel, but Elijah beat him there.

In other words:

God beats Baal in a BBQ contest.

Favorite bit:

1 Kings 18:27-29 – And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and sai, Cry aloud: for he is a god,; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, still the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, and there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regards. (Sure, it’s all good for Elijah to say this, but when atheists say these same exact things we are blaspheming. From now on I think anybody trying to make a point to Christians about the inefficacy of prayer – only needs to cite 1 Kings 18:27 –if your god doesn’t answer – you don’t speak for him.)

Side note:

1 Kings 18:4 – When Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah (house manager for Ahab), took 100 prophets and hid them in a cave and fed them with bread and water.


Coolest bit:

This is a REALLY cool test of god strength. And how could you doubt a god who create a fire that consumed a water soaked altar?


Moral Lesson Learned:

Don’t promise things you can’t deliver. (1 Kings 18)

1 Kings 15: They keep fighting

Synopsis:

(Note – this story is not told sequentially – but I have arranged it sequentially here).
18 years into the reign of King Jeroboam over Israel, Abijam takes over Judah from Rehoboam. Abijam rules for 3 years before dying. He was sinful just like his father. But after Abijam came King Asa of Judah (20th year of the reign of Jeroboam). Asa was godly like David. He removed the sodomites and the idols and even removed his mother as queen because she had built an idol. He, however, allowed the high places to remain. He also purchased gold and silver and started to restore the treasure of Judah. In Asa’s second year, Nadab, son of Jeroboam becomes king of Israel. But by the next year Baasha son of Ahijah, house of Issachar, conspired against Nadab and took over as king of Israel. King Baasha killed all members of the house off Jeroboam. He was sinful, just like Jeroboam. He then made war against Asa and built Ramah. Asa appealed to the king of Syria, Ben-hadad, for help. Asa gave Ben-hadad a lot of gold and silver and jewels and so Syria waged war against Israel. Asa and Baasha warred for their entire reigns. Asa died after 41 years and his son Jehoshaphat reigned in his stead.

In other words:

Jeroboams and Rehoboam’s sons continue fighting.

Favorite bit:

1 Kings 15:10 – Asa’s mother’s name is Maachah, daughter of Abishalom. A woman is mentioned!!!

2nd favorite bit:

1 Kings 15:3-5 – And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heard of David his father. Nevertheless for David’s sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem. Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Confused commentary about 1: Kings 15:3-5

First: I love the fact that they remember the Uriah incident as a blemish on David. But ... clearly God was not happy with Solomon and set up Jeroboam against Solomon’s son Rehoboam. And then, he’s like – oh – I didn’t realize you were going to sin Jeroboam, so – I guess I’ll go back and favor the David’s sons in Judah. It seems to me that Israel being bigger than Judah should be the favored group. But what do I know.

3rd favorite bit:

That Syria was bribed to fight Israel on behalf of Asa in Judah and the bribe worked (1 Kings 15:17-20)

Coolest bit:

1 Kings 15:23 – Asa in the time of his old age was diseased in his feet.

Least favorite bit:

That this chapter is out of order.  We aren’t told who Baasha is until verse 27 and Baasha doesn’t take over until verse 33. Yet his battle with Asa starts on verse 17. King Asa dies and is buried with his fathers in verse 24. It’s all out of sequence. It’s kind of annoying.

Moral Lesson Learned:

We all need allies (1 Kings 15)

1 Kings 16: The Evil Kings of Israel

Synopsis:

The Lord doesn’t like Baasha because he sins, so he has Jehu, a prophet and son of Hanani curse Baasha. After 23 years, Baasha dies and his son Elah takes over. But Zimri, captain of the chariots, killed Elah when he was drunk. He killed everyone in the house. When the rest of Israel finds out that Zimri has killed their king, they rise up against Zimri and Zimri immolates himself by setting the king’s palace at Tirzah on fire around him. At this point, the people of Israel split. Half side with Omri who led the charge against the traitor Zimri and the other half make Tibni king.  Tibni dies and Omri becomes king. He reigns in TIrzah for a while but builds a house in Samaria. Omri was just as bad as Baasha and his son Elah and God is still angry with them. Eventually Omri dies and his son Ahab takes over. Ahab is worse than all the kings of Israel before him.  In fact, he’s so bad he and his wife Jezebel start worshipping Baal and build an altar for Baal in Samaria. Ahab did more to to provoke the anger of the God of Israel than all the kings before him.  Oh – and Hiel a Beth-elite built Jericho.

Timeline of Israeli Kings: 

Note – these dates are all based on the reign of king Asa of Judah.
Year 2: Ahijab of Israel reigns after Jeroboam
Year 3: Baasha takes over in a bloody coup
Year 26: Elah, son of Baasha takes over Israel
Year 27 – Zimri (traitor) kills Elah and takes over
Year 27 – Omri kills Zimri and Israel is split between Omri and Tibni
Year 31 – Omri prevails and reigns over Israel
Year 38 – Ahab, son of Omri reigns over Israel
Year 41 – Asa of Judah dies.

Favorite bit:

We finally meet Jezebel! (1 Kings 16:31) – She is the wife of Jehu.

Funniest part:

The recurrent fact that whatever king just took over “wrought evil in the eyes of the Lod, and did worse than all that were before him.”

Most exciting bit:

1 Kings 16:8-20 – The tale of Zimri – captain of the chariots and his act of treason against Elah. His reign only lasted 7 days and he dies in a fire in the palace.  

Favorite quote: 

“And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.” (1 Kings 16:11)

The curse of Jehu, the prophet speaking on behalf of God:

1 Kings 16:2-4  - Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people of Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins; Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the prosperity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Make sure you have support before you stage a coup. (1 Kings 16)