One of the most colorful biblical characters, the prophet Elijah burst on to the scene with a declaration of a drought – and disappears, leaving us to debate if it was God or Elijah that decreed the lack of rain. We will follow him up into Phoenicia (Lebanon) and down to the Negev. We will observe his relationships with people, whether ordinary or royal. We will discuss the moral dilemmas raised in the Biblical narrative. Finally, we will look at the place that Elijah has in Jewish tradition, and ask ourselves how he got there.

Introduction To Elijah

It’s …ELIJAH! Welcome! Elijah is undoubtedly one of the most familiar biblical characters, but also one of the most enigmatic ones. We know him as a folklore figure that shows up at the moment of need, but how well does that match his biblical persona? Over the next classes we will explore the biblical narrator’s version […]

A Drought By Whose Saying? – Elijah

A Drought! By Whose Saying? The Biblical Text Before we can get to our main text, I Kings 17, we have to do some background work.  Please read the end of chap 16. I Kings 16:30-34 Who is the Baal?  Simply put, the Baal is the Canaanite god of rain and storm. But while in […]

Where Is Elijah During The Drought – Elijah

Where is Elijah During the Drought? – 2 – Elijah Story # 1 – 17:2-7 The Biblical Text Why is Elijah going to hide? It might make good sense after declaring a drought on the land, but is that the reason given? What kind of existence does Elijah experience in the Krit riverbed? Not many people […]

Elijah Returns – Elijah

Elijah Returns – 3 – Elijah In the third year of the drought The land is parched Crops don’t grow People and livestock starve This is the point we return to the kingdom of Israel Chapter 18 starts with clear references to the opening story of chapter 17.  Try to find the points the narrator […]

Elijah On Mount Carmel – Elijah

Elijah on Mount Carmel – 4 – Elijah This unit divides nicely into scenes.  As you study them, try to “flesh out” the picture in your mind.  The event is composed not only the words spoken, but also the setting and the body language of those present. Opening Scene: 18:21-24 Who are active in this […]

Elijah In The Desert – Elijah

Elijah in the Desert –-5- Elijah I Kings 19 The Mount Carmel episode just ended.  The nation declared its faith in the Lord (Hashem) as the God, and Elijah proves his loyalty to his repenting monarch by running before his chariot all the way to the palace in Jezreel.  What happens in the palace? Read […]

Navot’s Vineyard – Elijah

Navot’’s Vinyard – Ancestral Land – 6 – Elijah The power struggle between God (or His representative) and the monarch seems to be a recurring theme in the Elijah narratives.  This time there is a moral twist as well. I Kings 21:1-16 Pay attention to the titles and epithets that are used in the story.  […]

When Hashem Took Elijah Up By Storm – Elijah

Elijah’s Ascent to the Heavens – 7 – Elijah II Kings 2:1-18 Elijah is perhaps best known for his end – his ascent to the heavens in a chariot of fire.  This is a very carefully written and stylized story, giving us an opportunity to devote time to both content and technique. As we are […]

Elijah In Jewish Tradition – Elijah

Elijah in Jewish Tradition – 8 – Elijah Elijah’s image in Jewish tradition as ‘the one who will return’ developed from several ideas and texts. First there is the biblical material in the book of Kings:  Elijah did not die as normal human beings do.  Nor did he leave behind a physical body to confirm […]

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