1 Kings 17
Elijah revives a dead boy
God tells Elijah to hit the road1Elijah was a prophet from the town of Tishbe. That’s across the Jordan River in the territory of Gilead. He took this message to King Ahab, “I’m going to curse this land with a drought. You won’t see a drop of rain until I say so. And you can count on it, king, as sure as there’s a God in heaven—Israel’s God.”
2God sent another message to Elijah: 3“I want you to go back across the Jordan River, on the east side. Hide somewhere by the Cherith stream. 4You’ll get your water from the creek. And I’ll send ravens to feed you.” 5So, Elijah did what the LORD said. He lived by the Cherith stream east of the Jordan. 6Sure enough, ravens brought him bread and meat for breakfast and supper. He drank from the stream. 7After a while, the stream dried up in the drought. It wasn’t raining anywhere in the area.
Selfless widow in a foreign land8The LORD send Elijah another message: 9“Go to the town of Zarephath, in Sidon’s kingdom. There’s a widow there. I’ve told her to feed you when you come.”
10He left for Zarephath. When he reached the gateway into the walled city he saw a widow collecting sticks. He called out to her, “Excuse me, but could you bring me a cup of water to drink?” 11As she turned to get it for him he added, “Could you also bring me a small piece of bread?”
12She said, “I don’t have a baked bite of anything in my house right now. What I have is a fist full of flour and a little jug of olive oil. These sticks you see me gathering are for cooking my last meal. I’m baking what I have for my son and me. After that, we die.”
13Elijah said, “Hey, don’t be afraid. Go ahead and make that meal. But make me a small plug of bread first. Then make bread for yourself and your son. 14If you do that, the LORD, who is the God of Israel, makes this promise: Your jar of flour and your jug of olive oil will never bottom out until after the rains return.”
15The widow did what Elijah said. She and her son had enough food throughout the drought. 16Her flour jar never emptied, and her jug of olive oil never ran out—just as Elijah promised on behalf of the LORD.
Elijah’s CPR of a widow’s boy17Sometime later, the widow’s son became deathly ill. Eventually, he stopped breathing. 18The woman complained to Elijah, “Why did you do this to me? You’re a man of God aren’t you? Did you come here to call me a sinner and take my son as punishment?”
19Elijah told her, “Give me your boy.” He lifted the boy from his mother’s arms and carried him to upstairs room, where he had been living, and laid him on the bed. 20Elijah cried out, “LORD, my God, did you do this terrible thing to the son of this woman I’m staying with? Did you really kill her boy?”
21Then he lay stretched out above the boy three times, each time screaming, “LORD, my God, bring this boy back!” 22The LORD heard that prayer and revived the boy. 23Elijah brought the child back down to his mother and said, “Look at your boy. He’s alive!”
24The woman told Elijah, “There’s no doubt now. You’re a man of God and you speak for God.”
If Tishbe was a town, it’s location was somewhere in the boonies of Gilead, which was mostly an unsettled territory with forests and grazing fields. Though it was east of the Jordan River, it still belonged to Israel—to the tribe of Manasseh. Some scholars say tishbe is similar enough to the word for “settler,” that the term in the Bible could mean Elijah was a settler from Gilead.
Zarephath would likely have been well over 100 miles (160 km) from Gilead Territory—about a five-day walk, and in a drought, with the creeks stones-bare and dirt dry.
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