Epistles of Thomas

August 19, 2009

1 Kings 16-18

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 16:51
Tags: , , , , , ,

In chapter 16 the author is concerned with demonstrating how God’s proclamations came to pass. Jeroboam was the standard against which evil was judged until Ahab arrived and surpassed him in wickedness (16:30ff). As much evil as these kings did the Lord matched them in punishment and ensured that their lineage was not able to establish a dynasty. Chapter 17 interrupts this litany of disaster with the story of Elijah. Elijah proclaimed to Ahab that there would not be rain on the land for several years. God cared for Elijah and he went to live with a widow in Zarephath and he even raised her son from the dead when he died a while after he arrived. Jesus mentioned this story in Luke 4:26 in rebuking the Jewish scholars. They immediately understood his condemnation of them and reacted with hostility.

Chapter 18 records the famous confrontation between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal on top of Mt. Carmel. The Baal prophets spent all day trying to get their god of thunder and lightning to set fire to their sacrifice to no avail. When it was Elijah’s turn he made the task even harder by soaking God’s altar with water. Nevertheless God responded and burned up the entire thing. This caused the people to recognised God and led them to slaughter the false prophets. Elijah then prayed for rain and soon a downpour began that soaked the land. God has made his point – will the people respond appropriately?

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